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IB Board Explained: A Complete Guide

IB Board Explained A Complete Guide

Table of Contents

What is the IB?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program is a rigorous high-school curriculum that prepares students for university while developing their disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge and understanding. As its name suggests, the IB is an international program, meant to provide high-quality education to students across the world. Since the program started in 1968, more than 1.5 million students from almost 150 countries have participated in it. The program can be taught in English, French, or Spanish.

What subjects do you study in the IB?

The IB offers over 30 courses from these six subject groups:

  1. Language and Literature
  2. Language Acquisition 
  3. Social Sciences
  4. Sciences
  5. Mathematics
  6. Arts

Students pick one course from each of these six groups, with the option to replace the arts subject with a second subject from groups 1-5. As a result, students end up studying at least two languages and at least one subject from a broad range of disciplines.

What is the difference between Higher Level and Standard Level?

Each subject can be taken at either Higher Level or Standard Level. Higher Level courses require 240 hours of instruction and cover more material than Standard Level courses, which require 150 hours of instruction. At least three courses must be taken at Higher Level.

What is the IB Core?

In addition to the classes, all IB students complete the IB core, which consists of these three components:

  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK): a cross-disciplinary course on the nature of knowledge, as well as its production and acquisition.
  • Extended Essay (EE): a 4,000-word essay based on an independent research project carried out by the student.
  • Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS): activities completed by students to help them develop creative thinking, a healthy lifestyle, and an attitude of community service.

How are students assessed?

Students receive a grade from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest) for each of their six subjects. These grades are assigned based on a combination of internal and external assessments. Furthermore, up to 3 points are awarded for performance in the IB core. Hence, the maximum possible score is 45 points. Students need 24 points overall to pass, and the average score is 30 points.

Students can also attempt individual courses without enrolling for the full diploma program. In that case, they receive separate scores of 1-7 for each course. 

Is the IB recognized globally?

Yes. The IB is recognized by governments and universities globally. Many colleges recognize the rigor of the program and use it as a factor in admissions decisions. Also, many colleges offer transfer credits for scoring well on courses, allowing students to skip introductory courses at college if they have already covered the material as part of the IB.

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