As the juniors make a start in the IBDP curriculum, they are beginning to switch around subjects and figure out which 6 (or more) subjects they wish to study for the next two years. This year’s batch of 11th graders is the first in CIS to start the school year face-to-face, after years of remote learning due to the pandemic. With Dragon’s Print’s 1st article of the year, join us in welcoming the fresh ‘IB babies’ to their first year of the IBDP with an interview on their first impressions and goals for the year ahead:
What classes are you currently taking? First impression of your subjects? Which subject/s do you enjoy the most? Which subject/s do you find the most difficult?
I’m currently taking Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology HLs. For my SL courses, I’m taking English LL, Math AA, and Spanish ab initio. My first impression of my subjects was that they were fascinating and they were things I would enjoy studying. Though I thought some of them would be challenging for me later on, I was very excited to learn about each subject. These days, I enjoy Spanish ab initio and Psychology the most. It’s my first time having these two subjects, and I like that I’ve learned a lot of new things from each class. On the other hand, the subject I find the most challenging is Chemistry. Understanding some of its topics has been quite difficult for me; however, it gets easier as I practice and read more about them.
Currently, I am taking History HL, English HL, Spanish HL, Biology SL, Math AI SL, and Psychology SL. My first impressions of my subjects have been quite positive as I think I have done a good job of recognizing my strengths and limitations. Knowing myself and my capabilities has been so helpful in managing my own expectations for my first year in the DP. The subjects I am enjoying the most would have to be History and English. I am a big fan of the humanities, analysis, and writing so these subjects fit my interests best. Although they are more difficult than in the MYP, I find this challenge quite thrilling and exciting. The subjects I find most difficult would have to be Biology and Math. I am not very STEM-oriented so these subjects have always been an obstacle for me.
After attending some classes I’ve settled with English, Spanish, Psychology, Business, Biology and Maths (go humanities!!!), and I’ve got to say Psychology takes the gold medal by a long shot. I’m finding English tricky though, maybe I’m letting the exam overview stress me out more than it should but yikes.
Right now I’m taking Language and Literature higher level, Psychology higher level, Spanish B higher level, Biology standard level, Math AI, and Business standard level. So far I find Spanish the hardest, even though it’s quite similar to last year. I think this is because I haven’t fully grasped the language yet, as I’m not exactly thinking in Spanish, but also definitely because of the weird psychological aspect of being in a class defined as “higher level”. In Lang and Lit, it doesn’t hit as hard, and the same goes for psychology. I just feel a lot more when it comes to Spanish higher level because it’s in a different language.
The classes that I am currently taking are HL Art, HL English, HL Business, SL Physics, French Ab initio, and SL Math AI. As of right now, each subject seems doable and I quite enjoy learning from them. The subjects I enjoy most so far are Business and Art. The most challenging subject so far is physics; however, I believe that with a lot of studying, I will be able to understand it better than right now.
For those who switched subjects after school started, why did you choose to change subjects? What was it like to switch or try out classes after already starting the year?
My initial choice for the Language Acquisition course was Mandarin B. I chose it during the course selection because of my background in Mandarin from my previous school. I decided to switch to Spanish ab initio because I wanted to try something new and learn a new language. I had the opportunity to do that, so I took it. The transition was easy because I decided to switch early in the school year.
I switched one of my subjects this year from HL psychology to HL art. The reason for my decision was that I found that psychology had too much memorizing and too many topics squished into a short period. Memorization is not my strong suit so I decided to switch to art because I also enjoy making art. It felt natural to try out a new subject because I felt like I was welcomed and I was given a run-through of what the whole course is about.
What went through your head when picking the subjects you chose?
In the past, I’ve always enjoyed social studies but never got the chance to delve deeper into the parts I found more intriguing, and I’ve never taken business before, so those were the first I leapt to. As for Spanish, I’ve found myself learning something new every class, and great student-teacher support too.
Having been warned previously about the rigorousness of the DP, I wanted to make sure that I was truly passionate about all of my subjects. Even though I like some subjects more than others, I have the security of knowing that when schoolwork gets tough, my love for the subjects will help me get through them. As a result, my own mental health in the future was a big consideration in what subjects I picked. I know that I am an anxious person so this initial planning was really helpful for me to make a somewhat smooth transition to the DP.
What are your expectations for the school year?
Judging from every G11 batch I’ve had the pleasure to meet in my time as a secondary school student, most definitely stressful.
My expectations for this school year are that there will be some challenging periods wherein there is a lot of homework and studying that needs to be done; however, I also expect that I will have fun in certain parts of the school year. I am prepared to have to deal with a lot of stress during exam week but I am also gonna try to have fun during the school year for the sake of making the year smoother and more enjoyable.
What are some things you’ve heard about the IB/advice you have been given?
A piece of advice I’ve heard from current and past IB students is to enjoy my time in the program and to do my best in everything I do. Another one is to manage my time well. I’ve heard that in the IBDP, organizing your schedule and creating priorities are essential because they will help you achieve your goals in the program.
Aside from what most students would consider the “easier classes”, I’ve heard a few things about IOs, IAs, and the EE. I feel that I would struggle with an English IO because I tend to forget to use some of the vocabulary or explore more of the detail and connection in the topic, I just default to whatever is easier for my mouth to form and spit out. The same goes for Spanish because I stutter and struggle a lot with translating English thoughts into Spanish words, because the sentence structure isn’t always one-to-one, and my English is complex compared to the Spanish I have in my head without a glossary next to me.
A lot of things I heard from the IB were that it was hard and that a lot of people struggled with it. Some advice that I was given so far was that physics is a very challenging topic; however, it is worth taking up the challenge. Another IB advice I was given was that I should not procrastinate with any subjects, especially EE and CAS because they will have a big effect on me if they are all crammed into a small period of time.
What are some of your goals for your first year of the DP programme?
My first goal is to accomplish as many CAS experiences as possible so that I can focus more on my assessments next year. Secondly, I hope to do well in my subjects and at least get a grade of 4 in each one of them. My last goal is to manage my priorities well and to still have fun in the program.
I would say that my goal for the first year of the DP programme would be to have a healthy balance between my academic life and my personal life. Although I know this is easier said than done, I hope to find healthy ways to deal with the academic stress I will face while making the most out of my experience in the IB.
Raise my grades and develop good habits. My main goal is to actually try this year and stop struggling behind the rest of my classmates. I definitely want to become better at Spanish, to have more words in my head be equated from English to Español, and to speak more fluently and natively, with proper accents and pronunciation. Math has also always been a tough subject, and while AI is fine right now, I do want to try and get a lot better as the subject gets harder, and even if this is a faraway dream, try and build up the confidence to move to Math AA standard level. Other than that, my goals are to just have fun while I can, get good, and get better.
Interview by Lea F. (Grade 12) & Feature Image by Naoki K. (Grade 12)
The views expressed in this article represent the personal views of the author and should not be taken to represent the views of Dragon’s Print and Cebu International School.