Overseas Family School (OFS)'s Top Scoring IB Students Reveal Secrets To Their Success

Overseas Family School (OFS)'s Top Scoring IB Students Reveal Secrets To Their Success

The 2021 International Baccalaureate (IB) results are in, and despite challenging circumstances amidst another turbulent year for education, many international schools in Singapore are breathing a sigh of relief. Students in Singapore continued to achieve exceptional results in the latest examinations, well surpassing global averages. One school, Overseas Family School (OFS), had not one, not two, but FIVE students who achieved perfect marks. A phenomenal 34% of its over 150 candidates achieved 40 points and above, and an impressive 33% of the school’s IB candidates earned prestigious IB Bilingual Diplomas, reflecting the exceptional language resources and support available at OFS. 

As one of the few international schools in Singapore and globally that do not preselect students into the IB Diploma Programme, OFS’ high 97% pass rate and world-leading academic results are nothing short of surprising. Here, we speak to two of their top scorers, Noam Segal and Miho Hamada, to learn the secrets of their success.

1) First things first: tell us a little about yourself – where are you from and how long have you been studying at OFS?

Noam: I grew up in Israel and Hebrew was my native and only language. I joined OFS when I was almost 15 years old in Grade 10, and started my journey with limited English. Through the OFS Study Preparation Program (SPP) for rapid English language acquisition, I acquired my English skills over the course of a semester. 
Miho: I’m originally from Japan, and I grew up in Tokyo, Manila, and Singapore. I joined OFS in Grade 9 and have been studying at OFS for 4 years.

2) Congratulations! You achieved a perfect 45 points on your IB Diploma exams. This must have been the culmination of many months of preparation and study. How did you feel when you got the news?

Noam: It was unbelievable, getting a perfect score always seemed like an impossible goal to me. When I opened my diploma, I was insanely happy and felt so accomplished. I was so proud of myself and shaking from excitement.
Miho: I was surprised but also very relieved. When I got a predicted score of 45, I felt pressured (by myself, not by my teachers/parents) to maintain that score in the finals, even though I kept telling myself that the process is more important than the score itself. 

3) Tell us about your preparation process – any tips for students taking the next exams? How did your school help you achieve your goals? Inquiring minds want to know!

Noam: I believe that preparation is an ongoing process and that it is so important to stay on track. Studying for each assessment and understanding the topics while they are being taught will help massively when doing the final revision. Make notes ahead of time so that when you get to the final month, you can focus on summarizing and revising them. I also recommend attempting to solve past papers and revising past assessments while making sure to fully understand your mistakes. Do not hesitate to seek help and advice from your teachers. OFS helped me tremendously. Firstly, the SPP was a major success, teaching me useful English skills and allowing me to adjust quickly to a mainstream class. Throughout my three years at OFS, I received lots of support from teachers and my academic advisor. As part of the Homebase program, we set goals and gained useful learning skills, while the school staff was exceptionally amazing, and helped me meet the big targets I set. Finally, just the harmony and feeling of belonging at school made the experience better and set a base for achieving goals. 

Miho: Plan ahead. Since the workload in IB is a lot, I tried to tackle small portions at a time so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Of course, not everything goes as planned, but
at least attempting this allowed me to make sufficient time for all the assessments as well as sports. Take all quarter tests seriously. After each test, I tried to ask as many questions as possible to my teachers to find out how I could do better. Sometimes, I would go to my teachers during break times (my teachers were all very kind to allow this) to make sure that I fully understood what they meant during class. Also, take breaks! Basketball has always been a way for me to de-stress and take my mind off studying which allowed me to maintain good mental health. I played basketball at school during lunchtimes and after school through the OFS After School Sports Programme and the OFS competitive Tigers sports team. While I did not have any specific goals before starting IB, I had a rough idea that wanted to make sure to keep fit and healthy both physically and mentally through IB. OFS helped me achieve this through its Tigers competitive basketball team. At first, I was hesitant about joining the team since I thought I “wouldn’t have time”. However, I realized this would be a good opportunity to push myself to plan better and “make time” for basketball. In retrospect, I believe that joining the team and playing until the final IB exams pushed me to plan ahead and procrastinate less which consequently put less stress on myself. Furthermore, it allowed me to de-stress, keep fit, and maintain good mental health not only during normal school days but also during semester and mock exams.

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Ian Ryder

Ian has lived in three different countries with his family of five. He currently teaches ICT in an international school near Barcelona.


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