When an IB Chemistry student speaks

When an IB Chemistry student speaks there are lots of reasons why we should listen . .

Learning is social and collaborative

“My friends and I have group studies where we clarify each other’s questions, and we have even started a Skype IB Chemistry Chat where everyone posted questions like in Moodle.”

“Having worked with my partners, I can truly say that I whole-heartedly enjoy their company as we tackle the most perplexing conversions and instructions together. Working together has truly sped up my learning process, because I learn so much from sharing ideas with others. Not only have I ended up being more informed by being around such positive influences, I have also ended up making amazing friends for life.”

Changing the way you learn

“A learner cannot be successful in a subject as complex as Chemistry with simple memorization and superficial understanding; a learner must develop a strong conceptual foundation and be able to apply that knowledge to new situations. “

“At the beginning I was passive learner and did not reach the comprehensive and deep level of understanding that I had hoped for, which was often reflected in my work. As I grew, I began to realize the significance of asking good questions. This came through in the infinitely more questions that I asked during class, taking time during breaks to personally ask questions, and posting more on the Moodle. I endeavored to be more of an active learner and I feel it has lead to a greater improvement in terms of my work and the level of understanding that I have. With my improvements, I had created a more solid foundation from which to build on by myself. From there, I tried to become more independent in my learning and take greater periods of time to contemplate the ‘how’ and ‘why’ aspects of an idea rather than merely understanding the ‘what’.”

“To me, one of the hardest aspects of the IB Chemistry exam is the extended response question, which requires not only a thorough conceptual understanding of the science, but also a sound, creative approach and an ability to apply knowledge to new and unfamiliar situations. At the beginning of the year, I realized one of my main weaknesses was how to approach and apply my knowledge to the more complex (and daunting!) open-ended question. Throughout the course of a year and after a myriad of opportunities to practice, I feel I have become a ‘thinker’ in regards to approaching these problems. I have ascertained a technique to apply thinking skills to these questions, and I believe this is demonstrated by the general upward trend in my grades.”

“IB Chemistry is the most challenging, class I have taken in HS. However, I believe that with greater challenges comes the potential for even greater rewards and I candidly acknowledge that through class I have learned and developed more as a ‘knower’ than in any other class. Not only have I immensely broadened my knowledge in the subject area, but I have also grown an appreciation for the importance and implications of knowledge, especially in terms of deeper conceptual understanding. “

“I have had the opportunity and resources to conduct real lab work in the manner I chose to, giving me the framework and confidence for more research later on. In these respects, I feel prepared helped for the many challenges that lie in my future and fostered an unquenchable thirst to strive for more and to always seek perfection.”

“Adaptability was the hand that raised me up no matter how many times I fell. Clichés aside, I truly believe that it was essential in both my personal and academic growth. As I became more and more adaptable, I found that my critical thinking skills also began to blossom, because to adapt to many situations, I had to think on my feet.”


“I love to learn. I wouldn’t be in IB Chemistry in the first place if I did not have a genuine desire to explore new depths of knowledge. Whether we venture into the theoretical realm or examine the more practical applications I feel like there is always something more worth investigating and I try to take advantage of every opportunity I have to do so. Accordingly, I look forward to every new chemistry lesson, lab, or even test as a way to inquire into new knowledge and build on my prior understanding.”

Taking notice of what is happening in the world

“One of the aspects of IB chemistry that I particular enjoy is the blog. Whenever I came across an interesting scientific fact, or phenomena, or piece of news, I would file it away for reference in my mind, thinking, “Could I use this for my next blog post????” Whenever I noticed something science-related in my own life, I was driven by my own sense of curiosity and wonder to found out more about it. But I didn’t do the research just for the sake of doing the assignment; I often researched a topic even if I wasn’t planning on using it for the post. Through this sense of curiosity, I not only gained in depth knowledge on the topics, but also about lots of other things that had I had happened to see or experience, such as nail polish that changes color when in contact with UV rays, and why bananas cause other fruit to ripen at an accelerated rate.”

“One of the great things about chemistry is its relevance to the real world. For example, not only are kinetics and equilibrium necessary concepts, but they also hold relevance in determining the effectiveness of real world operations such as the Haber Process and Contact Process.”

“In the Chemical Paradigms blog I make connections with current events, and my other classes. In my reply to the post about chemical warfare, I applied what we were doing in AP Language while also applying the science to the current situation in Libya. I think making the connection between English and Chemistry – two subjects that don’t often overlap – demonstrates a breadth of knowledge in my academic work. Moreover, this context of the chemistry helped me get a better understanding of the world around me.”

“The EE not only allowed me to do research and analysis on a topic of global significance, but through my experimental work, I was able to gain firsthand experience in doing ‘real experimentation’. It gave me a taste of what it takes to be a real scientist.”

“In writing my Extended Essay, I realized that my topic touched on many different topics and concepts we had covered in class as well as ones that we would be doing in the future. This helped me to see the many ties between Chemistry’s numerous branches and fascinated me as to how much of what we cover can often be seen reflected throughout our daily lives. “

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