International Baccalaureate Information


    The International Baccalaureate, or IB, is a challenging and well-rounded programme of education for 16-19-year-old students. It's an Internationally recognised course, followed by students around the world. Until recently in the UK it was only taught in a minority of independent schools, but is now an option in some state schools too. It's currently on offer at around 200 schools across the UK.
    The IB course leads to a qualification called the IB Diploma, which is very well-respected by universities and is also an advantage if you are hoping to study overseas.

    The IB has a reputation for being demanding but very rewarding. It offers a broader programme of study than A levels, and encourages students to think independently, and to explore their creativity.

    The IB will aim to teach you to:

  • Explore what it is to learn
  • Ask challenging and thoughtful questions
  • Develop a sense of identity and culture
  • Develop the ability to communicate with people from different countries and cultures


    There are three compulsory, core 'elements' to the IB. These are:

    • Theory of knowledge (TOK): you will learn about where knowledge comes from, how to analyse evidence and how to argue a point
    • Creativity, action and service: you will be encouraged to get involved in theatre or musical activities, sports and/or community service
    • Extended essay: you will be asked to investigate a topic of interest and to write a 4,000-word essay

    • In addition, you will take six subjects - three at standard level, three at higher level. This gives more options than A levels when it comes to choosing a mix of subjects. The six subjects are:

    • A first language (your mother tongue)
    • A second language
    • An experimental science (biology, chemistry, physics, design technology)
    • A mathematics and computer science
    • The arts (visual, theatre and music)
    • Individuals and society (history, psychology, geography)

    IB students complete assessment tasks in school and take written exams at the end of the programme.

  • Each of the six subjects taken is marked out of 7 (maximum of 42 points).
  • Candidates can gain up to 3 extra points for their extended essay and the TOK elements of the IB.
  • The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, out of a total of 45 points.
  • An IB diploma total of 24 points is worth a B and two C grades at A level, rising to the equivalent of six A levels at grade A for the maximum 45 points.
  • The top UK universities usually make offers to students who achieve between 32 and 40 points.

  • For more information go to the International Baccalaureate Organisation website