It is interesting to note that in many schools across the world the IBDP is the only Sixth Form course open to pupils; it is designed to be accessible to all pupils who are able to access academic study at this stage of their education.

In the UK there is a myth about the programme that “it is only for clever pupils”, however this is absolutely not how it is designed. The very top grades – 7 is the highest grade possible in each subject – can put you in for consideration by the world’s best universities, but you only have to make a grade 4 in each subject to pass it. Just as with A Levels, different universities will ask for different grades in your DP.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme allows pupils to maintain a breadth to their curriculum studies. This breadth firstly matches the multi-disciplinary world we now live in and offers better creativity and skill in solving real-world problems including the environment, development, conflict resolution, rights, cooperation, and governance at local, national and international levels. Maintaining breadth is also useful for those who are undecided about their career path and want to keep options open.

IB diploma students select one subject from each of the following groups:

  • Studies in language and literature
  • Language acquisition
  • Individuals and societies
  • Mathematics
  • Sciences
  • Arts, OR a 2nd subject from group 1 to 5

Three subjects are studied at Higher Level and three at Standard Level.

All subjects are studied throughout the 2 years and are examined in the final term. In all subjects there is also coursework ranging from oral exams to project work. The three additional Core subjects (TOK, EE, CAS) are essential to the Diploma and contribute significantly to the respect which the qualification is afforded.

Summary for IB Diploma

  • Three subjects are taken at Higher Level
  • Three subjects are taken at Standard Level
  • Seven points are available for each subject (7 = highest, 1 = lowest)
  • CAS, TOK and EE components (max of 3 points awarded in total)
  • Total of 45 points available
  • UCAS points equivalent to 4.75 A levels

Diploma qualification criteria

To obtain the IB Diploma, pupils must fulfil the course requirements, which include gaining a minimum of 24 points, and complete the Core Subject requirements. Pupils are guided through these requirements as the course progresses.