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How to Answer IB Business Management Questions

For some reason students find the longer IB Business Management questions very hard to master.

Actually I know why this is.

Just have a look at the list of things you have to do to get full marks in a 10-mark Business Management question.

Or don't. It's a bit overwhelming!

You don't need to read this paragraph, but... (For a 9 or 10, you need to show: "Good understanding of the demands of the question, including implications, where relevant. • Relevant business management tools (where applicable), techniques and theories are explained clearly and applied purposefully, and appropriate terminology is used throughout the response. • Effective use of the stimulus material in a way that significantly strengthens the response. • Evidence of balance is consistent throughout the response. • The judgments are relevant and well substantiated.")

Do all of those things, while also answering the question. How are you supposed to remember to do all of that? 

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Examples to Avoid in ToK Essays

In Theory of Knowledge we always encourage you to use original evidence. It's always more interesting when a student uses an example (a quote, a story, a fact) that we haven't heard of before.

Original "evidence" in your essays doesn't necessarily make them better essays, but it does suggest that you've taken some time with your research and not just using the first thing you found in a last-minute Google search.

The best examples can be the worst --because they're just so darn good.

So again we do tell our students to use "original evidence", but for the student it can be hard to know what is original. As teachers we might see some of the same examples used every year. But it would be hard for a student who is new to the subject to know to know which examples to avoid. 

Good examples of bad examples

The May 2016 ToK Subject report has come to the rescue, with a list of some common examples you might want to avoid. It's not mandatory to avoid these examples, but it could...

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How to Change Your Habits in Three Simple Steps

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit" (Aristotle).

A lot of what we do every day is habitual. Obviously, some of our habits are good and some aren’t, but they all work in the same way.

Think of how powerful it would be if you did the things you knew you should: If you didn’t procrastinate; if you did you got in the habit of getting ahead in your homework, if you always asked questions in class; if you did extra questions from the textbook.

A lot of times we see our habits as something we simply have to deal with, something we have or don’t have, a result of undisciplined childhood. But changing habits isn’t so hard when you understand how they work. I just finished Charles Duhigg’s book The Power of Habit, which explains the psychology and social science behind habits and outlines the simple, three step process involved in all habit.

Let’s take one of Duhigg’s examples: alcoholics anonymous. The...

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Words That Don't Have An English Equivalent

This post is the result of the work of my Theory of Knowledge classes at the Overseas Family School. The idea here is that we want to pull into the English language some of the richness of other languages. Other languages have words that simply do not translate easily into English. These are sometimes called "untranslatable" words, but of course any word can be translated. More accurately they are words that don't have equivalents in other languages.

Often these words show us something unique or special about a culture --they might have a word for something that people in other cultures may have never thought about. Some students also think that to fully understand these words you need to understand the culture or how people think about things a little differently in that part of the world.

Please share words that you know in your language (in the comments below), that we should (or could) start using in English. Don’t forget to provide an example. 

Unique Words from...

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How to Make a Good Theory of Knowledge Essay Great

The purpose of this article is to help you strengthen the logic and argument of your ToK essay. This is great for making final touches to your work and to help you spot some common mistakes. And it will, of course, pull your mark up. I’m just going to assume that you’re already using my Essay structure (click here if you're not sure). (It’s a 7 paragraph, 2 section structure which works with just about every question). It will make a lot more sense if you are following this approach

Getting Started

When you first get assigned your real ToK essay, you’ll have a few “titles” to choose from. You choose a title, and then you have to come up with a KI for it and then a thesis. The thesis is your brief answer to your KI (or your hypothesis).

The Approach

In general your essay is about claims (with examples), counterclaims (with examples) and conclusions. It’s important that you understand that your claims always support your thesis and your...

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How to Structure a Business and Management Internal Assessment

Here is a layout you can follow for your HL Business Management IA. The layout has changed a bit recently (November 2016) for example in terms of the cover sheet requirements, but this is up-to-date.

The Proposal and the IA should be included in a single document, using double-spaced Arial, sized 12 font. 

Please remember to include all of your sources (preferably using MLA) as you go. This goes for every fact that you include or any opinion that you write, which was informed by something you read. Citing your sources is VERY important. Be careful with it.  

Pre-Research Proposal Material

Title page 

Include:

  • Your Research Question,
  • Intended Audience (i.e. To Company X)
  • The IB Number (Something in the format "abc123" (i.e. fjk932)
  • Session (i.e. May 2017)
  • Proposal word count and IA word count. (Note that the Executive Summary is not counted in the 2000 words allowed for the IA.)
  • (Also, notice that the student's name, school, candidate number and student...
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Evaluation in IB Business

Sometimes (normally in 8-mark questions) you will be asked to evaluate. This is about going beyond the insights you have made from doing your analysis (your Dr Tests). But let's make sure you are clear on the difference between analysis and evaluation. By analyzing in Business we mean giving your Defi­ni­tions, Expla­na­tions, Exam­ples and Development (making sure you have fully answered the question) (Doing the 'DEED'). And then, after you analysis is done, you go on to evaluate, to make sense of it for the reader. You are telling us, in clear terms, what we should think about the situation.

This is a bit like Theory of Knowledge because you are not only showing that you can think about things using the course theories, but also showing that you can think about things in a complicated (or complex, or advanced) way. You can contrast the results of two ways of appraising an investment opportunity for example and tell us which insights are most important for this...

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IB Economics Grading

IB Econ Grading

The formal IB Economics Level grading guidelines (following the most recent exams) is as follows. So when you do your practice questions, this is what we will use to determine your IB Grade. These are based on the latest IB Economics exams levels (which change very slightly each year).

Percent Level
77 - 100 7
64 - 76 6
51 - 63 5
39 - 50 4
27 - 38 3
13 - 26 2
00 – 12 1

For ‘other’, non-IB type assignments, quizes, tests, etc we use the normal Humanities Grade Boundaries:

Humanities Grading

The grade boundary for assessments that are not formal IB Economics material. This would include presentations, posters, multiple choice quizzes. We call these marks the OFS “Humanities Grade Boundaries.”

Percent Level
80 - 100 7
70 - 79 6
57 - 69 5
44 - 56 4
30 - 43 3
20 - 29 2
0 - 19 1

Assessment Outline - HL

EXTERNAL ASSESSMENT (4 hours) 80% Paper 1 (1 hour and 30 minutes) 30% Spend 45 minutes on each...

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How to be a Successful Student

Ask questions when you don't understand something and when you do. All of my classes are about questioning what we know, how we know it and how we change (and our actions change) as a result of knowing. So if your teacher introduces something in class that you don't get, stop them. Clarify.

If someone else offers a point of view that makes no sense, ask for clarification. One way I can tell that you're truly progressing is by the kinds of questions you're asking.

Participate in class discussions. Silence may be golden in some settings, but not in my classroom. By speaking up during class discussions two good things happen: I get to know you better and I get to give you a correction --we get the chance to show you something you didn't realize already. You might be passionate about the subject, but silent passion doesn't help much in my grade book.

3 Be a little bit selfish. If you believe that your success at school is important to your future (and I hope you do) make...

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The May 2017 ToK Essay Titles

If you are completing the IB Diploma Program in May 2017, the official Theory of Knowledge essay titles you’ll be working with have been released. I've made some step-by-step help videos and other downloadable resources to help you with your essay if you'd like.

Click the blue button below to get full access to these.

And we have ToK Essay Facebook groups. We have one group just for ToK students and another one just for ToK teachers. We'd love to see you in there. The following are the official prescribed titles for the May 2017 session of Theory of Knowledge essay.

Your essay can be up to 1600 words in length. 


 

The May 2017 ToK Prescribed Essay Titles

1. “It is only knowledge produced with difficulty that we truly value.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

2. “Facts are needed to establish theories but theories are needed to make sense of facts.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas...

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