Are you aware that the May 2013 examiners reports are now released? You are able to get these from the OCC (online curriculum centre) –

The examiner’s report is a really useful document and if you only read one official IB document this year – make it this one! At first, it may seem a little daunting – around 30 pages of text (and very little in the way of diagrams) but boy, is it useful stuff!

If you are new to teaching the IB or an experienced teacher, I guarantee (unless you are the chief examiner maybe) that you will be able to get something positive out of this to add to your teaching.

What is covered in the examiner’s report?

It does contain a lot of information but useful sections include:

  • The overall HL and SL grade boundaries as well as the individual grade boundaries for the different papers
  • The range and suitability of internal assessment (IA) work submitted
  • Candidates performance against each criterion
  • Recommendations for future IA teaching *
  • General comments on HL and SL paper 1, 2 and 3
  • The strengths and weaknesses of candidates with respect to individual questions**
  • Areas of the examination that appeared difficult for students
  • Areas of the examination that candidates seemed well prepared for

* In particular, something that it seems students still have difficulty with is Design aspect 2 – controlling the variables. Students commonly failed to identify methods to control or monitor the control variables that they had earlier identified as needing controlling. A good tip here, to pass on to your students is that if they type up the work, get them to use a different font colour in design aspect 1 for each controlled variable they list. In aspect 2, every time they mention a controlled variable they can use the same colour font to show it as they did for aspect 1 – this should allow you the student to cross reference the respective variables and ensure they have missed nothing out, as well as making things easier for you to mark.

** Personally, something that I was really surprised to see here was that in TZ1 paper 2, students has difficulty answering questions on writing a balanced equations (the examples highlighted were for the reaction between calcium carbonate and sulfuric acid and the reaction between PCl3 and H2O).

Before you launch in and rush to read this document – a word of caution. Remember that there are two time zones (TZ) for external IB examinations:

TZ1 (the America’s)

TZ2 (the rest of the world)

So please ensure that you get the report that applies to you – although, cross pollination through the reading of both reports is also a good idea and it is interesting to see the difficulties students from the different time zones have with respect to answering certain styles of questions.

So, happy reading and I hope that you find something of interest that will allow you to improve your teaching skills.

If you do have any specific questions, please feel free to post them below and I will get back to you with an answer.

Until next time!