In the previous articles, I emphasized the importance of writing your personal statement or essays - a requirement for university applications, during the summer vacation.

If the university conducts entrance examinations and interviews, you should also make sufficient preparations during the summer.

Doing this will ease your load once the new academic year starts.

Moreover, completing your personal statement early has its benefits.

Once school resumes, your teachers can review your work, offering feedback and suggestions for improvement to enhance your document.

Also, your teachers will write recommendation letters on your behalf. If you share your personal statement with them earlier, they can gain a better understanding of your aspirations.

This knowledge will enable them to write more accurate recommendation letters, possibly adding information that could boost your university application.

Another aspect to consider in planning your summer activities relates to your predicted grade from the school. If it's not as high as you'd like, you can use the summer vacation to improve it.

For example, writing more essays for your teacher to correct can demonstrate your potential for improvement.

There was once a student who was lagging in economics. I suggested he spend the summer catching up, working on past test questions, and then having his teacher correct them.

In doing so, he was able to significantly improve his performance in the subject.

First semester of the second academic year: September to December

In the first semester of IBDP 2, students often experience their busiest period.

They need to dive into the university application process, submit their internal assessments and extended essays, and the school continually adjusts students' predicted grades based on their test results. All these tasks seem to pile up suddenly.

Many students have shared their experiences during this period, describing it as a time when they felt they could barely breathe. The overwhelming amount of homework and responsibilities left them feeling as though there was no time to spare.

However, as mentioned earlier, if students effectively use their summer vacation to prepare, coping with this busy period becomes much easier.

The primary focus of this semester is applying to universities, and students must perform this task well. At this time, universities will also start giving students offers.

Top UK universities (non-Oxbridge) often base their offers on students' predicted grades and personal statements, rather than waiting for the final grades. In essence, if a student receives an offer at this time, they are halfway through the door of their desired university.

Therefore, students shall prioritize university applications this semester. Of course, achieving ideal results in the end is equally crucial.

Second semester of the second academic year: January to May

May is the period when most IB students in Hong Kong take the IBDP exam (with the exception of Australian International school students which they take in November), so students should devote this semester to preparing for the examination.

While it's natural to feel nervous about the exams, some students report that this semester has gradually become more relaxed. With all the papers and university application procedures completed, compared to the previous three semesters, this semester doesn't have as many tasks to handle. As such, students can focus on reviewing and sprinting for the final exam.

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