ABOUT THE IB DP

About IB DP

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is an educational organization that was founded in Switzerland in the 1960s. Its education curricula are used by specially trained teachers at certified schools throughout the world. IB Diploma Program (DP) is one of the four programs offered by the IB, and is a 2 year program targeted at high-school students aged 16-19. It is preceded by the IB’s Primary Years Programme (PYP) for students aged 3-12 and Middle Years Programme (MYP) for students aged 11-16. However, students from any prior educational background can enter the DP program.

According to the IB, the DP ‘aims to develop students who have excellent breadth and depth of knowledge – students who flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and ethically.’ It is a program known for its academic rigor and emphasis on interdisciplinary thinking.

Upon successfully completing the program, students will receive an IB Diploma, an internationally accepted qualification for entry into higher education recognized by many universities worldwide. IB DP is known to prepare its students for college-level courses, and in fact, several universities recognize the rigor of the IB DP and provide college credit for IB classes with a high final score. College admissions officers in particular will be familiar with the IB DP’s reputation, making it an objective way of demonstrating your high-achieving academic capabilities.

IB DP Program Requirements

The DP curriculum is made up of 6 subject groups and the DP core.

The 6 subject groups are as follows: Studies in Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics and the Arts. Students will choose one subject from each subject group, with the exception of the arts. Instead of a subject in the arts, students may opt to study a second subject from additional sciences, individuals and societies or languages.

Of the 6 subjects, you must take at least 3 at the Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL). Higher Level subjects cover more content, involve greater depth and comprise 250 teaching hours, while Standard Level subjects cover foundational content and comprise 150 teaching hours.

IB GroupGroup NameCourses
1Studies in Language and Literature- Language A: Literature
- Language A: Language and Literature
- Literature and Performance
2Language AcquisitionModern Languages
- Language ab initio
- Language B
Classical Languages
- Latin
- Classical Greek
3Individuals and Societies- Business Management
- Economics
- Geography
- Global Politics
- History
- Information Technology in a Global Society
- Philosophy
- Psychology
- Social and Cultural Anthropology
- World Religions
4Sciences- Biology
- Chemistry
- Computer Science
- Design Technology
- Environmental Systems and Societies*
- Physics
- Sports, Exercise, and Health Science

*Interdisciplinary subject that also counts for Group 3 (Individuals and Societies)
5Mathematics- Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches
- Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation
6The Arts- Dance
- Film
- Music
- Theatre
- Visual Arts

In addition to 6 academic subjects, students also need to fulfil the DP core requirements. The DP comprises of three aspects:

  1. Extended Essay: Students are introduced to and guided in self-directed research on a chosen topic, culminating in the writing of an approximately 4,000-word essay.
  2. Theory of Knowledge (ToK): ToK is a foundational course that all DP students take, helping them to explore and understand the problematic and holistic nature of knowledge. Students are expected to write a 1600 word paper and give an oral presentation.
  3. Creativity, Action, Service (C.A.S.): a programme designed to help students develop their creativity, well-being and commitment to serve the communities in which they live and beyond. For each of the components, the following are examples of activities that students are encouraged to take participate in:
    • Creativity – arts or any projects that involve creative thinking
    • Activity – physical activities such as sports
    • Service – volunteering at community organizations

IB Grading

Each of the 6 academic subjects is graded on a scale of 1-7, with 7 being the highest. Students are evaluated using both internal and external assessments, with the final exams being externally graded. The final exams take place in either May or November, depending on the school. Internal assessment varies by subject: there may be oral presentations, practical work, or written work. In most cases, these are initially graded by the classroom teacher, whose grades are then verified or modified, as necessary, by an appointed external moderator.

Up to three additional points are awarded depending on the grades achieved in the extended essay and theory of knowledge, so the maximum possible point total in the IBDP is 45 (6*7 + 3). In order to receive an IB diploma, candidates must receive a minimum of 24 points or an average of four (or C) out of a possible seven points for six subjects.

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