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7 Essential Tips to Help Your Child Prepare for the IB Diploma Programme

Students navigating the final two years of secondary school undergo a unique set of challenges. They are likely to have difficulties balancing rigorous coursework, extracurricular activities, and social obligations. Students starting their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme can even face more challenges since it can be a demanding stage of their studies.

Learners enrolled in the diploma program of IB schools in Abu Dhabi study six subjects covering standard and higher level courses to help them:

  • Acquire more knowledge
  • Flourish intellectually, emotionally, ethically and physically
  • Study at least two languages
  • Excel in academic subjects
  • Reflect on the nature of knowledge (through the program’s theory of knowledge (TOK) subject)

Aside from gaining these benefits, students who complete the program receive an internationally recognized diploma. As a parent, you play a crucial role in supporting your child through their final two years of study in secondary school. With your help, they can prepare sufficiently for this program, be fully equipped to face the demanding coursework and acquire a globally recognized diploma.

Helping Your Child Get Off to a Good Start on Their IB Diploma Programme

Below are seven ways you can help your child prepare for the IBDP:

1. Encourage open communication at home

One of the best ways to start helping your child prepare for the IBDP is to let them know that they can talk to you about anything. Start by encouraging your teen to talk to you about their plans for their program and ask them what new subjects they want to take. Talk with your child about the extracurricular activities they want to continue or add to their list as well.

If they are still deciding which subjects to choose and what to do with their additional activities, go over the options and help them pick ones that will work with their strengths, interests and college plans. Through open communication, you can gain valuable insights into your child’s thoughts, concerns, and aspirations. This can allow you to provide them with guidance, support, and understanding to help them navigate any challenges they face.

2. Know all the subjects your teen will take

If your child has already finalized their course load, take the time to talk about the subjects with them and find out which ones they’ll likely have difficulties in. Once you know which subjects will probably give them a hard time, find out how you can help them. Recommend websites or online resources they can pore over or books they can read now in preparation for their actual classes.

Additionally, ask your child if they are open to taking tutorial classes for the subjects they find challenging before the school year starts. When they take these preparatory programs, they can get a leg up and avoid getting left behind when classes begin. Also, help your child familiarise themselves with their new subjects. Find out what topics they will be learning and the coursework involved.

Try to learn as much as you can about the subjects your child will take before and when their classes start so that you can help them throughout the school year.

3. Help your child improve their language skills

Language is one of the core subjects in the IB program. Your child needs to master the languages they are learning to keep up with the demand of the curriculum. Help your child continuously enhance their verbal and writing skills in their native language, English or their chosen foreign language. Encourage them to regularly read books, newspapers and online articles so that they can improve their proficiency.

Look for websites where they can hone their skills and buy them relevant reading materials if necessary. Lastly, encourage your child to join a language club or participate in language exchange programs so that they can practice their speaking and listening skills.

4. Find ways to help your teen polish their writing skills

Students of the IB curriculum do a lot of writing, particularly during the diploma program when they have to submit an extended essay and several written assignments. Because of this, your child needs to hone their writing skills.

Help your teen refine their writing skills during the holiday. Give them exercises that let them practice structuring essays, crafting coherent arguments and incorporating evidence from trustworthy sources. If you have good writing skills, offer to check your child’s work and provide constructive criticism. Encourage your child to share their work with their peers and online writing communities and get their input so that they can identify the areas they need to improve.

5. Cultivate effective study habits in your child

Good study habits play a crucial role in your teen’s success in the IB diploma program.

To help your child maintain and improve their study habits, start by ensuring they have a fully furnished, quiet and distraction-free area in your home where they can read and do their homework. You can set up their study area in a quiet place in your home or their bedroom.

Consider getting your teen an ergonomic table and chair so that they can feel comfortable whenever they study and work. Other good study habits you should cultivate in your child include reviewing materials regularly, taking notes and practicing active learning techniques such as summarising information and teaching concepts to others.

Lastly, teach them how to prioritize tasks and the importance of allocating time for breaks and relaxation to avoid burnout.

6. Nurture your child’s well-being

Since the IBDP can be demanding, you need to ensure your child maintains a healthy and balanced lifestyle when their classes start. As early as now, emphasize the importance of self-care, proper nutrition and sufficient quality sleep. Encourage your teen to engage in regular physical activities, pursue hobbies and spend time with friends and family.

Make sure you feed your child healthy meals so that they avoid staying late at night and have time for socializing. Teach your teen relaxation and mindfulness techniques so that they know how to reduce their anxieties when they feel overwhelmed by their coursework.

With your continuous guidance and encouragement, your child will be well-equipped to face the demands of the IB diploma program and pass it with flying colors.

7. Encourage time management skills

Encouraging time management skills in your child can greatly benefit their academic success and overall well-being. Start by setting clear expectations and discussing the importance of time management. Teach them to create a schedule or use a planner to prioritize tasks and allocate time for study, hobbies, and relaxation. Break tasks into smaller, manageable chunks and teach them to set realistic deadlines.

Provide guidance on prioritizing tasks based on importance and urgency. Regularly check in with them, offer praise and rewards for effective time management, and be a role model by demonstrating good time management habits yourself.

Summing up

Preparing for the IB Diploma Programme requires careful planning and support from parents. By following these seven essential tips, you can help your child navigate the challenges and maximize their chances of success. Understanding the IB curriculum, fostering time management skills, promoting a balanced lifestyle, etc., are key elements in preparing your child for the demanding IB journey. Your guidance and involvement will play a vital role in their preparation, ensuring they have the necessary skills, mindset, and support to excel in the IB Diploma Programme.