International Baccalaureate Program Smacks Students in the Face

The workload piles higher and higher for junior IB student Dante Bastien.

Kate Breeden

The workload piles higher and higher for junior IB student Dante Bastien.

North Atlanta’s IB program is the hardest and most rigorous program that our school has to offer. When school first started this year, the program’s students felt great about it, with grades in the high 100s and 90s. Now, it seems as if the IB teachers have decided to drench students in work by giving a nearly insane amount of work — that’s due in a short amount of time — and that’s for several classes.

During current IB juniors’ sophomore year, we would always hear students constantly complaining about the daunting workload of the IB program, but for some reason, more than 100 students still decided to push through the mentally draining curriculum. The program allows students to take a minimum of six first-year college level classes. To get the IB diploma, students must go through rigorous courses that ultimately end in several mental breakdowns, panic attacks, all-nighters and breathes of relief after looking at passing test scores.

Current IB juniors were cruising with the program all until teachers began piling on the work starting in late October. The introduction of the Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge presentations have became the focal point of attention for students. An approximately 3,000-word essay — which has a strict rubric — is on a subject of the student’s choice and is due at the end of the junior year.

The IB program is not for students that really procrastinate on assignments. There is a huge learning curve in time management for students like me, a recovering professional procrastinator. Weeks consisting of three- or four-projects due in one week for a few classes are a commonality for the general IB student.

The IB program is an uphill battle that is only beginning. The students are now getting into the full shift of the program that is high risk, high reward. Opinions are mixed about the program, many students saying it’s hard and a large amount saying it’s relatively okay. But the fact is, the workpile is only just beginning. They say there’s light at the end of the tunnel. But for us juniors, it’s still pretty dark in here.