IB Exams Be Cancelled


Laila Rahbari

Photo Credit: https://bambootelegraph.com/2020/04/24/may-2020-ib-exams-cancelled/

Sejal Mohan, Reporter

The students in the International Baccalaureate Program at Seminole High School have been anxiously awaiting a decision on whether or not they will have to sit and take IB exams this May. Last year, those in the IB program had their exams canceled due to the Coronavirus, and the students this year hoped the decision would also apply to this year. However, even if COVID-19 cases are far worse now than last year, exams were initially still supposed to go on as usual.

On Feb. 11, the students got an answer: IB exams were canceled for Seminole High School. This means the students’ IB scores will be determined by their Internal Assessment (IA) scores and the predicted scores the teachers decide for each individual. The IB diploma also considers TOK and CAS, which students are required to pass to get their diploma, but the scores of the subjects can vary as long as the student meets the cumulative criteria for the SL and HL subjects. Usually, the exams of these subjects were the majority of the final score, with the Internal Assessment worth about 20% of the score, but canceling exams means the IAs carry the score. 

IB student Divya Srinivasan says “I am honestly very relieved about IB exams being canceled. When speaking with my peers, most of them were also happy that we no longer have to take them. It would have been very unsafe and would have significantly compromised our health if we had to sit for the exams.”

For some students, exams are a relief because they do not have to study up to two years of challenging material for essay tests in May. Furthermore, if they did well on their IAs, they would have secured at least a passing score for the class. On the other hand, some students who did not do as well on their IAs worry about their final score, since they were relying on exams to boost their score. 

Shriya Doranala, another IB student, says “I would have preferred to take exams in person if we had a regular year. I feel like exams could have helped some people do better for college credit, but it would be dangerous considering the virus.”

IAs that have already been submitted cannot be changed, so the students are stuck with the score of the work they have turned in before they completely knew how important the assignment would be. Even if teachers have made the students aware of the possibility of the weight the IA may carry if exams were canceled, this whole school year until now, the school was leaning towards having exams. Still, at this time, there are a few IAs the students at SHS are still working on and hopefully work towards getting the best possible score with the mindset of the assignment defining their score for the subject. 

Another change due to the cancellation of these exams is the in-class curriculums for the rest of the school year, IB classes usually spend the year, especially the second semester, grilling for the exams that May. Since the exams are canceled, classes have to operate a little differently for the rest of the year. Some teachers will still hold mock exams and use those grades for predicted scores, and some teachers will pull back on teaching exam material but still focus on essential skills the students need to learn. In addition, IB students normally get out of school at the beginning of May to prepare for exams. This year, though, SHS’s IB students will get out of school in mid-May.

Whether for the better or worse, IB exams have been canceled for Seminole’s students. Getting closer to the end of their IB experience, they now have to focus on the next chapter of their lives and prepare for their plans after high school.