Drowning in school

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GroverCleveland
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Drowning in school

Postby GroverCleveland » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:07 pm UTC

So I've generally been pretty laid back in my previous school years, but this year, entering into the IB diploma program, I feel like I have said goodbye to any possibility of free time ever again. I'm taking 4 IB HL classes, Physics, Chemistry, Math, and English, with SL Business, and Spanish, not to mention Theory of Knowledge and a fairly rigorous Phys. Ed. class, as well as performing in the high school play, building a company and marketing a product for Young Enterprise, learning to play the guitar, and trying to squeeze playing tennis every once in a while as well. So I was wondering if anyone had any tips as to time management, speedy techniques to get schoolwork done, or any other tricks to gain some free time, because I haven't played a video game in a week, and I haven't had a day off to myself for the last 3 weekends.

Or, if you want to tell me how good I have it, you can post a story about how little free time you have right now, as it is always helpful and funny to read other people's stories about this kind of stuff.

Meem1029
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby Meem1029 » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:56 pm UTC

My advice to you: Wait until tech week. Then you'll have a great deal less time than you already do because of the play. Also, before tech week make sure you have any long term homework assignments done.
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_Axle_
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby _Axle_ » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:06 pm UTC

I am not sure what IB HL classes are ,but I am assuming they are the same as AP high school classes I have taken. Ones where you can get college/uni credit during high school, so hard as hell compared to everyone's stuff.

Pick and choose what works for you in this list of stuff.
1) Don't bang your head on 1 problem, move along to the other ones and just make a note to ask the teacher/TA/whoever about it later
2) Allocate your time each day/week ahead of time and keep to it.
3) Allocate homework time and stick with it. If you give yourself 3 hours for physics and only 3/4 done, work on it again later
4) Balance what classes you are doing the best in, so you can not do that homework for a week or something if you are about to fail another class
5) Don't be distracted from friends, an hour lunch/dinner with friends can turn into 2-3 hours easily.
6) Find foods that can be eaten easily with 1 hand, so you can study/work while eating.
7) Force yourself to only get 6-7 hours of sleep, if you are a heavy or long sleeper


In all seriousness, if you keep to a killer schedule of hard classes, you will come out scarred. I have done 3-4 semesters straight of 18-22 Credit hours ( thats 18-22 hours per week of classes, 2-3x extra of homework for them ). Working 50-60 hour weeks is mostly typical for the industry I am trying to get in, so it is worth taking the damage to learn it ahead of time. Also, be able to bomb an assignment or 2 if needed to keep from failing other classes or just for your own sanity.
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cjmcjmcjmcjm
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:25 am UTC

_Axle_ wrote:I am not sure what IB HL classes are ,but I am assuming they are the same as AP high school classes I have taken. Ones where you can get college/uni credit during high school, so hard as hell compared to everyone's stuff.

Pick and choose what works for you in this list of stuff.
1) Don't bang your head on 1 problem, move along to the other ones and just make a note to ask the teacher/TA/whoever about it later
2) Allocate your time each day/week ahead of time and keep to it.
3) Allocate homework time and stick with it. If you give yourself 3 hours for physics and only 3/4 done, work on it again later
4) Balance what classes you are doing the best in, so you can not do that homework for a week or something if you are about to fail another class
5) Don't be distracted from friends, an hour lunch/dinner with friends can turn into 2-3 hours easily.
6) Find foods that can be eaten easily with 1 hand, so you can study/work while eating.
7) Force yourself to only get 6-7 hours of sleep, if you are a heavy or long sleeper


In all seriousness, if you keep to a killer schedule of hard classes, you will come out scarred. I have done 3-4 semesters straight of 18-22 Credit hours ( thats 18-22 hours per week of classes, 2-3x extra of homework for them ). Working 50-60 hour weeks is mostly typical for the industry I am trying to get in, so it is worth taking the damage to learn it ahead of time. Also, be able to bomb an assignment or 2 if needed to keep from failing other classes or just for your own sanity.

#5 and 7 are the hardest to follow. I really need to clean my room and get to bed at a reasonable hour, but I'd rather hang out downstairs with my friends. This wasn't too bad of a problem in HS, when I was busy all the time, interestingly enough. 7 is just evil. I made it work in HS and 1st semester freshman year, but I can't get by on consistent nights of little sleep anymore. I think having early-rising parents helped get me up during HS.
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KestrelLowing
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby KestrelLowing » Fri Nov 19, 2010 8:01 pm UTC

I had a similar schedule in high school - challenging classes and then add marching band and robotics as my main extra curriculars.

Basically, try as hard as you can to always be doing homework - in the breaks between classes, on the bus ride home, when you're eating a snack - just all the time. Eventually, that becomes habit and it's a lot easier to get homework done.

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BennyHill
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby BennyHill » Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:46 pm UTC

Drop HL Math.

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Turiski
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby Turiski » Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:19 am UTC

GroverCleveland wrote:So I've generally been pretty laid back in my previous school years, but this year, entering into the IB diploma program, I feel like I have said goodbye to any possibility of free time ever again. I'm taking 4 IB HL classes, Physics, Chemistry, Math, and English, with SL Business, and Spanish, not to mention Theory of Knowledge and a fairly rigorous Phys. Ed. class, as well as performing in the high school play, building a company and marketing a product for Young Enterprise, learning to play the guitar, and trying to squeeze playing tennis every once in a while as well. So I was wondering if anyone had any tips as to time management, speedy techniques to get schoolwork done, or any other tricks to gain some free time, because I haven't played a video game in a week, and I haven't had a day off to myself for the last 3 weekends.

Or, if you want to tell me how good I have it, you can post a story about how little free time you have right now, as it is always helpful and funny to read other people's stories about this kind of stuff.


Okay, so I am in basically the exact same situation: HL math, english and physics; i put chem to SL at the last minute, plus SL french and anthropology. I'm a senior so done with ToK, varisty tennis was like a serious phys ed class, have a nonprofit I'm building and working with another big one in my area where I had a leadership role, and have 2 independent study hours. I have zeroth to eighth hour and live a half hour drive from school.


Step one: Expect you will loose some free time, and when I say some, I mean all. You might not, but you also might, and it's better to end up with extra time than be up at four in the morning. You will never have a day to yourself. Eh, you actually probably will, but don't expect them. You'll need to fit 'me time' in between homework.


Step two: Acknowledge you have a lot of work to do. I'm going to talk a little bit about that work in a way only an IB kid can, and also poke suggestions about how to fix it, but my main goal for step two is just to explain the volume and texture of work.

A possible difference between you and I is that my IB program is established, some 40 years old. Basically, that means everything is down to a science and teachers know what they should do, from big assignment schedules to break days. Being in IB is awesome for exactly one reason (yes, there is one!): All of the teachers know what it means to be in IB, more or less. So if you have a shitton of homework and you can feel some big business homework, tell your teacher. Complain. It sounds like cheating but they -get- it, and nothing feels like cheating after the programme :P Also, it's the only way it's going to get better for yourself and future IBers.

For your essay, if it's not being heavily facilitated by the ToK class, you should get on that yourself. Your essay should be done in your junior year, ESPECIALLY if you're waiting on your world literature assignments in English for senior year. You do NOT want to be doing EE and WL at the same time because not only is the workload retarded but also the styles of writing are completely different. WL2 is a lot easier than WL1 because there's more choice, which means fewer topics to compete around, which is always good (in case you don't know, all WL topics from the same school must be on topics different enough that IB can ensure you are not cheating; your teacher will tell you this when you get there because it falls back on them if they don't)

When I say facilitate your essay, I mean lay out plans for all your research to be done by the monday after break, your first draft to be finished 15 February, to make an appointment with your advisor for the 20th, etc. You will have a ToK essay as the internal assessment, and that is written roughly in the same way EE is, unless you do it in English. Still, doing both at the same time is rough, so you might take the summer time to do the extended essay if that is an option.

One thing you will vastly underestimate is the amount of effort you will spend on college applications. No matter how much work you think you're going to do, you're going to do more. This is a fact of life for anyone who cares enough to be in IB. If you're doing Group 4 projects in december of senior year THEY WILL NOT GET DONE if you still have college apps to finish, and then you really are running up against the clock. Literally, be doing them during the summer, especially if your school still thinks you can do all the stuff you need for IB in senior year. I didn't take that advice and I am paying for it big time right now.

The earlier you can do Group 4s, the better. My chem one is finished but we don't know enough physics to do that one yet and I can feel it looming over me and it sucks. They aren't hard, but they are pretty time consuming (esp if you get no class time) and you have to coordinate with other people who also have ridiculous schedules. They are your science internal assessments, so breathe a sigh of relief. While we're on nonstandard IAs, the WLs are half of your english IA, and 20% of your overall English score. The other part of English is the oral, which is over poetry that you are expected to know well by the time you have it on the test. This is another one of those things that your teacher will make sure you do, so be prepared for poetry every day and half of the nights in English for at least a semester.

Math, spanish, and history have standard 'write a paper about X' style IAs. Business may have that but we don't have it at my school so I'm ignorant. The foreign languages have some flexibility in IA style, but generally it's too much teacher-work to make other things inside the guidelines, so expect a short essay assignment. Of course, since it's second language, it will still take longer than a four page english paper (you have gotten to the point where all your papers are more than 2 pages MLA, right? If not, that happens, be ready)


Step three: You will stay up late sometimes. In fact, there will be nights when you don't sleep at all. There should not be more than 3/month; if there are you're doing it wrong and need to seek more serious help. 1ish/month is standard senior year, much less junior year. You need to be comfortable with working at 3. It's a very different experience than working at 1 or 11.


Step four: CALM DOWN. It's going to be okay. While I am being facetious, one thing to seriously not stress about is the final exams. In case you haven't done the math yet, the college of your dreams can't turn you away based on your exam scores because they are top secret until at least June, at which point every college ever will have made their decision about their upcoming class. Also, if the English is done right, and by that I mean really hard, the exam that matters most will be a very easy 5 with basically a guarantee of a 4. And finally, if you want college credit, do AP. IB is a college -prep- course. It's meant to simulate the academic experience, not give you brownie points. You will dance circles around AP kids in college, and you will also laugh :D


Step five: Time management is essential. The ultimate goal of time management, and the tips I'll give you, is first to not have to do as much homework at home, second to not have to do as much after midnight. Everyone has their own methods of management, but you should really do at least these things:

BUY AN EFFING PLANNER. Every single person at my school who was in IB on 2 August who won't be on 25 May, did not have a planner that they used. You can't honestly expect to remember all the homework you have and its relationships to the long term projects and the longer term IB assignments. Buy one that works. Don't write in it at a set time; write the assignments as your teacher tells it. Check it every night immediately before you do any work. Never assume. That's how you forget spanish worksheets three nights in a row.

Figure out when you're eating, during school. It's easy to lose way too much time on this. While we're on food: bring your lunch, and don't ever eat lunch at lunch. That is at least thirty solid minutes of worktime that you literally waste by sitting outside eating and waiting in line for food. If your friends are distracting, find a cool teacher and work in their room. Eat some other time. And for God's sake, don't leave campus if it's not going back home to pick up homework you forgot. Driving time, line waiting... the loss of time involved in open campus eating should make you scream.

Figure out when you're showering, and stick to it. Before school? Cool. Is that before or after breakfast (if applicable)? After school? Is that before homework, after homework, after dinner, before bed, what? What if you have an all-nighter? What if you have an almost all-nighter; is it better to shower or sleep for forty minutes? Schedules are your friend when it comes to basic bodily functions, because you can't just let them slide. And they will if you let them.

Own (or borrow) a car, but if don't use it if you can avoid it. You really should have a car within reach, because going places without your parents is something you're going to enjoy with your more regimented lifestyle. The problem is, if you're driving you can't work, or sleep. I had a teacher do the half hour long drives both ways to and from school for the last three years, and the toll of not having that extra hour of sleep every day is very obvious. When I'm sitting in traffic my thoughts are always "I have poetry I could be doing, or I could do anthro, or that last problem on the physics sheet, or..." You might need public transportation. Even if it's so slow you have to wake up a half hour earlier, so? That's a half hour of work! Go to bed earlier if you need the recharge badly (see step six)

Learn how much time you spend procrastinating. Do you wait for three days left for that english paper or until three o'clock? If you have to do research on wikipedia, how much time do you spend sidetracked? You should know these things. Don't prevent yourself from knowing because you're ashamed. Procrastination in IB is about finding time for yourself, and everyone needs it, even if only a little (or a lot, as the case may be). For instance, I know that every weeknight (sun-thurs) I watch the Day[9] daily. I also know that I can count on at least an hour of wiki/xkcd time every day, normally a lot more. But because I know that, I know how to set up my work time so that I can still get to bed at a good hour, usually. And I can say, oh, I've spent two hours on tvtropes (damn tvtropes), that's way too much.

Divide your entertainment and your work between consuming and non-consuming. Gaming is consuming entertainment. Good movies are consuming entertainment. You have to engage your mind as well as your senses. English essays are consuming work. French sheets are not consuming work, french chapter readings are. For me, math is non-consuming. For me, day9 is not consuming, but websites where I read (cracked, wiki, tvtropes, forums.xkcd) are. Then, when you do that (and get depressed about how limited your entertainment really is), commit them to memory, or write them down in your planner. Do non-consuming work during non-consuming entertainment. I know that day9 is math time. I do both, laugh at the jokes and occasionally pause to listen to a strategy, and also get my math done.

And again, BUY THAT EFFING PLANNER.


Step six: This is a hard one for most IB students. Learn to min-max your grades. I regularly don't do anthropology because I know she doesn't mark late unless it's very late. I don't do physics work usually because we do a lot of it in class, but I always do late physics work because it's a zero after the week is over. And sometimes I just don't turn things in. I have an anthro assignment I have no intention of ever turning in, because it's too much work for not enough points and I have a 96%. In English I had a C so I did every extra-credit she offered, even though I lost a lot of time to do other things (and even less because I worked harder at regular English work). Sometimes four hours of sleep is worth a 10% ding, even on a big essay. A lot of math teachers don't check the work, just for completion: if you know the material feel free to fudge the answers or make enormous leaps of logic.

However, this is a psychology tip. You are less likely to be motivated to do late work. I'm not really sure why, but the urge to say screw it is so overwhelming, even if there's nothing else to do. If late work is part of your min-max strategy, you need to take this into account and actively combat it.

Don't be a dick in class, because if you have an 88.7% and you tell your teacher you really need an A, your teacher might recognize that you've worked and weren't a dick. If you were, they probably will give you the metaphorical finger. Being on good terms with teachers is a vital part of min-maxing. You can't do without it, really. Also, having this good relationship will make them more receptive when you suggest date changes and whine about workload.

Also, remember your final exams are a massive part of your grade that never gets factored in until it's too late. There's no damage control for a bombed final, just prevention. For instance, I know my French exam is going to go pretty badly, so I'm working for a 96% where most classes I'm fine with a 92%.

I'm not going to tell you outright that it's okay to copy. But... well... it's not always a bad option, especially in subjects that you already know well and the work is more an annoyance than anything else. Ultimately, your goal at school should be to learn, and if you have to do busy work to get into a place where you can learn better, it's hard to argue that that should take away from homework time where you actually learn something. Of course, if it goes one way, it goes both ways. But from my experience, if it doesn't go one way, most people won't try and force it the other. What I will tell you is okay under any circumstances except essays but including short answer assignments is talking about the work and talking about where to find answers in long passages, etc. History last year was a great example of a class where almost nobody cheated outright, but there was a ton of collaboration. (Collaboration, especially for trivial things, is generally encouraged in college - from someone who is taking independent study math from MIT)


Step seven: If you don't have a good relationship with one of your parents, befriend a teacher or a guidance councilor. Actually, befriend a guidance councilor anyway for the college benefits. But what I was going at, because you need to have someone who is older than you to hear you. It's one thing to talk to your friends, but a lot of times they'll try to make you feel better by telling you all the stuff that they have to do, which doesn't work. Remember, your friends are working as hard as you, and at least one of them probably has a job on top of it all.


Step eight: Be flexible, when you can afford it. The ultimate paradox of IB is that you have to be extremely rigid 80% of the time and completely open to spontaneity the other 20%. The hard part is figuring out which 20 will keep your grade alive.


Other things:

For you specifically, don't worry about CAS. Talk to your councilor or director about making your company, or Young Enterprise into your project, and you'll fill out the rest easily with guitar, the non-project, tennis, NHS (please do be in NHS, normally you don't even have to do anything once you're in). Try to join like the spanish club or something worthless like that. It might not be good for your resume because it's obvious filler, but for CAS it's not so bad.

I'm still at the stage where I don't have to study much, but when I do, I count it as consuming work. It's really too dangerous to do it at the same time as something else. Also, don't study for anything you know. Seriously. If you're doing it right, studying should be the most time-intensive assignment you have that night, and you can't afford to lose all that time if you already know it. However, you should always look at notes* just before the test; only as a review, though. Try not to cram during lunch; it rarely works.

*There are two prevailing schools of thought on notes: Mine is write everything. Well, there are some important qualifications, but I mostly fall into the everything camp. However, several of my friends use classes with a more lenient teacher to do other homework. I think it's a very solid idea, and what you lose in study material (which then raises time spent studying), you gain in combining work into the workday. I think I would be more productive if I did this, given that I don't have to study as much, but I have a hard time ignoring most of my teachers (except this one...). If you need to study, you might want to use that time to make notes more detailed.

Meem is right, by the way. You need to keep your eyes peeled for short periods of intense activity in one area when you should expect all others to stop. This should be easier if you use that planner of yours (see what i did there).

Number one rule: Don't take BS from anyone. Your teachers can move deadlines if there are big problems. Nothing AT ALL gets sent to IB until sometime mid senior year, regardless of what your director might insist. So if you don't finish your World Lit on Jan 26, you might lose credit in English but you're not going to be screwed overall. Your administration might require you to take x classes in your senior year. If you don't need that many, demand an exception. Do not do things that hurt your worktime for no reason. It's too precious, because 24 - sleep - work - bullshit = free time. You can't do anything about sleep, nor much about work, but you have a surprising degree of control over bullshit, especially if you get your parents involved.


Hope it helps

FYI: This post is about 3200 words, which probably isn't anywhere near a record for xkcd, but is in the same strata as how long your extended essay should be. You really should try to hit the cap, though. It just looks a lot nicer.
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angelfire
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby angelfire » Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:53 am UTC

someone posted this link on their fb wall, and I think its quite interesting

http://www.mitadmissions.org/topics/lif ... ings.shtml

cheers

sidek
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby sidek » Mon Dec 06, 2010 4:59 am UTC

I am someone that is going to enter IB soon, so this post scared me.... currently, I don't really do any homework at all. Actually, I do about 3 hours of homework a month, max. Studying? I don't. I really should, of course, but I can't really justify the huge amount of time needed to go any higher than the 95s I currently have.

Is IB really that hard? It's not like I spend a lot of time on 'entertainment' ; most nights I'm programming or doing maths. Also, I cannot pull all-nighters; I've tried multiple times and failed. How bad is this?

I do run quite happily on 7 hours of sleep, though. I can go down to 5 hours of sleep and function perfectly well for a week or so.

jjfortherear
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby jjfortherear » Mon Dec 06, 2010 6:42 pm UTC

maybe completely off topic, but I feel like I should share my personal experience to someone heavily blanketed by work in high school. I hated high school. Really, I hated english and history, and for some reason, my teachers and my mom (my dad hated high school too) thought it would be a good idea to put me in honors english/history in 9th grade. gg. after 9th grade, I decided this fucking sucked, and wasn't going to follow the scheme they wanted me to. I realized that theoretically, your grades in high school don't matter at all, but of course I couldn't prove this theory until I reached the same academic standing that all the straight-a people had achieved.

Well, I'm now in that situation. I'm a junior (as are most of the people with whom I graduated high school), I've got a 3.6 gpa, and I don't have to take any more gen eds. Call now for my book to find out how I did it.

Or, read: I got as close to failing every class in high school I didn't like, but I still LEARNED as much as, if not more than, anyone else in my classes. I then went to NOVA (community college) for two years and got an associate's. I then transferred to JMU (because of a girl, which was stupid, but whatever) and am a physics major. JMU isn't known for it's physics, but I really didn't give a shit where I went to college, and it turns out the department is really, really great. The professors have all been around for a really long time and are extremely interested in the material, and really know their stuff. That's all sort of irrelevant, but the point is: grades in high school do NOT FUCKING MATTER EVER AT ALL PERIOD.

That is an absolute law of the universe, perhaps the most fundamental one. A more general rule is that the college you choose doesn't really matter either. Personally, I'd probably have chosen to stay at home (george mason) had I not been involved with a girl at JMU, just because of how much cheaper it is. In the end, I feel like it'll balance out, because like I said, the physics department here is really fantastic.

Anyway, if tl:dr,

Don't fret if you don't get straight a's. And more importantly, if you're definitely going to do IB's (they're like AP's, right?) ONLY WORRY ABOUT GOOD GRADES IN THE ONES YOU HATE. This means you won't have to take those classes in college, and that will really make your life more enjoyable. I was in calculus and ap physics in high school, and failed both of them on account of doing no homework. This was a great advantage, because by college, I had already seen all the material, and the homework really became trivial (and I liked the classes, so the time spent in them in high school was really just me getting to have fun in school, lul). Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to take ap english or history, so I had to do those in college. Still, I never did any of the homework for those subjects in high school, so I really only had to do the work once.
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raike
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby raike » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:06 am UTC

At the high school level, you should not be up all night doing work unless you either do not understand the material, or have simply procrastinated to the point of foolishness. There is a third option as well, that you are simply not an efficient worker.
If the first statement is the case, that you do not understand something, then you should be talking to the teachers. If the second or third is the case, then you need to better evaluate how you budget your time and how you actually sit down and do work.

I do realize that you may have to give up some other activities to manage this; think of it as getting your work done, maintaining your health, and getting good grades (essential for admittance into a top university) at the expense of a spot of fun.

I recall somewhere below a mention of copying, from Turiski, perhaps? I agree that colleges tend to encourage collaboration. I further agree that science and industry tend to encourage it. I do not agree that copying outright is an acceptable form of it.

Quite frankly, I believe many of you are taking this issue far too seriously. If you can make smart choices, you should be able to get your work done on time. If you have minimal work or are just that good, then you will be guaranteed to have some leisure time. But, most of all, I really don't consider IB to be anything beyond the scope of a full load of AP courses or approaching anything near a full schedule of college courses.
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deerie
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby deerie » Tue Dec 07, 2010 5:11 am UTC

Honestly, you're making too big a deal out of your amount of work. I get that you're busy, but your level of business is average for high-achieving high school students. All you can do is bite the bullet and get used to it. Take some time for yourself every day, even if it's five minutes to play minesweeper. Leave more free time on the weekends- you'll appreciate the little time you have.

In terms of actually doing work, is it really that bad? I mean, physics and chem together isn't anyone's idea of a party, but I doubt it's as terrible as you feel like it is right now. Take some time to evaluate all the work you're doing. Is it really worth that 5 extra hours of studying to get a 98% on a test instead of a 95%? You will be optimally successful if you work hard, but smart.

Do not cheat. Cheating is unethical and will not earn you the respect of your peers, professors, or yourself now or in the future. Ethics might seem totally irrelevant to someone in high school, but it's something you have to start thinking about eventually. Ethics exist exactly for when you're loaded down with work and you want to cheat; that's when you either stay up late and get the work done or decide you just can't finish it all.

Also, if you're interested in going to a "prestigious" school, then grades absolutely matter. There are many paths to a given destination in life, but make sure the advice you're taking got someone down the same path you want to travel.

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Turiski
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby Turiski » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:34 am UTC

Okay, so I'm sorry if this comes off as elitist, but if you're not in IB, I can see how you might find it hard to imagine the load that it becomes. That's especially with an English teacher who works you hard (which you need for a max score since the test is spread out over about the five assignments taken at different times).

So on that note, I think it is average for IB students, but not average for Honors and below. I agree with deerie in the second point: as I said before, there's no use in studying most of the time if you have good teachers. I also agree on the third point, but... what is cheating? The line between cheating and collaboration is thin, and ultimately you have to decide where that line is for you. Now, it should also line up with your teachers' expectations, but in my experience they are usually pretty vague.

I appreciate raike's sentiments, but he came off a bit harsh. In particular, it really is not unreasonable to stay up all night / take less than 2 hours of sleep, if it doesn't happen more than about once every two months. Yes, you will have had to procrastinate to get there, but "to the point of foolishness" is not always true. I'll defer to my IB statement here; there are some days when you have an essay to write, another to revise, two problem sheets and a presentation to practice for, and if you have any non-school obligations on those days you are staying up very late.

And of course you can get all the work done on time if you plan it right. The difference between due on Wednesday and late on Thursday is usually minimal. You just have to determine whether twenty minutes of sleep is worth .007% of your grade - not always as silly a question as it sounds.

However, I agree that if you don't understand something, you can't just be like "oh, I'm dumb, woe is me." You have to get that fixed, and your teachers are the best way to do that.

To sidek, and I'm going to address you directly, you shouldn't just take IB because darn that sounds cool. Colleges in America look at AP and IB as equal programs. IB is better recognized internationally. IB integrates subject matter from classes as a core part of the reality in day-to-day learning, AP tends to focus on a specific aspect. IB tests cannot be taken without IB courses, AP tests can but I wouldn't recommend it. IB is usually set apart separately; if you take one IB class they're usually all IB. That's not the case for AP, which allows a much greater flexibility particularly if you are more artistically inclined. Look at the details. Both programs are real work, especially if you're going into a new school, because the junior high-high school transition is pretty ridiculous. If you want a high GPA without the prestige, say for a local university with good scholarship, take honors classes instead.

You will do homework in IB, or you will lose your As. If you're entering pre-IB (freshman), expect the 3 hr/month to go to 3 hr/week by the second month of school. If you're entering as a junior, 3 hours covers one to two days, again by about the second month. That time is not considering the long-term projects, which will probably come down to extremely intense one or two week periods, unless you're super pro about spacing the work. Now it all depends on the teacher, and especially English. You might be good at English, but you will always have more work in that class than any other except History on occasion. New IB programs can be very dangerous for students; new AP programs are usually pretty stable.

I can't comment fairly on AP load. However, because it is less dictated by a 'higher authority,' the work should be even more dependent on teacher than it is in IB. So if you know AP teachers, keep them in mind during the process. Get your parents involved, but only if you can trust them to be honest about the whole situation and not just say "IB BECAUSE INTERNATIONAL, RIGHT?"

jj's post sums up my opinion about grades pretty nicely. However, I would advise against not going to college to continue your education. Unless you have something you are extremely passionate about, you probably are not going to find the motivation to learn if you don't have a set time which requires you to do it.

Final thought: Yes, IB is not intense compared to junior level college course loads. Obviously. That is three years of maturity later, however, so it really is to be expected. (Compare 11th grade to 9th grade - I even cut a year off the gap but the difference is still enormous). To compare to AP... I have friends in AP courses, and to be perfectly honest I consider myself silly for taking IB. I remain in because you can't just drop out of a high level course and expect to get into a high level college; you know exactly what that looks like on your transcript. Also, behavioral problems are approximately zero, in part because there's less problem students, in part because the teachers are more lenient because they know we're not trying to screw them. For me, those are extremely good reasons to see my senior year to completion but less good reasons to do it over again, given the choice.

But the workload... I will debate anyone on this because honestly I want to believe that my friends and I did not put in all the work we did for no reason, but the evidence so far that in work AP = IB is underwhelming. I have no AP friends who have to plan a week in advance to spend time with their family; I wish I could say the same about IB. Anecdotal? Of course.
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sidek
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby sidek » Sat Dec 11, 2010 5:43 am UTC

Turiski : I'm not in the United States, and , in a 1 3/4-hour-by-car radius around me, there's two schools with AP programs, both offering only a few AP courses. I have, actually , been looking at one of them , but due to where it is, it would be rather inconvenient.

My reason for wanting to enter IB(actually pre-IB, I suppose) is complex; it's partially to get away from my local high school, it's partially for the college credit, it's partially because of the workload. Yes, because of the workload - I do want to maintain a constant workload. It's not like I've never done homework - even last year, I did around 5-6 hours per week's worth with the occasional final-project week being about 3-4 hours per day. However, this year, I am now in grade 9 at the local high school (it runs 9-12, unlike most high schools here) and everything I've done so far here seems so much easier .... I don't like that, especially how 'soft' it is making me (I'm doing a few hard math questions and programming exercises daily instead. It works, kind of, but my earlier post reflected the fact that I was scared about whether or not I could return to a schedule that included homework. )

I've looked at the alternatives to doing IB, and the ones that appeal to me aren't really that numerous. I can :

- Do self-study courses to make high school go by faster
Reason it is not preferable : It's quite boring, and only really practical for the sciences and maths - the humanities don't lend themselves to self-study , and I do like discussing things with other people when it comes to them. On top of that, things go by too fast : I experimented with it this year, and finished Math 9 and Pure Math 10 in early November while working at a rather leisurely pace.

-Stick with my local high school's track
Reason it is not preferable : I'll be bored out of my mind! We don't even have any honors classes except for an English honors stream.

-Do AP
Reason it is not preferable : I touched on this above, but I want to expand a bit. The school I'm referring to would be an attractive option. However, to get there, I would have to catch buses that went through and stopped in a 'seedy part' of the city ( actually, the transit depot at which something like a quarter of our city's stabbings and a slightly smaller percentage of our muggings occur at). This is not an ideal situation, and one of my parents is vehemently against me taking the bus through that stop. Also, I would only have the option to take AP courses in certain domains.

-Drop out for community college
Reason it is not preferable : There is certainly some social stigma that would go along with this, and I don't really want to finish high school early anyways. On top of that , I'm not sure if I would be doing any better than if I went to an IB program.

I'm not really sure if I'm making all of this up ; I might be going simply because 'IB is cool'. I don't know , though. I figure I might as well try it.

jjfortherear
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby jjfortherear » Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:34 pm UTC

sidek wrote:-Drop out for community college
Reason it is not preferable : There is certainly some social stigma that would go along with this, and I don't really want to finish high school early anyways. On top of that , I'm not sure if I would be doing any better than if I went to an IB program.
I'm not really sure if I'm making all of this up ; I might be going simply because 'IB is cool'. I don't know , though. I figure I might as well try it.


society blows. at least the part who looks down upon people who make that (smart) choice.
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deerie
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby deerie » Sun Dec 12, 2010 11:51 pm UTC

Turiski wrote:Okay, so I'm sorry if this comes off as elitist, but if you're not in IB, I can see how you might find it hard to imagine the load that it becomes. That's especially with an English teacher who works you hard (which you need for a max score since the test is spread out over about the five assignments taken at different times).

I did the Middle Years Program. I earned Certificates in HL Math, English, and Spanish. All my other courses after sophomore year were AP, and I took two AP history/humanities courses both my junior and senior year. I also had numerous time-consuming extracurricular activities. I suspect raike comes from a similar background. As I said, that's normal for high-achieving students, so I stand by my points. I also agree that all-nighters are not necessary and are a really bad habit to get into.

Turiski wrote:I also agree on the third point, but... what is cheating? The line between cheating and collaboration is thin, and ultimately you have to decide where that line is for you. Now, it should also line up with your teachers' expectations, but in my experience they are usually pretty vague.

Maybe in college, but the vast majorities of high schools don't encourage collaboration unless you're completing a group project. The material covered in high school is rarely challenging enough to require collaboration often. If you're not sure whether you're cheating, you either err on the side of caution or ask your teacher. "I don't know whether this is cheating or not" is not a valid excuse.

Turiski wrote:But the workload... I will debate anyone on this because honestly I want to believe that my friends and I did not put in all the work we did for no reason, but the evidence so far that in work AP = IB is underwhelming. I have no AP friends who have to plan a week in advance to spend time with their family; I wish I could say the same about IB. Anecdotal? Of course.

This statement is highly dependent on the school and teachers, but in general it's much easier to BS IB than AP.

In the sciences, IB cares more about learning from experiments and understanding broad concepts. The AP sciences are without a doubt mathematically harder. In terms of foreign languages, IB focuses more on communicating ideas effectively than AP, which tests sentence completion and other silly mechanical drills.

Overall, IB is more writing-based and, in theory, utilizes more analytic skills. However, in practice, it is easier for an IB student to slack off and get an A than for an AP student to do the same, assuming no cheating. Since most IB evaluations are writing-based, if you can write pretty sentences, you've earned half your grade. AP requires knowledge of a large amount of content, which can lend itself to rote memorization if the teacher is not particularly effective, but which at least ensures that students develop a concrete knowledge base.

Hecate
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby Hecate » Wed Dec 15, 2010 4:21 pm UTC

deerie wrote:Overall, IB is more writing-based and, in theory, utilizes more analytic skills. However, in practice, it is easier for an IB student to slack off and get an A than for an AP student to do the same, assuming no cheating. Since most IB evaluations are writing-based, if you can write pretty sentences, you've earned half your grade. AP requires knowledge of a large amount of content, which can lend itself to rote memorization if the teacher is not particularly effective, but which at least ensures that students develop a concrete knowledge base.


Having earned an IB Diploma (HL English, History of Europe, Biology, and Chemistry, SL French B and Maths) and also having done AP courses (Physics B and Psychology), I can't say I agree with your assessment of IB courses. It is undeniable that IB courses are evaluated more on writing-based evaluations (essays, lab reports, long-answer questions) rather than the "objective" questions typical of AP (multiple choice, and LOTS of them), but to say that writing "pretty sentences" will let you coast through IB courses with decent grades is simply absurd.

The majority of students enter the IB diploma program with a great ability to BS (which they enhanced by coasting through lower grades on it). The diploma program is generally a jarring change from previous grades because in the writing-intensive courses (Langauge A1 and Group 3 courses, most notably) just being able to make something look pretty doesn't cut it anymore. The rubrics for these courses are strict and while "quality of writing" does factor into the grade, I would argue that this, if anything, discourages BS frilly writing and encourages content. To get a good grade (not a fantastic one, just a good one) a fair level of insight is required, and to do particularly well, one needs to be able to come up with original ideas beyond what one would learn in a class.

As for what you've said about slacking off, I couldn't disagree more with that either. At least based on my experiences with AP and IB courses, the workload in AP courses comes from memorizing the sheer amount of material the College Board has crammed into its courses, while the workload in IB comes from its evaluations, in addition to studying. If everything is taught in class, a student in an AP class with a good memory can get through the entire course without ever picking up a book; an IB student has to work continuously to ensure that everything gets done.

Of course, I think the effectiveness of AP vs. IB courses depends on the kind of person you are and the teachers you have. A good teacher can make the difference between a BS course that you get through by not doing anything and a course that requires genuine work and genuine understanding. Naturally, the latter is preferable. It is my experience that IB courses kind of require this work and understanding, while AP courses can easily go either way.

supermario
Posts: 18
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Re: Drowning in school

Postby supermario » Thu Dec 16, 2010 3:12 pm UTC

The posters above have much better advice than I have to offer, but something that's helped me through my first quarter in college is making a weekly to-do list. If you have the ability to know what assignments you have and things you have to do for an entire week (I know that some high school students don't since some teachers don't make syllabi), then I suggest making one box for each class and writing down all the assignments due for the week as well as the day they're due. After that, when it gets time to study, prioritize each item on the list by numbering it. This method is really simple but works a lot better than intensely scheduling every minute of my time for me. I think the prioritization is the most important part. Also, just getting it all down on one piece of paper makes it seem a lot less intimidating. Good luck :)


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