Upcoming deadlines pile up for IB candidates


Zainab Islam

Senior Zainab Islam is an IB diploma candidate that is currently dealing with IB requirements like internal assessments, the Extended Essay and Creativity-Action-Service requirements, all while applying to college and keeping up with her classwork and homework.

Internal assessments have long been the source of panic, all-nighters and stress for IB students.
In fact, in an issue of The A-Blast last year, former student Joey Davis had a lot to say about the deadlines.
“I am convinced that they had a plot against students to just make December a living hell,” Davis said, who was a senior at the time. “It’s not okay what they were allowed to do to us.”
This year is a bit different to adjust for present circumstances. For one thing, due dates are being pushed back to give students more time.
“In History, we have moved the deadline from December to January,” IB Topics teacher Jonathan York said.
Teachers are also encouraging students to prepare for the possibility that IB exams may be canceled due to Covid-19. In that case, IAs would have a much larger weight in calculating IB grades, making it that much more important to score well on them.
“In my particular case, I want to give my students more feedback to write a solid IA,” IB Math Analysis teacher Roberto Obando said. “I would like to do two reviews before they submit their final versions.”
Last year, students who were planning on making up for their subpar internal assessments by studying well for their exams at the end of the year were in trouble.
“Last year, IB canceled the tests and used an algorithm to determine grades which included heavily weighting the IAs,” York said. “They also took into consideration predicted grades by teachers and past exam scores.”
Some IB diploma candidates who didn’t try very hard on their internal assessments passed by the skin of their teeth and barely earned the diploma, while a few didn’t quite make the cut.
“Most people get the diploma if you really work hard and put your mind to it, which is what I’m doing,” senior Anthony Assadzadeh said. “That’s not my biggest priority though. It’s more about the experiences and what I’ve learned from IB.”
Another hassle is the Extended Essay requirement for IB candidates, an in-depth research paper ranging from 3,000 to 4,000 words.
“The EE was a pretty big burden leading up to when the rough draft was due, taking away from other classes,” Assadzadeh said. “It was done at a time when I did not have much time to do it.”
The IB organization eventually raised IA grades for many IB students after being criticized for being secretive on their algorithm and even being sued by Norway for it.
It’s also a possibility that IB exams will go on this year, leaving students to prepare for all scenarios.
“I think the tests will be given. It seems as if many schools in Europe and around the world are still open,” York said. “In addition, many school districts which teach IB in the U.S. are open.”
Perhaps students will fare better without having to take the exams, considering the difficult nature of virtual learning.
“I’m really banking on [IAs] because I don’t know how well I’ll be able to retain the information from online schooling for my exams.”
There is only so much that can be done considering the amount of material and time constraints.
“Not only are our classes shorter in length, but we lose a day every other week,” York said. “The county wants us to limit homework to 75 minutes a week. It will be hard to cover the information needed to pass the exam.”
IB exams will still be administered as of now. Only time will tell whether that remains the case and whether IB students come out successful at the end of these trials and tribulations.