What Are IB Mock Exams?

by Anne Pyburn Craig

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a non-profit foundation active in 140 countries, offering educational programs to students age 3 to 19. According to the IB Mission Statement, the organization strives to "develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people, who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect." Mock exams, which are not submitted to the organization for grading, allow students and their teachers to assess their readiness for the formal IB examinations required for an IB diploma.

Mock Exam Structure

Since IB mock exams are intended to prepare students for the real thing, they are designed to be very similar to the actual exams students must pass to be granted IB diplomas. Instructions are precise and specific; questions are typically few in number but require in-depth, well thought-out answers. Humanities and literature exams require essays; mathematics exams require that the work involved in reaching an answer be shown in full. Mock exams are typically given in midwinter, so that students will have several months to correct any weak points they may diiscover.

What You're Preparing For

To be granted an IB diploma, students in the two-year Diploma Program must take and pass a minimum of six exams. The IB program offers over fifty possible choices, of which most IB schools offer students 12 to 15. Exams must include foreign language, social science, experimental science, literature, and mathematics; the sixth exam may be an arts class or a second foreign language or science choice. At least half of the exams must be taken at the higher level, which requires 240 teaching hours of preparation.

IB Assesment: Philosophy and Goals

IB programs are intended to inspire and enable students to become adept lifelong learners with an international perspective and an in-depth understanding of the world. To assess a student's attainment of this standard, exams are designed to measure basic skills such as knowledge retention, understanding of a subject's key concepts and using standard problem-solving methods. Exams will test the student's ability to evaluate or construct an argument, solve problems creatively, and analyze and present information.

Examination Basics

Do not let yourself fall behind in course work only to cram the week or night before the mock exam. All you'll get is tired; a great deal of thought is put into designing exams that measure your learning in-depth, and IB courses cannot be swallowed in one gulp. Take your mock exams seriously, but don't tense up. Make the most of this low-pressure opportunity to find out how you are doing and what areas may need work. Get plenty of rest before an exam and eat a healthy meal. Deep breathing and other stress-reduction techniques may be useful.

About the Author

Anne Pyburn Craig has written for a range of regional and local publications ranging from in-depth local investigative journalism to parenting, business, real estate and green building publications. She frequently writes tourism and lifestyle articles for chamber of commerce publications and is a respected book reviewer.

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