The IB exams are just about upon those of us taking May exams, and we have reached that point in time when students come by for last minute advice. The usual throng of students in our classrooms has been alleviated a bit as the exam is relatively late in the session, and Math precedes history, so DP students are worrying about that at the moment. However, students still have their concerns.
At this point, there is no reason to berate students; we may be annoyed that a student who slept through nearly 2 years of IB history is suddenly stalking us, but they will bear the fruits of their labor – or lack thereof. It is just as easy to be pleasant as testy, so handle it with as much grace as you can. Such students usually appear with some of the more dogged, dedicated students, so don’t waste time dressing them down. Focus on the questions they have and their immediate concerns.
Some will be based on the mechanics of the tests themselves: even if you gave them mock exams, they still seem to forget the demands of each section. Even after being told many times that Paper 1 is a prescribed subject, and that your PS is the Arab-Israeli Crisis, there are always a few who are mystified by this fact, so go over it one more time. If you are doing Route 2 remind them that Paper 2 is 20th century world history, so the Revolutions of 1848 are not suitable subjects for Topic 1: Wars. In Paper 3, they can answer any 3 questions – either 2 in one section or 3 in 3 different sections. They get a bit confused about the demands on Papers 2 and 3, so a reminder is helpful.
Help out the invigilators by highlighting the importance of reading time; with Paper 1, this is extra planning time that is especially useful. Do not give them candy on their way into the exams as it will be confiscated immediately. But, if you can, showing up at the beginning of Paper 1 will reassure them, so try and make it happen.
For those of us who teach them for 2 years, this can become a little sentimental. For all of us, it is as much a rite of passage for the teachers as the students: they have been taught content, essay writing, source analysis and they have completed their Internal Assessments – no wonder we seem as tired as they are!
I raise a virtual glass to all of my colleagues around the world – we did it!