How to keep up with ESS topics during the summer break

Dr Emma M. Shaw is an ESS teacher and a co-author of the Environmental Systems and Societies (SL) TestPrep Workbook for the Revise IB series.

With the end of the academic year, my students are reaching out to see how they can keep up with their DP Environmental Systems and Societies studies during the long break. While it is important to enjoy your break so you’re refreshed for the next year, the summer can be a brilliant opportunity to get ahead with your upcoming work and keep in touch with the topic, ready to pick up again when term starts. Here are my top tips for the break.

1. Review the content

If you have struggled with any of the topics you covered during the year, spend the summer reviewing the content. You can use the ESS topic checklist at the front of your Revise IB workbook to make sure you have covered all of them, and look through your notes to highlight and make flashcards for the parts you’ve found particularly difficult to remember.

2. Exam practice

If you found the end of DP year 1 exams harder than expected then, along with Tip 1, consider using past papers to familiarise yourself with exam-style questions and how to answer them. Make sure you know the IB command terms so you understand exactly what questions are asking you to do.

3. Check out the news

At home and abroad, there are always environmental issues being tackled, problems being uncovered and new technology being developed. Next time you find yourself idly browsing online, instead spend some time reading about what is taking place in the world. You can also find an online environmental news site you like and subscribe to it for an easy way to keep up to date with current issues.

4. Watch documentaries

Take time to watch documentaries about some of the key events in the environmental movement (Topic 1). Old documentaries can be as valuable as new ones, particularly for providing a perspective relevant to the time, but do be careful of it containing outdated information. Remember to note down its title and any other details you might need to refer to it in the exams or your Internal Assessment.

5. Get outdoors

Go outside, volunteer in the environment if you can (for example, at the National Park Service in the USA or the National Trust in the UK) and talk to people (both real life and online) about the environment and issues that are taking place. Of course, when discussing others’ opinions you must remember that they are not unbiased and must be followed up with your own research.

6. Start your Internal Assessment

Finally, if you have not started your Internal Assessment already, use these tips to do some research, find an area that interests you and make some decision about what you are going to do. Even if you have nothing set in stone, it will be very helpful for you to have some general ideas to explore further.

Hopefully, this advice will help to feel prepared and ready to tackle ESS DP Year 2. Have a great summer and look forward to the next year!

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