Hi all,

I hope the new syllabus is going well with your students in DP1 – however it is important to note that as always the IB has just released the May 2014 subject reports which is an essential resource for preparing and checking your DP2 students are on course for their exams in May 2015.

In case you have not come across the subject reports before they are essential in that they show advice from senior examiners on how students did in the last examination sessions, along with grade boundaries and further advice. I always use these with students as often it reinforces some of the words of advice I have been giving students – but from a different and maybe more authoritative perspective?

Below are some of the main points – however please do go to the OCC and you can download and utilise at your leisure.

Project points:-

  • A reminder and a mistake I made at the beginning that you do not need to do full design and make projects all the time – but rather “Small lab based investigations tend to require less time than design and make tasks (normally no more than 3-4 hours) and the integration of such assignments in to the course structure is to be further encouraged as it is possible to target each assessment criterion individually if candidates need further opportunities so as to raise achievement. Such investigations tend to address the assessment of Planning (P), Research (R) and Evaluation (E), although to achieve a high attainment for each, research questions should ideally address a context and hypothesise what the outcome of the investigation will be.”
  • “Teachers are encouraged to annotate work to show where marks are awarded if this is the case.”
  • In research – “Candidates that achieved a high mark in this section displayed evidence of focused research that had been annotated to indicate its relevance in order to solve the problem. A wider range of data primary and secondary sources is needed if not to simply rely on data sourced purely from the internet.”

Exam Paper points:-

  • The examiners responded directly to questions submitted using the G2 forms – so my suggestion if you have problems or questions after next examination session then please ask as the examiners take these responses seriously!
  • The main point as always is with the long answer questions in Paper 2 – “Candidates should be encouraged to use past papers and markschemes to become familiar with the way in which nine mark questions are structured and how the marks are ‘clustered’ on the markscheme so that three marks are available for each aspect but to gain all three marks candidates need to provide an explanation, discussion, suggestion etc. with three distinct points made and all suitable linked to the given context. Typically, the three points will refer to correctly identifying an issue, describing it and explaining the relevance to the context e.g.’ safety’, what the safety measure is and why it is relevant in the context given or the extent of its relevance.”
  • Something simple but important in Paper 3 especially – “An increasing problem is the relentless deterioration in the quality of handwriting. Some responses have almost been impossible to decipher. Candidates should be advised to take their time when writing their responses in order to make them legible.”
  • And finally – “Candidates should be advised not to repeat the stem of the question in their answer. Not only does this waste time in the examination, it takes up too much of the space allowed and seems to give them a false impression that they have answered part of the question by doing so.”

There is so much more in the reports themselves – so make sure to download and use them with your students.