It might seem like it is all over and the summer is here – time to relax, chill out, and forget all about academic issues. Unfortunately, we all know this is not true.

Over the next month, I would definitely find time to do all the things you have not been able to do when the IB sucked up all of your free time – for me, this would be playing computer games and reading – a LOT of reading. (I will not lie, it would probably involve a lot of red wine as well).

Early July will see the results come out and that is always a stressful time. And what makes it worse is that there are often some quite unpleasant university offers out there – it often feels that the IB offers are cruel – not only do some universities ask for specific values from the HL subjects, but they also ask for a Diploma total score – which places an emphasis on the SL subjects as well.  Fortunately, this is fading out somewhat, and offers are becoming a little more sensible.

All students should remember that the IB results do give you a serious advantage over A-Level students: If your results do not come out as well as you had hoped, then look carefully at the idea of having re-marks.  My strategy for this is the following:

  1. How did your ‘extra points’ come out.  Did you get a grade for the EE that was less than you and your supervisor thought?  AND, if this mark did go up, would it trigger an extra mark? If so, then consider having the EE remarked.
  2. Next, look at the marks for each of your subjects – If any of them are close to the next highest grade boundary, then consider a remark. If you are close, it is much more likely that you will go up than down – although remember, that is always a possibility.
  3. DO NOT ask for a remark if you are close to going down!

The benefit for this system is that you have the time to sort this out before the universities make their final decisions because there is over a month before the A-Level results come out.

If it turns out that after you have looked into remarks, you are short for your offer, then contact the university. Although my experience is that most schools will offer to do this for you, you should pluck up the courage and call them yourself.  Make sure you know what you wish to say and maybe, have it written down on paper. You are contacting the admissions tutor because you know that you messed up a subject and it has cost you your grade but you still wish to go to them and ask the university if they will take you regardless.  If they say no, then (depending on what you wish to do), ask them if they would consider you for any similar courses they do – it may be that there are other options they can consider you for (e.g., a four year course rather than three, a similar but slightly different course).

If everything fails and you are left with no university offer, then simply find more courses at more universities, make yourself a list in order of preference and get on the phone and start talking.

A final note about stress. Too many students worry about getting offers from a particular university and getting accepted … or not. For some, this becomes the ‘absolute’ in their life, and if they do not get the offer they want, there is a feeling that you are a failure. DO NOT FEEL THIS!  Every one of you is far more important than a course at university.  Your life will not be defined by whether you get into a university of not – your life will not be focused on this. The point of life is to try to make a positive contribution to someone else’s life – so keep it in perspective. I wish you the very best, but ultimately, you will all be fine because you will do something that will allow you to engage with others, and that is what it is all about.