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Can students in an IB school choose their courses?

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The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme or the IBDP is a global, worldwide education program consisting of a curriculum that helps the students widen their educational experiences and perspectives so they have the opportunity to apply the various skills they acquire throughout this course. It is a rigorous two-year program where the student will be rewarded with a globally recognized diploma. 

The curriculum has three-core components which are the Theory of Knowledge (ToK), the Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS). A matrix is created to figure out the total points of the extra given 3 after 42 subject points. As there are 6 subjects, the range of scores attainable is 1 to 7.

As for ToK, this gives the chance for students to reflect on the knowledge that they acquire and understand how they know what they know philosophically. In place of an exam, the student is asked to write a 1600 word essay on one of the knowledge questions provided by the IB board and an oral presentation with regards to a real-life situation.

Furthermore, the EE is a 4000-word research paper that is solely the investigation conducted by the student itself.  This primarily puts their documentation, research skills as well as their open-mindedness to something new, to a test.

Lastly, CAS is when students have the chance to conduct and perform various kinds of activities and projects relevant to the three concepts. Creativity defines being involved in something that requires creative and critical thinking thus leading to innovative solutions.

This can be learning an instrument, writing a short story, etc. Activity is oriented more towards sports-related experiences like hiking for the first time. Finally, Service is a way of contributing to the traditional community service. 

Now that you know what is mandatory, let’s move onto the question, can students in an IB school choose their courses? Apart from the core elements, students are allowed to pick 6 subjects including Mathematics, English and a Second Language. There will be three or four higher-level subjects and three standard level subjects.

Students have the freedom to seek out what truly interests and inspires them. Unlike most boards, IB students have the liberty to pick subjects of interest from 6 groups namely, mathematics, language acquisition, the arts, sciences, humanities, and literature.

IB provides the opportunity for students to discover their passion by studying a wide range of subjects, and are not compelled to specialize. Students are able to then use this knowledge that they acquire in the classroom and beyond to develop their IAs and EE. 

Explore your subject options. Now is your time to think about what you see yourself doing for the rest of your life. If you have an idea of what might interest you, you can pick subjects accordingly. If not, you can take your time and get to know the subjects and try out different ones until you figure out what interests you the most.

However, you must also try to be realistic. The IB programme is highly rigorous and demanding. Try not to increase your workload by picking the most difficult subjects. Assess your capabilities and try to pick out the subjects you truly enjoy.

Also Read: How is IB different from other curriculums?

Let’s take a look at what your subject options are:

Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature

Courses available in this group consist of literature ( in 55 languages). Language and Literature ( in 17 languages), and Literature and Performance ( in English, Spanish, and French).

Group 2: Language Acquisition 

Students have the option to study languages at two varied levels: Ab initio courses for beginners with not much knowledge in the language. Language B courses are for those with prior knowledge. This can be taken at standard level or higher level.

Group 3: Individuals and Societies

Generally, this group consists of subjects such as Business Management, Economics, Geography, History, Global Politics, Philosophy, Psychology, Information Technology in a Global Society, Anthropology, and World Religions. However, it depends on what options your school offers. 

Group 4: Sciences

This group includes subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Computer Science, Design Technology or Sports, Exercise and Health Science.

Group 5: Mathematics

There are two types of mathematics that the students can pick from. It can be taken at either standard or higher level. The Analysis and Approaches course is for students interested in exploring maths at a deeper level, enabling them to solve complex problems in relevant and real-world contexts.

The Applications and Interpretation course is for those who are interested in exploring the real-life applications of maths. Students learn how to use real-world data to create mathematical models to uncover insights and aid decision-making. This course delves deeper into the practical applications of mathematics.

Group 6: The Arts

This groups includes subject such as Dance, Music, Film, Theatre, and Visual Art. Once you’ve figured out your interests and have an idea of what subjects you will be taking, try to delve deeper into them.

Pick up some IB prescribed textbooks, articles, library books and do some background reading on each subject. This will help you gain a lot of insight and be way ahead of your class. 

Further Reading:

ibo.org

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