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The IB board explained

IB Board Explained A Complete Guide

What is the IB Board?

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 Board 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.

History of IB: let’s explore


The roots of the International Baccalaureate (IB) can be traced back to the Conference of Internationally-minded Schools during this period. It was during these years that the full form of the IB term “International Baccalaureate” was first mentioned. This early development phase saw the creation of a contemporary history syllabus and examination system, which emphasised critical inquiry as a fundamental aspect of education.


A significant milestone occurred in 1970 when the first official IB Diploma Programme exams were administered. These exams were taken by students at 12 schools representing 10 different countries. Notably, this included the participation of state schools in Germany and France. This marked the official beginning of the IB’s recognition on an international scale, demonstrating the value of its educational offerings.


The year 1975 witnessed the establishment of the North American Regional Office of the IB in New York. This move further expanded the organization’s presence and reach, particularly in North America. The opening of this regional office played a pivotal role in promoting the IB’s educational programs and philosophy in the United States and Canada.


As the 1980s dawned, the IB’s recognition continued to gain momentum globally. More and more countries began acknowledging the value of the IB’s educational programs, emphasizing their role in fostering well-rounded, globally-minded students. This recognition laid the foundation for the IB’s growth and acceptance in diverse educational systems around the world.


Today, the IB has become a worldwide network with more than 4,000 schools renowned for delivering high-quality and demanding education. Particularly, the IB Diploma Program is well-regarded by universities worldwide because it equips students with robust research and critical-thinking abilities, making it a valuable qualification for further education and beyond. The IB’s primary mission remains centered on nurturing curious, knowledgeable, and empathetic young individuals who contribute to a more harmonious world through understanding and respecting diverse cultures.

What subjects do you study in the IB?

The IB Board 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.

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

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 Board recognized globally?

Yes. The IB Board 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 Board.

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