So you’re thinking about which advanced curriculum might be the best fit for your child’s academic needs. The Cambridge curriculum and International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program are two of the top options out there, but how do you choose between them? These programs aim for the same goal—to challenge students with a rigorous, broad, and engaging education that prepares them for university and beyond. Yet their approaches differ in key ways.

An Overview of the Cambridge Curriculum

The Cambridge curriculum focuses on developing well-rounded, global citizens. Students explore a broad range of subjects to gain a deep understanding of concepts and how they interconnect across topics.

Subjects Covered

The curriculum covers maths, English, science, humanities, second language learning, and an array of electives. Students can choose subjects that match their interests and strengths.

  • Maths includes topics like number theory, statistics, geometry and more. Students learn math concepts and real-world applications.
  • English focuses on reading, writing, speaking and listening. Students analyse literature and learn composition skills.
  • Sciences like physics, chemistry and biology teach students how the natural world works through experiments and investigations.
  • Humanities such as geography, history and global perspectives help students understand society and culture.
  • A second language, often Spanish, French or Mandarin Chinese, exposes students to new cultures and ways of thinking.
  • The arts, technology, and physical education round out the curriculum.

Assessment and Learning

The curriculum focuses on mastering concepts and skills, not just memorising facts. Students complete projects, investigations, presentations and papers to demonstrate their learning. Exams test understanding and application, not just recall.

The Cambridge curriculum helps students become creative, critical thinkers ready to succeed in our global community. With a solid foundation and broad knowledge base, students can pursue their passions and make a meaningful difference in the world.

What Is the IB Middle Years Program (MYP)?

The IB Middle Years Program (MYP) is an educational framework for students aged 11 to 16 that aims to develop intercultural understanding and global engagement. Rather than just focusing on academic achievement, the MYP emphasises learning through interdisciplinary study and developing the whole student.

  • Students take eight subject groups: language acquisition, language and literature, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical and health education, and design. These subjects are meant to give students a broad, balanced education.
  • The MYP curriculum focuses on themes and issues that span multiple subjects, like sustainability, identity, and globalisation. Students explore these ideas through collaborative projects, discussions, and real-world applications. This helps them gain a deeper understanding of the interconnected nature of knowledge.
  • Students are assessed based on set objectives and rubrics, not just grades. The MYP aims to evaluate students’ understanding and development of skills, not just their ability to memorise facts. Students build portfolios to showcase their progress and learning over the program.
  • The MYP culminates in the Personal Project, where students pursue an area of personal interest over an extended period of time. This self-directed work allows students to demonstrate the approaches to learning they have developed.

The IB MYP aims to create caring, open-minded individuals who can thrive in an increasingly globalised world. If you want your child to gain life skills and understand the complex realities of the 21st century, the MYP could be an excellent choice. With its focus on holistic learning, the MYP helps students reach their full potential both inside and outside the classroom.

Key Differences Between Cambridge and IB-MYP

The Cambridge and IB-MYP curricula offer different approaches to learning that may suit your child’s needs and interests better. Here are some of the key differences to consider:

Subject Focus

The Cambridge curriculum focuses on traditional academic subjects like English, math, and science. IB-MYP aims for a broader, interdisciplinary education that combines academic study with real-world learning. IB-MYP students take courses across six subject groups: language acquisition, language and literature, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and arts.


Cambridge uses a combination of teacher assessments, coursework, and final exams to evaluate student progress. IB-MYP emphasizes continuous assessment through projects, portfolios, investigations, and real-world applications. Students are graded on a 1-7 scale in each subject group.


The Cambridge program is recognized by universities worldwide. IB-MYP certification may improve college acceptance rates, especially at more selective schools. However, the IB-MYP diploma itself is not always required for university admission.


Cambridge curriculum and exams typically cost less than the IB-MYP program. IB-MYP fees include registration, subject fees, and exam fees which can total $3,000 or more per student. Additional costs may also be required for IB-MYP activities and materials.

Teaching Method

The Cambridge curriculum uses a traditional teaching approach focused on subject-specific knowledge and skills. IB-MYP emphasises inquiry-based learning, critical thinking, intercultural understanding, and communication. Teachers act more as facilitators to guide students through the learning process.

In the end, you’ll need to weigh these factors and determine which curriculum matches your child’s learning preferences and goals. With the right motivation and support, students can thrive in either program. Discussing options with your child’s teachers and school administrators can also help find the best solution.

Cambridge vs IB-MYP: Pros and Cons Comparison

The Cambridge curriculum focuses on developing students’ knowledge and skills through subject mastery and application. The IB-MYP aims to develop students’ personal growth and cultural awareness in a more holistic manner. Both are excellent programs, but here are some pros and cons to consider for your child.

Cambridge Pros:

  • Emphasises subject mastery and knowledge application. Students gain a strong foundation in traditional academic subjects.
  • Globally recognized qualifications that are welcomed by universities worldwide.
  • Typically lower costs than IB programs.

Cambridge Cons:

  • Less focus on developing students’ personal growth, creativity and cultural awareness compared to IB.
  • Typically more exam-focused, which some students may find stressful.

IB-MYP Pros:

  • Promotes students’ personal development, creativity, critical thinking and global awareness.
  • Encourages interdisciplinary learning through a thematic approach.
  • Highly respected by universities for producing well-rounded students.

IB-MYP Cons:

  • Typically higher costs associated with the program.
  • Heavy workload and more demanding assessments which some students may struggle with.
  • Less in-depth focus on traditional academic subjects compared to Cambridge.

In the end, you need to consider your child’s learning preferences, strengths, and goals to determine which curriculum will suit them best. Cambridge may appeal more to students keen to gain a strong grounding in core subjects, while IB-MYP may better fit students looking for a more holistic learning experience. But either program will provide an excellent education and open doors to top universities worldwide.

Choosing Between Cambridge and IB-MYP: Which Is Right for Your Child?

Choosing between the Cambridge curriculum and the IB Middle Years Program (IB-MYP) for your child ultimately comes down to their learning preferences and strengths. Both programs aim to develop well-rounded, globally-minded students but take different approaches.

Cambridge focuses on subject mastery

The Cambridge curriculum focuses on achieving a deep understanding of core academic subjects like math, science, and English. Students follow a linear progression of topics, building knowledge and skills over time. Cambridge leads to qualifications like IGCSEs and A Levels, which are recognized for university admission worldwide. If your child enjoys focusing deeply on one subject at a time and values achieving mastery of concepts, Cambridge may suit them well.

IB-MYP develops interdisciplinary thinking

In contrast, the IB-MYP aims to develop interdisciplinary thinking by integrating concepts across subjects. Students explore topics through a more holistic lens, considering the connections between disciplines. The MYP also places a strong emphasis on developing skills like critical thinking, communication, and global engagement in addition to subject knowledge. If your child enjoys exploring ideas from multiple perspectives and making conceptual connections across areas of study, the MYP could be a great fit.

In the end, you know your child’s strengths, interests, and learning preferences best. Think about the environment and approach where they would thrive, then explore how each curriculum option could support their growth into independent, socially-conscious learners. While the path may not always be clear, trusting your instincts and focusing on your child’s wellbeing will guide you to the right choice.

So what’s the verdict? Either the Cambridge or IB-MYP curriculum would be an excellent choice for your child and help set them up for success. At the end of the day, you know your child and family situation best. Think about your child’s learning style, strengths, weaknesses, and interests to determine which program aligns closest. Also consider factors like cost, school options, and opportunities for extracurricular activities. 

While the IB-MYP may be slightly more well-rounded, the Cambridge curriculum could be a perfect fit if your child thrives with more focused subject specialisation. The most important thing is that you choose a program that will ignite your child’s curiosity, inspire a lifelong love of learning, and prepare them to achieve their dreams. The future is bright no matter which path they take.

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