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What’s the secret to a perfect IB score?

What’s the secret to a perfect IB score? Focus, hard work and the right help.

CLOE CHEUNG has transitioned from being a French International School student to now studying medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Not only that, but she also turned down offers from Hong Kong University, St Andrews (Scotland) and the University of Birmingham in the UK. Cloe’s perfect 45 IB score has certainly created some incredible opportunities. We asked her to share an insight into her success.

Cloe Cheung
Cloe Cheung

Step 1: A Clear Goal

So, how did Cloe end up here, mulling over not one but four offers of medicine? “I set myself the 45 goal at the beginning of Year 12 because I knew that was the score required for medicine at HKU or CUHK,” she says. “I was set on getting into either of the two universities.”

A clear goal at the beginning of a student’s IB journey is imperative for success, according to JEROME BARTY-TAYLOR, Managing Director of Barty Education and Development, who helped support Cloe through her Diploma years. “There are two conversations I have with parents at this point: does your Diploma student need help identifying their IB goal, or do they need help achieving that goal?”


Listen to this episode of our podcast, Schools in Hong Kong, where Jerome shares some practical guidance for managing home learning while school is closed in Hong Kong. 

Step 2: Determination and Clarity of Support

What kept Cloe on track? Her answer is quite clear: “The dream of getting into medical school.” Jerome adds the bottom line: “You don’t get a 45 without focus and hard work.”

Still, it’s important to note that focus alone isn’t always productive. Sometimes, especially with a complex programme like the IB, students need additional support.

“I knew I needed help during the summer of Year 12 because I needed guidance on how to improve the structure and arguments of my essays, especially for English Literature,” says Cloe.

Jerome’s own advice is clear: “Listen to your child; if they need help, they’ll likely ask for it. ”While that “asking” might not be direct, it will be presented in some form if you’re engaged and sharing a dialogue with your child about their school experience.” He adds, “The more awareness they have of their own limitations the better. Our individualised support is most effective when we have a specific remit. For example, additional supervision for an IB student’s Biology Extended Essay or helping with university interview preparation”.

BartyEd tutors

Cloe’s exam day advice

I think it’s important to get enough sleep the night before. Don’t stay up late doing last minute revision, because it might make you stress even more for the coming exam. You can always have a final reread of your notes in the morning.

Cloe’s low point

I faltered after doing mock papers and seeing the grades I got for them. It was really disheartening and I felt like I wasn’t going to succeed. To overcome this, I looked at what I got wrong and discussed with my teachers and mentors how I could improve.

If you are interested to learn more about supporting your family to IB success, reach out to Jerome via

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This article first appeared in the October/November 2019 issue of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.