Study Tips


  • Deconstruct exam question types
  • Identify learning objectives
  • Learn exam strategies


  • Learn from problem-solving
  • Practise key questions
  • Review supporting content


  • Targeted time practices
  • Bridge knowledge gaps
  • Reinforce key concepts

Plan your internal deadlines

Achieving success in the IB is greatly dependent on one‘s study timetable. At the start of each term, it is important to mark key dates for various internal assessments and extended essays so that study targets can be consistently achieved. Keep in mind to organise personal deadlines and schedule essays in advance. Consistently ensure there are sufficient time to go through the work.

Internal Assessments (IAs)

The key to attaining consistently excellent grades in IAs for every subject is to schedule and arrange your time effectively. When finishing a project, you spend an estimated half of your time doing 90% of the work, and another half on the final 10%.

Start to plan your responses in full sentences by jotting down multiple ideas as you continue to explore. Don’t worry about phrasing or editing during this stage since you can still finish your introduction and conclusion during the last lap, assuming your ideas are consistent with a detailed and meticulous outline as shown above.

Consistently make sure that the final draft is of quality. If necessary, lower the word count since it is much more preferable to have to lower words rather than scramble to reach a word count! But keep in mind, being clear is the most important. When decreasing word count, ensure that your reasoning is still evident; you will be awarded better grades for an essay directly answering the question and is easy to follow.

Extended Essay (EE)

The pivotal demand for your EE is that it must adhere to the guidelines of a subject provided in the IBDP programme.

Upon determining your topic and confirming the supervisor, you will be able to scale down your ideas and pursue your passions to decide on a topic. After all, you will achieve the most favourable outcome choosing a topic that personally interests and motivates you.

1. Be familiar with research guidelines

It is vital to be familiar with the guidelines before starting research. One example is in Economics: one may have keen interest in the topic of public goods, but such a research topic is not the best for EE as it is not possible to obtain quantifiable data for analysis. For all subjects, a generalised or ‘story-telling’ question is unsuitable for the EE. Make sure you understand the actual requirements of your preferred subject, and are not just being drawn by a ‘big idea’ – narrow it down to your precise area of interest, and not only will you produce a better EE, but also enjoy the investigation process too!

2. Make sure your essay flows

This can be achieved by breaking it into smaller ‘chapters‘ when you are writing, and focusing on making each chapter link to one another. This ensures that your essay is successful as a whole, and does not fall into the doldrums in the middle – which is surprisingly common. Try reaching your first full draft using only the first and last sentences of each paragraph. Do you still have a logical argument? If not, your essay may not be flowing intuitively.

3. Formatting matters a lot

Many IB students have great ideas and research for their EE, but fail to achieve the top marks because of their formatting or layout. Please remember that your essay is 4000 words, and examiners mark multiple scripts, which may not be the most exciting thing to do. Make it pleasant for them to read – include lots of data representation, abstract, rationale, footnotes, and all other small ‘non-academic‘ aspects of the work.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

For each piece of work, it is vital to contextualise what needs doing and begin with a plan. The plan should be roughly structured into introduction, body/research and conclusion.

Begin to flesh this out into full sentences by jotting down your ideas as you research. Do not worry about wording or proof-reading at this stage. You can leave the full writing of your introduction and conclusion until the end, so long as your ideas are all in one place and you have a clear structure as above.

From here, you have your first draft. Read over your research to decide on your argument. You can now write out your essay by turning your notes into full sentences with analysis and an argument to follow.

Proof-read the final draft and pare down the word count if necessary. It is always better to have to cut words than to be struggling to hit a word count! When cutting down your essay, make sure that the argument remains clear; you will get more marks for an essay that answers the question and is easy to follow than for a convoluted argument.


The IBDP has a variety of unsuccessful conditions which catch some students unaware every year, and which it is important to bear in mind throughout your IB studies.

The fundamental condition to be awarded the Diploma is to achieve 24 points for all six academic subjects and the two core components which play a part in points – TOK and EE, and not being chargeable of academic misconduct.

All students who achieve less than 24 points will fail to be awarded the full Diploma. Furthermore, any student who is given an ‘N’ (not graded/submitted) for any subject or core component, or who is given an ‘E’ in either their EE or TOK, will fail the Diploma no matter the other scores attained. This also applies to any student who is given a 1 in any subject, more than two grades 2s, or who attains a 3 or below four or more times.

If a student’s HL subject points total fewer than 12, or their Standard Level points are 8 or below, they will not qualify for the full Diploma, unless they have taken only 2 SLs, in which case their SL total must be 5 or higher.

Finally, any student, even if they achieve the full 45 academic points, will not be awarded the Diploma if their CAS requirements are not met. A student has a maximum of 3 exam sessions to meet all the requirements for Diploma, but these can be split over a number of available sessions and do not have to be consecutive.

Time management

This means starting your revision early, keeping up with all internal and IB deadlines, and looking over your notes at the end of every topic or module to minimise the time you spend re-teaching yourself when it comes to final exams.

According to the IBO, candidates are suggested to undergo 240 hours of taught lesson time per HL subject they undertake, and 150 hours per SL subject. This should serve as a general indication of the disparity in workload throughout an average SL and HL, though this will definitely differ widely across various subject groups.


1. Textbooks

It is not advised to depend solely on one textbook, or resource. After all, IB textbooks will differ in terms of examples and structure of every topic. To save costs, you may wish to contemplate buying IB books with a team of friends and dividing them amongst everyone. Worked example books are also great aid regarding Maths & Science subjects.

Often, students achieve constantly stellar marks in class but end up being disappointed by results in their mock papers and final exams. In order to tackle this, they should use a number of resources for constant brain stimulation. It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to go through past papers and try to duplicate exam conditions (time yourself, do not refer to notes). How you perform on these papers is the most accurate way of tracking your progress and predicting the final marks.

Upon completion, it is also vital to be aware of the marks structure for IB exams. Get access to Mark Schemes and learn the difference between the different answer banding so that you can maximise your scores in the final exams.

2. Revision Courses 

Perhaps the most evident reason for choosing revision courses is due to its efficiency and usefulness by spending a focused time period reiterating the key facts, themes, formulas and studies to confirm that you have accumulated and acquired the knowledge required across these months of learning. Most importantly, you are introduced to a whole new style of teaching as no two teachers will use identical teaching approaches. QE has junior and senior tutors who can offer different things. The ‘epiphany moments’ experienced by students typically occur when they do not know they have not actually understood a topic – or worse, have misinterpreted it. This is because the obvious problem areas are commonly recognised and dealt with, either through tuition or independent research and practice. In summary, you may not have discover new problem areas you did not know you had, plus you’ll have the time and guidance to make these your strong points!

Need to speak with someone for more personal advice? Contact us now to learn more about how we can support your learning journey! (+ 65) 6100 9338 or Whatsapp us at (+65) 9655 0590.