Five Things to Do 30 Days before the IB Exam

by Sara Vazquez Shaw

So, you've got exactly one month to prepare for the International Baccalaureate (IB) exam. If that sounds like plenty of time, think again: you've got your work cut out for you. After all, this test not only assesses your core academic knowledge; it also tests for your international perspective and intercultural skills. While the test is extensive, it's not impossible. With 30 days to go, make sure you do these five important things before tackling the test.

1. Know the Test

An essential part of exam-taking is understanding format and content. As early as possible, go over the test one last time to review what subjects will be covered and in what designation. This can help you determine where you should focus your efforts during the remaining study time.

2. Know Yourself

Knowing the test is only half the battle. It's also important to know yourself. Are you more a visual learner with an appreciation for concept maps? Or do you absorb and retain material through a process, such as the Cornell Notes System or flashcards?

While your instinct may be to panic and plow through whatever resources are immediately available, this is not the most effective use of your time. Whatever methods you've successfully used in the past should serve you equally well now.

3. Set a Schedule

A whopping 95 percent of respondents admitted that procrastination was a problem for them in one DeSales University survey. Dr. Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University says that "20 percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators." The reality is that nearly everyone procrastinates at one point or another.

Whether or not you suffer from chronic procrastination, one thing is for certain: the next 30 days will fly by. Establishing a study schedule can help you get on track and stay on track. Be as specific as possible, designating time for each area of study, as well as for exercise, sleep, and other essential activities.

4. Practice, Practice, Practice

You've spent your entire academic career preparing for this exam, whether you are aware of it or not. At this point in the game, preparing for the test is less about the acquisition of new material and more about applying what you know.

There's no better way to prepare for the IB exam than by taking practice tests. Not only does practicing help you get a feel for the test format and content, but it will also help you manage your time. While taking extra tests may be the last thing you want to do, it's an important contributor to success on the IB exam.

5. Rest Up

Your instinct may be to cram in as much studying as you can over the next month. However, sleep is a critical part of staying healthy for the test. But sleep isn't just of physical importance. Adequate rest also ensures optimal brain function. In fact, research from the American Psychological Association indicates that sleep strengthens your brain, improves memory, and increases attention span.