Known as the magic 5 P’s of success, Proper Planning can really Prevent Poor Performance. Using this acronym throughout your IB Diploma will remind you of the importance of planning and provide you will the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in your IB Diploma studies.

Our IB experts have years of experience helping students to achieve their best, but they also needed organisational and planning skills for their own busy lives and jobs as IB teachers, coordinators, counsellors and so on. So, after lots of trial and improvements, they have given you their top tips.

PROPER: Being able to execute a task, whether it is homework, deciding which IB subjects to take, tackling your Extended Essay, or making a start on your IB revision, there is a proper way to approach these.

  • Tip 1: Know yourself – are you a morning person or a night owl? Once you know this, you can see when you are most likely to perform better – try to do the trickiest academic work during the time when your brain is most active.
  • Tip 2: Resources – gather as much information as you can before starting the task from reliable sources that will ensure you do not miss any important steps, advice or content. For example, get practice tests, past papers and a copy of the syllabus from your teachers, purchase your OSC IB Revision Guides and books, download articles and advice, utilise free tools, attend IB Revision Courses, or a Pre or Mid IBDP Summer School – OSC offers some great options!

PLANNING: A detailed, well-thought out plan is important when starting a task. You need to think about what time you have and how you can fit your IB studies around your daily life. A year is 365 days – a long time, but not if you are doing the IB! Meticulous planning and using the right tools will get you ahead.

– Your holidays

– Time outside of the classroom e.g. Friday evenings (will you really work on a Friday), football practice, music lesson, ski holidays, CAS workdays, family days out

– Write in your IB deadline in pencil – Mock exams, coursework, presentations, oral commentaries, TOK essays, Extended Essay, portfolios, …the final exams.

– Write in school events – any festivals, parent conferences, university visits, college fairs…

Now, count the days, lessons and deadlines you have left – take a deep breath, you don’t have much left. Remember you need to fit your revision in, too! Make sure you display the calendar in a prominent place where you can see it every day, that way you will always have the bigger picture in front of you, and it will motivate you.

  • Tip 2: Make lists and prioritise them. There are different ways to prioritise, however, Rosanna’s two favourites are:

Stephen Covey’s Time Management grid


The Traffic Light System

The traffic light system consists of highlighting your to do list.

Red: Do it now!

Amber:  Think about it and begin to plan

Green: Leave or delegate

PREVENT: There will always be something that will scupper your plans, you get ill or the school closes. It is always a good idea to have a backup plan or strategies ‘up your sleeve’ so you can address any problems that may arise.

  • Tip 1: Talk to your teachers – the are experts on your doorstep, they know you, your subjects and the deadlines best. Ask them for advice, you might be able to negotiate deadlines.
  • Tip 2: Review your day – what could you cut out if you had to.
  • Tip 3: Consider what options are available to you – an OSC IBDP Revision Course or IBDP Summer School – these will help you to review material and prepare yourself for upcoming deadlines.

POOR: Try to complete the task the best you can. Cutting out a topic from your Biology revision will only result in it coming up in the exam, and you will kick yourself for not revising it.

  • Tip 1: Study Buddies – get a group of fellow IB students and work as a group. Split topics and share notes, test or teach each other and check that you are all keeping to your plans and deadlines. A group of you will also encourage and motivate one another.
  • Tip 2: Do not hurt yourself – aiming for perfection can hurt. Do the best you can without burning yourself out or cutting into other important tasks.

PERFORMANCE: All of the above will help you feel more in control of your life and that in itself should bring you more confidence.  And confidence in yourself is a good way to approach the IBDP. Confidence leads to success, success means good IB grades and a step in the right direction of your chosen career and university path.

  • Final Tip: Celebrate your success with your family, friends, and teachers. It might be the first academic term as a IBDP student, successfully completing your first IBDP year, or getting top final IB grades, they are down to your hard work and proper planning!