“Decode” the IB guys

“Decode” the IB guys

Want to know more about IB? Let's have a chat with these two amazing guys: Than Duc Minh Quan and Nguyen Mai Dang Khoi (Bill) - IB Year 2 students to know some more facts about IB!

Why did you choose to study IB at CIS?

Quan: I went to a school that offered the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) in Singapore. Therefore, I had a chance to get familiar with the values and benefits that the IBDP has to provide to students. I returned to Vietnam in Grade 10, and through family members, I knew that CIS had inaugurated the IBDP. I believed that it was a chance for me to develop myself and an opportunity for me to challenge myself. You know, the first year of any program will only have a small number of students; but that's a strength because teachers will be able to provide more support to each student. Furthermore, I would have a chance to come up with original ideas and carry out plans to help turn these ideas into reality. If I were in my old school in Singapore, it was difficult to stand out from others.

Bill: I’ve been a student at CIS for nine years, and I got a chance to become an IB student here, at the place I’ve spent almost a decade studying and developing myself. Studying IB gives students a huge advantage: the IB program enjoys respect and recognition from universities around the world, as students who graduate with an IB diploma are well-rounded and ready to take on any challenges in post-secondary schools. Also, IB students can shorten the time they spend at university because they can transfer credits once they enter college.

Is it stressful studying the IB Program?

Quan: I think the majority of the pressure comes from within me, not from external forces. If I know how to balance studying and playing, then it won't be as stressful. That's why, one of the core subjects of IB, CAS which stands for Creativity, Activity, Service, encourages students to volunteer in community services, build interpersonal skills, de-stress and balance our lives.

Bill: I also think that if you know how to use your time wisely and efficiently then studying the IB Program isn't that stressful. The truth is, we have plenty of time to finish things; yet sometimes we procrastinate, we're too lazy, or even, lack motivation; hence, we wait until the night before the due date to start working. As a consequence, we'll be stressed out and worse than that, if there's a mistake in the assignment, there is absolutely no time to fix it. Therefore, one crucial thing when studying the IB Program is to find your motivation and know how to manage your time. For me, to de-stress after hours of studying, I usually work on my CAS or have a chat with my friends.

What is TOK?

Quan: Basically, it's a subject that helps you to think critically, to look at things from diverse perspectives, impartially. Every one of us has a different background in culture, religion, family, etc. and our mindset developed from these beliefs and values, hence, these affect how we view and judge things. TOK helps us to respect these differences, lets us know that there is no right or wrong answer, and reminds us to be open-minded, to share our ideas and to accept others' opinions.

Bill: I totally agree with Quan! Since studying TOK, every time I watch the news, I think about it from many perspectives, understand the roots of arguments and therefore, help form an objective look at the issue.  

What are the topics for your Extended Essay? What's the most difficult thing in writing this essay?

Quan: Initially, I wanted to write about the city Liverpool, about its history and the evolution of language at this place. However, finding resources became a considerable problem as information is hard to find, and old documents are difficult to neither read nor cite. Therefore, I decided to write about Singapore’s history and economy. I spent years living in this fantastic city so writing about Singapore feels like writing about my home!

Bill: I am writing an essay on understanding a soccer player's psychology. People always advise you to write an essay on topics you're passionate about. In my opinion, two of the most significant challenges in writing this 4,000-word essay is finding information and conveying 2-years worth of research into just 4,000-words. Two years for 4,000 words, sounds pretty easy right, and if you write bit by bit every day, it'll be done in no time. However, there are cases where midway through their essay, students realize how their topics are overlapped with others, or there are insufficient resources, and there's no other option but to change the topic. It'll be a huge problem then as you won't have enough time to finish the essay. Therefore, I'd like to emphasize the importance of time management in studying IB.

What about IB Learner’s Profile?

Quan and Bill: The Learner Profile is not taught separately and in-depth, as teachers always incorporated these traits into lessons, which then will be absorbed by students day by day and hence, help them to develop. It is similar to Ontario's Character Education. When you're young, you know these traits by just naming it, yet when you grow up, you need to experience and challenge yourself to fully understand these values.  

What's the best thing about studying at CIS?

Quan: I think teachers are the most valuable thing CIS has. I guess I'm a pretty naughty student, yet through this, I can see how so many teachers worry and care for me. I'm not going to lie; I felt a bit content how once I made a mistake and almost all teachers, 10 to be exact, sat down to talk to me until 7 pm to find out the reason why I had acted this way. It was touching to see how much my teachers support and care and it becomes my motivation to thrive.

Bill: One of the most significant advantages CIS has is the invisible but powerful bond between students and teachers at CIS. We share everything with each other. I was very close with Mr. Mark Boom, and although he's now overseas, we still keep in touch. He was the one who wrote me the reference letter for university application!

Thank you Bill & Quan! We wish you success in your adventures ahead!