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How to get through CAS Minus the Pain

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Ahhh CAS, don’t we all love it? If you’re in 9th or 10th grade and still don’t really know what CAS exactly is, don’t worry, 11th and 12th graders don’t really know either. A quick run-down before I start this article, CAS stands for Creativity, Activity, Service. It is an integral part of the IB diploma programme that you need to complete to be able to obtain the diploma. Luckily for the AP students at ISZL, they get to do it too. CAS tends to have a pretty bad reputation, people seem to despise it and see it as something huge and inconvenient on top of their work. However, as of late I can officially say that I have completed the CAS element of my IB diploma, and I can honestly say that I really didn’t see it as a massive drag to get through. Hopefully I can give you some ideas as to how you can get through CAS easier and not see it as such a drag. 

The first step I have for you is to get over it. There’s no point complaining every 5 seconds about why you’re being forced to do it. You’re expected to do it, unfortunately, that’s just going to mean that you’re gonna end up doing it. Acceptance is the first step. 

Second hack is to get a CAS project idea out of the way as soon as possible. For my IB CAS project, I was lucky to already know what my project was going to be at the start of 11th grade. I therefore spent my 11th grade year on my CAS project, meaning it saved me time during my 12th grade year. It also meant that I wasn’t frantically trying to think of a CAS project to do and to be able to do it in the short remaining time frame. 

Another thing I managed to do that made my life easier was to find elements from my daily life and make them a part of my CAS experiences. If you regularly go to the gym, play a team sport (in or out of school), are part of a drama school, etc., all you really need to do is find a supervisor and you’re set to go, these can then count for your Creativity or Activity elements. Another option is joining a school club or team. I did softball and swimming for CAS, and on top of that, I went to the gym regularly enough to make it an element of CAS too. Additionally,  I joined the school newspaper to add to my Creativity elements. 

I think the greatest flaw in our CAS programme lies in 9th and 10th grade, where that one hour of “CAS” is allocated to all students, where only a limited amount of people are really invested or interested in their projects. This tends to put people off CAS entirely. Please keep in mind that this changes in 11th and 12th grade; you can actually choose something you’re remotely interested in. And if you don’t, that’s ok too, just know that it’ll be more of a pain for you to get through in the long run. 

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1 Comment

One Response to “How to get through CAS Minus the Pain”

  1. Mrs Victoria E Wasner on March 13th, 2018 12:30 am

    Interesting insights Meike…. I wonder what we need to do to help students to get motivating CAS projects off the ground from the beginning of grade 11? Student suggestions welcome! It should be about choice and enjoyment of course and not such a drag for anyone…in an ideal world!

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