I’d like to start by wishing a Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had a good New Year wherever in the word you were.

From our IB Chemistry perspective, 2016 is a big year for us as in May, the first cohort of students will sit exams in the new IB Chemistry course. I am sure, if like me, you will be both nervous and excited at the prospect of the examinations and asking yourself questions such as did I teach everything? Or did I go into enough depth?

I am sure that once the examinations are over there ill be a collective sigh of relief from us all!

To help put teachers minds to rest the IB has released a document (imaginatively) called ‘Group 4 Sciences, Frequently Asked Questions’ and it can be found on the OCC.

The document is quite long (15 pages) so my aim in this blog post is to pick out the highlights and help (I hope) put your mind as rest.

Perhaps the main one that worries most teachers I speak to is the assessment of NOS. Questions I often hear are ones such as ‘Is it assessed?’ or ‘How it is assessed?’ or ‘How many NOS questions will there be?’

The IB is not dead clear in their answer but does say that there will be at least one NOS question in paper 1 and aspects of NOS in paper 2. If we reflect on this statement, it is widely what we see in the specimen papers – Q40 on the HL paper 1 and Q30 on the SL paper 1 are clearly NOS. I suspect (please note, only my thoughts so not necessarily true) that we will see this repeated in years to come.

Regarding lab work the document does mention that the prescribed practical’s are found in the TSM on the OCC – I have just had a look but can’t find them….. Luckily for you they are available in another blog post (here).


Source: WikiMedia

Another question that often raises it’s head is one regarding moderation. It sounds like the process for moderation will change in the future (to reflect the process that occurs in the marking of examination papers, ie, ‘seeding’ or, as the document puts it ‘dynamic sampling’) but for the moment, the process of moderation will remain unchanged.

However, the way the work gets to the moderator will change. IA labs will now need to be uploaded and not posted. At least this will reduce your schools shipping bill, although, it will increase stress levels in your DP coordinator so please be kind to them and get them the work when they ask for it (earlier if possible) as they do have a difficult job!

As ever, it would be great to hear from you so please post any questions you have below.