For those of you pursuing an IB program, the exam result day is probably the most dreaded and eagerly awaited day all at once. Secondary school students must be faced with a rollercoaster of emotions because the university is the logical next step for them.
You have probably received conditional acceptance from your dream institutes, and a lot depends on these July results.
Firstly, you need to be proud that you were able to complete an intensive IB programme. It highlights that you are capable of organizing research and study and have acquired some key knowledge along the way. Secondly, don’t beat yourself up about getting a low score because you still have some options to make your dream of attending the university of your choice come true.
What If Your IB Results Are Unfavourable?
An unfavorable result, no doubt, is very discouraging, especially if you have started planning and charted out specific next steps for your near future. Even a minor deficiency in your score might lead to rejection, also known as a near-miss.
A near-miss arises when you are a few points below the required score to get into the university that made the conditional offer. But a near miss does not mean it is over. There are three different steps that you can take which will not require you to alter your plans. These three paths give you hope and require minimal effort.
Options If Your Marks Are a Near-Miss
Wait Until Mid-August
Cambridge releases the A-Level results for the academic year in August, after which the universities decide on the conditional offer. They can only reject once these results are out. If your A-level results are not meeting the mark by a bare minimum and the university still needs to be able to fill the seats in the course of your choice, they may reconsider your application and approve it.
Choose to Have Your Results Re-Evaluated
Most students resist sending their papers to be rechecked for fear that their revised scores will be even lower than the initial grades they received. However, if exams of Secondary School students genuinely went well and you are confident that you deserve a higher grade, then you have nothing to worry about.
If your low grades shocked you, there might have been a technical error, so do not hesitate to ask for a re-marking. There are high chances of getting a higher grade.
This measure is especially recommended if your marks are almost as much as needed. When you send your paper for re-marking, the schools will mark the status as Enquiry upon Results (EUR) on your behalf.
Opt for the Clearing Process
If you choose not to send your paper for remarking, choose the Clearing Process for universities and colleges in the United Kingdom. It is a system explicitly intended for students who have yet to receive an unconditional offer from an institution of their choice.
UCAS (Universities and Colleges Admission Services) in the UK provides Clearing as a way to fill any remaining seats by allocating many seats to students with near-miss results. Once this Clearing process commences, you can research universities that have announced course vacancies. Register on the UCAS website to access the regularly listed course vacancies.
Options Available If The Marks Are Not A Near-Miss
The above three methods are apt for those who have narrowly missed the acceptance criteria set by the university or college of their choice. You may consider retaking your IB exams if your score is significantly lower.
Understanding The Concept Of Re-Sitting And If It Is A Good Idea
Re-sitting for the IB exams is typically a standard procedure after the May examinations. These re-sitting examinations are carried out in November each year, per the usual procedure.
It is a myth that colleges and universities look down upon re-sitting for an exam during admissions, especially if you have secured higher grades after re-sitting. Re-sitting and scoring well indicate that the initial low score was circumstantial and has been rectified by you.
Things To Keep In Mind When You Prepare To Re-Sit
You need to take the re-sitting exam as seriously as you would take the term-end examinations. You have enough months to revise all the key topics once again. Ensure that you take a significant number of past papers to prepare yourself to face the re-examination this time thoroughly.
Your last round of examinations should be viewed as a necessary step to gauge your weaknesses and work on them to score well in November.
If you consider re-sitting the exams in November, you should focus and be determined to get significantly higher scores. Colleges and universities acknowledge and appreciate this determination and focus during the application process.
Is Re-Sitting In November Better For Your Chances?
Re-sitting an exam is better than re-marking for various reasons. Re-marking will not create a massive difference in your overall score. There is a 50% chance that you will get the same score you got in the beginning. Re-marking is the best option for you in the short run and if you are short by a bare minimum. However, it makes more sense to retake the exams if external reasons impact your performance.
These reasons can be anything, from family problems, incompetent teachers, and personal health issues to knowing that you would do much better if given another chance.
How Can You Ensure An Excellent Grade On The Retake?
Around 2000 students worldwide retake the exams yearly because they know they can do much better. IB has been suggested several times, and it has been observed that students who actively seek external help score higher than those who do not see any additional help.
There are various reasons for this, such as:
- Limited IB program resources available at school as compared to the vast external resources accessible online,
- If you are not going to a reputed international school in Singapore, there may not be enough support, clarity, and guidance from your school teacher when you might need it, or
- Not having clarity about the rubrics by which your examiners will mark your answers.
Figure out what went wrong and where you need to seek additional help; then, with determination, there is no stopping you.
There may be numerous reasons why you may not be able to perform well in the first go, but that should not make you give up. Use one of the many options at hand and convert your unfavorable score to a favorable one.