IB Diploma – Everything You Need to Know


The International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma is an advanced educational option for high school students. It is a popular qualification that is taught in schools and colleges all over the world. Universities accept the IB diploma for entry onto undergraduate degrees (courses that are aimed at students attending the universities for the first time). This makes IB diploma an excellent alternative to A levels.

What Do You Study on the IB Diploma?

According to International Baccalaureate’s website, the primary aim of IB diploma is to develop students who have excellent depth of knowledge, students who flourish ethically, emotionally, intellectually, and physically. This means you will study a wide variety of academic subjects as well as have some other commitments that will help ensure that you are well rounded.

IB Diploma Subject Choices

There are 6 subject groups on the IB diploma. From each subject group, students are required to take at least one subject. These subject groups include:

  1. Mathematics: Includes mathematics and further mathematics.
  2. Sciences: Includes exercise and health science, environmental systems and societies, design technology, computer science, biology, chemistry, and physics.
  3. Individuals and Societies: Includes environmental systems and societies, information technology in a global society, social and cultural anthropology, world religions, business management, global politics, philosophy, psychology, economics, geography, and history.
  4. Language Acquisition: Includes modern languages as well as options to learn Classical Greek and Latin.
  5. Studies in Language and Literature: Includes literature and performance (that connects theatre and literature), language and literature (studying both literature as well as other spoken and written materials), and literature (studying literature in a language of your choice).
  6. Arts: Includes music, film, dance, theatre, and visual arts.

Art subject group is optional which means you can take a subject from it but if you don’t want to, you have the option to choose a second subject from any of the other subject groups.

Another thing to note here is that environmental systems and societies is included in two subject groups. This gives you some flexibility as you can either choose one subject group in which you want to study environmental systems and societies or choose both groups and hence avoid other subjects in Individuals and Societies and Sciences subject groups.

How Are IB Diploma Subjects Assessed?

Exams are the primary way to assess IB diploma students. However, there are coursework assignments as well that contribute to a student’s final grade. Students often rely on tuition centers like IB economics tuition in Singapore to get expert help with their coursework assignments.

Other Academic Tasks on the IB Diploma

There are a couple of additional academic tasks that IB diploma students are required to complete. These include:

  • Completing an Extended Essay: This involves working on an independent research project on your chosen topic. The topic you choose must relate to any of the IB subject groups listed above.
  • Learning About Theory of Knowledge: This looks at the nature of knowledge, including the assumptions we may hold as well as whether and how we can know what we know.

The word requirement for the Extended Essay is minimum 4,000 words. Students must research their topic on their own but they also have a supervisor who can guide them in the process.

For Theory of Knowledge, students have to write a 1,600-word essay and give a presentation. There are usually some Theory of Knowledge classes/lessons in IB diploma, but they are far less as compared to classes/lessons for other subjects.

How IB Grades Work

Here are the key points regarding IB diploma grades:

  • Students receive a grade for each of their selected subjects. Grades range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest).
  • Apart from a good grade, students must also have at least 24 points in order to succeed in earning the IB diploma. There are other criteria for passing as well, such as minimum grades in each of the chosen subject, etc.
  • Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge can give you up to 3 points in total.
  • All the scores from your chosen subjects as well as other academic tasks are added together to calculate an overall score. The highest grade an IB diploma student can get is 45. Both standard-level and higher-level courses carry the same weight toward a student’s overall score.
  • Employers and universities are likely to be interested in both your overall grade as well as the grades in subjects relating to the job/course you are applying for.

While the IB diploma may not be as popular as some of the other programs available for high school students, it can certainly be a worthwhile alternative for anyone who has access to it. Since earning an IB diploma requires you to study a wide variety of subjects as well as fulfill additional extracurricular and academic tasks, it can be a very impressive qualification to add to your resume.

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