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The International Baccalaureate has been operating since 1968 and consists of four programmes which cover primary and secondary education. The most famous programme, the IB Diploma (commonly just referred to as the IB),has been criticised over the years. Here are some of the things said about the IB and the reality behind them.
Sleep, friends, IB – choose 2
Yes, the IB will take over a lot of your time, but by no means it is a 24/7 commitment. You don’t need to give up on having friends or sleeping for the next two years – you only need to manage your time well and organise yourself. The IB is very demanding, but throughout the course there will be plenty of time for studying, going out with friends and resting. You might have less free time during exam periods, but that’s the same for any other equivalent course such as A-Levels.
IB students don’t have time for their hobbies
As mentioned above, you will have enough free time to have a personal life. Additionally, the IB encourages you to spend time on your hobbies through CAS, which aims for students to take part in creative projects, sports and various activities. With the freedom to choose their own CAS projects, students can pursue their interests and make them count for their diploma progress too – how great is that?
The IB is for smart students only
As the IB says, the IB diploma can be taught to anyone ages 16-19, as long as the school is licenced to teach it. That is virtually the only requirement for teaching the IB. It is designed for students of all abilities and backgrounds, and is definitely not made for students with a superior academic ability. When it comes to the IB, working hard and making an effort is more important than being a gifted student, so don’t think that you need to be a genius to successfully complete the diploma.
The IB is only for ‘elite’ students
Other than age boundaries, the IB has no limits on who can take part in its programmes. The IB is open to accept any student who is willing to make enough effort, and has no requirements on a student’s previous education, ethnicity, or any other factors that may limit his or her ability to take part. The IB provides every student equal opportunities and its diversity invites students of all backgrounds to join.
The IB is for international people only
Sure, the IB is typically taught in international schools, where hundreds of third-culture kids study. But the IB is taught in local schools too so everyone can have access to the programme. The IB is not exclusively for international schools, even if people believe so. Plus, loads of students at international schools have been born and raised in that country, so no, you do not need to have travelled the world or have lived in a million countries to be able to access the IB.
The IB is broad but shallow
Several people think that having to do six different subjects make the IB broad, thus failing to cover subjects in depth. This is not true; subject syllabi are extensive and explore each topic in depth. Furthermore, almost all subjects can be taken at either Standard Level or Higher Level, with Higher Level courses being even more thorough and slightly more difficult. The IB is not a choice of breadth over depth, but a combination of both.
Universities don’t know what the IB is
The IB is a renowned and respected programme by universities. Most IB graduates go on to higher education, so universities are more than used to receiving applications with IB scores. If you look online, you will see universities accept the IB and have set out specific requirements – in terms of IB grades – for students to know what they need to achieve in the IB to apply to their desired university. IB students are not at a disadvantage when applying to university.
The IB is just a university prep program
It’s true that students completing the IB Diploma are well prepared for university, as the IB teaches them skills such as time management, critical thinking, and collaboration, which are essential skills needed in university work. However, the IB also aims to provide students useful skills for any stages in life, including flexible thinking skills, responsibility, and becoming open-minded. Also, the IB is not limited to just the Diploma Programme and has many others aimed at students of a diverse range of age, including those who are still far from entering university, such as the Primary Years Programme.
Do you have any other IB myths? Let us know, we’ll bust them!