My experience in the Advanced Science Programme (ASP) has been an interesting one. Through the programme, I had the opportunity to go above and beyond the typical science syllabus, going in depth into current concepts, and learned to think critically. We had a trip to iFly Singapore to learn how their wind tunnel works, the forces involved in indoor skydiving and got to experience the thrill for ourselves! I was also given the chance to represent the school in the science arena, such as in the Beijing Aerospace Camp, and my classmates represented the school in other camps and programmes.
In additional to field trips and opportunities, we learned additional content in ASP, however they do not deviate much from the core IB syllabus. In Physics, we were given a deeper understanding of where the physics formulas come from and were taught to apply them in more complex situations. For example, we learnt to solve kinematics questions with constant acceleration in Physics HL, and explored questions with non-constant acceleration in ASP. In Chemistry, we were encouraged to think deeper and challenge the given content instead of just accepting the theories to be true. We were also taught extensions to the syllabus. For example, gas pressures are calculated assuming that one gas occupied the whole volume, but in ASP we learned about partial pressure, the scenario when there are a mixture of gases. In Mathematics, have the choice to take an alternative Options topic, which is Calculus instead of Statistics, and learn additional things like L’Hopital’s rule and squeeze theorem.
The teachers in the programme are well-equipped with the necessary knowledge, and are nurturing and patient with us. They are selective in the additional content that they teach, ensuring that it is enough to stretch us but at the same time is pitched to our level. I also got the help of supportive classmates. When I was struggling with the programme on top of my subjects and got lost in the lessons, my good friends in ASP took time to help me. When I was absent from a week of school because of the Beijing Aerospace Camp, they guided me through the work I missed and explained the content to me.
ASP surely is exciting, thrilling and fulfilling. However, ASP is not for the faint-hearted. It is indeed tough and challenging, and it could take you awhile to cope with ASP. For me, as a new student in the IB programme, I faced an additional obstacle of adjusting to the programme itself. But fret not! With hard work, determination, passion and the support of your peers, it is an obstacle that you can overcome, like I have.
My advice is for you to find your self-directed drive for the sciences. I was mainly fuelled by my passion for science. I, and likewise those in ASP, have this burning passion for science, this innate curiosity to find out how things work, and thus we are willing to spend time on it. I also want to pursue a career in the science field (engineering to be precise), and this is an exposure to develop my interest in it further. If these fit you, ASP might be suitable for you and you should consider joining us.
IB itself will be stressful, and ASP will be an added stress with additional papers, content and expectations. However, think about what you can get out of the programme, and what it can offer to develop you better. If you think you have found your motivation and think that you will benefit from this programme, I welcome you to rise up to the challenge!
Ho Yan Jin (6.12) is from the graduating batch of 2015.