“I am quilt ridden. My work unstarted, my paper blank. I have been using opium ink again.”
Some of you vividly remember these few lines taken from the “The Student” by Derek Power. After all, we had lived by this motto for the majority of our secondary school lives- to leave things to the absolute last minute- as long as we were promoted.
This time, however – it’s different. The IB exams loom around the corner, creating a deeper anxiety within you. This time, your future and everything you’ve studied for hangs in the balance. You mutter apprehensively under your breath, “This time, I WILL study hard”.
Yet, a part of you realizes that your ACS journey is coming to an end. It will be the final few months that you will get to don- officially, the silky smooth ebony pants that you’ve probably tapered. The daily routine of ordering Mee Pok cooked by the ever smiling Just for Mee Auntie will be no more. Soon enough, your teachers and friends will transform into fading memories should you choose to forget them.
It is ostensibly difficult to remain joyful and appreciative of the environment and people around us in times of suffering. Nonetheless, it is not impossible. Personally, I believe that my last year of IB was as stressful as it was joyful, as tiring as it was invigorating and as fun-filled as it was mundane. Hopefully, these tips will assist you in achieving a balanced and efficient lifestyle during this intense period of studying!
- Start Studying- For IB.
It is vital that you being studying- IMMEDIATELY. If you’re behind on your TOK and EE that will be due sometime soon, start chionging! Starting now will not only give you leeway to uncover and settle your academic weaknesses, but will provide you with the necessary time needed to lead a balanced lifestyle which will prevent you from ‘burning out’.
Personally, I studied with a long-term goal instead of a short-term solution- focusing on laying the groundwork and settling the basics (my Year 5 grades TBH gg). During the June holidays, I compiled notes for both IOC and IB and sought clarification on concepts I was not familiar with (I missed a lot of lessons due to CCA!). Although I was not entirely prepared for the common test, the basic framework that I had constructed with the help of my teachers allowed me to revise and practice more effectively and efficiently towards the tail end of IB!
It is important to clarify concepts you do not understand, so do make appointments with your teachers ASAP! They will be more than happy to entertain your questions (Guys go make appointments for Lang Lit early, you will realize how much you do not practice/nor pay attention in class HAHA)
- Find a study method that suits you.
It’s not too late to begin experimenting which study method suits you best! There are people who prefer verbal memory work, others who prefer writing notes and those lucky few with photographic memory! Personally, I discovered that it was more important to understand things than to simply memorize them. Having a better conceptual understanding of the subjects allowed me to remember them better and with greater clarity! (This piece of advice was from Ms. Juliana Tengara, which helped me very much in revising for economics)
The environment in which you study in also is equally as important! Quickly determine if you study best in groups, alone, at home or elsewhere. It took a while for me to decide where and with whom to study with, but I finally settled down at Coronation Starbucks with my two good pals (Ben Yeo and Philip Duggan if you know them lol) for the long haul!
- Don’t underestimate the power of rest.
Don’t take rest for granted. At the end of the day, IB is a marathon and not a sprint- our bodies have to be taken care of both physically and mentally! Try to get into the habit of sleeping early and waking up at healthy hours to study. If you sleep at around 10.30 to 11, you’ll find yourself waking up naturally at around 8, well rested and all ready to go. Don’t skip meals as well! Mealtime doesn’t only nourish your physical being, but provides your mind with a well-needed break as well.
- Find your PERSONAL motivation.
It is absolutely normal to feel ‘burnt out’ throughout this final stretch of IB. In moments like this, it is incredibly important to dig deep and find your personal motivation. For some, their motivation may lie in short-term goals- the TV break after studying for two hours or the one game of DOTA at the end of a hard day’s work. For others, their motivation may lie in long-term aspirations- to qualify for a university course, to attain 45 points or simply to make their parents proud! In the end, it is up to you to find your own individual goal or aspiration that will indefinitely inspire you to work hard through this final frontier of IB.
5. Work hard, PLAY hard.
People generally have the common misconception that the ‘study period’ constitutes of long hours, a lack of sleep and a completely unbalanced routine. This doesn’t mean you have to live out such a lifestyle! Personally, I had as much fun leading up to IB as I did prior to arriving in Year 6. Throughout the ‘study period’, I still met up with friends, played basketball once every two days and continued to enjoy myself.
Don’t be fazed by the pressure of the school environment when it comes down to studying for IB! With everyone working their Gluteus Maximus’s off, it is completely understandable that you would be influenced into ignoring the need to have fun- even when your heart tells you to do so. Try to believe in yourself more and have a greater certainty in what you’ve already accomplished. Taking a break and simply enjoying life is ultimately the greatest remedy for the stress and anxiety of IB. Realistically, there is only so much studying our mind can handle- and if you’ve given your LEVEL best, so be it!
- Appreciate AC.
Time is ticking and soon enough, it will be your final day of school marking the official end of your AC journey. You may not realize it now, but these few months will be a period of many chances- a time of many opportunities to appreciate the school and it’s people.
Tie up any loose ends you have and leave no regrets behind. Take the time to revel in the moments that may have been insignificant to you before, for they will become significant in due time. Treasure the mundane chapels, assemblies and breaks in the SAC, for you will surely miss them. Studying ultimately isn’t everything- and when you reminisce your days in ACS you will discover that what you’ve achieved is so much more than just a number on a paper.
At the end of the day, there is only so much in our control. Don’t fret nor panic on the day of the exams as anxious as you are, and leave your future in God’s good hands. There is only so much we can humanly do to possess autonomy over our lives, which we will ultimately never have.
It is my personal prayer and hope for y’all to study and play hard, appreciate ACS for all that it is and to give of your level best in these final few months- to leave ACS with no regrets.
Voted cohort comedian of the class of 2016, Josiah’s humorous demeanour is known to all. Although he may initially appear to be quite the joker, he is quite the contrary. This 45 pointer and student councillor was on the school tennis team, and is a prospective NUS medicine undergrad. We’ll be seeing him in a white coat real soon! In his spare time, this all-rounder maintains Wagyu appreciation account @lardnation with fellow beef enthusiast Ben Yeo.