Jun 26 / Helwan Felappi, MA @ Bocconi

How To Study When In IB

IB Study Answers

General Study Tips

Preparing for an important exam like the IB is pretty daunting at first, almost like looking at a blank page before writing an essay. There is so much to do, so many different strategies, that it’s easy to be a bit lost. What’s more, we’re surrounded by distractions, from the street noises you hear from your window, to that notification you just got on your phone.

How can we get past these obstacles? The key thing is to never lose sight of your end goal, and to realise that there are many different roads that lead to it. There is no one size fits all study technique. Each individual will have one that suits them best, depending on whether they are more visual or oral, their level of focus and organization..etcI personally had pretty unusual study habits.

For example, I relied almost exclusively on the textbooks for revision, rather than my class notes. My reasoning was that the content written by professionals would probably be more helpful than my scribbles taken in class. But of course, many people do manage to produce great and helpful notes, so it really depends on your learning style. 

Nonetheless, there are a few key tenets that can be useful for anyone, and for any exam that you’ll have to take in your future studies. 

Your Environment

Where you study is just as important as how you study. You should privilege well lit rooms, and sit at a table which is tidy and without a cluster, so that you have plenty of space to work. Chaos in your environment leads to chaos in your mind.


The first watchword of someone who wants to ace the IB examinations is to ban nefarious distractions. We may not always notice, but we are surrounded by all sorts of things that compete for our attention. From notifications to outside noise, these can really affect your memorization process and your concentration.

What I personally did to avoid temptation (not easy) was two-fold. First, I made a rule by which my phone was not allowed in the room during revision sessions. Second, I installed a software on my computer which allowed me to temporarily block websites like Facebook and Youtube while I was working.


Not just revise. The IB has a very precise methodology. If you understand it and practice it, you’ll be halfway to success. How is this done? Past papers, past papers, past papers. By doing them over and over again, especially if you do them in real-life conditions, meaning closed book, you’ll make rapid progress.

I found it to be very similar to playing a sport. When training, for example in football, you need not only practice particular skills, such as shooting but sometimes you also need to actually play a game against an opponent so as to be ready on match-day.

A Healthy Lifestyle

Last, but not least, a healthy lifestyle can be absolutely essential, or at least it was for me. During my revision period, I always made sure I got enough sleep, that I ate well, and that I did sports at least once or twice a week.

This is good not only for my psychological well-being, but also for my revision. Indeed, sleep and healthy habits are very good helpers for memory and other cognitive processes. 


Adopt all of these strategies, and nothing save extremely bad luck or lousy examiners can stand between you and your IB objective! 

Helwan Felappi

I studied the IB in Bratislava, Slovakia, finishing with a grade of 43/45. At the moment I am doing my graduate studies in the university of Bocconi.
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