moving ib schools

the international baccalauriate is a two year program, and preferrably it's completed at one school, but sometimes that's not an option. halfway through my junior year, i had to move from the international school of the hague to the cjd international school in braunschweig. i was told it would be extremely difficult and heard stories about kids who's grades dropped significantly after switching. i don't know if they were true, but it definitely scared me into working hard. i ended up getting better grades at my new school than i would have at the ish. that may have been due to my sudden motivation or the difference in schools. either way, my hard work really payed off, and i wanted to share my tips for any ib students who may be scared about transferring schools!

*i just want to clear up the difference in years since it's different depending on your country or school: when i say year 12, that was junior year for me and year 13 was senior year*

catching up

it's likely that your new school won't offer all the subjects that your old school did, or has a wider range of subjects with one you're more interested in. i had to change three subjects, and chose to change my language b.

some subject changes will require more catching up than others, so it's important to sort out your priorities. i spent a lot of time on math, because that was already a hard subject for me, but not a lot of time on english because i only needed to read two extra books.

it's really important to catch up as much as you can as soon as possible. i put off the two chapters i missed in biology, and ended up trying to understand molecular biology by myself three months before exams. usually your teacher will give you materials and offer support, so use that! try studying in school during your free periods, so you can quickly ask your teacher or classmates any questions. you can also work on your material if the class is learning an optional topic you already learned, or join in on higher level classes if you're standard and work on your tasks with the teacher right there.

ask your teacher for materials

if your teacher doesn't give you materials right away, ask them for:

  • worksheets
  • printouts from their own textbook
  • vocabulary
  • any other material they might have given their students

if your teacher isn't really approachable, find a classmate that is organized and ask to borrow their materials so you can photocopy them for yourself.

start building a relationship with your new teachers

ask your teacher how their day is going! teachers are only human; they have work to do just like students. ask them if they need help, and they might be more willing to help you too. the ib is externally marked, so it's not about influencing your grade, it's about creating relationships with people that will be able to help you through your schooling.

there are different types of schools!

some schools are bigger than others. some are more organized. some have a student body that is very close. some have a very high performance rate. just because they're all ib schools, that does not mean they will be the same. i went from a big, well established schools that had been doing the ib for a long time to a small school that now has 4 years of ib graduates. there are pros and cons to both types of schools, so use the positives to your advantage!

there are different types of teachers as well

some teachers will help you with your transition more than others, and some are more acquainted with the ib than others. utilize the teachers that help you a lot, and with the others, do your research. i had a teacher that had no idea that in the new syllabus, there was an extra assignment that was 20% of our grade. if my friend from my last school hadn't talked about it, i would have had no idea and lost that 20%. the ib is about independence; don't rely on your teachers! make sure you do your research on the syllabus and what is expected of you.


find your resources

spend your first couple of days finding out what your new school has to offer its students: counsellors, library, printing and computer privileges, nicest and most helpful teachers and students, or any kind of help they have available for new students.

find a tutor

for subjects you know you'll struggle in, find a tutor! i had a german tutor come once a week and it really improved my grade. if you don't have the resources for a private tutor, try looking into community classes, or find another student at school. you can trade lessons with each other if you have a subject you can teach them, or tutoring you can give them cas hours!

look into deadlines

sometimes deadlines for the internal assessments, extended essays, and tok essays will differ from school to school. make sure you know the new deadlines, and if you will be able to reach them or not. if your move was too sudden, or if there is any reason you won't be able to complete your assignment on time, talk to your new coordinator and let them know about the situation. usually they are very helpful and will give you some leeway to help you adjust.

look into course content

the content of the courses themselves will also change! optional topics in humanities and sciences may be different, as well as the books you read in your language classes. find the contact of your new teachers if you can, and ask them to give you the information so you can be prepared when you join them.