IB tutors come in all levels of experience and price point. In the tutoring circle, parents will encounter three common types of IB tutors:

  • The Graduates: tutors who have graduated with an IB diploma.
  • The Teachers: tutors who have taught or are teaching in IB schools
  • The Examiners: tutors who set and mark IB exam papers.

Is there a difference between these three groups? Yes, definitely.

Engaging any of the group of tutors has their own unique set of pros and cons. In this post, I will be discussing the first group of tutors: The Graduates.

Who are they?

These tutors are graduates of the IB Diploma programme. They are either fresh IB graduates who are waiting to start university or current university undergraduates.

Generally, these tutors do not possess a teaching certificate and have minimal experience teaching a class. Despite their limited experiences, it does not stop them from being effective tutors.

Pros of engaging an IB tutor who just graduated IB

Strong rapport with students

As graduates of the IB diploma, tutors have personal experience of going through and finishing the diploma’s curriculum. Their personal experiences allow them to empathise with their student’s woes and problems. This relatability builds rapport between tutors and students, making them feel supported throughout their IB learning journey.

According to research, emotional support is an essential element to student motivation. Students that receive more emotional support from their teachers experience heightened levels of motivation and engage with the lessons better.

A good tutor-student relationship also facilitates help-seeking. Generally, students are more likely to ask questions and clarify their doubts when they are on friendly terms with their tutors.

Easy-to-understand explanations

Most IB students would agree that a common issue they encounter is understanding explanations. This affects their comprehension of a topic which can snowball and impact their subject grades.

Tutors who recently finished their IB Diploma are noticeably better at rephrasing and simplifying relatively complex explanations. Having studied the curriculum before as a student, they are able to identify the components which make a concept difficult for a student to grasp. This insight into how a student would perceive a piece of information is greatly beneficial.

Cons of engaging an IB tutor who just graduated IB

Teaching based on personal experience

An element that IB tutors who were recent graduates are missing is the exposure to different types of students. With minimal exposure, tutors are likely to teach and advise students based on their own personal experiences and what has worked for them.

While students are similar in some ways, they are also vastly different. What may work for one student is not always going to work for another. This is not because the tip is bad but because it is incompatible with the student.

Not abreast with IB syllabus updates

IB graduates tend to be most familiar with the syllabus they studied for. However, the syllabus is not static. The IB is constantly updating; sections of the syllabus get introduced, revised, and retired.

Generally, most IB graduate-turn-tutors fall out of the loop once they receive their final grades. This causes information delay which can negatively impact the tutors ability to help students fulfil the updated syllabus requirement.

Also, as IB graduates are no longer part of the IB system, they lack access to important resources that would help equip and prepare students for the curriculum updates.

Limited supplementary materials and resources

At this level, most IB tutors do not have the skills and resources to create their own lesson notes and materials. Instead, they often curate lesson notes and materials from resources they have received from their own school teachers or tutors.

This is an especially important point to consider for parents who are looking for literature IB tutors. The book list students have to study for literature differs according to the school. As recent graduates are unlikely to have resources and materials for texts they did not study, they may not be able to procure lesson notes and materials for them.

Broadly speaking, we would recommend IB graduate-turn-tutors to students with a relatively firm grasp of the subject. These tutors are best suited to help students brush up on concepts and keep up with the IB syllabus.

If your child requires intensive subject help, it is still possible to engage this group of IB tutors. However, parents should request for tutors who are slightly more senior and experienced.

As a rule of thumb, we would not advise parents whose children are the first cohort to sit for exams covering the new syllabus to engage IB tutors from this group.

Although these IB tutors lack the teaching qualification and experiences, their familiarity with the syllabus and the rapport they build with their students make them a suitable fit for students.