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IB FAQ's Answered by Students


“IB FAQ” by the Locust Valley IB Leadership Club

Contributors: Julia Ostroff, Taylor Schmeizer, Michael Crisci, Kristy Jahchan, Charlotte Brennan, Melissa Cooney

  • How much time would IB courses require for me to be successful?

In order to be successful in IB’s tough courses, you have to be willing to dedicate a significant amount of your time; however, this does NOT mean that you have to sacrifice your entire week to do homework. IB values being a well-rounded student which is vital to your success as a human in this rapidly developing and demanding world. Taking IB courses does not mean you have to remove sports, clubs, volunteer service, and jobs from your daily agenda! Personally, I always consider everything that I have to do over the week and plan my time accordingly so that I will have time to finish everything and still have free time for myself.  On a typical weekend, I tend to use Sundays as a work day and focus that entire day on any homework, studying, or projects. If I have more work than usual, I may split it up and finish some during the day on Saturday so that I can go out at night but not be overwhelmed the next day. Fridays are my days to relax and hang out with my friends. I think it’s extremely important to pace yourself and give yourself a break sometimes, especially after studying and working non-stop on the weekdays. Yes, being in IB classes could mean sacrificing more time than you’re used but there’s still plenty of time to give yourself a break. If IB emphasizes one thing it is TIME, TIME, TIME! If you do not develop a sufficient planning system for yourself, you will face the consequences. However, do NOT let this discourage you procrastinators! It is never too late to develop a balanced planning system for yourself!

  • Julia Ostroff

  • Will I have any free periods if I am an IB Diploma Candidate?

This is a reasonable question since free periods are essential to some students. Personally, my schedule worked out with 3 periods as a junior and none as a senior.  While, this is not ideal for everyone, it goes to show you how adaptable the diploma can be! It really is dependent on what classes you choose. Depending on what SLs and HLs you are in, they can really dictate how your schedule turns out! It is also worth mentioning that your IB schedule is extremely personal. There is no golden rule for all IB diploma candidates, every schedule is unique and has its own personality! For more information on what your schedule would personally offer you, please talk to your guidance counselors.

- Taylor Schmeizer

  • Is the Extended Essay as challenging as it sounds?

It is understandable that the Extended Essay can be quite worrisome and overwhelming! However, since we have such great resources and teachers like Mr. Harrison, Ms. Greco and Ms. Mierlak, the Extended Essay is presented so tastefully that it can make the process quite enticing. You have many weeks to pick a topic that YOU are interested in and come up with a research question. With the thousands of sources and databases that our school provides us with, the process is 10 times easier. While writing the essay seems like quite a task, Ms. Mierlak creates deadlines that allot a fair period of time for you to complete a portion. This system of deadlines created by our wonderful teachers makes every task doable. Unlike other schools, we have a class designated for us to work on it! This is a bonus that should definitely not be taken for granted. You can make your life so much easier by working in class, rather than seeing your library time as a free period. The Extended Essay can be an extremely fun process if you pick a topic that interests YOU, pick a mentor that fits your schedule, and plan your deadline tasks accordingly! The Extended Essay puts an emphasis on YOU and is an essay where you can demonstrate your passions to the IB headquarters in Wales!

- Taylor Schmeizer

  • Do you have to take a lot of classes that you don’t want to?

For IB, you definitely have classes that are required in order for the diploma like English and foreign language, but you do get some choice in your course selection. For example, there are many different science classes that are available. This is especially helpful if science isn’t your best subject. Instead of taking an HL science, you can take Environmental or Sports, Exercise, and Health Science (SEHS). Also, in senior year you can take economics instead of History of the Americas (HOTA). In addition, there are tons of electives like film, art, psychology, philosophy, etc. that you can use for credits. Overall, even though you have to have certain classes for the diploma, you still have options and can substitute courses in for other ones that you don’t want to take.

-Charlotte Brennan


  • Is it hard to adjust at first?

    • It is common for the first quarter of any grade to be challenging, and your junior year is no exception. In fact, some IB students find the first quarter to be the most challenging of them all. The workload seems like a lot, and all of a sudden, you might feel overwhelmed with clubs, sports, and prep for standardized tests. The most important thing to remember that everything is temporary. Any big tests or projects you have in a class will be handed in eventually. While it will take a little time to adjust to the IB style questions and to get used to being assigned projects due in two months, you will adjust with experience as time goes on. While some weeks may have more work than others, you will learn quickly that time management is the key to success. Your teachers will also help you adjust. While they won't spoon feed you, they will work with you in extra help and try to make your transition as smooth as possible.

  • Melissa Cooney