At the end of their 2-year Diploma Programme, Ressu students will take part in final exams in each of their 6 subjects. The IB DP coordinator registers the students for the exam in October of their DP2 year. At this point, the candidates have to pay the registration fee (about 600 euro) to the IB Organization.
The exam session lasts for about three weeks in May for northern hemisphere schools. There are 2-3 separate tests, ‘papers’, in each subject and they are usually distributed over several days. The IB organization sets the exams, sends them to the schools, and is responsible for marking the papers. The teachers do not see the students’ final exam answers, as they are mailed right away to the examiners.
There are both morning exams and afternoon exams. It is often the case that the student takes an exam (or two) in one subject in the morning and then another in another subject in the afternoon. There is only a short lunch break between them, and no time for studying. Therefore it is vital that students have good stress-management skills and have learned to really understand their subject. Mere last-minute cramming will not work. The exam paper duration varies from 45 minutes to 2.5 hours.
However, only about 45-80% of the final grade depends on the written final exams only. In addition, students are also assessed using in-school assessment tasks in each subject. These are either externally assessed by IB examiners or marked by teachers and then moderated by the IB. For example, in all language subjects, students take oral tests before the final exams, so also their speaking skills are assessed.
IB students can access the results of their IB Diploma online, on the same date, 6 July, every year by using their own passcodes. The IB Diploma Programme is known for its rigorous assessment. Usually only about 80% of the candidates worldwide pass successfully and get their IB diploma. The successful candidates need to have a minimum score of 24 points, plus have adequate grades in each subject and have completed all assessment components.
The diploma documents are printed and sent to schools by the end of August. This is why our IB students have their graduation either on the last Friday of August or the first Friday in September, depending on the year.
If a student fails the Diploma, we can usually arrange a retake session in November (but only for our own students). Graduates who pass but are unhappy about their grades normally have the option to retake a year later, next May. Students can pay the IB to have their work re-marked - Enquiry Upon Results - if they suspect it has not been done correctly. The money is refunded if the re-mark ends in a grade change. The grades can also go down as a result of a re-mark.