Student feature – students from the Class of 2020 share their experiences of studying at SISHK and the IBDP.
Kristy Chan – Class of 2020, IBDP
- Co-President, Community Council
- SISHK IBDP Scholarship recipient
Q. How long have you been studying at SISHK?
Since PY1, so 14 years.
Q. What advice do you have for students looking to study the IBDP?
Be organised! Learn how to manage your time well and be mentally prepared for the challenge of balancing six subjects as well as Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay and other miscellaneous IB projects!
Q. What is the highlight of your IB journey at the school in the last two years?
Definitely the CAS part – specifically our Beijing trip where we volunteered at and raised funds for a local orphanage. Being able to talk to the kids, interact with them and hopefully made their day a little better was truly a lesson in humility.
Q. What is your studying strategy?
I think I study differently for different subjects. With subjects like Maths I mostly do practice papers after ensuring I’ve learned the concepts well in class, whereas with Humanities subjects like History, I put a lot of effort into creating my own notes rather than relying on external resources. Being able to really internalise the knowledge and thus generate your own notes – almost as if you’re writing your own, customised textbook – helps to embed the information in my mind.
Q. What are some of the mistakes that you have made that you would not make again?
Definitely over-focusing on certain aspects of the course. For example, while submitting my Internal Assessments(IAs) for Maths and Biology, every single detail worried me almost to the point of excess! I certainly would have tried to enjoy the process of undertaking my own investigation in each subject more, if I wasn’t so focused on every detail.
Q. How did the teachers support you during the IB programme?
There’s no hand-holding here as all students are expected to be independent, inquisitive learners, but that’s not to say that the teachers aren’t supportive. The very opposite – my teachers have guided me through every step of the process, staying back after school hours to go over a particularly difficult concept or reading every one of the 50 essays that I sent while revising.
Q. How would you describe the student life and student leadership opportunities in SISHK?
Vibrant and rich. I’ve been so lucky as to be a part of our school’s community council, which works to bridge the gap between the school community and outside world, notably through service and charity work. I think student leadership brings a holistic aspect to student life at SISHK and really enriches my learning experience at school. Not only do I gain academic information, but I learn how to communicate with others, to plan ahead, how to organise events – these are skills that I will need later in life.
Q. How do the IBDP mock exam and its predicted grade (PG) help you with university admissions?
Mock exams and PGs are really helpful in admissions as it offers a cumulative indicator of where I am at the moment. Mock exams were a good run-up to the real exam as it mimicked the real exam conditions down to the very second, taking away some of the fear and anxiety on the real day.
Q. Can you share more about your university admissions experience?
University admissions was a stressful and yet exciting experience. Stressful because it does seem like several years’ worth of hard work seems to be resting on that sole application, and exciting because it marks our first proper foray into the ‘real world’, so to speak, where what we study and where we go will likely have lifelong consequences. I felt supported by the school throughout this process, including the narrowing down of regions and schools that I was applying to, down to the very last word on my personal statements and essays that I sent to each university.
Q. What is the one thing that you will miss after leaving SISHK?
My friends, of course! But aside from that – I think I’ll miss the structured life and sense of rhythm that SISHK really provided me. As I’ve been here ever since PY1, it was the most natural thing in the world to progress from one level to the next. I knew every year that I would move on to the next year, and the school would be the same school that I’ve known for 14 years. So it’s the sense of certainty and the safety net that the school has provided me with, that I will miss most.
Q. What are you planning to study after IB?
I will be studying law at university, and hope to pursue postgraduate education in a related field.
Q. What is one part of the school that you would like to see preserved and not changed?
The teaching style and small class sizes. Most of my classes were very small and the teachers were able to give every individual a sufficient amount of attention and really paid attention to the quality of work that we were handing in, giving individualised feedback to every person. I hope that this continues and that every student finds learning at SISHK a joy.
Q. What is your advice for your juniors?
SISHK offers the best of both worlds – a rigorous, academic education but supported by a holistic school culture. While IB was tough, I learned so much – not only in terms of academic knowledge but about my life management skills, what I want to do and be in the future – and I think I’m a better person for it.