Study Tips by IB tutors

Updated: Oct 8, 2019

In 2013, Edward Steven and Ryan Reagan, the founding partners of HKExcel and the 2 leads IB tutor HK in Hong Kong, authored the book “Becoming an IB miracle.” The book was sold in the Hong Kong book fair, and became one of the best-sellers. Subsequently, Edward and Ryan were interviewed by several newspapers and radio stations, including RTHK, Appledaily, Singtao news etc.

The special thing about this book is that it is one of the first of its kind. The objective of the book is to share the top studying secrets used by top students, such as how to schedule revision schedules, how to reduce stress, how to take notes etc.

As mock exams and final exams are approaching, the chapters on time management and stress management are extremely relevant. To be a top student, one must learn to use their time productively and to control their stress levels. Thus, in the blog post, we will share two excerpts from these two important chapters.


After reading the previous chapters, you should understand how to

motivate yourself and put your focus in the right direction. Being

motivated and serious about your goal is correct, but if you push yourself

too hard, your performance could go down.

Stress reduction strategy 1: Remember, if you are not there yet, it

doesn’t mean you won’t get there.

Nervous breakdowns are becoming more common for final-year students.

Earlier in this book, we talked about the importance of turning your goal

from a “should” into a “must”. When your grades aren’t where you want

them to be, it could be a painful thing to accept. Not performing up to

standard is a common reason why students feel overwhelmed.

A top student, Chloe, shared with us her way of overcoming this type of stress

which is highly effective. Whenever she feels pressured for not performing

up to her standard, she would remind herself that even though she is not

there yet, it doesn’t mean she will never be. She believes strongly that

eventually, she will be able to find ways to meet her standard.

When you are stuck in a situation or with a problem, it is easy for one to

feel pessimistic and start to believe that there is no solution. If you find

yourself in such situations, you need to step back and put things into

perspective. Many students who graduated before you had conquered the

public examination you are about to face. It is definitely not easy, but it is

not impossible.

If you don’t give up, sooner or later, you will be able to

find the solution to every problem. Eventually, you will get there. Keeping

this in mind is a great way to relief stress and to remain motivated.

Scientists found that people’s learning progress can be summarized by the

Exponential curve.

As you spend more time learning a subject, your proficiency will grow

exponentially. Initially, when you don’t understand the basics, the ability to

make progress seems very hard. You simply need to invest a lot of time to

get used to the way of thinking that the subject requires. But as you

accumulate the essentials and adapt to the subject, you will find it easier to

master new concepts that are based on the basics.

When you breakthrough the initial challenges, your progress will speed up and you will feel less painful than when you first started. Many people have a subject that they

just don’t seem to “get” and will therefore avoid. If you have this kind of

mindset, you haven’t realized that your learning curve is exponential and

not linear. By understanding the exponential learning curve, you will see

the value of pushing through the initial barriers. After breaking through the

initial barriers, it won’t be nearly as hard anymore. You just need to persist

and you will eventually get there. So don’t lose faith.

Stress reduction strategy 2: Focus on other things once in a while

Taking a time-off means occupying your mind with something nonacademic.

One student we talked to, Tim, told us that it was sometimes

hard for him to take his mind off Math before his tests, and his mind would

go in circles and circles.

He knew it wasn’t useful for his test, but he couldn’t stop thinking about math after long hours of studying. Eventually, he realized that he must make a conscious choice to solve the problem. He started to be actively involved in activities that could grab his attention,

such as watching movies and playing video games. His performance