Success in the IBDP & Areas to Consider when Joining the IBDP


Some of the qualities that characterize successful IBDP students include the following:

  • Being able and willing to entertain ambiguities and apparent contradiction
  • Using a lateral, rather than a linear, approach to issues and problem-solving
  • Realizing that the real IBDP curricula develop in the classrooms through interactive and participative learning
  • Developing an enthusiasm for learning per se
  • Taking initiative
  • Exhibiting a preference for being your own 'driver' rather than a passenger
  • Taking on challenges and calculated risks
  • Recognizing that learning is about making mistakes and reflecting upon how and why those mistakes were made
  • Assimilating advice and constructive criticism in a cheerful and resilient manner
  • Re-thinking and re-defining what constitutes 'effective work habits'
  • Thinking for oneself
  • Reading widely and reflectively
  • Not putting off until tomorrow what can be done today!
  • Taking personal responsibility for one's own learning
  • Carrying out honest self-evaluation
  • Adhering to the protocols of academic honesty
  • Prioritizing
  • Becoming a versatile communicator
  • Multi-tasking
  • Being driven
  • Empathizing with others


The IBO itself emphasizes the fact that the IB Diploma Program (IBDP) offers a choice.  At Psychico College, the IBDP is offered as an alternative to the national curriculum system and not as a replacement for this national system.  Additionally, whilst the IBDP provides, at the higher end, affords the academically-outstanding students an opportunity to excel, the IBDP is not academically elitist.  It does provide most students with the opportunity to achieve their own optimum performance, as long as they reflect honestly and seriously upon the following considerations when seeking to join the IBDP:

  • The IBDP is designed for highly motivated students aged 16-19.  It is a Program that utilizes 'student-centered' approaches and students are more 'teacher-guided', than 'teacher-directed'.  This provides students with greater scope to develop their own initiatives and their own choices.  However, students who are reluctant and unwilling to do so, and who rely far too heavily on their teachers to direct them, and to 'subsidize' their own lack of initiative and motivation, will not succeed.  
  • In conjunction with the above consideration, students seeking to join the IBDP must recognize that it involves different curricular content and approaches, and different assessment criteria, as well as diverse assessment activities.  For example, in a number of IBDP subjects, students are assessed through oral examinations, as well as written assignments.
  • The official language of instruction for the IBDP at Psychico College is English.  Because of the curricular emphasis in the Diploma Program on interactive learning, it is essential that IBDP students have a high-level facility with English.
  • Whilst the IBDP does offer students a degree of choice, there are limitations to that choice.  For example, all students must take a Math (Group 5) and an Experimental Science (Group 4) course, even if their previous academic profile in these two subject areas has not been too impressive.  Because the IBDP is a holistic program, such students cannot afford to ignore their IBDP math and experimental science subjects.  If they do, it will very adversely affect their overall Diploma points score which, in turn, will have serious consequences for their university applications.
  • In the main, IBDP subjects will require the setting of lengthier homework assignments which, in turn, will involve students being given longer periods of time (perhaps 2 to 3 weeks and more) in which to complete their assignments.  IBDP students who do not learn to use these longer periods of time productively in order to reflect, research, outline, as well as write 1st & 2nd drafts, before submitting the final copy of their assignments to teachers, will not succeed in the IBDP.
  • Developing time management skills is an essential quality of the successful IBDP student.  The second year of the Diploma Program, in particular, is characterized by deadlines for the submission of work relating to areas such as the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge essays, Internal Assessment.

  • It is an IBO requirement that IBDP students observe school deadlines to the letter.