A Tutorial on the IB Diploma Coursework

What is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP)

A rising popular alternative to the curriculums in India is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP).  One of the main reasons students undertake the IBDP is due to the increasing recognition of the curriculum over the past few years.

Additionally, the top international schools provide it. As parents would like to provide the best education to their children to pave a bright future ahead for them, they tend to opt for the IBDP. 

Before delving further into why this is the ideal curriculum for students, we must first understand what the IB really is and what it consists of.

The IB diploma programme is a rigorous two-year course of study that aims to develop “inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect”. 

Unlike most boards, IB students have the liberty to pick subjects based on their interests from 6 different groups namely, mathematics, language acquisition, the arts, sciences, humanities, and literature.

Students have the freedom to seek out what truly interests and inspires them. IB provides the opportunity for students to discover their passion by studying a wide range of subjects, and are not compelled to specialize.

Three of the six subjects must be studied at Higher Level, while the other three can be studied at Standard Level.

Group 1 consists of Language and Literature in which subjects are usually taken in the students’ native language and can focus on literature alone or a combination of both.

Group 2 consists of Language Acquisition where this is a second language for students as it is normally a modern language.

Group 3 consists of Individuals and Societies. These subjects involve the humanities as they include Global Politics, Business Management, Economics, History, Philosophy, Geography, Social and Cultural Anthropology, World Religion, and more.

Group 4 is the Sciences such as Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science.

Group 5 includes Mathematics Studies, Mathematics, and Further Mathematics.

Lastly, Group 6 consists of The Arts: Music, Theatre, Dance, Film, and Visual Arts. Each subject has various aspects that may be internally or externally assessed.

For example, in Biology, 80 percent of the grade is based on the exam which is externally assessed.

Whereas, 20 percent of the grade is based on a research investigation that is internally assessed. This is translated into a total of 7 points for each subject. 

Apart from these six chosen subjects, the additional 3 points come from the two core elements of IB, which are tailored to broaden the students’ skills.  This includes the Extended essay which is a mandatory core component of the IB Diploma Programme, ending with a 4000-word essay.

This, combined with the TOK essay, is graded according to a TOK/EE matrix that determines how many points you will additionally obtain.  With your extended essay, a viva voce will be conducted to test your knowledge and spontaneity of how much you have learned from writing your essay.

This showcases the students’ depth of understanding of the research carried out. The extended essay is an advantage not only for school but for an array of opportunities ahead of you.

It provides an opportunity that helps in independent research whilst developing research skills, inquiry, open-mindedness, and creativity along with many more of the IB learner profile traits. Speaking of the EE, a major benefit of the IB programme is the great extent to which it enhances students’ research skills.

Also Read: 10 Amazing IB Exam Revision Tips 2021

The extended essay, internal assessments, and the theory of knowledge are components of the IB programme that demand students to develop advanced independent research and organizational skills.

This skill in particular is highly essential to carry forward as it will help familiarise students with doing research at a university level. 

However, the international baccalaureate programme doesn’t just revolve around academics.  It is much more than that. In order to receive the diploma, students must also satisfy the core component requirements.

One of these components is known as CAS (Creativity, activity, and service). Alongside their academics, students take part in various other extra-curricular activities of three strands.

Creativity involves the arts and other experiences that involve creative thinking.

Activity focuses on enhancing the students’ lifestyle— whether it be playing a sport or going hiking.

Lastly, service involves voluntary participation that has learning benefits for the students.

For example, students may take up volunteering at a local charity shop. In total, a student must have 18 CAS experiences to show variety and skill and one long term project that lasts 6 months to demonstrate initiative and consistency.

CAS allows students to improve their personal and interpersonal development and also acts as a counterbalance to the academic pressures of the IBDP.

Even though there is no formal assessment of CAS and does not add to the total score, the diploma will not be awarded if not completed. 

The level of personal growth that IB students achieve is one of the major reasons for choosing this programme. IB not only helps you grow academically by making students more knowledgeable, but it also helps students grow as people.

Reflecting on daily tasks, balancing multiple things at once, caring, open-mindedness, increased and effective communication— are skills that students can carry forward in life.

The mandatory component, CAS, enables students to work in their community. This may involve campaigning, fundraising, and other volunteering activities. This brings about a sense of responsibility as students feel like they are part of something bigger. This is not typically found in other classrooms, which makes this course especially quite unique.

Overall, IB helps students develop strong academic, social, and emotional characteristics.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What is IBDP?

A: IBDP stands for International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. It is a two-year educational programme for students aged 16 to 19 that provides an internationally recognized qualification for entry into higher education.

Q2: What is the curriculum of IBDP?

A: The curriculum of IBDP is designed to provide a broad and balanced education. It includes six subject groups: language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and the arts. Students are required to take one subject from each group, with three of these subjects being studied at a higher level and three at a standard level.

Q3: What are the core components of IBDP?

A: The core components of IBDP include the Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS), and the Extended Essay. TOK is a course that encourages critical thinking and reflection on the nature of knowledge, while CAS is a program that encourages students to be active and engaged in their communities. The Extended Essay is a research project that students undertake on a topic of their choice.

Q4: What are the benefits of IBDP?

A: The IBDP provides a rigorous and challenging educational experience that prepares students for success in higher education and beyond. It promotes critical thinking, creativity, and a global perspective. Additionally, IBDP is recognized by universities around the world and can provide students with a competitive advantage in the college admissions process.

Q5: How is IBDP assessed?

A: IBDP is assessed through a combination of internal and external assessments. Internal assessments are conducted by teachers and include assignments, essays, and oral presentations. External assessments include written exams that are marked by external examiners.

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