A Guide to IB Diploma Programme

A Guide to IB Diploma Programme

The IB Diploma programme is a 2 year assessed program for students of age 16 to 19. This curriculum is widely recognized by a lot of leading and well-respected global universities. The programme aims to develop students’ knowledge base physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically. The curriculum consists of 6 subject groups out of which the students are required to take one subject from each group (or two from Group 4: The sciences).

In addition to this, the curriculum has three key-core components which are TOK (Theory of Knowledge), EE (Extended Essay) and CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service). Throughout the course, students reflect on the nature of knowledge, complement independent research and undertake a project that involves community service.


6 subject groups:

    • Language B – For students with some previous experience of learning the language. Students develop the ability to communicate in the target language through the study of language, themes, and texts. Also develop conceptual understandings of how language works.
    • Language AB initio – For beginners (that is, students who have little or no previous experience of learning the language they have chosen). 
    • Latin or Classical Greek – Latin or Classical Greek coursework provides opportunities for students to study the language, literature, and culture of ancient Rome or Greece.

IB Mathematics has yet again undergone a major change in 2021. There are two entirely new directions to the IB Math courses: 

  • Mathematics: analysis and approaches SL
  • Mathematics: analysis and approaches HL
  • Mathematics: applications and interpretation SL
  • Mathematics: applications and interpretation HL

These courses, however, are not adjustments of the old course but a new course by itself. It replaces Math HL, SL and Studies. The courses were created to induce critical thinking in the students since it is becoming an increasingly vital skill in the current century. 

The three core elements are:

  • Theory of knowledge: Students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know. This is assessed based on a 1600 word essay on a title prescribed by IB that the students write in addition to a presentation that they make.
  • The extended essay: Students perform an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper. Students are free to choose from any subject that interests them. 
  • Creativity, activity, service: Students complete a project related to those three concepts. Additionally, students are required to complete 50 hours of each of the concepts by participating in extracurriculars.

Choosing subjects in the Diploma Programme

Students choose courses from the following subject groups: studies in language and literature; language acquisition; individuals and societies; sciences; mathematics; and the arts.

Students may opt to study an additional sciences, individuals and societies, or languages course, instead of a course in the arts.

Students will take some subjects at higher level (HL) and some at standard level (SL).  HL and SL courses differ in scope but are measured according to the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at a higher level.

Each student takes at least three (but not more than four) subjects at higher level, and the remaining at standard level.

Standard level subjects take up 150 teaching hours. Higher level comprises 240 teaching hours.


The IB board assesses student work as direct evidence of achievement against the stated goals of the Diploma Programme (DP) courses. DP assessment procedures measure the extent to which students have mastered advanced academic skills in fulfilling these goals, for example:

  • Analyzing and presenting information
  • Evaluating and constructing arguments
  • Solving problems creatively.

Basic skills are also assessed, including:

  • Retaining knowledge
  • Understanding key concepts
  • Applying standard methods. 

In addition to academic skills, DP assessment encourages an international outlook and intercultural skills, wherever appropriate. Student results are determined by performance against set standards, not by each student’s position in the overall rank order.

The IB uses both external and internal assessment in the DP

External assessment: Examinations form the basis of the assessment for most courses. This is because of their high levels of objectivity and reliability. They include:

  • essays
  • structured problems
  • short-response questions
  • data-response questions
  • text-response questions
  • case-study questions
  • multiple-choice questions – though these are rarely used. 

Internal assessment: Teacher assessment is also used for most courses. This includes:

  • oral work in languages
  • fieldwork in geography
  • laboratory work in the sciences
  • investigations in mathematics
  • artistic performances.

Lastly, how does IBDP benefit you, as a student?

The DP is an academically challenging and balanced programme of education. It addresses the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students, and is respected by universities across the globe. Each of the IB’s programmes, including the DP, is committed to the development of students according to the attributes shown in the IB learner profile. Some of the reasons of why you should choose IBDP are:

  • Depth of study: Unlike the A Levels, students are required to pick a certain number of subjects across the 6 subject groups mentioned above. The syllabus of the subjects are curated and designed in a way for students to expand their knowledge base enough to get a headstart in university. They also have the option of transferring college credits.
  • Research skills: The core components put the students’ research skill and exploration to the test as they are required to create an extensive research document on any of their subjects and write an additional essay for TOK which involves the questioning of how anyone knows what they know. 
  • Time management: The one thing that is picked up by IB students almost instantly is time management because of the deadlines IB imposes. IB makes their students more organized, makes them set aside time for assignments as well as extracurriculars, and finally develop good study habits. When a student familiarizes themselves with this, they are prepared in advance for what’s to come in their university.
  • Personal Growth: Being exposed to a multifaceted two years of schooling, you learn to grow as a person as well. You learn to articulate your own opinions, balance life between extracurriculars and academics, manage time and most importantly, understanding to learn through experience. 

The IBDP is for students who seek a broad and challenging curriculum that helps them develop all the skills needed for success at university. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is the IB Diploma Programme?

A: The IB Diploma Programme is a two-year pre-university programme that offers a broad and balanced curriculum, with an emphasis on international perspectives and critical thinking.

Q2: What are the requirements of the IB Diploma Programme?

A: The IB Diploma Programme requires students to study six subjects, including a second language, and to complete an extended essay, a theory of knowledge course, and creativity, activity, and service (CAS) experiences. Students must also meet minimum requirements for total points and grades in order to receive the diploma.

Q3: What are the benefits of the IB Diploma Programme?

A: The IB Diploma Programme provides students with a rigorous and well-rounded education that prepares them for success in higher education and beyond. It promotes critical thinking, communication, and intercultural understanding, and encourages students to be active and responsible global citizens.

Q4: What subjects are offered in the IB Diploma Programme?

A: The IB Diploma Programme offers a range of subjects in six subject groups, including language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and the arts. Students must choose one subject from each group and may choose an additional subject from any group.

Q5: How is the IB Diploma Programme assessed?

A: The IB Diploma Programme is assessed through a combination of internal and external assessments, including examinations, coursework, and oral presentations. Each subject is graded on a scale of 1-7, and students must earn a minimum of 24 points and meet other requirements to receive the diploma.

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