IB Diploma proves worthwhile for candidates

Students benefit from rigorous coursework

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IB Diploma proves worthwhile for candidates

William Phelan

On May 16th, my IB testing concluded with the Spanish B SL exam. 22 hours of sitting in a desk over the course of the last two weeks, taking some of the highest pressure tests of my life thus far. However, if I had the choice I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

As an IB diploma candidate, these past two years have been academically rigorous. And while the IB diploma is advertised to students as a way to get a leg up in the college admissions process, or an extremely valuable qualification to have on one’s resume, I am here to tell you that it is neither of these things; the IB diploma serves a purpose far more important.

For candidates, the number one value of the IB diploma programme is the way in which it challenges you academically. Taking five exceptionally rigorous courses at one time, while also pursuing extracurricular interests, forces students to learn time management skills and above all forces them to work hard.

Although many of the courses may not be directly relevant to the career plans of some students, I would argue that taking so many courses at a single time is a great way to help students learn their limits in terms of workload. The serious amount of homework required for each IB class amounts to a significant time commitment for candidates, and ultimately often forces them to sacrifice sleep, academic performance, or extracurricular engagement. Although this may be disappointing to candidates in the present day, learning that one cannot pursue everything simultaneously is an extremely valuable lesson going forward.

Additionally, the experience of producing a four thousand word self guided research paper is one of the most academically formative experiences available to high school students. The extended essay instills in students basic research skills, a heightened sense of academic curiosity, and the ability to structure their time however they would like. The latter seemed to be the most valuable aspect of the essay, with many students opting to procrastinate their research for weeks and subsequently producing drafts of lower quality than those who completed their research on time. The extended essay is an academic experience which affords candidates freedoms seldom seen in core classes, and forces students to practice self discipline.

Despite the long nights, early mornings, and greuling testing schedule, I can honestly say that the IB diploma has bettered me both personally and academically in ways which I could never have imagined. For this reason, I firmly believe that any student who is willing to endure the workload, regardless of perceived academic prowess, should take part in the IB diploma programme.

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