The IB Diploma or International Baccalaureate is the most and best recognized IB Diploma worldwide. In fact, many top-ranked universities have a different admissions process for this bachelor’s degree. The admission ratios are also better for students with this baccalaureate and they can access better universities more easily. However, this is not free. The IB Diploma is a very rigorous baccalaureate that prepares you for university and has nothing to do with the traditional baccalaureate in both content and structure. For more information about the IB Diploma you can access their website: IB Diploma.
If you finally decide to take this baccalaureate, you will have to choose among many courses offered by the school (not all courses are offered in all schools). As a general rule, you will have to choose 6 courses that you will take during the two years of the IB program. Among the six courses, 3 must be HL (High Level) and 3 SL (Standard Level). Each course is evaluated from 0 to 7 points, with a 4 being a pass.
In addition to these courses, you are required to take three extra courses:
- CAS (Creativity, Activity, service)
- TOK (Theory of Knowledge)
- Extended Essay
Each of these three courses counts 1 point. Therefore, your final IB grade has a maximum of 42 points in regular classes plus 3 points in these three extra classes, i.e. a maximum of 45 points.
The choice of classes is not trivial. You should take into account the following aspects when making your choice:
- For STEM degrees you should have as rigorous a curriculum as possible, which means having at least 2 or 3 science classes (Physics, Chemistry or Biology) plus mathematics. In addition, Mathematics Analysis and Approaches is preferable.
- For Humanities or Business majors, Mathematics Analysis and Interpretations is sufficient but HL is suggested.
- For the most rigorous universities, especially in Europe and the United Kingdom, and for science majors, you must have Mathematics and two other sciences in HL.
- Even if the school allows you to do so, do not take more than 3 classes in HL, since no university will ask you to take more than 3 and taking 4 may negatively impact your final grade.
- If you are an English speaker or if you want to avoid taking the English entrance exam, you should choose English A, but beware that it is much more difficult than English B.
In summary, the IB diploma can open many doors but it can also close them if you do not plan in advance which courses to select and at what level. Also be aware that an IB score below 30 is not considered a good score, so for certain countries and careers it may be smarter to do the national baccalaureate of your country. The most in-demand universities require an IB above 35 minimum and the TOP universities above 40.
At Five Lands International Education we have the best consultants to help you choose your school curriculum based on your college requirements and admissions potential. Visit our Early Preparation or Full Academic Advising programs or contact us through this contact form or by phone at +34 689 027 598 for Europe or +1 (984) 208 5551 for America.