How our IBDP and IGCSE students are nurtured for success

Melissa Maria
Sep 18, 2021

The exceptional performance of the entire GIIS 2021 cohort in the end-of-year IBDP and IGCSE exams has made the school community extremely proud. The efforts put in by all our students to scale new heights is commendable, considering the unprecedented circumstances during these pandemic times. Our Singapore IB School's  (IB) results saw a record-breaking number of 16 World Toppers (with a perfect score of 45/45) and a school average of 38.81 points. 100% of our students secured ICE Distinction in the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) exams with 25 students securing A*s in all their attempted subjects. 

The international curricula, driven by our coordinators and teachers, provide students the knowledge and skills they need for school and beyond. Our teachers understand the importance of good learning habits within a strong curriculum. Also, the idea is to inculcate value-based education, where our school theme, RISE as leaders of tomorrow, demonstrating Respect, Empathy, Skill Acquisition and Empathy continues to guide us.

The goal is to prepare our students for a successful future where they are ready to take risks, exhibit leadership and critical thinking skills, develop international mindedness, and collaborate -- all musts for a 21st century life experience! 

At GIIS, we offer international curricula for students from Grades 1-12, facilitating a learning style for your child that suits them best. We introduce the Cambridge curriculum from Grade 6, which continues until Grade 10. The Cambridge IGCSE is a two-year programme for students between ages 14 and 16 years. After the IGCSE,  students enrol in the IB Diploma Programme for Grades 11 and 12 (ages 16 to 18 years). 

Stimulating curriculum fosters love of learning

The Cambridge curriculum encourages students to engage with a variety of subjects while making a connection between them. The curriculum covers a range of diverse  areas from Languages to Humanities, Mathematics, Sciences, Creative, Technical & Vocational. Cambridge Global Perspectives is a stimulating cross-curricular course that develops transferable skills, including critical thinking, research and collaboration. It gives a solid base to Theory of Knowledge (TOK), one of the core components of the IB Diploma Programme.

“Our teachers encourage students to reflect on their learning so that they are able to build on experience and plan ahead. We aim to develop a love for learning amongst our students to help them become inquirers, thinkers, innovators, secure in their knowledge yet open to new ideas and opinions,” says Ms. Deepika Sodhi, Academic Supervisor, International Curricula, GIIS SMART Campus, Singapore.

Teachers foster deep subject knowledge

At GIIS, children are in responsible hands as our teachers are highly-experienced, caring and supportive. A well-designed and supported Cambridge curriculum is a critical building block to ensure a seamless transition of your child to higher classes curricula like the IBDP, which is a broad and challenging curriculum.

“Through thorough explanations, coupled with digitised content, handouts, simulations, hands-on activities we foster deep subject knowledge that helps students make links between different aspects of a subject,” adds Ms. Sodhi.

Identifying learner strengths and weaknesses 

There are multiple ways in which our teachers identify learner strengths and weaknesses that help them improve the final performance. Data analytics at GIIS helps teachers to provide one-to-one guidance and mentoring support to students. The performance of students post every assessment is tracked -- student wise, subject wise, class wise, segment wise -- using the school's in-house proprietary data analytics tool, 7S analysis. 

“Student tracking and close monitoring helps us to provide the right support to students as per his/her strengths and weaknesses in a timely manner. After-school classes, enrichment classes, peer tutoring, buddy support, mentor support, goal setting are amongst few tried and tested methods to ensure that students meet the desired learning outcomes,” adds Ms. Sodhi.

Right subject combination is imperative 

For a pre-university course like the IB Diploma, it is imperative to select the right subjects. The right combination helps students maximise their strengths. The subjects in the IBDP are categorised into six broad categories. Students can choose between the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) within each category.

While our robust career counselling cell provides the students the required expertise and guidance to apply to various universities, it’s best if they review the university requirements when selecting subjects so as to align their subjects with future studies. Also, based on the career option that the student wants to pursue, students must choose their HL and SL subjects. For example, many universities require HL Chemistry and Biology, and Mathematics at Standard Level for medical courses, but some schools insist on Mathematics at Higher Level.  

“Students are given one-to-one subject selection counselling to choose subjects that are interesting and doable. They must be prepared to study the subjects in-depth, which will require dedicated effort and time over the two-year programme. Students are given access to refer to the IB subject guide and subject briefs to understand more about the subject,” says Ms. Deepa Chandrasekaran, IBDP Coordinator, GIIS SMART Campus, Singapore.

Students need to divide their time judiciously

Between preparing for the end-of-the-year exams and the internal assessments, students need to divide their time thoughtfully. The internal and external assessments in each subject calls for higher-level thinking skills and application of knowledge that is acquired over the course of two years of the IBDP. This is achievable for students when they take a liking to the subject they are studying.

“To maximise output, students should follow the timeline given by the school, attend all classes, ask questions, maintain a healthy rapport with the faculty and peers, choose Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) aligned to the course that s/he is planning to take up in university, aim for step-by-step progress, complete tasks on time and discuss any challenges with the teacher / counsellor concerned and find solutions immediately,” adds Ms. Chandrasekaran.

Also, universities look for specific qualities in student applications like time management, independent thinking with an inquiring mind, and leadership qualities along with good communication skills. Both IGCSE leading to the IBDP at GIIS, aim towards nurturing students who exhibit these qualities with an understanding that together we need to work towards creating a better and peaceful world where we can have more than one point of view.

To find out more about how your child can benefit from an education at GIIS, contact us today to schedule a campus tour.

Melissa Maria

GIIS Singapore SMART Campus principal, Ms Melissa Maria’s journey as an educator started when she was only 16 and continued in the field after she completed her Master’s degree in History and Bachelor’s degree in Education. For over 25 years now, she has been at the forefront of introducing new ideas and methodologies to education. She is also the City Coordinator for Singapore, selected by the CBSE Board for Grade 10 and 12 exams, 2021, managing two other international schools besides GIIS. With numerous achievements sprinkled across her distinguished career, Ms. Maria has been recognised for her efforts as a Mindef volunteer by the Singapore government.

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