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sabine hutcheson bioSabine Hutcheson is a British-trained school teacher, with over a decade’s teaching experience in Switzerland, UK and neighbouring France. She has taught a variety of subjects to children from 5 to 18 years old, as well as to adults. After working as an Educational Consultant at TutorsPlus, Sabine is now Head of Sixth Form at the British School of Geneva.

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Here we are, the last stretch before the dreaded final exams. You have worked hard (hopefully) for the last two years and now your efforts are going to pay off. Many of you students out there will be given study leave to revise for your exams, but how should you organise yourself efficiently in order to maximise your time and performance?

First of all, let us understand that no amount of last minute revision will replace consistent work over the entire course. Having said that, if you haven’t felt confident so far or feel that you are ready to tackle those tricky bits, it isn’t too late to put some of it right. Last minute stage frights are good as they give you the boost of energy you need to make it through the final 3 months. The key is mainly organisation. For each subject, list the topics you need to cover and then for each topic, list the sub-topic. This will be enough to get you started as you will have broken down what you need to cover into small, manageable chunks.  This also makes it easier to find and work examples for each subtopic. For example, in Physics, lay out the formulae and expand them to show how they connect to each concept, emphasising similarities and differences of when they are applicable. To make sure you have understood how and why to use a particular formula, introduce one change in the example and see how this affects the equation. In History, it can be a list of key events, in which case you could draw a diagram of how they are connected, then use this information to answer a practice question, using 1 or 2 sources for reference.

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English and International Curricula – leading up to secondary school

In English-speaking classrooms at international schools throughout Switzerland, students will be following the International Baccalaureate curriculum. This begins at age 5, with the IB Curriculum Primary Years Programme (PYP), designed to equip children up to the age of 11 with all they need to begin the Middle Years Programme (MYP).  A large proportion of students continue studying the MYP until the age of 16, when they will have completed their secondary education. Then they will make the decision whether to go on to study the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB DP) or perhaps to switch to the English curriculum’s A Levels, depending their preferred style of learning.

Secondary school: GCSE or MYP?

Although many students and their parents are aware that there is a choice to be made between the IB DP and A-Levels following secondary school, fewer look critically at the option of MYP versus GCSE. In Switzerland in international schools, many students do continue the MYP until they are 16. However, some students, particularly those looking ahead to a place at an international university, may opt out of the MYP for the more structured iGCSEs.  The choice depends not only on the offering of the school, but the future plans of the student and their ability and study habits. Knowing what kind of student you are dealing with can be the difference between success and failure in choosing which curriculum they should follow.