Thursday, May 17, 2007

How to ace an IB internal assessment

This post is for my fellow IB students, who are faced with numerous essays and presentations to complete during their two years of the IB. I've found that there is a set of guidelines to follow in order to do well on all of them. So far, it's worked well for me.
Here's how you do it:

1. Get an idea of what your Internal Assessment is all about, and start thinking of topics.

2. Get a copy of the criteria for the Assessment, and keep it handy. PDF copies of all the IB documents can normally be found online with some searching, even though it's illegal for anyone to make them available.

3. Read through the assessment outline

4. Choose a topic based on the guidelines set out in the assessment outline. Start your research and writing, so that you know what you're talking about.

5. Read through the criteria carefully, going over each of the descriptors separately. If the criteria you're reading goes from 1 to 4, don't read the all the descriptors for 1,2 or 3. Just read #4, and mentally check off each thing you have to do as you go along, thinking for a second about how you can fulfill this particular part of the criteria. For the more complicated tasks that the criteria sets out, you might want to jot down a note about how you're going to do it. You'll be surprised how simple most of the criteria are. For example, for the conclusion of your Historical Investigation, there are two things you have to do to get full points: state something that agrees with your analysis, and state it clearly. The criteria says nothing about the completeness of your conclusion, so don't make it complicated. This is where my favorite rule comes in: if it's not in the criteria, you don't have to do it.

6. Get going! Now that you know exactly what you need to do for the full grade, do it! Physically check off the criteria as you fulfill them, then come back and check again afterwards.

7. Show your draft to your teacher, and ask them to be as critical as possible. Take their suggestions if you agree with them. If you don't agree, consider them anyway. Just don't ignore them completely. Teachers normally know what they're talking about.

With any luck, you'll get full points!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

Last night, I was planning to get some sleep so that I could wake up on Monday after this week of vacation.
This plan was foiled by the lunar eclipse that I learned about while it was happening. I was at a friends house, chilling, and she got a call from another friend about the eclipse. We walked back to my house, were I pulled out the telescope and had a look. It was amazing.

I took some photos with our camera through the telescope lens. We don't have the proper equipment, so I had to hold the camera by hand and aim it manually. So they're rather blurry.
But I threw them in this Picasa photo album anyway.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Enjoying my christmas present

_warning-geeky post_

For Christmas this year, I got a new 19" LCD with the same resolution as my laptop monitor: 1440x900. Now that it's finally arrived, I have the two monitors side-by-side, and have certainly been enjoying the benefits. I'm not sure about the 'increased productivity' thing yet, I haven't really gotten over the fact that its there enough to do any actual work. Anyway, It's really cool. This is my current setup, which I just figured out today:

click on the picture to see it big.

It may look suspiciously like two completely separate computer screens pasted together, but that's because it is.
Kind of.
Here's what's going on:
on the right screen, I have my normal computer stuff: pretty background, taskbar on the right(where I like it on my laptop), OSX-style access bar at the bottom (courtesy of RK Launcher).
On the left screen, I have 19 inches of beautiful, clean real estate where I can put anything I want. At the moment, the entire left screen is dedicated to a remote desktop connection to my server in the other room. That way, I'm managing a backup of files on the server (or editing my website, or doing anything else on the server) from my laptop while still having a free screen to work on. With a single click, I can minimize the remote desktop connection and I once again have an empty space to keep extra windows or extend big ones:


So far, here are my top 3 uses for my dual-screen config:
3. listening to/watching Steve Jobs' IPhone speech full-screeon while checking e-mails, news, etc on the other screen
2. Writing an essay on one screen while researching on the other
1. extending my FL Studio(music program) layout across two screens -- very luxurious

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Winter Vacation 2

We made it!
The Blue Lagoon mentioned in the last post was one of the most relaxing places I've ever been. the steaming, light-blue water radiated comfort and stuff like that. It was really nice, so I'm at a loss to articulate a thoughtful description at the moment. They shoulda sent a poet.

Anyway, afterwards we headed down to a climate quite the opposite of Iceland's: for the last four days, we've been in Florida with Grandma Blanche. Swimming in the ocean every morning, playing tennis every afternoon, and having food shoved down our throats in between by my grandma. This is how it always is. She's very throughtful and considerate, but it seems that her memories from the Great Depression drive her to constantly offer us food and drink and be dissapointed when we decline. She stuffs her refrigerator before we come, and then frets when we don't eat it quickly enough.
I'm having a great time though.

I'm looking forward to Blogger's new privacy feature which will allow me to post pictures and only let certain people see them. Then I'll be able to post some pictures.

I have to go eat breakfast. Grandma's calling.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Winter vacation 1

This was written in Iceland, where there is a lot of (guess what) snow and geothermal heating. Apparently it used to be all covered with trees, but the Vikings came over here, lived for quite a while, weren't too environmentally conscious and ended up chopping down most of their trees. T'was a beautiful approach by pane, with all the glaciers and other formations that our trip geographer filled us in on. Last night we took a tour of the city which included a walk over a lake that wasn't completely frozen, because part of it was warmed geothermically and had ducks on it. A curious situation, but we all survived. Sunrise is at 11:19 AM this morning, and today we're heading over to the Blue Lagoon, which is a man-made pondish thing heated by Centigrade-200+ degree lava. Wish me luck.