Many students and parents ask us the questions “how can i improve my IB english marks?” This is understandable because IB English is one of the most important subject for IB students. Many universities require a specific mark for IB English for admission. For example, many UK universities would have a minimum IB English language A requirement of Level 5. Many law faculties would even require a Level 6.
International Baccaleureate Diploma Programme
IB english is actually a general term. In reality there are various specific IB english subjects IB students can pick. IB students only need to pick 1 IB english subject out of a choice of a few. The 3 main types of IB english courses are: English A Language and Literature, English A literature, and English B. IB English A language and literature is a course designed for native English speakers. The main focus of the course is to study how writers express themselves in literature and a modern context. IB English A literature, on the other hand, is very similar to IB english language and literature, but focuses more on the literature aspect. Lastly, IB english B is designed people who uses English as a second language. In terms of difficulty, the IB english B exam is somewhat similar to the IELTS. The exam focuses on whether students can use english properly in everyday contexts.
Ib English Exams and Past paper preparation
Most students in Hong Kong would pick the IB english A course, as it is more recognised by universities. So in this article, we will focus on English A.
Unlike the math and science subjects, it generally takes a longer time to improve in English. In math and science subjects, we often see students who work hard improve by a couple of grades within a few weeks. However, this is much more rare in English, because english is a broader subject compared to math. You can’t learn a few tricks or skills and expect an immediate improvement in English. It takes time to develop a person’s language ability.
To get a good english mark, we suggest students to expose themselves more to English media, such as movies, songs, magazines or even online articles. Get used to reading and interpreting english text. There is simply no short cut to this and no exam skills can save you from poor basic English.
For example, when i was an English student, one of my classmates was from a local school and he was simply disinterested in learning english. Before the IB mock exams, he attended a lot of IB english lessons hoping to improve his English grade. However, during the exam, he completely misinterpreted the poem and hence, regardless of the exam skills he knew, he only scored a Level 3. This example shows that you need to have good reading comprehension skills to do well in IB English. To develop reading comprehension skills, practice is key.
Of course, there are still many specific tricks and strategies you an learn to improve your score quite dramatically. In fact, i used to be a level 4 IB english student. But during my second year of IB, i started reading English texts a lot more to improve my reading comprehension skills and developed several IB English specific exam skills. This allowed me to finally score a Level 7 in my IB english exams, which was a dramatic improvement.
IB English Diploma Programme Exam Skills
Regarding specific exam skills, there are quite a few exam skills we can teach, which you can learn in our IB tutorials. In this article we can share one of them with you.
As you may know, in the IB english paper 2, you are required to answer a long essay question based on novels you have read at school. Most students will take the standard route, which is to try to study the novels as much as possible before the exam, and then answer the essay question on the spot. However, when i was an IB student, i discovered that the essay questions from each year were quite similar. I took advantage of this by writing full essays at home for several IB past papers. I perfected each of these essays, because i expected to see a very similar question on the actual exam. A similar question did show up and i was able to apply the essays i wrote at home to the exam! In the end, this allowed me to get a Level 7. Reach out for the best IB tutors that will definitely improve your marks in your next IB diploma exam.