The students that volunteer their time and knowledge on Reach a Student are eligible to receive community service hours. We are looking to expand our roster of academic and athletic mentors, interviewers, and video editors to help inspire and answer school-related questions.
Reach a Student is a website established to give students direct communication access to student mentors in various grade levels. Students will be able to reach out to other students and ask any questions they have regarding student and campus life. The site will also stream videos of students sharing their experiences at Windermere Prep as well as activities around campus.
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What are some tips you have for students that are on the fence about doing IB diploma due to Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
There should no reason for students to be on the fence because
half the week is a study hall and you will still have opportunities to get work
done for your other classes and also the course is not hard. There is a a lot
of reasons why one should be on the fence about doing diploma and taking TOK
should not be one of them. It is also fun to be in the class, the good thing is
that instructors can do whatever they want with the material of the class. So I
try to choose fun activities and I think that the topics in the class are very
Could you give a brief summary of the TOK course?
TOK is about growing as a knower and putting together pieces of
what you learn in your other IB classes. It is also about synthesizing
And for students that are taking TOK, what are some tips for succeeding in the course?
To have an open mind and to be inquisitive.
Also what do you think would be better taking the online course or the actual class? And why?
I think the actual class is better because a big part of the
course is discussions. And the online course lacks that. There is a lot of
things you could do with the online course and you could still have discussions
but the responses online would not be as thoughtful or as instantaneous as our
live in class discussions.
Taking 4 HLs is pretty much the most difficult schedule you could possibly have at Windermere prep. These 4 HLs, with 2 more SLs and an elective, create the most rigorous schedule possible. All of these hard classes on top of the other things required by the IB Diploma make for an extremely difficult week. However, there are some things you can do in order to make the week a little easier. Yes, it will require some effort and doing some extra work when you need to, but it looks really good on your transcript and thus will give you the edge over other students in the IB Diploma program.
Each weekend, you have both Saturday and Sunday to plan your week out ahead of you. The best way to do this is to look on the canvas and check what each of your teachers has scheduled for you and when. You will want to pay attention to what is summative, as this will take up the majority of your time. However, this is not to say that formatives are not important, but summative assessments are definitely something that you should focus more of your time on. Once you figure out what summatives you have, you will want to check if they are tests or projects, and then figure out how much time each assignment will take you. Is studying for the chemistry test going to take you a whole day? Then do your other assignments on different days and leave a whole day for chemistry. This is easily the best way to look ahead. It's critical that you do this on Saturday so that you can plan ahead and get as much work done as possible on Sunday.
You want to make sure you leave yourself a good amount of time to study for any test given to you. Sometimes it might be an easy test, in which case you don't need to leave yourself a lot of time. However, when you get the time to study, you will want to use it wisely, and not waste the time on your phone or doing other stuff. I find that the best ways to study are to watch youtube videos, read the textbook chapter for the class you are in, and doing practice IB questions that you can find online at ibdocuments.com or that your teacher has given to you. These are the easiest ways to study for me, but everyone has different methods. However, it is crucial that you use your time wisely.
This is the single most important element in making sure you don't struggle in IB classes. You need to effectively manage your time so that you are able to devote a good amount of time to each classes assignments. Falling behind in one class is not something that you want, as this can cause further issues in the long run. Thus, you will want to make sure you allocate your time effectively in order to maximize your time. If you have extra time, you can use it to do other stuff. I find it effective to make sure I have all my work done for the day before I start giving in todistractions. I think that going back and forth between your phone and your work makes the whole process take longer. Overall, time management is more of a personal thing on how you decide to manage your time, but finding the way that works for you is crucial.
While taking 4 HLs on top of the other rigorous things IB requires is hard, it doesn't mean that you have no opportunities to do other things. Currently, I'm able to work a part-time job, play guitar, and hang out with friends while still being able to excel in my courses. You want to make sure you give yourself a healthy balance rather than make your entire life be about school. Take a break every now and then and allot some time to just chill out and relax. The IB curriculum is stressful, so it is only healthy to take some time to yourself. Naturally, school should come first. However, a healthy lifestyle should be a close second. Getting enough sleep and being social is crucial to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, if you manage your time well enough, you will be able to maintain a healthy lifestyle while still excelling in your courses.
When entering 10th grade, students are faced with a decision of what History they are going to choose. For me, this was a tough decision that took weeks contemplating the pros and cons of the course and how it would affect me throughout the year. My main concern was the uncertainty of knowing if I would be able to handle it because my biggest fear was to choose the course and potentially fail. However, taking an Ap course looks very well to colleges, and it is always beneficial to challenge yourself. If you are faced with the decision whether or not to take the course, I recommend you go for it. Throughout the year, I experienced many hard moments, and the course is challenging for everyone at least once, but I do not regret my decision. I grew significantly as an academic learner through the class. It helped my study skills, time management, and prepared me for IB History. I am currently in my second year of IB HL History, and I have been able to apply my knowledge from Ap European History to my assignments. This is very beneficial, especially when juggling my six other IB classes. Overall, if you ever have to make a decision about a particular class, I recommend challenging yourself. It will improve you as a learner and help you for future challenges.
High School Mathematics is often perceived as a polarizing subject. This is because while it might come naturally to some students, there are a larger number of students who continue to struggle with it even after years of consistent learning. While 9th Grade Extended Level Mathematics was relatively straightforward, 10th grade extended Level Mathematics is a major step up in difficulty in every way possible. I'm here to share some tips and thoughts on how to prepare yourself and succeed in the class.
Structure of Questions:
First of all, the questions in 10 grade extended level mathematics are structured in a format that mimics IB Questions. While these questions aren't necessarily as hard as regular IB Questions, the framing of the question can easily throw students off. One thing I've learned the hard way is that these pre IB Questions are very rarely taken directly from the homework. While the overall concept is present 10 EL questions are designed to measure your ability to think and process information, not memorize questions.
This brings me to my next tip relating to resources. While doing the homework is very important, you might need to rely on outside resources to guarantee yourself a high grade. Resources I recommend are Khan Academy, YouTube videos from "The Organic Chemistry Tutor", and most importantly your teacher. In order to excel in 10 EL Mathematics, you must understand the basic concept and apply it in various situations. Going after school and asking questions in class is a smart way of doing this.
An Open Mindset:
If you are someone who has excelled at mathematics in the past and then suddenly notices an alarming portion of marks off in the first few tests, don't get discouraged. 10 EL Mathematics is meant to prepare students for both IB Standard Level Mathematics and IB Higher Level Mathematics which means it's going to be harder than usual. If you keep telling yourself that you just aren't capable of doing math then it will simply prevent you from going over your mistakes and learn from them. On top of that, if you demonstrate to your teacher that you are trying everything in your power to succeed in their class, they'll be more inclined to support you with whatever problems you have.
In the IB Diploma program, I am taking Psychology at the HL level. This course fully revolves around real-life events, and there is a focus on biological, cognitive, and sociocultural levels of analysis. In addition to learning about these aspects, we need to know and understand many studies - which could be experiments, observations, correlations, and etc. These complex studies are used for short answer questions (SAQ) and Essays. Although a SAQ requires one study and an essay requires three (most of the time), students need to know much more to be fully prepared for an exam. From my experience, here are some of the things that I think are helpful.
If you have ever heard of APUSH (AP US History), you probably heard that it is one of the toughest classes at Windermere Prep. Compared to other schools, WPS offers this course at 9th grade, while other schools offer it at 11th and 12th. I am just going to flat out say that if you aren't willing to work hard and put in the time, then this class is definitely not for you, as the work never stops. Now as a former survivor of APUSH, I know a few things about how this class works, and what it takes to succeed.
The first part of this course is outlines. Every night, you basically summarize a part of a textbook chapter in a specific format, which Mr. Zoslow then checks the next day. Every outline is a total of 3 points, so as long as you complete it, you should get full credit. Of course it depends on how many pages your reading is for that night, but my outlines were around 10 pages, give or take a few pages. You might be stressing out during your first outline, and it might take you a long time, but just know that they get easier as you continue on throughout the year. My advice to you is to use every minute of the day for outlines. Even 5 minutes at the end of another class can get you a few paragraphs outlined. Don't worry about making everything perfect, because honestly Mr. Zoslow just scrolls through it, and doesn't actually read everything word for word.
KBATS are just a bunch of vocab words that you think are necessary to study for the unit exam. The catch is that Mr. Zoslow doesn't give you a vocab list, but you have to come up with the words yourself and then write definitions for them. My suggestion is to either underline or highlight your KBATS while you are outlining so you can go back and know which words you thought were important. Some won't agree with me, but I found it easy to complete my KBATS while I was outlining so that way I didn't have to worry about them later. You will just have to determine what works best for you. Make sure you are only doing definitions for words that are necessary, or you will end up with a couple hundred words for each chapter. Lastly, DO NOT procrastinate these. I guarantee the last thing you want is to have to complete a couple hundred vocab words in one night.
EDQs (essential daily questions) are a necessity in this class if you want to succeed. You get a specific question based off of your reading from the night before, and you have to answer it in the form of an essay. When you come to class the next day, there are usually 3-4 readers depending on time, and you get 10 points for reading your EDQ, even if it is completely wrong. It definitely takes a lot of courage to read in front of your classmates, but just know that your classmates really don't listen to the EDQs. Even though you may think that Mr. Zoslow isn't paying attention, he definitely is, so don't try to slide in some wrong information or information from a different topic. There are three main components that you have to include by the end of the year; thesis, contextualization, and synthesis. You will gradually need to do all three, but the first quarter is just composing a thesis. After you read your EDQ, Mr. Zoslow will ask you to repeat your thesis. Don't worry about not knowing how to write one in the beginning, but just make sure you know what you are talking about. Don't try to make up information that isn't true or accurate, because Mr. Zoslow will ask you about it. You want to make sure that you get your readings done as soon as possible. When you get to the end of the quarter, everyone is in the same boat as you, and then there are too many people and too few days for everyone to read and get their points. At the end of the year for me, there was a huge waiting list everyday for reading your EDQs, and some people emailed 2-3 weeks in advance for a spot to read. You want to complete them every night and not procrastinate doing them, because you will eventually have to turn in an EDQ packet at the end with all of your essays. It is definitely harder to write an essay and remember the information from a month ago, rather than just writing it the night you learned the material.
I'm not gonna lie; the unit exams you will take for APUSH will SEEM very impossible, but they aren't. After your first few tests, you learn what Mr. Zoslow is looking for, and what it takes to get a good grade. When studying for these exams, don't focus too much about the minor details, but make sure you know the overall picture. You have the whole class period to complete the test, so right when you walk in the door, make sure you already have your pens and highlighters in hand. Trust me: every minute counts. There are 55 multiple choice questions, and there is no possible way that you could get all of them right. I would recommend to spend about 10 minutes on the multiple choice because the essay is where you get the most points. When you get to the essay, make sure you do a little 2-3 min outline of what you are going to write, because that alone can get you 5 points. You get a point for everything you get right, but a point off for something wrong, or even more points if it is a really dumb answer, so just right everything that you know. However, if you are unsure of a date or a specific detail, don't write it, because you may get a point taken off for it. Make sure you frame the narrative, and for every person that you introduce, make sure that you describe him/her and not just simply write their name. If you are given documents, you MUST use all documents or else you will get points taken off. Keep reminding yourself that you are in APUSH, so make sure you don't find yourself focusing too much on other countries. Lastly, sleep is the most important thing. If you don't get enough sleep, your brain can't properly function, and you won't be able to remember any of the information.
Grading the Unit Exams
All of the APUSH tests are curved, which means that points are added on to your raw score. Your raw score is the actual grade that Mr. Zoslow got from your exam, but the curve is made based on how everyone else does. If everyone did really good on the test, then the curve is going to be lower, but if everyone did bad, the curve might be higher. There is what is called a floor, which is the lowest possible score someone could get. If you get lower than the floor, then the floor score is the one that shows up in the gradebook. For example, if someone got a raw score of 20, the curve was 40, and the floor was a 65, then they would get a 65 in their grade book. If someone got a raw score of 80, and the curve was 40, then they would get a 99 because that is the highest grade you could get. Just know that your first probably won't be the score that you wanted, but it will get better from there.
Use your friends for resources, because they are going through the same struggles that you are. Collaboration is key in this class, because there is so much information that you can't possibly remember all of it. Use your prep book, and watched jocz production videos. Before tests, look up practice essay questions and write out a brief outline just to practice to ensure you know the information. Take notes during class so that you make sure you are paying attention and can later use them for a review resource.
The AP Exam
At the end of the year, you will take the nationwide APUSH exam. It includes a DBQ, a long essay, multiple choice, and short answer questions. Your grade is given on a scale from 1-5, but don't expect that you are going to get a 5. Remember that you are going against juniors and seniors, and a 5 is really hard to get. I would definitely study a lot for this exam because you want to get at least the passing grade of a 3. Also, at the end of the year there is a US history subject test that is required for some colleges, so I would recommend taking it so that way you don't have to worry about it when you are a junior or senior.
thing to know about this class is that it never stops, not even during breaks
or on weekends. Even when you finish an outline, you always have one for the
next day or another assignment you should be doing to get ahead. Despite all of
the work that you have to do, it is really hard to do badly in this class, as
long as you complete all of the necessary work. Even if you get the floor on
every test but complete all of your EDQs, KBATS, and outlines, then you might
end up with a B. This class is very independent, and it teaches you how you best
learn and how to manage your time better. One thing to steer away from is
comparing yourself to other people. Don't panic if someone already had their
outline done for tomorrow when you haven't even started. Everybody works at
their own pace and in their own way. By the end of the year, you will be
thinking and working 10 times faster than you were in the beginning of the
year. Just know that at the end of the year, you will finally be able to say,
"I survived APUSH", and trust me, it's a great feeling.