International Baccalaureate (IB) exams were created by the International Baccalaureate Organization -- a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Some educators parallel IB exams to Advanced Placement exams, but test requirements and subject matter aren't entirely the same. To receive an IB diploma, students ages 16 to 19 must take six exams from five categories -- six categories if they choose to test in an arts subject. Exams are graded on a scale from 1 to 7, with a score of 7 being the highest. Acing IB exams requires academic preparation and strong writing skills.
Focus on IB exam subjects that tend to be the most difficult and often require memorization, such math, biology and history, according to Oxford Study Courses. Most college admissions officers want assurance that you've mastered harder core subjects. Plus, you'll need to put in extra study time memorizing equations, scientific processes and history facts in preparation for IB exams. You must select one subject from each of the five groups -- language, foreign language, social sciences, experimental sciences and mathematics -- so it's important to review summary sheets, notes and diagrams from your IB academic classes and textbooks. If you don't choose an arts topic for your sixth subject, you must take two exams in one of the other five categories. Visit the GetRevising website, based in the United Kingdom, for additional study resources by subject to help you prepare for IB exams.
Prepare to write theory of knowledge essays on topics you discussed in your classes or worked on individually as part of your coursework. Review former exam papers and write down as many facts as you can remember from your old English essays, suggests the IB Alumni Network. Being able to organize your thoughts, recall facts and elaborate on essay topics is a huge plus. Study structured math problems and prepare for questions that involve diagrams, charts or case studies. International Baccalaureate exams have a few multiple-choice questions, but short-answer questions and essay topics make up a majority of the tests.
Plan for oral tests in addition to written tests. Even though you don't know what a proctor might ask, you can practice speaking your foreign language aloud. Or, you might prepare mental notes to answer oral theory of knowledge questions. IB exams test your ability to communicate ideas clearly, think critically and craft logical, well-structured arguments. Purchase former exams from previous testing sessions on the International Baccalaureate Organization website to study and review. Individual IB exams range from 1 hour to 2 ½ hours each, so review your exam schedule to make sure you allow enough time to complete the test.
- International Baccalaureate Organization: The IB Diploma Programme
- Davidson Institute for Talent Development: Tips For Parents: AP vs. IB - Which is best for my kid?.
- Oxford Study Courses: IB Exams
- Get Revising: A Level and IB Resources by Subject
- International Baccalaureate Organization: Frequently Asked Questions About the Diploma Programme
- International Baccalaureate Organization: IB Diploma Programme
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.