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Preparing for the May 2024 IB Exams

Preparing for the May 2024 IB Exams

8 min Read|May 26 2024
|Written by:

Charles Whitehouse

Contents

IB Diploma exam season is fast approaching. Whether you’re in your final year and looking to gear yourself up for the exams, or you want to support someone going through the process, the dates of each exam should be in big letters in your diary by now!

Exams are naturally a scary process. But, you can tackle this fear by preparing as effectively as possible. At this stage, you’ll be far through your content-learning journey, and will be thinking about the logistics of those last few weeks ahead of the big days.

This article will take you through everything you need to know to be prepared. This includes: the exam schedule for the upcoming International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme exams in May 2024; the best strategies for coping with this potentially stressful period; and, all the practical information you need to be ready to step into the exam hall, including stationery and IB rules.

When are the May 2024 exams?

The May 2024 IB exams span from 24 April to 17 May.

There are three different exam zones: A, B, and C. Broadly, Exam Zone A is Asia and Australia (UTC +12 to UTC +3.5), Exam Zone B is Europe and Africa (UTC+3 to UTC+0), and Exam Zone C is the Americas (UTC -1 to UTC -10). There is some overlap, so make sure to check your specific time zone and ask your DP coordinator which zone you are in.

Exams are either in the morning session or the afternoon session, and the specific times of them will depend on where you are in the world, so you should also check this with your DP coordinator.

There are no exams on the weekends (Saturday and Sunday), but there may be exams on holidays which are particular to your country. For instance, the UK has bank holidays on 1 May and 8 May, but IB students will unfortunately have exams on these days.

You can find the specific schedules for the exams here. Below, we’ve summarised the headlines for each exam zone.

Exam Zone A

The first general exam paper is Language A Literature HL Paper 1 on the afternoon of Wednesday 24 April and Paper 2 on the morning of Thursday 25 April. Language A (except English, French, and Spanish) comes on Monday 1 and Tuesday 2 May, with Physics, and Sports, exercise & health science on Tuesday 2 and Wednesday 3 May.

English papers are also on Wednesday 3 May, and also Thursday 4 May. IB Math papers come on the afternoons of Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 May.

The very last exams are Psychology and ITGS, on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May.

Exam Zone B

The first general exam paper is Business Management Paper 1 on the morning of Friday 28 April and Paper 2 on Monday 1 May. This is followed by Language A (except English, French, and Spanish), Physics, and Sports, exercise & health science.

English papers are on Wednesday 3 May and Thursday 4 May. Math papers are on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 May. Language B and ab initio papers are also on 9 May, and 10 May.

The very last exams are Psychology and ITGS, on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May.

Exam Zone C

The first general exam paper is Business Management Paper 1 on the morning of Friday 28 April and Paper 2 on Monday 1 May. This is followed by Language A (except English, French, and Spanish), Physics, and Sports, exercise & health science.

English papers are on Wednesday 3 May, and also Thursday 4 May. Math papers come on the afternoons of Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 May. Math papers are on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 May. Language B and ab initio papers are also on 9 May, and 10 May.

The very last exams are Psychology and ITGS, on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May.

IB April 2024 exam schedule for 24th April to 26th April exams

Source: IB May 2024 exam schedule

How can I prepare myself for exam week?

Exams are always a challenging time, and the final IB exams are especially so, since they are quite tightly packed into a few weeks. Here are some tips to help you get through:

1. Start now

The earlier you start preparing for your exams, the better. Make a study plan that works for you, including time for breaks and self-care. Start by reviewing your notes, textbooks, and previous exams. Use study guides, flashcards, and other study aids to help you understand the material better.

2. Stay organised

Organisation is key to a more peaceful exam season. Keep track of your exam dates using a calendar, and prioritise your revision over the next few months accordingly. Remember to also schedule time to relax during the exam season. Taking breaks, to exercise or just chill, will do wonders for your mental health, and this will ultimately improve your performance.

3. Sleep

One of the most frequent pieces of advice given to exam-takers is to get enough sleep. This maxim can be a bit of a double-edged sword, as the more you know that you need sleep, the more stressful it can be when your nerves keep you awake. Your main takeaway should be that rest is important. So, timetable in your 8 hours, and do not be tempted to cram the night before the exam. Set yourself a peaceful night-time routine and be kind to yourself. But, if you do find your nerves keeping you awake, you will still be fine! You can absolutely perform well, even if you do feel a bit tired. You’ve probably been operating off a sleep deficit for most of the IB!

4. Look after yourself

Try to find a balance between eating foods that make you happy, with making sure that you’re eating healthy foods which will help you fuel your brain and body for optimal performance. The most important thing is that you remember to eat, and you eat what makes you feel good.

5. Look after your friends

When everyone is individually stressed, this can create an environment of hyping each other up. Try to avoid talking about revision and exams with your friends, as it’s naturally very hard to avoid comparing yourself to others. Support each other and, of course empathise with each other as you’re going through the same experience, but be mindful about talking about the IB all day everyday.

6. Seek help if you need it

This may be academic or pastoral help. If you’re confused about content knowledge, talk to your teachers or a private IB tutor.

If you’re struggling with your mental health, and finding that your anxiety is becoming overwhelming, then take the steps to seek the help you need. Your school should have support systems in place, with people to talk to about the nerves that you’re facing.

Remember, thousands of students have got through this before and come out the other end, so you will get through this too!

Have a look at our comprehensive set of IB Resources that include IB Study Notes, IB Past Papers and IB Practice Questions, developed by expert IB teachers and examiners!

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Practical Information for IB Exams

First, remind yourself of all the key information about the IB, especially how your grade will be calculated and what proportions different papers contribute.

Then, think forward to the exam days themselves. Find the rules and regulations for IB exams here.

When should I arrive for my IB exams?

Students must arrive at least 15-20 minutes before the published start time. Your schools will give you more guidance on when and where to arrive, as they will have specific procedures.

What should I bring to take my IB exams?

Students should bring at least 1 pen and a ruler into each exam. Students must write in either blue or black ink (except for multiple choice papers). Students may use pencils for drawing and for multiple choice papers.

Items of general stationery, such as erasers, coloured pencils, rulers and geometry instruments are allowed.

Pencil cases to carry these instruments in should be clear.

Calculators brought into the exam room should be cleared beforehand.

Students are allowed to bring water into the exam room, but make sure that there is no label on the water bottle.

What am I not allowed in the IB exam halls?

The list of prohibited items is here.

All bags, pocketbooks, and other belongings should be left at the front of the exam room.

No text books, note books, or instruction books are to be brought into the exam room.

No food or drink (other than water) are to be brought into the exam room.

No cell phones or other electronic devices (including earbuds and smart watches) are to be brought into the exam room (unless silenced and left in a bag).

Having an electronic device on your person during exams is considered a breach of rules. The IB says students with a device on them will receive “no grade” on the exam.

What happens if I need a bathroom break?

Students are not permitted to leave the examination within the first 60 minutes, or the last 15 minutes. If you require a bathroom break outside of these times, raise your hand to inform an invigilator.

Is there a dress code for IB exams?

The IB does not specify a dress code for their exams. This is therefore a school decision, so check with your teachers to see if there are specific regulations. You may have to wear your normal school uniform or follow the usual school dress code. Try to decide ahead of time which clothes will make you most comfortable on the day.

What should I do after the exam?

The IB forbids bringing exam materials outside of the exam room, and also prohibits discussion of the exam in the 24 hours after the exam.

FAQ

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Charlie

Charlie

Professional tutor and Cambridge University researcher

Charles Whitehouse

Written by: Charles Whitehouse

LinkedIn
Oxford University - Masters Biochemistry

Charles scored 45/45 on the International Baccalaureate and has six years' experience tutoring IB and IGCSE students and advising them with their university applications. He studied a double integrated Masters at Magdalen College Oxford and has worked as a research scientist and strategy consultant.

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