What is the International Baccalaureate (IB)?
The International Baccalaureate, also commonly known as the IB, is a comprehensive curriculum that is taught in more than 150 countries all across the world. Comprising four age-targeted programmes, the IB Programme takes an integrated approach to education, nurturing intellectual, personal, emotional, and social skills. The International Baccalaureate Organisation states that they are aiming to create a better, more peaceful world by teaching students to think more critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic. The four programmes that are offered by the IB Programme are the Primary Years Programme (PYP), from ages three to 12, the Middle Years Programme (MYP), from age 11 to 16, the Diploma Programme (DP), from age 16 to 19, and the Careers-Related Programme, from age 16 to 19. Each of these programmes stands on its own merits. Students do not need to have completed the PYP and MYP in order to study for the IB Diploma. The IB Programmes are currently offered in more than 4,700 schools worldwide.
What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma?
The IB Diploma is designed for students between the ages of 16 and 19 and it is based on the philosophy that students should apply critical thinking skills to their experiences and learn to access the world around them. Moreover, this programme encourages students and develops the students’ academic, social, emotional, and physical wellbeing, and prepares them to participate in the global society through the comprehensive study of six subjects and three core components for over two years. This programme is also widely known and recognised by the world’s top universities as it gives the students the right skill set and attitude needed for a higher education when they are planning for an admission.
What are the IB Subjects and Structure?
In the IB Programme, the subjects are split into six groups where students must study one subject from each of group one to five, then another from either group six, or an additional subject from one of the other groups. Three of the six subjects must be studied at Higher Level, while the other three can be studied at Standard Level. If the student wishes, more subjects can be studied to a higher level in the IB Programme. Group 1 consists of Language and Literature whereby these are usually taken in the students’ native language and can focus on literature alone or a combination of language and literature together. Group 2 consists of Language Acquisition where this is a second language for students as it is usually a modern language but can also be Latin and/or Classical Greek. As for Group 3, it consists of Individuals and Societies. These subjects relate to the humanities as they include Business and Management, Economics, Geography, Global Politics, History, Philosophy, Social and Cultural Anthropology, World Religion and others. For Group 4, it is the Sciences. This includes a range of Science subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, and Design Technology. For Group 5, it is Mathematics which includes Mathematics Studies, Mathematics, and Further Mathematics. Lastly, Group 6 consists of The Arts: Music, Theatre, Dance, Film, and Visual Arts. By preference, students can choose to study another subject from the groups above instead.
Other than these six chosen subjects, students must also complete the following three core elements of the IB Programme, which is designed to broaden their experience and skills. The first core element is the Theory of Knowledge (ToK). ToK is important in the IB programme as it provides students with an opportunity to reflect on the nature of knowledge and how they can claim to know what they know. The questions students will encounter and examine consists of “what counts as evidence?” and “how can theories be applied in the real world?”. From this study, students are taught to recognise the need to act responsibly in the world around them for their own benefit and the benefit of others. The second core element is the Extended Essay whereby students who have chosen this will need to write an in-depth 4,000-word extended essay on the subject that they have chosen. The topic of the essay can be an in-depth investigation on something relating to one of their six chosen subjects, or it can be an interdisciplinary approach combining themes from two of the IB disciplines. The third and final core element of the IB Programme is Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS). This component can be fulfilled when students are needed to participate in various personally challenging activities that relate to these three areas with momentous results.
What are the IB Grades & Requirements?
With seven being the highest point, students will receive grades of between one and seven for each of the six chosen subjects. As for the Theory of Knowledge (ToK) and the Extended Essay, it can collectively contribute another three points to a student’s total score. Students will need to receive a total score of 24 and above in order for them to pass the IB Programme. As for the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) element of the IB Programme, it does not add to the score for the student. However, the IB Diploma cannot be awarded without this core element.