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4 Key Takeaways from the May 2024 IB Business Exam

The IB Business exam took place over a week ago, but I’ve finally had time to go over all of the exams, do them myself and reflect on the structure, what was examined, and how students felt after taking the IB Business exams this year. Since it was the first year of the 2022/2024 IB Business course, it is good to review everything and reflect on my teaching and the things I would like to change in the future. These are the takeaways I had from the exam series.


IB Business May exam 2024 takeaways


Also, I know that there were major issues with the SL Paper 2 and the inclusion of HL content in the SL exam. However, I am not going to touch on that here. That is an issue for the IB Business team and examiners to sort out. That is out of teachers’ and students’ control.


So without further ado, here are my four takeaways from the exam.


1.     There were so many calculations in Paper 2


I knew that Paper 2 would be calculation focused, but I didn’t realize how heavy it would be.  In the old IB Business exam, Section A was really the only place that calculations came up, so I was surprised when there were calculations in Section B as well. I need to work more on calculations with students throughout the year. I hope to make a quick review calculation resource to have students either start or finish the lesson with a review of some calculations every once in a while. I think this will help their speed and confidence in exams. I think this is an important takeaway for anyone teaching or taking the IB Business course.


2.     There seems to be more reading required before in Paper 2


The specimen paper that the IB Business team put out showed that questions would be separated by more text, but I didn’t realize how much more text would be included. I already revised my exams to include the question boxes instead of the free writing sheet. However, I did not include text in between the boxes. This means, I will be redoing the exams to include text between the boxes and increasing the number of words to get the students used to this format.

IB Business May exam 2024 takeaways


3.     There are more charts/interpretation required


Again, there was evidence in the specimen paper that there would be more charts and a tool called descriptive statistics including bar charts, pie charts, etc. However, I don’t think it is something I practiced enough with my students. I want to make or find information like this online to help students practice this skill in different ways so they feel more prepared when faced with a chart. This is important to integrate into lessons going forward.


4.     Paper 1 and 3 didn’t really have any surprises


The one positive takeaway was that there were no major surprises in the IB Business Paper 1 or Paper 3. I was very happy with the case studies I prepared for Paper 1. The only thing I didn’t like was that the 6 mark question asked for two ways in the affirmative and one way in the negative which made the question a 2 + 2 + 2 instead of a 3 + 3 that I had practiced with the students. I think a lot of them wrote more than necessary because I had drilled into them that 6 mark questions required more writing per paragraph to justify the extra marks.


In addition, while I didn’t like the case study in Paper 3, since it is 3 prescribed questions, the students seemed happy with how it went and felt prepared. I don’t think I will change much about how I teach and prepare students. However, I did start preparing students earlier for Paper 3 with the second cohort and hopefully this will help students feel more comfortable.


IB Business May exam 2024 takeaways


What lessons did you learn from the 2024 IB Business exam series? How do you plan to change your teaching in the coming years to adapt? Let me know if the comments below.

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