Should I Get My IB Exam Regraded, or Should I Retake It?

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International Baccalaureate (IB) students often find themselves wrestling with the question of whether to seek a regrade of their exams or to retake them altogether. To guide your decision-making process, I’ve developed a systematic, five-step approach. Before diving in, it’s essential to note that this method is based on my personal experience and carries no guarantee of success. Your individual results may vary, and I accept no liability for the outcomes following this advice.

Step 1: Identify Your Goal Score

The very first step in your decision-making process should be to find out the score you need to get into your desired tertiary institution. This is a critical factor as it sets your benchmark. If you already meet the required score criteria with a comfortable margin, ask yourself whether the risk of seeking a regrade or retaking the exam is necessary. Remember, the ultimate goal is not just to achieve the highest score possible but to gain admission to the institution you aspire to attend.

Step 2: Research Previous Year’s Grade Boundaries

The next step is to review the grade boundaries and equivalent marks required for particular grades from the previous year. For instance, if you’re an IB student from May 2023, you should look back at the May 2022 grade boundaries. Take detailed notes, noting especially the scores required for the grades you’re aiming at. This historical data can provide you with a useful comparison point for your own performance.

Step 3: Conduct a Self-Analysis

This step requires some reflection and brutal honesty. Recall each of the papers you wrote, section by section, and assign yourself the harshest grade possible. Don’t be lenient on yourself; your goal is to provide the most accurate self-assessment. Once you’ve done this, categorise your self-assigned grades within the grade boundaries from the previous year.

Step 4: Consult with Your IB Co-ordinator

Armed with your notes and self-assessment from the first three steps, schedule a meeting with your IB co-ordinator. Discuss how your “predicted” grades per paper compare with your actual grades. The insights from this discussion can be pivotal, as your coordinator has extensive experience with the grading process and can provide valuable advice.

Step 5: Calculate and Compare

Now that you have a direct comparison between your actual score, the upper grade boundary, and your predicted score, calculate the differences. The following four formulas can guide your decision on whether to request a regrade or retake the exam:

i. If your actual score is higher than your predicted score, and you’re at most 4% off the upper grade boundary, seeking a regrade can be quite risky. Do it only if you really need the point.

ii. If your predicted score is higher than your actual score, and you’re at most 4% off the upper grade boundary, getting a regrade is not very risky, and it is recommended to go for it.

iii. If your actual score is higher than your predicted score, and you are not 4% off the upper grade boundary, attempting a regrade is too risky. It’s better not to pursue it.

iv. If your predicted score is higher than your actual score, and you are not 4% off the upper grade boundary, you should recalculate your predicted score. If you’re certain about your prediction and need the point, proceed with the regrade.

If you find that you’re more than 2 points away from the score you need for your desired institution, and a regrade doesn’t seem worth the risk in any subject, consider retaking the exam. This might provide you with the best opportunity to achieve the score you need.

Remember, this method is a guiding tool and not a foolproof strategy. Your individual circumstances, preparation level, and tolerance for risk can greatly influence your ultimate decision. There are many pathways to success in the IB, and a less than ideal score on a single exam doesn’t define your potential or limit your opportunities. So take a deep breath, carefully evaluate your options, and make the decision that feels right for you. You’ve got this! :)

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