How to achieve the highest score on your ib visual arts examination
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How to achieve the highest score on your IB Visual Arts examination. Humble High School International Baccalaureate. By Raymundo Delgadillo. HHS IB Class of 2010. Art is easy.... right?. INCORRECT.

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How to achieve the highest score on your ib visual arts examination

How to achieve the highest score on your IB Visual Arts examination

Humble High School International Baccalaureate

By Raymundo Delgadillo. HHS IB Class of 2010

Art is easy right
Art is easy.... examinationright?


  • Actually, according to statistics, it is one of the IB subjects with the lowest scores...but why? I mean, art is supposed to be easy isn't it? Welllllll.... in short, no. A lot more work goes into good art than you might think. More than the skills that go into a piece, it is the research and vision behind it that make art fantastic in the eyes of a critic.

And by critics i don t mean your classmates
And by critics I don't mean your classmates... examination

  • We mean educated adults who are knowledgeable in the field of fine arts. Yes, your classmates might be a great source of ideas, but remember, you're in IB art, you need more than simply need concepts, visions, series, themes. You need to be able to develop and transform ideas into something much deeper, you need to be able to transform thoughts into visuals, emotions into colors, and actions into shapes.

That is all of course if you want a high grade on your exam
That is all of course, examinationif you want a high grade on your exam....

  • If you don't....then you can just stay with ideas.

And how do i develop concepts
And how do I develop concepts? examination

  • Well....that is the not-so-easy part.

  • First you have to figure out what the focus of your art will be. You need to come up with a theme that ALL of your work will somehow incorporate. Yes, I just said ALL of your work. “Omg, how am I gonna do that?” is what you're probably thinking, but it is actually easier than you think. Figuring out the theme of your art is what will take you some time.

And what is a theme
And...what is a theme? examination

  • Well a theme is a broad idea or a message that all of your art will convey. Notice I said “broad”. Your theme should allow flexibility, it should not be something restricting but simply an idea to focus your work. The IB examiner doesn't want to see a circus, she wants to see a Paris fashion show. She wants something deep, something focused, something visually appealing.

I still don t get it
I still don't get it. examination

  • Well you must be special.

  • Just kidding, it is actually not an easy concept to grasp. So let me give you some examples of themes:

  • Dreaming

  • Intimacy

  • Mythical figures

  • Happiness

  • Plants

  • Love

  • Food

  • Pleasure

  • Textures

  • The human body

  • Confusion

  • Animal cruelty

  • Russian culture

  • Pain

And how do i develop a theme
And how do I develop a theme? examination

  • Well, let's take one of the themes and I'll show some concepts or art piece ideas you can ramify from simply a word.

  • To make it kind of fun, I chose pleasure ;)

Humble high school international baccalaureate

Money examination

The female figure

Judgment of others










Well that was random
Well...that was random examination

I wasn't kidding when I said themes could be broad...if you go back a slide you will notice that all the words derived from “pleasure” are extremely different from each other yet all of them are united because in one way or another they create pleasure...that is exactly what a theme should be. It should allow you to freely explore ideas yet unite all of your work in a way.

What does the exam consist of
What does the exam consist of? examination

  • The infamous IWB...Investigation Workbook, from which a number of pages (varies depending on type of test) will be photocopied at the end of the year and internally as well as externally graded.

  • And

  • Your Studio Work...which should reflect the number of hours spent on classroom, no matter what medium. Art will be assessed at the end of the year by an IB examiner.

Investigation workbook
Investigation Workbook examination

  • Chances are, you have probably heard your classmates talk about how horrible writing in their IWBs is...well from experience I will tell you it isn't fun, but it is not as bad as students make it sound. How interesting and fun it is depends on you. Ultimately, YOU and only you decide what goes in it, whether research or sketches, you have the ultimate freedom to investigate any topic. So if doing pages on your IWB is boring, blame yourself.

What is an iwb for
What is an IWB for? examination

  • Before you create a studio piece you must do a little research.

  • That is just the way IB and the real art world works. Most good artist don't just pick up a paper or canvas and start drawing...for art to have a value it has to have a purpose, and the way you find that purpose is by doing research and focusing your ideas on paper before starting the piece. That is what your IWB is for.

I don t need an iwb to focus my art or show research
I don't need an IWB to focus my art or show research... examination

  • In IB you do; and that's not up for discussion.

  • IB needs to see that you've put work into your art and that you've gained knowledge in the arts, and since there isn't an actual test in IB Visual Arts asides from your interview with the examiner, they need to see proof of your exploration...all 240 hrs of it. (HL)

How do i start my iwb
How do I start my IWB? examination

  • In the first few pages you should talk about yourself and what in the field of arts interests you. Don't go on saying “I have brown hair & I love cookies” because IB couldn't care less. Unless it relates arts or what you mention somehow turns into an art piece later, it won't get you anywhere.

  • For example it would be fine to have a few pages talking about your brown hair, and how it makes you who you are IF you plan to do a piece about hair, otherwise, no.

Once you get started with your art
Once you get started with your art... examination

  • You should keep your IWB updated. Make sure you throughly record at least half of your studio pieces from start to finish. And by that I mean:

  • Background research

  • Piece design (sketch or diagram)

  • Continuous updates

  • A picture of the finished piece


How should i write in my iwb
How should I write in my IWB? examination

  • A lot of people fall under the impression that their IWB is like a diary..and it's not. You are not supposed to simply talk about how your artwork is in progress, but also continuously research things (artists, techniques, etc.) that are directly related to your current and future artwork. You should also practice techniques in it, but be sure that when you do it doesn't take the whole page and on the side you describe what you did and how it relates to yourself and your work .

What is considered good research
What is considered good research? examination

  • simple words, if your IWB looks like the pages of the bible, or like a photo album... you're not researching right.

  • You have to find a balance of both visuals and writing. Do not allow either to overpower your book, there should be equal amounts of each. If you do a whole page of writing, make sure you balance it by doing a whole page of visuals that DIRECTLY relates to the writing. But preferably it should be half and half.

Let me show you
Let me show you... examination


What IB is looking for

  • I like apples.

Apples are one of the most widely cultivated tree fruits. They are sweet and crunchy and come in different colors.Since I was young, I've always had a fascination for the fruit because my dad owned an apple plantation. I would


Apples are sweet, red fruits I have always liked.


Like to do a painting showing the natural beauty of apples, emphasizing on the color and shine of

Since I was young I have always liked apples, which are sweet, red fruits generally grown in Washington.

their skin,

Enough about the iwb
Enough about the IWB... examination

  • Now let's move on to....YOUR ART!!!

  • I will not go into much detail on this section because it is pretty self-explanatory. There are only a few things IB specifically looks for.

  • Also, let me remind you that to be successful in IB you DONT have to be a great artist technique-wise, it is all about deep ideas and executing them successfully

Ib likes to see progress
IB likes to see progress. examination

  • IB loves to see progress. It does not matter if you start out as the worst painter in your class, you can still do well on your exam because what matters to IB is how much you develop your skills and progress as an artist. And the way you show progress is through your IWB and the INCREASING QUALITY in your art work. As you practice more the quality of your artwork will chronologically increase and IB loves that, so do not expect your first pieces to be Michaelangelo quality.

Your artwork should be personal
Your artwork should be personal examination

  • One of the IB markbands is “Artwork is directly personal to the student” if you don't meet that markband, you will never obtain a high score.

  • Personal? You might ask...Yes. Yes. Yes.

  • Through your IWB and interview show IB that your artwork has a direct connection to you. Whether your grandma died (which I sincerely hope didn't) or you have always been interested in painting, make sure you record the passion behind every piece.

Artwork should chronologically increase in depth
Artwork should chronologically increase in depth. examination

  • And by depth I do not mean the thickness of your canvas.

  • Your studio pieces should ideally be more challenging and conceptual as time passes by. Don't expect to get away with the same level of challenge all year(s). That will not get you a high score. If you want to score high, your later pieces should not only be of deeper meaning, but should involve more craftsmanship. This shows your progress.

Humble high school international baccalaureate
TIPS: examination

  • When you start researching something new, ALWAYS make titles. Also, use your headings to bring interest to your pages...try some cool fonts, color letters, play with size...your goal is to entertain the examiner...make her go “whoa” when she goes through your book. A simple change of color and font on your titles will add that “whoa” and create interest.

  • Challenge yourself!

Humble high school international baccalaureate
TIPS: examination

  • Instead of printing images from the web, go buy yourself an art book/magazine from half-price-books and cut out your visuals from there...everything is already cited for you, so all you do is cut out the picture with the bottom citation and you're done!

  • When making a new piece, take gradual pictures of your work on's all about progress.

Humble high school international baccalaureate
TIPS: examination

  • Criticize yourself!!! As horrible as it sounds, it is great to write down “I need to improve on my painting skills, they are definitely not the best” shows the examiner that you are aware of your weaknesses and are willing to work on them.

  • Go to art museums/galleries and record your visits on your IWB...IB loves to see you exploring the world of arts. I recommend the Menil Collection...

Useful links
Useful links: examination


Good luck
Good Luck! examination

  • I hope this Powerpoint was useful for you and I wish you the best on your IB Art exam!

  • If you have any questions you'd like to ask me, email me at and I will be more than happy to help you. Don't ask me things you can ask your teacher though...or I wont be nice.