IB diploma and certificate candidates sat for exams from May 2 through today, with 550 candidates taking at least one exam and coordinators administering over 1,400 total exams during the examination period. Due to the large volume of tests, the IB Office began preparation early in the year.
“We have been planning for this entire process and meeting with classes about it since the beginning of October,” IB coordinator Matt Axelrod said. “I began creating personalized schedules for each student in the beginning of March and we began organizing the physical exams at the beginning of April.”
The IB Office has also been under an increased amount of pressure this year because of the departure of newly appointed county IB and secondary programs educational specialist Carlota Shewchuk, leaving Axelrod as the sole IB coordinator. The loss of a staff member created even more work for Axelrod.
“The most difficult part about the IB exam season is that we are often testing in two or three or four or five locations simultaneously,” Axelrod said. “I usually like to be able to start each exam, but I often times can’t due to the size of the testing. When Mrs. Shewchuk and I did it together we were able to cover more ground and one of us were able to start each exam.”
While planning the logistics of administering over 1,400 exams is difficult, the other side of the exam season of actually taking the exams can seem just as difficult. Since IB exams are composed of multiple components, total exam lengths average three to five hours; the number of exams can range anywhere between one to two exams and 11 to 12 exams. Candidates often sit for multiple exams in a single day.
“I’m taking 11 IB exams this year, despite not being an IB Diploma candidate,” senior James Pepito said. “I usually study a lot the night before the exam to make sure that I’ve got the material down. Honestly, cramming just works better for me.”
While studying all at once can work, senior Alek Langford takes it upon himself to spread out his work over a longer period of time.
“I make sure about a week out I get all my notes prepared, and then during that week I incrementally study all of the notes,” Langford said. “Then the night before I leisurely peruse my notes to make sure I know everything.”
Even though the exam season can be grueling, according to Langford going through the IB exam experience is well worth it.
“While the exams are difficult, after taking them I feel well prepared for college exams,” Langford said. “Plus, I know I can earn some college credits for high scores.”