IB Exam Preparation: Learn about the syllabus updates from IB examiners

As new changes are being introduced to IBDP subjects, many students and parents find themselves at a loss. So, what are the changes?

Earnest, NTK Vice Principal (Mathematics) and an experienced IB examiner, points out that "In the new IBDP Mathematics curriculum framework, Mathematical Studies SL is no longer an option for students. This raises the overall difficulty of mathematics subjects. When it comes to choosing subjects, many students underestimate the difficulty of the new subject Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation (AI) HL. It is, in fact, on par with Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (AA) HL. Students should think very carefully before making choices.”

Ib Exam preparation


Revamps to the mathematics curricula: what you should know
In particular, significant changes have been introduced to the mathematics subjects, with first teaching starting in September 2019.

Language subjects: harder and more rigorous grading
The IBDP language subjects are also undergoing substantial modifications. Language and Literature and the more advanced Literature are becoming more similar and difficult. “There will be more question types and the mark schemes will be more rigorous. The exams will demand more efforts from students. They will need to be well acquainted with key exam components and have essential exam techniques at their command.” Harvard alumnus and IB English specialist Cherie T. (NTK Vice Principal, English) highlights the key changes to the English curriculum:

  • Individual Oral Commentary (IOC) and Further Oral Activity will be combined as Individual Oral Assessment (IOA) that focuses on global issues.
  • Paper 1 sees a change in the exam format. For the HL assessment, students will no longer be asked to compare two texts, but will be required to analyze two unseen passages of different text types. The SL assessment will cover more text types and requires an in-depth commentary on one of them.
  • Paper 2 now takes the form of a comparative essay, which requires students to give an in-depth comparative analysis and response based on two literary works.

How can students prepare themselves for such big changes to the IBDP curriculum? A good learning center not only boosts learning efficiency, but is also a ticket to flying grades. “There are three key solutions to help students get ahead in the IBDP exams: (i) a highly qualified, international team of teachers, (ii) personalized lesson plans, and (iii) strategic exam techniques.” Dr. Ling, who have had more than 10 IBDP full scorers under his tutelage, emphasizes that a professional IB teacher can help students bring out their greatest potential by tailoring lessons according to students’ academic backgrounds, combined with diverse international curricula. Personalized lesson plans and exam strategies can help students acquire essential subject knowledge and exam skills to excel in exams.

NTK Academic Group
Established in 1996, NTK Academic Group is a leading education center and service provider in Hong Kong, dedicated to helping students succeed in international examinations, and offering professional tutoring and academic consultation services. Apart from the IBDP curriculum, NTK helps students prepare for the IGCSE exams, SAT/ACT exams, and International Middle Years Programme (IBMYP), and beyond. NTK has taught and produced a growing number of IBDP full scorers in recent years, rising from 13 in 2017 to 16 in 2019 (half of all IBDP full scorers in Hong Kong).