As an International Baccalaureate (IB) student you have to learn the content of six subjects, on top of Theory of Knowledge, internal and external assessments, the extended essay, creativity, activity and service (CAS) and balance all of that with personal and social time. I was, and still am, quite overwhelmed with the amount of work that is involved. It can be extremely difficult to be on top of taking notes for your classes, and keep track of deadlines for projects and dates for tests. 

In this edition of the IB series, I will be sharing with you the following x tips that I wish I knew before I started IB to keep myself organised throughout the two years and hopefully these will help you too. 


1. Keep all your resources organised

Have you ever felt lost whenever you cannot find your handouts? Organising all your handouts, loose papers and booklets from class is extremely important. You will be studying 6 six subjects over two years and in your final exams, will be tested on content all the way from the beginning so it is important you have all your resources together in one place so that when you want to revise and study it is all in a binder or any type of folder. 

Organising your binders and folders into subunits is extremely helpful too. For example, I organised my Biology binder according to how my teacher ordered each unit, but another good way to organise your resources is according to the topics of the syllabus that can be easily found online with a Google search.


2. Use zip folders for class

We have all been there: forgetting a handout the teacher told us we had to bring the day before, forgetting your notebook and having to write on a scrap piece of paper, and so on. To solve this problem, use a zip folder to stash your notebooks, booklets and handouts. 

They have been extremely useful for me as I have everything in one place and I lose things less frequently (except for the occasional slip up). Furthermore, it prevents me from having to rummage through my bag to find a piece of paper or a notebook I need when I can just pull out the zip folder with everything inside. 


3. Sticky notes are your best friend

Have you ever been shocked to find out something was due the next day, even though you thought it was due the next week? As mentioned before, there are so many deadlines and dates that need to be remembered being in IB. Using sticky notes to write down the dates of tests and deadlines for assessments can be very helpful for you so that you are fully aware of the tasks that need to be completed. Place them where you are most often like at your desk, like I did, your mirror, your bathroom mirror etc. 

Sticky notes are so versatile – not only are they helpful for deadlines, but also for to-do lists to stick on your computer or wall, writing down vocabulary words you need to learn, or inspirational quotes to motivate you. 

4. Find a system that works for you

Organisation is actually more personal than you may think. These tips have been very helpful to me but it is all about finding what helps you the most to stay organised and motivated. 

For example, for more creative and artistic people they use planners or a bullet journal because they prefer to write things down and plan ahead. For more tech savvy people, online or digital apps such as Google Calendar and Todoist may be the way to go as they prefer to type things up on laptops and phones because it is faster. 


Experiment with different systems early on and find the best methods for you because you know yourself the best and don’t feel you have to stick to one if you feel it is not working. My way of organising has evolved many times throughout the year from a bullet journal, which I barely wrote in, to sticky notes and folders. 

I understand IB can be overwhelming and extremely demanding in terms of workload but taking steps to stay organised will help you succeed! Share with me in the comment box below if my tips have helped you to stay organised as an IB student helps you!

This article is brought to you by Samantha Sayson. Samantha is a rising senior at United World College SEA East Campus and is currently interning with SNCF. In her free time, she enjoys fencing and spending time with her dog named Ginger.