Hey! Good to see some more IB students on this site...
I graduated with my bilingual IB diploma in May '06 - I got 41 points total. Getting over 40 was my goal, and it's not impossible.
While it is good to focus on exams and IAs as was suggested, you need to remember that homework and other "busywork" might count towards GPA, which is also another important factor in college admissions. This also depends on how you learn. For instance, in science oriented courses I would want to do lots of practice problems (assigned ones and more if needed, especially for HL subjects). Good teachers (keyword: good) tend to assign homework that is relevant to the subject and will help you learn material that will be tested. In my case, doing the work was the best way for me to learn (and get a smokin' GPA!). Case in point- in university, you are graded on only a few tests (and maybe an essay or some labs depending on your subject). While I worked harder than usual for those few things, I did regular work for my classes - summarizing parts of the textbook, making chapter review sheets every week, etc. It worked, and I did a lot better than my classmates who crammed everything in. It is possible to not cram, but it's hard if you're not already doing something for the course - finals sneak up on you(!), not to mention projects, essays, and other things like a week of having a 5 hour rehearsal every night in the middle of midterm season!
A few tips:
-PRACTICE EXAMS. Get some. Do them early, do as many as you can, do them with your friends, do them alone, etc. If you can, you should also look for a rubric to see if your answers are correct (or at least bring difficult problems or essays to a teacher).
-TOK/EE. A few things. 1. Start as early as you can. 2. Get the marking guides. You could have a fantastic essay that scores low because it doesn't conform to the essay guidelines. I got A's on both my essays, and the way I wrote them was completely different. I worked my arse off on my extended essay (for months), and in the end only spent about 5 hours on my TOK paper (the night before it was mailed in). The ONE thing that I did with both essays was follow the rubrics as closely as I could. 3. For TOK - use interesting examples. Try not to talk about the abortion debate as an example of an ethical dilemma, or the fact that people once thought the world was flat as an example of changing knowledge and definitions. Overused examples annoy the graders and show that you didnt really put thought into your paper.
-For May exams studying: make yourself a schedule, taking into account the dates of your exams, your SL/HL mix, and other work, projects, extra-curricular commitments. I started in Mid-March, but that was only practice papers for my HL subjects until April when I stepped it up. It probably also helped that I took two of my SL subjects (Biology and Methodes Mathematiques) in my junior year, so I only had four exams in my last year. Find out the way your school schedules diploma students' exams.
-Subject Syllabi. Try to get ahold of these (you can usually find them online or through your teachers). Some schools teach things that aren't in the IB syllabus due to other exams (in my case, Provincial Diploma Exams). If you can find out what you have to know, it helps. The syllabi are also good because they are in point form with a directive verb (ex. describe, explain, compare, etc). Go over the more difficult points, or HL only material - you just made yourself a study guide!
More resources: www.ibscrewed.net
They'll answer all your questions.
Good luck with your diploma!