Time Management for IB Mathematics

As a teacher, I keep hearing more and more students tell me that they “never have enough time.” Adults often feel this way too, especially in the fast-paced world we live in today. The more students I talk with, the reasons behind these feelings of overwhelm become more clear. There are typically two main reasons why students feel they do not have enough time. Sometimes, students simply sign up to take on too many extracurriculars, and have too much going on. The second, oftentimes much more common reason, is that students struggle to find ways to manage their free time in a productive and effective way.

Many students will find that as they advance in the IB curriculum, the classes get harder and the exams feel more daunting. Adding in extra study time outside of your regular studies can feel like an overwhelming task. I find that math in particular brings a lot of stress when students sit down to start studying, because it takes time and patience. Especially when preparing for the IB math exam, students must work to understand concepts, complete homework, and work through extra practice problems either on their own or with an IB math private tutor. So how can you do all of this when you feel like you don’t have enough time?

1. Don’t Give Up Before You Start

It is easy to feel like adding in extra study time is impossible if you are an already busy person. However, it is important not to quit before you try. Getting started in the most important part. Take a minute to sort out your priorities. If math is a challenge for you, don’t push it away and ignore it. Take the challenge head on, and take the leap to get started in your studying.

It is growing increasingly more common for students to look for IB math private tutors as they embark on their IB mathematics studies. But how do you use your time effectively in order to study, be it with or without a tutor? Below are some tips from teachers on how to more effectively manage your time.

2. Get a schedule planner

Getting organized is the first thing that teachers everywhere recommend in order to start making more use of your time. A schedule planner can look like a lot of different things to a lot of different people. If you are someone who likes to write To Do lists and gets satisfaction from crossing things off, I recommend a weekly planner. These booklets are great because they provide structure to your daily planning, and you can get a sense of what your whole week looks like in one glance. I recommend writing down each homework assignment or study task you have to do each day, and cross them off as you go. I sometimes have students who tell me “schedule planners do not work for me, I just forget to write things down and I never use it!” If that is the case, try going for an online scheduler like Google Calendar. Google calendar is great for many of the same reasons, plus it can send you reminders when you have events coming up. For example, if you open your Google Calendar and see that you have a session with a private IB math tutor on Friday, you will remember to make sure to get your IB math homework done before then!

Once you have your days and weeks planned out, you will hopefully find you have more time than you thought to study.

3. Tackle Challenge Head On
Let’s say you open your scheduler one evening, and see you have an IB English reading, Spanish vocabulary worksheet, and 10 IB math challenge problems. Typically, it is human instinct to start with the easiest tasks for you. If math is a challenge for you, you might choose to knock out English and Spanish first. But then we might find that by the time we get to our challenging math problems, we are out of time for the evening. Perhaps you are too tired and your brain is working more slowly. Therefore, try starting with your most challenging homework. Same goes for a study session with a private tutor or teacher: try opening with a question or ask to go over a math problem you are stuck on instead of saving it for the end of a study session.

4. Pace Yourself to Avoid Cramming

If you find that math is your most challenging subject, and you keep pushing off your studies, you might find yourself in the “cram study trap.” Multiple studies have shown that cramming studying may work for short term retention, but will fail you in the long term. As the IB Math curriculum is a two year adventure, making sure you spread out your studying to tackle small portions over a long period of time will be the best use of your time. Cramming your studies is a common trap for busy students, but it is avoidable! The most effective way to begin studying in an organized fashion well before your IB Math exam day is to work with a IB math private tutor who can guide you and pace your studying.

5. Practice Timed Studying

When working through math problems, set a timer to make sure you do not spend all your time working on one problem. To begin, try setting a timer for one hour with a 5 minute break in the middle. During the whole hour, make sure you are completely distraction free (no phones, no chatting with friends). Monitor to see how far you get in one hour, and then move on to other homework. Over time, if this works for you, start making study plans that follow a similar time structure to the exam you are studying for. For example, the IB math exam is typically 2 ninety minute exams with a break in the middle. As the exam date approaches, try studying for 90 minutes, taking a break, and studying again for another 90 minutes. You can also practice taking small pauses while you are completing practice problems to let your brain rest, but never use those breaks to check your phone or email! Our IB math private tutors at Aegis are great with time management, and can help guide you in practicing taking breaks that are meaningful while keeping you on track.

With a little planning and intention, you will soon find you are making the most of your time. With more time, will come more confidence and greater success in your IB math journey! Now go out there and get a schedule planner!

Aegis Advisors has a team of experienced and committed private tutors who can help on IB math as well as a full range of subjects across all major curriculums. Contact us today to see how we can help.