Thursday, July 7, 2011

IB Scores

In IB, there are a possible 45 points which can be scored; 42 in subjects, and 3 bonus points for the Extended Essay (EE) and Theory of Knowledge (TOK).

Nobody scores that high. Well, except for Sheldon Cooper level brainiacs. It would be akin to scoring a perfect 2400 on the SAT.

42 is what it takes to get a scholarship at McGill. 40 is what it takes to get into Oxford.

I was predicted at 40 in January. I just got my results. My final score is 32.

An 8 point loss. One in each subject: english, french, history, math, biology, and theatre arts. And two in EE/TOK.

To put it quite simply, that is devastating. Heartbreaking. Horrifying.

I know that on this blog, I usually talk about happy things. Romantic books. Funny tv shows. At worse, a bad story or two from my high school days. But, if you would allow, I'd like to talk about something that isn't happy or funny, something that's way worse than some stupid kids being thoughtless or even mean. I'd like to talk about this failure. I need to talk about it. I need to move past it. I'm going crazy here.

There's no way to sugar coat this. This is a big deal. This isn't just one assignment or one test. I can't make up for this later. I can't pretend this doesn't matter. It does. I worked for this for two long years. In fact, if I'm being honest, I worked for this for four years, since the day I set foot in high school. I was invested in this. It mattered to me. It matters to a lot of people. I can't deny that. I wish it weren't true, but it is.

At the end of the day, it doesn't change my life in any real way. I'm still going to go to the same university, in my first choice program, with the best scholarship they offer. But it changes my life in a lot of abstract ways that it will take a long time for me to accept and move past.

First and foremost, it changes what I think of myself. It makes me so angry, so embarrassed, so frustrated, and so disappointed. During all my semesters in high school, I spent most of them earning a 95%+ average. As illustrated by my last post, that was a point of pride for me. It validated me. It made me confident in myself. It allowed me to call myself smart without hesitation. It became a fundamental part of who I thought I was. Now, this doesn't change all of that. But it certainly challenges it. Which is hard to deal with. Very, very, hard to deal with.

It also changes what other people think of me. Each subject mark is sent to each respective teacher. The IB coordinator at my school will see all my marks, including my final score. Now, I only went down one point in each class. My marks are still respectable. I still have a 90%+ average. But my marks aren't stellar. I can still show my face at my old school. I just wish I was able to hold my head a little higher, walk a little straighter.

There's also the matter of telling my friends. As of now, I plan on telling my best friend, and no one else. That'll be hard, since it's the big news right now, but not impossible, since it's summer, and we don't see each other all that often, since everyone is travelling and working. But keeping the secret is only half the battle. I also have to pray that I don't find out anyone else's scores. I really couldn't stand if everyone beat me. I'm not that big a person. I was always top of the class. Though I have undoubtably tumbled far from that spot, I really don't need the evidence to confirm that fact, thank you.

My score also has other ramifications, that it's taking me a while to realize. It casts a shadow on my entire  time in IB, my entire experience in high school. And that really sucks. It's makes me feel more than a little scared for university courses in september.

The place where I lost the most points was my extended essay. My advisor was my absolute favourite teacher. She predicted me at an A, telling me to make a few changes to grammar and formatting, but otherwise telling me it was great. Well, IB didn't think so. They awarded me a C.

I was really proud of that essay. I think it was maybe the best essay I've ever written. And I'm an english student, so that's saying a lot. So, this result makes me doubt myself as a writer and a reader. I wrote the essay about two of my favourite books, Crow Lake by Mary Lawson and the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This mark kind of leaves a stain on those books, which is unfortunate.

On top of that, it makes me doubt my favourite teacher. If she had told me to rewrite the whole essay, I would have. I would have done anything to please her, to meet her standards. But she didn't think anything was wrong. She loved it. If she was wrong about this, what else was she wrong about? She's one of the main reasons I think I'll succeed with english in my life. What if she was wrong about that too?

Perhaps the biggest fallout is how this changes my perspective and my beliefs. I thought that if I worked as hard as I could and gave all my effort, I could achieve almost anything. Well, look, I couldn't even achieve this. That's hard to recover from. I always believed that my hard work would pay off. But it didn't. What does that mean for my future?

Thanks for reading, whoever is currently with me. Thanks for letting work through this a little bit with you. I'm just another step closer. It's going to take a while to get over this. I've been experiencing a cycle of emotions, a grieving process, if you will. First, shock. I couldn't believe it was that low. Then anger, at IB, at my teachers, at everyone. Then bitterness. One day, I know I'll find acceptance. But that day is not today. And I don't think it'll be tomorrow either.


  1. I have been debating whether or not to leave a comment on this post...
    But can I just say that hard work does pay off!? It does. I had a very similar experience when I was in early undergrad in university- i.e. being extremely let-down by certain scores and marks when I had previously been acing certain subjects (English!). It really did hurt, but it kind of pushed me in writing and to explore other subjects. It took me a long while to really find my niche and style in writing.
    For what it's worth, my two cents. :)

  2. Go for a re-mark - some have gone up 5 marks in subjects - nothing to lose.

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  4. Michelle-Thanks for commenting. It means a lot.

    I'm moving on from the whole thing, slowly but steadily. It gets better every day. It is no longer the first thing I think of when I wake up, but the fourth or fifth, so that's progress.

    I hope you're right--the hard work better pay off!!

    Anonymous-Yeah, not really my style. The one time I requested a remark at school I totally regretted it, so I just don't think it's a good idea. But I will admit, it tempts me just the littlest bit.

    Joe-Hey, thanks for my first spam comment! I know, I should delete it, but I just find it so hilarious! And it seems so nice, until you get to the stupid link that I'm sure will lead to some virus.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.


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