The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Stress and Workload for Juniors in IB


During their junior year at WIS, students start the International Baccalaureate program (IB).  At the same time, they are also taking standardized tests to get into the colleges they would like to attend. The workload that is put on these students is an enormous burden and many students struggle in the IB program. Juniors are finding it hard to adapt, and a few want to stop taking the IB due to the difficulty and increased workload. In 10th grade, the workload is challenging, but manageable. However, as soon as the transition between 10th and 11th grade is made, the workload becomes very tough to handle. Many students have high levels of stress as they are also participating in other activities outside of school that require hours of practice and dedication.

The IB program is a two year program that is primarily aimed at students from the ages 16 to 18 years old. The program is recognized by universities worldwide and is one of the top programs for university preparation. However, certain cons include: the length of study, the heavy workload, and much less flexibility. Students around the WIS campus were interviewed about their views on the workload and stress given by the challenging IB course and a phrase that was repeated multiple times was “it’s just way too hard.”

Junior Phoebe Conway talked about the SAT, a standardized test commonly used all over America for students to apply to the colleges they want. “Personally, I think the SAT is an invalid and unreliable measure of intelligence. I think the stress American schools and colleges put on students to do well on the SAT, when in reality it doesn’t measure much more than how well you take standardized tests, is ridiculous.” Phoebe feels the stress impacting her through her peers as well. Due to the high stress levels, she knows that the SAT is measured by almost all colleges and doing well on it is a must. “Not only is stress put on us by colleges and high schools but by the notion among peers that if you don’t do well on you SAT, you don’t have a good chance of getting into a good college.” Like many others, Phoebe thinks that the levels of stress on Juniors are just too high.

Not only is the SAT strenuous, the entire IB program according to most Juniors is a “living hell.” Junior David Somay discussed his first few months in the IB, “the IB program is as difficult as it can be. Last year I thought I was stressed enough, but this year I’m really learning what being stressed means.” The levels of workload have clearly changed and the transition is challenging for many. “I’m often staying up late at night to do homework and at the same time try to study for my upcoming SATs. Life isn’t easy at all right now.” If the stress levels for Juniors at WIS are preventing a student from having a life outside of school, it is surely unhealthy and must be managed.

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Although the Juniors are being overloaded, they do have some help from faculty. “Once they enter 11th grade, they receive more prep sessions so the college counselors can walk them through the process,”  Beta Eaton, the Dean of Students at WIS said. Not only do they receive help from college counselors, but they also receive attention from Ms. Eaton to check in with them. “I talk to the juniors formally with interviews and I even sometimes go to Davies to check in with the students and see how they are managing their stress.” Even though stress levels are high, students seem to be receiving help from college counselors and Ms. Eaton.

The drastic change from 10th grade is extremely hard for most of these juniors and some simply don’t have the capability to manage their stress yet. The aid being given to these students is not enough as students in the IB are having trouble managing their classes. A major part of being a teenager is being able to try new things, but with workload and stress at an all time high, this is almost impossible for any 11th grader.

By Patrick Bousquet

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