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4 Myths About the IB Diploma Program

Are you struggling with deciding whether to pursue the IB Diploma Program? Are your friends making it harder for you by giving you contradicting information? If so, this article will help debunk the most common myths about the IB. My hope is that, after reading this, you will have a better idea about the IB and make the right choice for YOU.

1. “Do the IB Diploma Program only if you want to study abroad”

In 10th grade, the year before I began the IBDP in Taiwan, many of my classmates asked me if I planned on studying in the UK. My answer was NO. They made the assumption that just because I was going to be in the IBDP, I was going to the UK for college. This is one of the biggest myths about the IB program.  Universities worldwide recognize the IDBP and regard it as a rigorous program.  It’s true, though, that some countries’ colleges accept it more often than other countries — it is for you to investigate what is the best option for your goals and dreams.  If you’re debating whether to do the IB, keep in mind that the IBDP does not necessarily limit your college choices. 

2. “The IBDP is SO much work! You’re not going to have a social life”

Another misconception is the rigor of IB. Some people say the IB gets rid of your social life and worsens your sleeping habits. As a current IBDP student, I can assure you that this does not have to be true for you. Don’t get me wrong, being in the IBDP is tough and requires hard work, but it has never gotten to the point where I don’t hang out with friends or stay up all night. The workload is decent.  Also, the CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) component of the DP ensures you do get to keep your social life. Make sure to learn to manage your time, and you will be fine.

3. “Only smart people do the IB”

This is often what stops people from taking the Diploma Program, even if it’s not necessarily true. It does not matter if you are “smart.” The IBDP has no prerequisites; anyone who is willing to put in the effort can succeed. People hear about the rigor of the IB and wind up thinking only smart people can pull it off. In reality, all it (mostly) takes is commitment and time management.

4. “The more HLs you take, the better it’ll look on your application”

This is, again, not true. Taking 5 HLs is not “better than” taking 3 HLs. In fact, doesn’t allow students to take more than 4 HL courses. This rule is so IB students do not overwork themselves, as some students will just try to take as many HLs as possible thinking it will impress colleges. While taking courses that challenge you is a good thing, keep in mind that HL courses are named so for a reason: they are more difficult and require significantly more work than an SL course.


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