Thursday 20 January 2022

So, What’s it Really Like to Study the International Baccalaureate?

Of the 670 students in Victoria who sat the International Baccalaureate (IB) exams last year, 43 were students at The Ridgeway Campus. School Dux and IB Dux Patrick Suiter who received a Perfect Score of 45, which translates to the highest possible attainable ATAR of 99.95, was always excited about the international opportunities that IB could offer but hopes this year to study Science at University of Melbourne.

“My plans are to find what I enjoy most and want to study further. I’ve always been inspired by many teachers at the school, so I might try to pursue that path, but I’m not completely sure yet.

“The IB was good for keeping my options open, and I wanted that challenge. I think my favourite part about the course was the closeness of the cohort I was in. Since a lot of us took the same subjects and spent multiple class time together, online or not, we became quite close.

“I gained a lot of confidence from my co-curricular activities. For me, and I know other IB students who would agree, participating in the school musical was a wonderful experience while being part of the orchestra was also very beneficial. I made a lot of friends who formed my support network while completing the IB. These activities certainly rounded out my school experience. It would be impossible for me to find the constant motivation to study if I couldn’t balance out some of the more tedious aspects with what I thrived on doing. A great lesson for life, really.

“Returning to school at the end of year 12 to celebrate the end of our life at the school was very special and rewarding for me, after a few tough months studying from home. And that was even before I sat the exams, which is actually an achievement in itself.”

Patrick’s twin sister Sara Suiter chose the IB because she wanted to travel and possibly study abroad, and she thought it offered a good all-round course.

“A lot of my friends were planning to do the IB, so I knew I would have strong support while doing it. I now recognise that IB really boosted my time management skills, as I played school sports, took part in the musical, was a prefect and worked a part-time job. My co-curricular choices provided me with an outlet where I could distract myself from possible stresses and hang out with friends. I think that helped reduce stress levels and it pushed me to be more organised and productive in the spare time I had left. For example, taking walks with friends and realising that having them around, made Year 12 much easier and so much more fun.

“My favourite subjects were Maths and Biology, but my favourite part of studying IB was the satisfaction of completing IAs and other assessments during the two-year program. After putting in so much effort, it definitely felt good to submit the final drafts”.

While waiting for University offers to come out in February, Sara also dreams of travelling the world and possibly getting involved in a volunteering organisation like OXFAM or World Vision where she could help people who have not had the same luck in life she knows has been hers.

IB Schools Australasia counts a total 2644 students in Australia who sat IB Diploma exams last year.

Our IB students report overwhelmingly that they enjoyed the immersion aspect of their two-year course, as well as their accomplishments throughout. While happy that they have reached the end of this stage of their education, other IB students wanted us to include that, despite the difficulties, 2021 was the best year of their school lives, where co-curricular activities such as Debating and Cadets enriched their self-discovery. They also added that they felt totally supported from the principal through to individual teachers, whether studying at home or in school.

Learn more about studying the International Baccalaureate at Ivanhoe.