Student feature – students from the Class of 2020 share their experiences of studying at SISHK and the IBDP.
Jiang Ruolin – Class of 2020, IBDP
- Head of House, Lee Kuan Yew
- Advisor, Audiovisual Team
- SISHK Achievement Award recipient
- Year Head Commendation Award recipient
Q. How long have you been studying at SISHK?
I joined SISHK in Secondary 2, so I have been in this school for five years in total.
Q. What advice do you have for students looking to study the IBDP?
I feel like the most important thing in IB is to manage your time wisely. Because once you start to procrastinate, your workload will definitely start to pile up and it would be difficult to catch up. IB is not as scary as it seems, there are definitely times when you can relax and have fun (e.g. CAS trip). There will also be months (typically from end of the year in DP1 to first term of DP2) that you will struggle a bit, but trust yourself that you can make it through. See it as an opportunity for you to step out of your comfort zone and grow.
Q. What is the highlight of your IB journey at the school in the last two years?
I think the highlight of my IB journey would be the time I spent studying with my friends and teachers. Although the workload may be high sometimes, seeking help from them really made the IB journey less difficult and tiring. Another highlight of the IB journey would be the DP1 and DP2 camps as well as the CAS trip. These are the times that we took a break from the academics and bonded together as a cohort.
Q. What is your studying strategy?
The most important thing to do if you want to do well in IB is time management. I am sure our teachers have mentioned it several times, but it is definitely the key to doing well in IB. Start using Google Calendar (or if you would like to use a planner, but I found Google calendar much more efficient) and block out times for you to review the topics that will be covered in the test and preview your classwork. Also, keep on doing IB past papers and go back to review the questions that you got wrong is another study strategy that I found very useful.
Q. What are some of the mistakes that you have made that you would not make again?
The mistake I made is related to my university applications. Since I was applying to the US, I had to spend time on the standardised tests like the SATs and the ACT. But I left the standardised tests to the beginning of DP2, and that was when the workload piled up. It was a difficult time to balance both IB and US applications. Another mistake would be not reading the English/Chinese texts in S4/DP1 summer holiday (depends on when your teachers teach the texts) I feel by reading the texts before the teachers started teaching helped a lot in understanding the texts, especially Shakespeare.
Q. How did the teachers support you during the IB programme?
Teachers are always there when you need help. My Math teacher helped me a lot when I was struggling with Math HL. We had extra lessons during my free period or lunch time. He would answer all my questions and explain the concepts that I don’t understand. It applies to other subjects as well; the teachers will always help you when you reach out to them. A lot of the teachers also hosted smaller discussion lessons during recess or lunch time for people who need help before the end-of-year examinations.
Q. How would you describe the student life and student leadership opportunities in SISHK?
There are lots of student leadership opportunities in SISHK, and I strongly recommend participating in the elections for Head of House or leadership groups such as Student Council, Athletic Council, Community Council, Audio Visual Committee, and Muze. These groups will make your student life at SISHK much more interesting and you will find a group of people who have similar interests as you. Having the leadership experience will allow you to learn a lot of things that you will never learn in the classroom.
Q. How do the IBDP mock exam and its predicted grade help you with university admissions?
I feel like the IBDP mock exams allow me to know how prepared I am for the final exam. The predicted grade allows me to make a short list of Universities (10-15 schools) from my long list (25 schools). I can look at the IB predicted score range in their admitted students and eliminate some schools that I under-qualify or over-qualify.
Since I am mainly applying to the United States, the IB predicted scores affects my choice of University more than the actual score. In other words, my school transcript and progress reports are definitely more important than my actual IB final report because the US gives unconditional offers. However, if you are applying to UK universities or Hong Kong, Canada, your actual IB scores matter much more than your progress reports because they only give conditional offers.
Q. Can you share more about your university admissions experience?
For the US university applications, your extra-curricular and your essays are very important. I would say your test scores and your predicted grade are the tickets that get you into the admission game, but your essays and your extracurriculars are the things that get you the offer. Also, be prepared that you will rewrite your essays several times before submission, so start to brainstorm for topics as early as possible!
Q. What is the one thing that you will miss after leaving SISHK?
I think I would definitely miss the friendly atmosphere in SISHK and all my amazingly supportive friends and teachers. I will also miss the long lines inside our canteen during lunchtime and students laughing and running around in school during recess. I will miss spending time with my leadership groups.
Q. What and where are you planning to study after IB?
I am planning to attend the University of California Los Angeles studying either Biochemistry or Microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics on the pre-med/pre-health track.
Q. What is one part of the school that you would like to see preserved and not changed?
I would choose our plaza and the tables outside of the library because that is where my friends and I meet every day in school.
Q. What is your advice for your juniors?
I would say that this is one of the greatest international schools in Hong Kong and you will have a great time here! The teachers in our school are super supportive and nice; the students in our school are all so welcoming and hardworking. We live in a close-knit community and have friends who help each other and teachers who genuinely care about their students 😊