The IB Exams Debacle for the Class of 2022


While facing the two most atypical years of our lifetimes and also having to go through the difficulties of adolescence, the Class of 2022 is faced with their biggest IB fear: the world exams of May 2022. Let’s be honest, it has been a turbulent year, and everyone was faced with a variety of challenges: moments of grief, stress, even unexpected opportunities, but we are still high schoolers. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced teenagers everywhere to grow up faster than normal and to develop, amid all the chaos, the necessary skills to adapt and persevere. Looking at my graduating class, I feel confident in saying we have done precisely that.

Living in Brazil throughout these trying times has been very eye-opening. Realizing our privilege of being able to continue our education even in an online environment is something very difficult to grasp. According to the IBGE, 4.3 million students entered the covid-19 pandemic without access to the internet around the country, therefore displaying how a terrifying chunk of the student population has lost an entire year of school (X). Although grateful for the opportunities that our education has granted us in the span of the pandemic, here we are, complaining about exams. In context, I feel that it is important to highlight that all struggles are indeed valid and that one world conflict or issue does not annul personal difficulties. As a student of the full diploma, I have come to realize that the IB is more than just difficult classes and a very rigorous curriculum; it challenges you and tests all of your breaking points so that you can continue to grow and achieve your full potential. Still, when adding a pandemic to the mix, the Class of 2022 has been faced with a double burden. In the words of Graded Alumni, Noah Rosenblatt, from the 2019 class “the non-exam route was one the best scenarios possible, as it allowed me to focus on what really mattered; my mental health, my relationships, and my future.” As IB diploma students, we are programmed to realize that the context of the world around us, and the socio-economic privileges that are given us have the power to make a difference. However, for us to assume this responsibility of change, and be the ones who make an impact, at least in Brazil, we have to first survive high school. The best way to ensure our survival? Cancel the world exams– let me elaborate. 

We started our freshman year having the typical high school experience. You could have a buffet of opportunities without even knowing it– from PGC in-person to lunch without walls (Classroom Without Walls too!). But as the pandemic came as a shock to everyone, soon our worlds collapsed. In this, all the high schoolers can relate, whether they be part of the IB or not. This period of intense social isolation took a significant toll on the performance of students and most importantly, our mental health. In my experience, dealing with my anxiety while also having to follow the expectations of the courses has been challenging to say the least, but it allowed me to develop skills that I didn’t even fathom before. Nevertheless, here comes the difficult part: if one of the main reasons that the Class of 2021 did not have their final exams is that they spent one year on distance learning, then why is the IB and Graded moving towards taking the exam route with the Class of 2022 if we also faced a year of distance learning?

I realize that the reality is still uncertain and that the IB has not officially spoken out about this issue, but in the name of the seniors of this year, I urge a reflection. How can the learning and knowledge we acquired throughout this time, may it be from the syllabus content or from the life experiences we obtained, be put to the test in a series of written exams? As students who survived probably one of the most difficult circumstances and disasters of our lifetimes, our value should not be limited solely to our ability to sit down for hours and answer questions. Our performance throughout the years, our perseverance, the interactions, and the connections we have fortified with our peers and faculty should be the real display of success. 

So I again urge your reflection. As a Graded lifer, I am sure that the faculty and administration will choose and handle the overall situation in the best way possible so that the students succeed. Although the real argument I am making is not whether we should or not lean towards an exam route. I am more interested in making a statement against measuring each student’s self-development and improvement based solely on exams scores. I am proud of the Class of 2022 for more than the scores that they get on Paper 1s and 2s. I am proud of all of what we have accomplished together and for each other despite the challenges. Therefore, I argue for the school and the IB to take the time and look at each student and be proud of who they have become, and not their codenamed persona for exams.



Folha. “Segundo IBGE, 4,3 Milhões De Estudantes Brasileiros Entraram Na Pandemia Sem

Acesso à Internet.” Folha De S.Paulo, Folha De S.Paulo, 14 Apr. 2021,