These changes will have a profound impact on what you should be learning right now and how you should prepare for your Physics, Chemistry and Biology exams in May 2021.
This blog post will walk you through the exact changes and consider the positives/negatives of each proposed change. I'll summarise with some tips on how to adapt your learning to maximise your marks in the final May 2021 exams with these changes in mind.
With the disappointment of the May 2020 results still very raw for many students, it was important the the IB made some allowances for the next set of May exams. In a document sent to school leaders, the International Baccalaureate said it was making the changes:
“In response to requests from our community to mitigate the loss of instructional time and logistical challenges" and to "help IB schools plan for a manageable, practical and achievable teaching and learning experience in the new school year”.
It has obviously been recognised that May 2021 students will be disadvantaged in the loss of class time and are trying to lessen the possible impact of this.
As of 13th August 2020, there have been no official announcements on the IBO website but if you deep dive into the back end of the website they have published this document reflecting the changes expected across all IB Diploma subjects:
The Group 4 project has no material input to your final grade. It is not graded. The project exists to promote collaborative and multi-disciplinary work between students.
Summary: I don't think many students (and teachers) will be mourning the loss of this project - given the current demands in completing the IB physics, chemistry and biology courses. It will save time and energy. I think this change is largely welcomed.
You will not sit Paper 3 in May 2021. At present, Paper 3 is split up into two sections:
The removal of Paper 3 means that you will no longer be examined on your Option topic. There has been no word on how they plan to assess the practical and the data-analysis element. At present, you could probably assume that they won't assess this.
Summary: The IB seem committed to ensuring that student's outcomes are consistent and comparable with prior exam sessions. In theory, this means that they will account for the loss of the 'easier' Paper 3 by lowering the grade boundaries of the remaining papers and adjusting the weightings of each remaining element to ensure fairness.
As soon as I know and have analysed the proposed updated weightings - I'll let you know!
The internal assessment is more important than ever. When the May 2020 exams were cancelled, many GradePod students were delighted that the final grade would place a higher importance on the Physics IA. We offer a bonus course (as part of GradePod's Ace Your IB Physics Exams) that leads students step-by-step through the EXACT process of writing the perfect physics IA from scratch. Most of the GradePod students had followed this and were on course for top marks. Indeed when the grades were finally released, GradePod were delighted to receive emails from LOADS of students regarding their 7 in IB Physics and the importance of their internal assessment in obtaining that grade.
Why am I talking about the past?
Well.... it has not been confirmed yet, but it's possible that the physics IA will hold greater weighting in the May 2021 exams. At the moment, it makes up 20% of your final mark. It may increase....
As soon as I know - I'll let you know!
I'm a specialist in IB Physics - so I'll focus the blog post only on Physics here (sorry Chemists and Biologists!)
TOP TIP 1
Start focussing your revision NOW on the most commonly examined topic in Paper 1 and Paper 2.
Most Commonly Examined Topics in SL Paper 1 are:
Most Commonly Examined Topics in HL Paper 1 are:
Most Commonly Examined Topics in SL Paper 2 are:
Most Commonly Examined Topics in HL Paper 2 are:
TOP TIP 2
It's likely that Paper 2 will hold a higher weighting than Paper 1 and Internal Assessment - start practising those exam questions NOW! Find a bank of past paper (split out by topic) and work through them.
Hope this helps
Check out some options below - ready for you when you need them: