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A Day in the Life of Alex Connolly (IB: 45 Student)


6:00 - wake up

6:15 - leave the house

6:30 - rugby training/other activities at school

8:00 - breakfast

8:30 - school starts, classes run through

3:40 - rugby training/other activities at school

5:00 - study at school - mainly immediate homework or readings for history

6:00 - arrive home, have snacks (generally high energy stuff)

6:15 - study the most procedural work (e.g. maths/science)

7:15 - dinner and relax with family

8:00 - do any homework/create notes on this day/work through past papers/work on IAs (aim for 30+ mins/day during some periods)

10:00 - revise content from previous days (refresh previous day/week notes)

11:00 - computer games and/or personal programming

1:00 - sleep


7:00 - wake up/breakfast/shower

8:00 - start revision (hardest work first generally)

10:00 - break from work and exercise

11:00 - continue revision, focus on hardest things from previous period

12:00 - lunch and personal programming

2:00 - past papers (always exam conditions and with batteries taped to pen to improve writing speed in exams)

3:30 or 4:00 - afternoon tea/relax/listen to music

4:30 - quickly revise content from previous day

6:00 - dinner and family time

8:00 - flexible time (can be another past paper, or more revision, or revising notes in a group)

9:30 - plan for next day

10:00 - computer games/personal programming

1:00 - sleep




Some people thing that starting the IB means that it will consume all your time for the next two years. There’s really no reason why it should - if you organise yourself properly, schedule your time effectively, and most importantly work hard, you’ll find that your days (and nights) open up. I was particularly passionate about playing computer games and programming, and sometimes it was hard for me to resist ignoring my study to focus on what I wanted to do. What I found was that the best system for me was using these relaxation activities as rewards - motivating myself by making my leisure time conditional on prior hard work.


3 hours a day is better than 10 hours 2 days a week (and not just because 21 > 20). If you work consistently, not only are you far more likely to actually retain the content you’re covering, you also avoid the risk of burnout. Trying to fit 8 hours of study on top of every school day, as some people commit to, generally ends in disaster. It’s better to be focused, structured and consistent than to struggle with tiredness and irregular sleep patterns.


One of my biggest IB regrets is that I coasted early on, only doing what my teachers forced me to do for homework and then cramming for exams. While this may work for some people, especially early on, if you don’t get out of this habit it will be much harder for you to succeed, particularly when you need to study at the same time as all your IAs are due at the same time (often term 2 of year 12). Get yourself into good habits early - make consistent notes you’d be happy to use as study material for the final exams.

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