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Alterations to the May 2021 IB Diploma Exams

Given the ongoing challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the IBO has been looking for ways to support students and schools to help offset some of these disruptions and difficulties.

Some of the measures announced earlier this academic year involve reducing the amount of content to be covered in the examinations in many subjects.The alterations take four different forms:

  1. the removal of an entire exam paper,
  2. the reduction of certain sections of papers (e.g. removing an essay, or reducing the number of topics to be covered),
  3. a combination of these two,
  4. or simply allowing schools to make minor alterations to how internal assessments are standardized or marked as necessary.

A summary of these alterations is provided in the table below. This information was shared with students and parents by email a month or so ago, and teachers will have also communicated the changes with their classes. Mock examinations at Branksome Hall Asia in February will reflect these new requirements to help familiarize the students with the new format.

Furthermore, as a precaution against possible disruptions during the actual May 2021 examination session, the IBO are requiring schools to upload all internally assessed work for marking. Previously, only a sample of this work was submitted to the IBO for moderation. As a result, students need to be aware of how important their internal assessments are and they must ensure that they put in their best effort in case they are unable to sit the examinations as happened in May 2020.

It is hoped by the IB and Branksome Hall Asia that these mitigations will help reduce some pressure on the students and teachers and result in outcomes that are just as good, if not better, than what we’ve enjoyed in the past.

Cheryl Osborne
DP Coordinator