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Ib Cas Essay

The IB has published a creativity, activity, service (CAS) guide, which is available in the online curriculum centre (OCC). Materials in the OCC are free and exclusive to IB World Schools.

What do CAS projects involve?

CAS requires students to take part in a range of experiences and at least one project. These should involve:

  • real, purposeful activities, with significant outcomes
  • personal challenge
  • thoughtful consideration, such as planning, reviewing progress, reporting
  • reflection on outcomes and personal learning

We don't prescribe specific projects or activities to students. All students should be involved in activities they've initiated themselves. IB World Schools will then suggest particular projects.

Several useful resources on CAS are available via the OCC.

Example of a creativity project

For a creativity project, a talented musician could learn a particularly difficult piece, or a different style of playing.

Read our blog about a group of students in New York who produced and performed a play to raise awareness of a real-world issue.

Example of an activity project

Activity projects do not have to be sports-related or competitive. A valuable activity project could help a student overcome a personal fear, such as rock climbing.

Read our blog about a student in Australia who achieved his dream of becoming a youth soccer coach through CAS.

Example of a service project

Service projects must be beneficial for the community as well as providing a learning opportunity for the student.

Read our blog about students in Indiana who organized a huge recycling drive to help an IB World School in Flint, Michigan.

The CAS project can address any single strand of CAS, or combine two or all three strands of creativity, activity and service.

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It’s the time when pumpkins grace the shelves of stores and a certain kind of latte becomes popular again. When some people think dressing up as clowns is just fun and games, and others freak out after watching The Blair Witch Project. That’s right, Halloween is upon us again.

Here at the Lanterna offices, we are not ones to miss a seasonal opportunity. We thought, therefore, we’d bring you couple of scary stories to get you in the mood. With the help of our tutors (all IB graduates), we set out to find some of the worst IB horror stories around. So, without further ado, let’s launch into some blood curdling tales we’ve heard from past IB students (and how to avoid them, of course).


Terrifying TOK

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago in London, there was a girl writing her TOK essay. This girl was pretty pleased with her TOK essay. She’d tried to add an entire way of knowing to that TOK wheel, and was happy with how she’d argued it. This girl was also, however, a keen protector of the environment at the time, always looking to cut down her carbon foot print. This led her to think double sided printing was ALWAYS the best option. This girl, who double sided printed her TOK essay learnt the hard way, that this is not okay. Her school, unknowing of her keenness to save the environment, did not think to flip the pages when scanning her essay to send to examiners. Perhaps some of you can see where this is going? She only ended up submitting half a TOK essay.

This may seem like a disaster (to the girl in question it definitely felt like one) but while these situations are not ideal, they are not awful. It’s probably best to avoid these situations altogether by reading carefully the ‘submissions’ section of your syllabus. But, equally, don’t panic if something like this does happen. If you realise in time, tell your school. If not, remember that one essay doesn’t make up your whole grade here—you’ll have either presentations or exams to make up for the mishap. This horror story can definitely still have a happy ending. If this story got you thinking about your TOK essay and presentations, check out our TOK guide here.

Murderously muddled Maths Studies

Our next horror story takes place on a cold Swedish day in 2014. A group of bleary eyed Maths Studies students took their seats in the exam hall with a mixture of fear and trepidation. One students in particular, a confident mathematician, was feeling pretty happy with himself as the exam went on. He’d answered all the questions in good time and was checking over his final answer as the five-minute warning was read out. While checking his last question, he noticed something. At the bottom of the ‘final’ page, he saw in small print: Please Turn Over. Gripped with fear, he did as instructed and, to his horror, found a final, 8 mark question that he had left unanswered.

Again, this seemed like the end of the world at the time. Having less than five minutes to answer any long form question is probably not enough. If this does happen to you—again don’t panic. Remember that your exam papers are a cumulative total of marks, and you don’t need full marks to get even a 7. It is, however, better to avoid this happening altogether. You know those 5 minutes of reading time you have at the beginning of exams (or at least, now you know…)? Well, those 5 minutes are a great time to check the entire exam paper. Read it back to front, left to right, backwards if you must: just make sure you know where the questions end! Feeling worried about mocks? Final exams? Want some more advice like this? Check out some more exam tips from some previous IB students here.


Nearly failing because of CAS

Our final tale, coming from the depth of the Bavarian black forest, revolves around the dreaded CAS reflections. One student, half way through their second year of the IB, decided to take stock of their CAS. They began looking roughly at the amount of CAS hours required. At first they were pleased—their love of handball made sure their action hours were on point. Their involvement with the local orchestra also ensured they were heading for enough in creativity. And then it hit them—they hadn’t done a single hour of service…

While sometimes it’s easy to forget CAS among all your other IB subjects, it’s important to remember that you do actually need to pass CAS to pass the diploma. This student suddenly realised that without any service hours—this wasn’t going to happen. Failing the IB because of CAS, I’m sure we all agree, is not cool. Especially if you don’t do any service—that’s just bad. But I get sometimes finding the inspiration to complete CAS is tricky. Definitely try keep on top of your CAS reflections- this will mean you don’t have a moment like the above mentioned student, where you suddenly realise you are lacking in one (or all) of the three areas. Also try do something you enjoy! It’s so much easier to get things done when you are having fun (cliché I know, but true). Check out our guide to inspired CAS projects here for some more CAS related tips.


“It’s Halloween, everyone’s entitled to one good scare.”Halloween (1978)

The IB can sometimes feel like a terror, but perhaps we should try keep our scary stories for Halloween. Keep checking back every Thursday for some more tricks (or treats?) for acing the diploma and banishing those IB demons.