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International Baccalaureate: Everything You Need to Know

International Baccalaureate: Everything You Need to Know

International Baccalaureate: Everything You Need to Know

Thinking of studying abroad? You’re not the only one. Plenty of students in the UK make the decision to study abroad, whether that be studying in Switzerland, studying in Belgium or studying in America, studying abroad has become a very popular choice. But it’s not quite as easy as just applying to the university and just turning up on the day, you need a few things before you can study abroad, one of which is an International Baccalaureate, which will complement your studies abroad.

We’ve compiled a useful guide, to help you understand everything that you need to know about an International Baccalaureate and how it can help you when it comes to studying abroad.

What is an International Baccalaureate?

An International Baccalaureate (IB) is a qualification programme that runs for students below the age of 18.

The programme offers separate modules and interests for people of different age groups, which are:

  • IB Diploma Programme – For students between 15 and 18.
  • IB Career-Related Programme – For students between 15 and 18.
  • IB Middle Years Programme – For students between 11 and 14.
  • IB Primary Years Programme – For students between 3 and 12.

An International Baccalaureate is an internationally recognised qualification and every educational institute in the world accepts an International Baccalaureate, as the grading systems and the marking criteria are universal, and not specified to certain countries, although the curriculum may be.

An International Baccalaureate is a qualification programme, however, the company that provides International Baccalaureates goes by the same name, which is a little confusing. The company was formerly the International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO), but this was changed in 2007.

Does every school offer an International Baccalaureate?

No. An International Baccalaureate can only be offered by academic institutes that are authorised to do so by the government, and most importantly of all, the International Baccalaureate.

According to facts and figures from International Baccalaureate, there are over 4,000 institutes across the world that are licensed to offer the International Baccalaureate and over 5,000 International Baccalaureate programmes that are offered across the globe.

Why do I need an International Baccalaureate if I’m studying abroad?

An International Baccalaureate is an internationally recognised qualification, so therefore, you will that you have one, if you wish to study elsewhere as not all qualifications are accepted abroad. Qualifications such as GCSEs or A-Levels may not be recognised in certain countries as a form of qualification, so obtaining an International Baccalaureate is the best way to study abroad.

However, those looking to study abroad cannot solely rely on an International Baccalaureate as a means of getting into a foreign academic institute, those looking to study in America, for instance, will need to also sit the American SAT Exams as well.

An International Baccalaureate merely serves as an international qualification, but you will need to gain the actual qualifications for that country as well.  

Does an International Baccalaureate count towards my UCAS points?

This is where it can get a tad tricky.

You see, an International Baccalaureate does accrue UCAS points, but the points are for the individual elements of the course, and not for the course as a whole. The UCAS points will relate to the theory of knowledge, to higher-level subjects and to essays.

While an International Baccalaureate will show up on your average UCAS Points Calculator, an International Baccalaureate will accrue its own form of recognition, known as IB Points, which work in exactly the same and will be accepted by universities worldwide.

How do I apply to study an International Baccalaureate?

Assuming you are going to an IB World School, you apply for an International Baccalaureate, the same way you would apply for any other school. If competition is fierce for positions, then the school may ask entrants to sit an entrance exam, but this is unlikely to happen.

What courses are offered for an International Baccalaureate and how do I select them?

Ready to be confused?

An International Baccalaureate has six groups of subject types that are offered, however, you have to select one subject from each subject group.

The courses offered are:

  • Group: 1 – Language and Literature
  • Group: 2 – Foreign Languages
  • Group: 3 – Individuals and Societies
  • Group: 4 – Experimental Sciences
  • Group: 5 – Mathematics
  • Group: 6 – Arts courses

Pretty straightforward so far, right? Now comes the tricky part.

When it comes to choosing which course you want to study in your International Baccalaureate, you will need to choose one subject from courses 1-5. After you have done that, you then have to select a subject from group 6, which can either be studied in addition to your other subjects or has to be swapped out with one of your other subject areas.

Are there study requirements for an International Baccalaureate?

Yes, there are.

Depending on the amount of subjects that you have actually picked, you will need to study three of them at Higher Level (HL), while the other subjects that you have chosen have to be studied at Standard Level (SL).

In terms of hours put in, this means that you will most likely have to study around 250 odd hours of instructional work at HL and 160 hours at SL.


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