Should you and your parents spare an additional 730 pounds to pay for an OSC revision course?
Even if you can afford the almost excruciating sum, you may be doubting whether 2.5 days of intense revision could make such a difference to your grade.
And despite OSC’s track record of helping 1000 IB students each year, how do know that it is worth the investment?
While their shrewd advertising can either pry on your insecurities or dissuade your sceptical mind, I want to help you by giving my uncensored review of the course.
But first let me tell you a bit more about myself, so you’ll understand where I’m coming from…(or scroll down to the next section if you can’t be bothered)
Throughout this school year, I’ve been increasingly concerned about the quality of the computer science department at our school. Perhaps this is a little drastic, but half a year into the course, I felt like I knew nothing about the subject.
I’ve thought more than once in class that I may be better off self-studying the course at home.
During one of these desperate moments, I decided to take action and used our otherwise ill-spent class time to look into online course providers for IB computer science.
I couldn’t find anything online – and mentally cursed about how I made the stupid decision of enrolling in a class that only 900 students take each year (there’s no textbooks and very little help online).
But eventually I stumbled across OSC, an IB revision course provider offering classes for over 45 subjects.
I made the last-minute decision to enrol for computer science and math (which I’ve been doing worse in than I should have). Mind you, this was only 2 weeks before the start of the course.
Also, I was quite possibly the only IB1 student among the whole group.
Now, my decision was clearly born out of desperation, but I came back a lot wiser on when or whether you should take a revision course.
Here’s what I would consider:
Maybe you don’t have an excess 510 pounds to pay for 2.5 days worth of intensive (and helpful) revision, but need desperately need to improve your grades. in that case, I’d recommend one of the following tips over visiting an actual revision course. Why don’t you.
- scam notes off a classmate who did join a revision course
- find an amazing textbook for your course*
- seek local or online IB tuition
*In my opinion, OSC revision guides are great for business management and Spanish B, but not so much for Geography. Also, choice of textbook can depend from person to person. For instance, my friend works really well with our school’s math HL textbook, but it isn’t ideal for me.
The quality of your teacher
Do you have a horrible teacher who does not follow the syllabus but keeps drifting off-topic? Do they teach you irrelevant stuff and obsess over minutiae rather than focussing on the big picture?
Or does your teacher suck at explaining so you and the rest of your class don’t understand what they are talking about?
If so, I highly recommend attending a revision course (having been in this situation with my Computer Science class), as the course will help you to better understand the syllabus requirements and meet them.
In this case, I would even go so far to say that you may benefit from joining a revision course in the first year of your IB, especially if you don’t think your grades will improve by the second year.
Your course experience
Maybe your teacher was just plain awful, and you cared enough to self-study throughout the course. Still, you feel that you missed out a lot – especially in terms of teacher guidance – and you know you would do better with some honestly useful advice for once.
Or maybe you take online IB courses with Pamoja, and you feel that you need to make up for the lack of face-to-face lessons.
No matter why you didn’t get the guidance you need, as long as you’ve continuously made a sincere effort, revision courses can give you that additional boost to get you where you want to go. You might even be surprised to see how far you can improve!
For instance, before I joined the computer science course, I was consistently scoring 3s on the past papers – mind you, I had only studied half the syllabus – but when I came back, I saw that I’d brought my performance up to a 6. And I was overjoyed to even score a 7 in one paper.
(Disclaimer: This was not meant to brag, I can’t promise the same will happen to you, and I don’t endorse OSC)
Your current (failing) grades
If you’re scoring 2s and 3s, or you feel like you’re too close to pass-fail boundary, taking a revision course is essential.
Because if you haven’t understood some of the critical concepts in class, a last-minute course can help you turn that around.
For best results, identify your weak spots prior to the course and come with an exact list of questions you want your teacher to answer.
(But, if you’re failing because you couldn’t swing your lazy but on a chair to get some work done – please excuse the rude language, and – make a graceful exit from page. You’d probably be better off singing along to Stornoway’s ‘The Great Procrastinator‘.)
Another possibility is that you’re passing your course, but your grades just aren’t high enough to meet your dream uni’s entry requirements.
If you’ve worked your socks off and you know that a revision course can fill your gaps (or remotivate you), by all means attend one. But if you think you can’t cope, you may be better off looking for a different uni with lower standards.
Overall the effectiveness of a revision course depends on:
- The difference in quality of teaching between your regular teacher and your lecturer at the revision course
- Your commitment to the subject and your investment into the course – try to avoid partying each night 😉
And to my fellow IB1 students:
Doing a revision course in IB1 can get you advice for IA’s (if you ask for it) and you can network with other students who have gone through the experience of writing EE’s, TOK essays, IA’s and much more.
But if you see yourself making tremendous progress between now and next year (ie. you have a remotely helpful teacher), you may get more out of enrolling in IB2, when you can take full benefit of last-minute revision techniques. But for your own good, don’t think that a revision course will allow you to slack off beforehand.