How to Prepare to Retake IB Exams in November

This fall’s International Baccalaureate exams scheduled for November kick off on Oct. 23 with school-based syllabus SL paper 1. While only a percentage of high school students retest for IB credit in a typical year, 2020 has been anything but typical.

So why might students consider retesting this year?

Due to the novel coronavirus, IB officials canceled spring 2020 assessments. In an equally unprecedented decision, the IB also announced it would calculate students’ final grades using a scoring algorithm. Not all students agreed with the policy change, with some questioning their lower-than-expected results. However, students who wished to demonstrate their knowledge via a traditional IB assessment can do so this fall.

[Read: Take These 3 Steps to Determine Whether to Retest in IB]

It is also worth noting that several IB subjects have been specially added to the fall assessment schedule due to the impact of the coronavirus — for example, Further Mathematics in English.

IB has confirmed that it will still award diplomas, career-related certificates and course results on all the usual scales.

Assuming that fall 2020 IB exams will be administered as expected, here is how you can prepare in the week leading up to your test date.

Seven Days Before Your Exam

With a week to go before your IB test, there is still much that you can accomplish. Review several especially important or difficult topics that you believe will appear on your assessment. Graded exams and projects may be a helpful starting point for identifying content that was tested during the 2019-2020 school year, particularly if the class is no longer fresh in your mind.

[READ: What IB Students Should Know About Language and Literature Assessment Changes.]

If possible, complete a full-length practice IB assessment that will serve as a trial run.

Five Days Before Your Exam

A research study published in 2010 in Science Translational Medicine found that, contrary to the popular belief that you can “catch up on sleep,” human bodies simply do not work that way. In fact, the study showed that even when you oversleep to try to compensate for late nights, your reaction times and ability to focus are worse than if you had pulled an all-nighter.

At the five-day mark, commit to sleeping for nine hours per night — the suggested amount of sleep for teenagers — and continue to do so each following night. Ideally, teens should be sleeping eight to 10 hours every night, according to National Sleep Foundation guidelines.

[Read: What Students Should Know About IB Math Changes]

Finally, keep reviewing your problem areas using whatever method works best for you with the aid of flashcards, lists, etc.

Three Days Before Your Exam

Reduce the scope of your IB prep to just one or two areas where you can reasonably improve given the closing timeline. You may also find it helpful to talk an encouraging classmate or friend through the upcoming assessment, focusing specifically on your test-taking strategies.

One Day Before Your Exam

With just 24 hours remaining until your IB test, avoid looking at any course material. Instead, focus all your efforts on getting into the right headspace. Engage only in activities that will relax you, whatever they may be.

Finally, make sure all your testing materials are ready, your alarm is set and you get to bed at a decent hour.

More from U.S. News

3 Considerations Before Enrolling in a First IB Course

4 Facts About AP, IB Test Scores for Parents

IB vs. AP: Discover the Differences

How to Prepare to Retake IB Exams in November originally appeared on

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