IB Diploma Programme

  • IB Diploma Programme

    What is the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme?

    The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is a rigorous pre-university course of studies, which meets the needs of highly motivated secondary school students between the ages of 16 and 19 years. The programme leads to examinations, but emphasis is also placed on externally assessed coursework as a way of balancing a range of different assessment styles. Designed as a comprehensive two-year curriculum that allows its graduates to fulfill the requirements of various national education systems, the diploma model is based on the pattern of no single country but incorporates the best elements of several. 

    What are the benefits of the IB Diploma?

    There are a number of special benefits to be gained by students in the IB, particularly for those in the full diploma programme. They include:

    • A genuine intellectual challenge, even for the most academically inclined
    • A globally recognized programme and curriculum
    • An international standard of achievement
    • The acquisition of an international and multi-cultural perspective
    • Social services activities such as contributing to charity 
    • Advanced standing at many universities
    • A programme designed to meet the needs of the international community
    • Rigorous internal and external assessment
    • Teachers specifically trained to teach at this level
    • The opportunity to conduct independent research on a topic of individual choice
    • Excellence in education

    What is the IB Diploma?

    • The IB curriculum consists of six subject groups. These are studied concurrently and students are expected to study both the humanities and the sciences, as well as mathematics.
    • Diploma candidates must select one subject from each of the six groups, although a second subject from groups 1 to 5 may be substituted for group 6.
    • Three subjects are taken at Higher Level (HL), while the others are taken at Standard Level (SL).
    • HL courses represent a minimum of 240 teaching hours. SL courses cover 150 hours.

    Students are thus able to explore some subjects in depth and others more broadly, a deliberate compromise between the early specialization of some national systems and the breadth found in others. The science-oriented student is challenged to learn a foreign language and the natural linguist becomes familiar with laboratory procedures. The subjects are continually reviewed and revised to meet contemporary needs.

    How challenging is the IB Diploma?

    The IB Diploma is a rigorous and academically demanding programme. Students are expected to bring with them, and to develop, strong organisational and interpersonal skills. Efficient time management will help students bear the workload. Each year approximately 80% of candidates are awarded the Diploma globally.

    Is the IB Diploma accepted by universities worldwide?

    IB Diploma graduates gain admission to selective universities throughout the world. These include well-known European and American institutions such as Oxford, Yale and the Sorbonne in addition to prestigious centers in Latin America, Canada, Australia, and the Asia/Pacific region. Formal agreements exist between the IBO and many ministries of education and private institutions. Some colleges and universities may offer advanced standing or course credit to students with strong IB examination results. Specific requirements exist for entry into universities in China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

    It is important that individual students ascertain precisely the requirements of their chosen university with regard to the IB Diploma as early as possible. Prospective students would benefit from having some knowledge of entrance requirements at their chosen universities before selecting subjects for study within the IB Programme.

    The IB Diploma Core

    Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

    Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a 100-hour course taught over two years, and is required of all Diploma candidates. The course aims to examine critically the types, nature and limitations of different ways of knowing and different areas of knowledge. In the process, students consider the role of language, reason, emotion and perception in the pursuit of certainty and truth. In addition students compare systems of knowledge and explore the assumptions and value judgments inherent within them.

    Students are encouraged to explore TOK within the context of their own learning and lives and to consider the impact of cultural differences on knowledge issues. Texts and examples come from a wide range of cultural perspectives and knowledge areas, including the human and social sciences, mathematics, the arts, politics, religion and ethics.

    Students are assessed by means of a written assignment and an oral presentation. Up to three bonus points can be awarded on the basis of this work in combination with the Extended Essay.

    Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

    The broader aims of an international education are to develop in students a sense of ‘internationalism’ that will hopefully lead to a world led by globally minded citizens. It is often when someone has had real experience of environments and cultures different from their own, that they learn to remember those lessons and those people. Through CAS, students learn that as individuals they have something valuable to offer to their own and other communities.

    The CAS Programme provides individual student challenges in Creativity, Activity and Service. Developing a spirit of discovery and self-reliance and encouraging individual skills and interests extends the challenge. The program complements the academic disciplines of the curriculum and meets the objectives of BCIS regarding growth of the whole person.

    The Extended Essay

    The IB defines the Extended Essay as “an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject.” The 4000-word essay is meant to provide students with the opportunity to conduct independent research at an introductory level. In general, the skills required to produce a successful essay in any given subject are those the student has been using in the relevant course.

    The student should choose to work in the area they find most interesting. For example a student who chooses History must be interested in working with primary sources. Those selecting a Science topic are strongly advised to undertake experiment-based investigations rather than library-based surveys. In Language and Literature, students should be interested in the independent critical analysis of literary works. While the IB allows students to undertake the Extended Essay in any subject area it is recommended that students confine their choices to the subjects they are studying, or to their Higher Level subjects.

    What do we expect of our IB Diploma students?

    What do we expect of our Diploma Students? The IB Diploma is a rigorous, academically challenging program, and it brings with it some immensely rewarding personal challenges and opportunities. To succeed in the IB diploma requires hard work, determination, and a spirit of adventure. Students will have to take intellectual risks and work and perform outside their comfort zones. They will have the opportunity to develop interpersonal skills, by challenging the opinions of others, listening to their ideas, and displaying interdependence as well as independence. They are likely to be challenged, excited and delighted by their courses. They may also, at times, be disappointed and exasperated – but this will be part of a process that will, in the end, strengthen them socially as well as academically. 

    Success in the IB Diploma Programme requires:

    • Hard work
    • Self-discipline
    • Responsibility
    • Enjoyment of academic, social and moral challenges
    • A willingness to learn from experience

    We wish all of our SISPIK IB students the very best as they engage in their journey.


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