IB Overview

How is IB different to A-Levels?

IB can seem a scary choice in comparison to A-Levels. Don’t dismiss it because of what you’ve heard!

IB vs. A-Levels

You continue doing Maths, English, Languages, Science, and Humanities to a high level, with 3 at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level. This is very different from specialising in only 3 subjects, whereby you focus on developing similar skills (e.g. if you do Maths, Further Maths, Physics). When I was deciding between the two, I chose IB because I wanted to study more than 3-4 subjects. The prospect of cutting it down was very stressful. If this sounds like you, then IB may be the right choice. 

What if I did GCSE?

Even if you do know what you would study when choosing A-Levels, the IB still may be the right choice. Continuing the subjects you didn’t love at GCSE to IB can seem daunting—but, it is peculiar to the British education system that we specialise so early. I’ve found it very beneficial to continue to develop essay writing skills, alongside the numeracy skills needed in maths, the practicality needed in science, while learning another language. It gives you the flexibility to change your mind about university courses and career paths and keeps your mind open to different subjects. 

Of course, the differences between the courses in theory need to be considered alongside differences in schools and practicalities. There are limited schools that provide the IB. Some are state, some are private. Some offer it alongside IB, some offer it exclusively. Here is the IB website with information about schools offering IB in the UK.

Ultimately, you come out of both systems with great qualifications that will take you far!

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