10 November 2007


From:that frolicsome kid
To:Whom this may concern
Date:10 November 2007, 14:54
Subject: The Calm in the Frenzy  

I met the IB Head yesterday, and after listening to his thorough explanation about it, I was in awe of the diploma programme and I am really enthusiastic about it. I'll be a late entry since their semester has already begun (the school year begins on August; it is an international British school) but judging from my "impressive grades" (so they say), they will say I have little problems catching up and integrating myself into my classes quickly.

I shook my head in amazement. "Wow!" and "Like, seriously?!" is all I can say! =)

I do have reasons for liking the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (colloquially known as IB) because of its breadth. 6 subjects are read - 2 languages (I love!), 1 Science, 1 Humanities, 1 Maths (bummer) and 1 elective. It provides a balanced education which is good for people like me who are still undecided about their career tracks. Currently, I'm thinking of majoring in the field of Biology but I'm still unsure and I want to keep my options open.

Besides that, there's the Extended Essay on which you can write extensively (4000 words) about absolutely anything relevant to a subject! And then, there's the philosophical Theory of Knowledge (cool!) and CAS which is basically doing compulsory co-curricular activities about anything!

Those elements combined in the IB makes it really exciting and worthwhile to pursue as a pre-university course. I have read online that it's a great preparation for university as it teaches you time-management skills and lets one get used to the workload which is ridiculously a lot. I sorely need to polish up those skills and I would find it immensely helpful if I can struggle earlier so that I may get used to it. =)

I don't think the local sixth form schools really prepare me that rigorously. You'll only specialise in 3 subjects and that's it. Well, I don't know. I haven't done much research on A Levels yet and I don't think I will since there isn't much information online on what the local schools offer. Sure, it's free (I think) for locals like me and I thought it would be worthwhile to take that up. Then again, I was sold by IB. So I guess I'll be sticking to it. I hope it is one of the good decisions I've made in life. I have a week to think about it before I finalise my decision. If you do have more information about the IB or even A Levels, please don't hesitate to comment. ;) I love to hear your inputs.

Speaking of IB, I do have a slight dilemma about my subject choices! =O I'm still juggling with my languages! =O But before that, below is the list of my current choices:
HL English A1
HL Biology
HL Geography
SL Mandarin B
SL Maths
SL Chemistry

N.B. SL means Standard Level while HL means Higher Level. One has to take 3 HL subjects and 3 SL subjects.

I was advised to drop down to SL English as I had not done literature works before. SL English maintains the same calibre as HL English with the exception of the number of books and the strict marking of HL English. Seeing that, I think it will be wiser for me to offer SL English instead as it would be easier for me to obtain a higher aggregate. I think at least 10 books are involved in SL! *gasp* How am I suppose to remember them all?!

On the other hand, I have difficulty choosing Malay, Mandarin, French and Spanish.

  1. It's easy for me to score in Malay because I was told that the Malay in IB is simpler than the Malay I am currently doing now in O Levels (yes, the papers I sat were a major killer)! I was really surprised to hear that, but that's good news for me. I'm not so bad in Malay. They told me with my scores, I can easily score a 7 (the highest marks in an IB subject) in it. The thing is, I'm not that into it. It can be really boring at times. =( I don't think my interest in it can be sustained further after my last exam. However, I do not want to lose my grip on Malay either...

  2. Ah, Mandarin, my arch-nemesis! I abhored this subject since primary school. Seriously, how complex can a language be? The squiggles, the sheer number of characters you need to know before you can actually read, the "I forgot how to write this word and I'm doomed" scenarios, the way-too-colourful idioms, vocabulary mastery, character mastery... *shudder* It was too much, and I was glad to be transferred to an English-medium school after 6 years of Chinese education. =O It was refreshing to interact with Roman characters!

    However, now that I'm older and wiser, I'd love to give my mother tongue another chance. I'm quite embarrassed as a Chinese to be poorly literated in Chinese. I would love to once again reconnect with my Chinese heritage and roots. Because it's my identity and it forms an integral part of who I am. It doesn't matter if I know German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Icelandic etc. if I can't do well in my own mother tongue. If I take up Mandarin again, I'll be doing it out of honour and slight interest. Sure, my fears hold me back but what have I got to lose? I think a two-years refresher's course in Mandarin will do me good. Besides, I can do Mandarin B (I think it will be something like a upper primary school curriculum). To qualify for it, I need 4 to 5 years educational background in Chinese and I already have it.

    Relearning the vocabulary is another issue, though. Hehehe! =O *faints*


  3. Ah, French and Spanish. Oh, beautiful Romance languages! I love the sounds and the words and how can you not adore the Roman characters? The thing is, I will have difficulty learning these ab initio. As I'm already 4 months behind course, I will have to spend my December holidays trying to suck up everything and get comfortable with the language. It's kind of impossible and it can be a major set-back. I was advised not to do these since they are detrimental to my grades. I could have gotten a 7 in, say, Malay, instead of a 5 in Spanish ab initio. I do however have some basic knowledge in Spanish after a failed attempt in trying to pick it up two years ago. I love European languages!


And I'm at loss at what to do! I was advised to do SL English A1 (first language) and HL Mandarin B instead to maximise my grade potential. After thinking thoroughly, I thought it would be better to do HL Chemistry instead of HL Mandarin (or whatever) since some biochemistry is involved in Biology in university courses. So yeah, maybe that could do.

Guys, what am I supposed to do? Pick up which language? =S My heart tells me to do Mandarin for some strange reasons, but I'm still not too sure. I'm still weighing my options at the moment and I need some opinions on this. =)


----------


Yesterday, I made a starking discovery which I should have known a long time ago. I do actually but I wasn't so aware of it and I eventually forgot about it. I stumbled on the best study method ever. It's called simply sitting on the desk and study!

That's right. It's so simple and I had done that a few years ago by writing my own notes with pen and paper. I then switched to typing out my notes on computer and yeah, it's pretty obvious that my concentration wavered with the 24 hours Internet connection. I always take the opportunity to surf the Internet as I type out notes. I'm surprised at my short-term attention span.

I tried studying on the desk after trying to study on a low sofa, on my bed, on a rotating office chair and on the computer. All failed, except studying at the desk. It was a pleasant experience and change to actually study seriously without distractions. I now realise that sitting by the desk and study is an old but still effective environment to study as it forces me to focus on the book in front of me. Posture is good too. My long legs can comfortably touch the floor. There was minimal backache and sores too.

I was really happy. I have successfully studied 6 chapters (small and digestible ones first) of Biology in just 2 hours. I was shocked but elated. I got to try again today, and tomorrow and throughout the whole week. Or maybe it only works on Biology, my favourite subject. =( I hope not! As you can see from my schedule, the last few exams are hardcore and imminently important because they can make or break my future. =| Or maybe that's just my attitude towards science subjects.

These past few days, I find myself listening to music I've downloaded to my computer. I'm an irregular music listener, but suddenly, I enjoy listening to them everyday especially songs I like and are music to my ears (no pun intended!). =) It's strange. I'm actually listening to some right now, and I'm now riding on a roller coaster of emotions. =S Lol!

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