Organizing for Success in IB English

Taking advantage of the IB curriculum allows students to deeply explore and develop the personal and educational skills which will lead them to success in the next stages of their lives. While this transformation in education is both exciting and inspiring, the workload will also increase significantly, requiring students to begin their studies with a solid organizational system for ensuring their understanding of material and creation of coursework. This is especially true in English, a course in which students are expected to read and write at higher volumes than in any previous courses. With strategies for students from the best IB English tutors in Hong Kong, the trusted tutors at Aegis Advising, students will be ready to take on this challenge.

The syllabus rules all.

On the first day of class, teachers should hand out syllabi, and these will be the lifeblood for staying successful in students’ courses. Teachers spend hours creating and revising these precious documents, and students succeed when they treat syllabi with deference. While it might be tempting to look at the syllabus week by week, our IB English tutors strongly suggest that students look at the syllabus in its entirety in the first week of classes. By doing this, students get a feel for what an average week looks like, when major assessments will take place, and the general expectations of the course. In most cases if a student has a question about the course structure or assignments, they should look at the syllabus and will very likely get the answer.

Use the syllabus to make a schedule.

Once a student is familiar with the syllabus, now it is time to put that information into a centralized scheduling system, preferably one where students can combine the course work for all classes, and any major personal events happening during the semester. This could be with a paper planner, a scheduling app, or a DIY google sheet (something our IB English tutors especially recommend). With this document, students can see all their assignments in one spot, identifying weeks that will be busier or more low key. Students can then work with this schedule to accept or decline other activities in their personal schedule, helping them find a balance between school and personal life, for example, accepting an invitation to a tennis tournament on a relaxed week at school while prioritizing weekends with more assignments for school.

Use the schedule (and an IB English tutor) to make a daily plan.

IB English is a rigorous course, especially when it comes to reading and writing which may take longer for some students. Recognizing a student’s pace and practice in reading and writing is essential in making a plan for school work, and an Aegis IB English tutor can help. When a student and their tutor have worked out about how long it takes the student to read 50 pages of a book or write 1000 words, students can begin to scaffold a plan of success for each day. For major English assignments, we recommend working backwards from the due date and setting out expectations for work to be completed each day. IB English tutors can help students create these plans with realistic expectations for the work they can complete which ensures that no work will be left to the last minute. Especially for IB English, which is founded on solid close reading and superb writing, last minute efforts show in their lack of well thought out structure and evidence. For minor assignments and weekly work, we suggest making a plan at the beginning of each week with a tutor, splitting up each day of work into the assignments planner. Checking off work students have done allows a feeling of accomplishment and breaks down potentially overwhelming assignments into meaningful bits.

Adjust as the semester goes on and reflect.

Working with an IB English tutor from this planning phase until the end of the semester allows students to succeed in this course. Tutors can assist students in their assignments and help them adjust their plans as needed. Maybe a student gets faster at close reading as the course goes on, or maybe an assignment did not go as well as a student hoped and they need more preparation for next time. IB English tutors from Aegis can help recognize these key findings during the semester so that adjustments can be made and students can develop and succeed as the semester continues.

Overall, these strategies from Aegis Advisors IB English tutors will prepare students for an enriching semester exploring the great texts from the IB curriculum while minimizing the stressful burden of higher coursework expectations. Contact us to see how we can help.