Just wanted to offer my opinion on how I think the IB has helped me so far in my academic pursuits at the University of California, Berkeley. My experience may differ from other fellow graduates, but I think that a lot of people would agree with what I have to say. Take everything you read with a grain of salt, though.
I think that the first thing you realize at university in the US at least (can’t speak about the UK or Canada) is that no one really gives a shit about you. At Berkeley, there are around 30,000 undergraduates and no one has time to check whether you’re on top of your stuff. What ended up happening to me this semester is that I missed a lot of lectures, I skipped my discussions, and I developed a lot of habits that I’m not proud of.
The thing is that if you fell behind in the IB, you were screwed and all your teachers knew. So they’d do their best to motivate you to get back on track. At university, I feel that if you develop bad habits, you’re stuck in this spiral of mediocrity that is really hard to get out of. Add the constant alcohol and drugs that you’re surrounded with, you have to make sure that you have your priorities straight and can effectively manage your time. Much easier said than done.
Now, in terms of actual work, I feel as if the IB has helped so fucking much. I took HL Physics, Econ, Geography and SL Math, English, French B. But that’s not the point; I’d argue that no matter what subjects you took, you’d still have gotten so much out of this program that’s beneficial. You see, what the IB does to you is that it teaches you how to work under pressure, how to bullshit very, very well, and how to analyze critically any kind of problem, both numerical and text-based. I am by no means a great essay writer (I got a 6 in SL English), but here I consistently outperformed my fellow classmates that took the AP in my Rhetoric Class. In fact, out of the 30 people in my Rhetoric Class, the top 2 individuals getting only As are two IB graduates. I genuinely believe that the IB blows the APs out of the water when it comes to critical thinking and especially when it comes to analyzing literary passages.
In terms of the Sciences and Math, I feel as if I can often think much more creatively and ‘out of the box’ than my fellow AP graduates. Especially if you took a science at Higher Level, you develop certain problem solving skills that are amazing for your brain. It’s like you’re doing a shit ton of lifting with your brain, getting it ready to stare at new stuff and help you solve problems that you’ve never encountered before.
Taking Econ and Geography at Higher Level has literally helped me get an A in a class called Development Studies that I barely went to and studied for. I was able to apply real-life knowledge to the theory that we learnt, and yet again, I was able to gain a much more sophisticated and thorough understanding of the material than my AP friends. This may purely be because I’m better at the subject, but I strongly suspicion that it is because of my IB education.
Overall, IB has helped me a shit ton. Berkeley’s a really tough place and I really appreciate the knowledge that I gained from doing this rigorous program. It’s worth it guys, keep fighting
If anyone has any questions about anything (IB, college life, college application process, John Cena) just comment, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Reddit. I promise to respond as soon as I can, normally within 24 hours.
Peace and Love,