Our Class of 2023 Shares the Key to Success for IB

Stay Positive is the Key to Success

During the past two weeks, we have been talking to several Class of 2023 graduates asking them to share the key to their outstanding success at IB. Our graduates highlight not just the hours of study required to be successful but also mental, emotional and practical tips on how to be a high performer at IB.

The insights shared below chart a path to success including openness and strong communications between teachers, students and family, enhancing time management and study skills, developing resilience through challenging projects, sports and outside interests and finally taking time to relax and recharge as students move towards their goals.  

You can read each of the individual insights from our graduates below but we kick off our roadmap for success with Mr Stewart Paterson, our IB Coordinator who emphasised the importance of creating a positive environment at the beginning of the study journey.  


Stewart Paterson, our IB Coordinator 

Reflecting upon the previous academic year and the Class of 2023, there are many academic highlights and examples of dedication and achievement from our students and teaching staff at Dulwich College Suzhou. One of the most significant but not always most talked about areas of focus that helped create an environment for success was the investment of time and energy in getting to know each other.

In my first meeting with the Year 13s, I challenged them to support me in getting to know them as quickly as possible by sharing their successes in and out of school and coming to me with any challenges they face. Their openness and willingness to communicate led to an excellent atmosphere and the foundations of a great working relationship between their cohort and the Dulwich College Suzhou staff. The investment of time in getting to know each other outside of academics can often be challenging in a school setting, but I cannot highlight enough how much of a positive impact it had on the one year I spent with our Class of 2023.


Jessica Z,Class of 2023 student

Support from staff and self management

To me, successfully completing the IB journey depended on two main elements – motivation and support. I am predominantly driven by the internal motivation to a) learn more about all of the interesting things we study, where that interest was often fuelled by seeing how the different subjects apply to real life, and b) maintain the part of my identity characterised by meeting expectations of me as a student.

I also owe a lot to my support network of teachers, friends, and family. My parents gave me unconditional encouragement and never interfered with my studies, so I could be free from needing to do things their way or do well to impress them. My friends and classmates gave me positive on-the-ground support; My teachers, in addition to giving us knowledge, helped make everything seem possible.

Personally, our IB Coordinator gave me great counsel during some of our most stressful times – using his incredible empathy and logical thinking, he made me realise that my biggest antagonist was often my own mind.


Ella H,Class of 2023 student

Time management and sports

It is said that a good beginning is half the work done. Procrastination is sometimes the worst enemy, and the reason behind it is often the pursuit of perfection.  As long as you start it and get into action, if there are any questions or challenges, you can always try to find solutions or book a meeting time with teachers to ask for advice, and things will eventually work out.

In my experience, I have learned a lot through playing golf. Competitive sports have taught me that ordinary and even failures are the norm in life, while the moments of glory are often fleeting. Through constant honing, I have developed good time management skills and gradually gained a clear picture of my future plans. At the same time, the process of participating in sports has also allowed me to relax and unwind. I would highly recommend trying a sport that interests you as it could provide you with valuable life lessons. Regardless of where your future takes you, your experiences in sports and sportsmanship will follow you and shape who you become.


Jiwon H,Class of 2023 student

Resilience cultivation helps me to shine on IB

Completing the IB has been incredibly rewarding as it helped me cultivate resilience. The IB program demands numerous assignments and tests, often resulting in grades that fell short of my expectations. However, I learned not to be overly frustrated or disheartened. Instead, I focused on sticking to my daily plans and fulfilling immediate tasks. As I mentioned earlier, the workload of IB program is consistently heavy. To tackle this challenge, I strived to choose my tasks wisely and concentrate on them. Among the methods I found most effective was planning. Rather than scheduling every minute, I discovered that creating a daily checklist of tasks proved to be more beneficial. When dealing with subjects that required long time for study, such as mathematics, I extended my planning to encompass a week. Breaking down this plan, I then determined the daily portions required to complete the entire schedule. 

The style of my parents’ support has primarily been mental and emotional, as they have always believed in me and encouraged me to pursue my interests. Rather than actively intervening or dictating my choices, they have engaged in conversations with me about my future and helped me explore my interests.

When it comes to teachers, Mr Sheen, my physics teacher, has made a significant impact on me. He not only assisted me in solving challenging physics questions but also frequently explained additional and more advanced concepts during our lessons. I am truly grateful for his support and the enriching environment he created.

Sophia K, Class of 2023 student

Talking about EE and Math

For my journey on completion of the Extended Essay (EE) and the achievement of a high grade, I would like to emphasize the efforts not only put by me but also my supervisor Dr Jones. He gave me specific details on how I should fix certain parts as I had a number of revisions. Overall, I remember time management was something I had to really focus on, to balance time for working and resting. In the end, I successfully managed to finish a high-quality Extended Essay.

Furthermore, mathematics analysis and approaches HL was also a challenging subject. I would like to say thanks to Ms LA who gave us a wide range of resources that could improve the critical thinking part of paper 3, which was more than just past papers. Our whole class got trained how to approach unfamiliar questions, helping me to achieve a high grade overall in my finals.


Cong C, Class of 2023 student

Talking about long-term efforts

A tip for IB is to finish the IAs and EE early, so you don't have to worry about them later, they are also the component that you can control most so make sure to do well on them. IB is a long process. You can do well in the beginning but still need to work hard to maintain that status, if you did badly you can still catch up in the later part, so you have to keep up to it. 


Erin K, Class of 2023 student

Practical tips for EE and Maths

For Extended Essay (EE), the planning process was certainly very important. For instance, I spent great time and effort on the literature review as well as methodology for my English Extended Essay. After that, I had multiple meetings with my supervisor to ask specific questions and receive relevant feedback to make sure that my essay is on right track at all times. I believe it is also quite important to not attempt to write the essay in one go - you should take time to edit the essay so that you could point out the mistakes or come up with a better argument/idea while you progress on your essay.

Regarding maths, I found error logs quite useful - I had a separate note that had questions I got wrong to review them before every assessment.

The IB is not just a study-based curriculum but an opportunity for students to develop essential skills for life. Each graduate has found their own path, developing their unique character and a toolbox of strategies designed not only for creating outstanding IB results but to serve them well as they face new opportunities and challenges upon entering the world’s top universities. 

At Dulwich College Suzhou, we aim to enable our students to have the skills and motivation to make a positive difference in the world. All the key insights shared by our Class of 2023 including perseverance, strong will, early planning originate from a strong sense of positivity. “Long after I forget the academic successes of the Class of 2023, I will remember them for the impression they made on their peers, their teachers, and the wider College community,” said Mr Paterson, “I am equally proud of their ability to create positive working relationships and bring a smile to those around them as I am their academic success. Undoubtedly, they will go on to find personal contentment and happiness alongside professional success.”

Congratulations again to the Class of 2023!