A Guide to the IB Resources – What do they comprise, how to use them & other things about them
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What is known by IB Students as the “IB Resources” comprises mainly 10 folders, these being:
1. IB Books
2. IB Documents
3. IB Extended Essay Exemplars
4. IB Guides
5. IB Past Papers (Organized by Subject)
6. IB Past Papers (Organized by Year)
7. IB QuestionBanks
8. IB Specimen Papers
9. IB Subject Reports
10. Teacher Support Material (TSM)
Briefly, the contents of each one will be described below:
1) This one is self-explanatory, mainly there are Books specially prepared for the IB syllabuses of each subject, we could say we have most books for all the mainstream subjects and some for the not-so mainstream ones. Also, there are IB-related miscellaneous books. Always check here before requesting a book. And have in mind that if it’s not already there, it’s most definitely not available.
2) In the IB Documents folder you’ll find, in ALL available languages, the (now deprecated) Handbook of Procedures for the Diploma Programme, Forms and Cover Sheets, Answer Booklet Guides, Assessment Access Requirements, Conduct of IB Diploma Programme Examinations, Coordinator's Notes, Data & Formula Booklets, Diploma Program Candidates Documents, Diploma Programme Assessment Procedures, eCourseWork User Guide & Newsletter, Exam Paper Style Samples, Examination Schedules, Examination Sessions Stationery, Examples of New Style Sources, External Whistleblowing Policy, Grade Boundaries, IB Complaints Procedure, IB Financial & Annual Reviews, IB Journal of Teaching Practice, IB PPT Templates, IB Statistical Bulletin, TOP SECRET IB DOCUMENTS - PASSWORD PROTECTED and Use of Calculators in Examinations. Practically everything with some few folder exceptions have been ripped-off from the (now decommissioned) IB OCC (IB Online Curriculum Centre). The most important document which all students should be aware of and should refer to if they have any doubts is aforementioned Diploma Programme Assessment Procedures, this document has all the information you should know regarding procedures in the DP.
3) In the IB Extended Essay Exemplars you’ll find graded (and commented in some cases) Extended Essay Samples from top, middle and low scores (so you know what to do and what not to do). Also, you’ll find the IB Extended Essay Reports which are documents that IB prepares every session in which they point out all the strengths and weaknesses of that session’s Extended Essays. Finally, in this folder are included 3 official IB CD’s containing the following publications: 50 Excellent Extended Essays (2008), 50 More Excellent Extended Essays (2011) and 50 Excellent Theory of Knowledge Essays (2010).
4) In the IB Guides folder you’ll find all the available Subject Guides in all available languages, as provided by IB. IB Guides include the syllabi of a subject including other important details such as assessment information. Essentially any information you (or more likely your teacher) should need for a subject should be found in this document.
5) Thanks to a script written in Python originally by /u/batmansmaster, then improved by @pants#7752 we have, organized by subject, all the IB Past Papers and Markschemes.
6) These are the all-time known IB Past Papers and Markschemes organized by year, as IB provides them.
7) Currently there are 4 versions of QuestionBanks. Versions 1, 2 and 3 are in .exe format meaning you could install it in a Windows PC (or in MAC using third-party software). Version 4 QuestionBanks are now available in a zipped folder; to use it just download the zip, extract it and then click on "index.html", then navigate like any other site, be sure to check the "Important Message". The aforementioned .exe programs and the zip file are available in this folder. The options to sort out questions and create tests are not available due to them being handled only by IB's servers and it's not possible to natively replicate those features.
Basically, in general terms, QuestionBanks are a collection of past questions organized by subject, year, topic and subtopic whose latest version, currently fourth, is an invaluable resource for students to study and practice. Each QuestionBank version comprises a set of years, generally the ones relevant to the current syllabus, and a version 4 QB doesn't necessarily contain questions from versions 1 to 3.
8) When the IB changes a syllabus (releases a new guide for a subject) they create Specimen Papers to reflect those changes. The changes include new content being added (like M16 sciences) or the time/mark allocation being changed (M17 HL Mathematics). This is done so that teachers and students familiarize with what to expect for the new syllabus as no past papers are available which contain said new additions. You’ll find these Specimen Papers in this folder.
9) IB Subject Reports are documents that the IB writes after each exam session which are powerful tools that coordinators and teachers use to see, in a very general way, the performance of the students in that exam session. Also, the Grade Boundaries for each subject is shown. You’ll find these documents in this folder in all available languages.
10) In the Teacher Support Material (TSM) you'll find mainly Internal Assessments (IAs) graded and commented by external IB examiners. Other relevant (for a teacher) generalities of the subject can be found here as well. These TSM pages are provided in our TSM page in all available languages for all available subjects, as provided by IB.