I feel i'm the only one with real experience here. I'm currently finishing my IB diploma program planning to take exams this May. From what i understand you went into it with teh same expectations i had. Just another 2 years of classes, tests and then some final exams at the end.
it's so far from that.
i don't know your SL's and HL's so i can't tell, but my program was like this.
(This is entirely my experience, yours may vary greatly)
HL - Italian, Physics and Math
Sl - English Lit and Performance, Islamics and Chemistry
Prediction - 38 +2 points for TOK and EE
It's hard. I had a 4.00 GPA in middle school and the first two years of HS and then the Ib diploma dropped it to a 3. The classes are long, the IA's are a pain the ass, the time is always very very short and you'll go to your HL's and feel like you're constantly cramming as much stuff as possible to try and go well. if you've been good in math so far then it's not a guarantee you're going to be good the IB years. To put it simply, i had a 4.00 GPA doing basically nothing every day (30mins of hw a day, max) IB has you preparing for exams you'll have in over a month every single day.
CAS is always a pain in the ass as it's really not going to teach you anything. And nether is TOK.
If you plan on taking weekends off to go skiing, it's definitely possible, but it's always better to stay home and study.
EE - work on it immediately and meet with your EE advisor/supervisor as often as possible. He will have to be your #1 contact in your phone for at least the first 2 months of the ee where you choose a question and in the last 3 when you are about to hand it in. (i had from end of junior to mid december of senior to do it)
IA's - look into the syllabus and look at things you may like further on. if you're able to choose a topic you still haven't done you'll get easy points for engagement in the subject. work work work and don't ever, ever ever procrastinate with anything. it'll catch up and hit you upside the head like a baseball bat.
It's not hard. Idiots have passed at my school. However, you'll be giving up free time the winter of your senior year. I used to ski around 100 days a year, this year (it was a bad season, i admit) i only skied like 20 max.
Anyways, that's not the point. take classes you like, and figure what they are asap. If you do you'll have classes you really enjoy and the whole IB may not even be that big of deal.
I feel the free time thing may scare you a bit. You'll still have plenty of time to have fun, but you'll find yourself having to pass on certain things such as dinner out with friends, a night out drinking and some other things like this. But you will have fun and enjoy yourself, and the IB isn't everything in life, remember this.
From an academic standpoint, the IB is the best favor you can do yourself as it's one of the only greatly appreciated international program by universities/colleges around the world.
I would definitely take the IB on again if given the chance, but if i would i'd listen to my teachers recommendations more.
if you need any more clarification PM me and i'll be happy to help you.
R.I.P. JP, Andreas, Sam, Ryan, Erik, Sarah, Shane, Liz, and all of those who died doing what they loved.