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Frequently Asked Questions about the International Baccalaureate Program.

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  1. 1. IB Diploma FAQ’sWhat is the International Baccalaureate?The International Baccalaureate® (IB) is a non-profit educational foundation,motivated by its mission, focused on the student.Our three programmes for students aged 3 to 19 help develop the intellectual,personal, emotional and social skills to live, learn and work in a rapidlyglobalizing world.Founded in 1968, we currently work with 3,294 schools in 141 countries todevelop and offer three challenging programmes to over 972,000 students aged3 to 19 years.What is the Diploma Programme?The IB Diploma Programme is designed as an academically challenging andbalanced programme of education with final examinations that preparesstudents, normally aged 16 to 19, for success at university and life beyond. Theprogramme is normally taught over two years and has gained recognition andrespect from the worlds leading universities.What is the Curriculum?IB Diploma Programme students study six courses at higher level or standardlevel. Students must choose one subject from each of groups 1 to 5, thusensuring breadth of experience in languages, social studies, the experimentalsciences and mathematics. The sixth subject may be an arts subject chosen fromgroup 6, or the student may choose another subject from groups 1 to 5.In addition the programme has three core requirements that are included tobroaden the educational experience and challenge students to apply theirknowledge and understanding.The extended essay is a requirement for students to engage in independentresearch through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the subjectsthey are studying.Theory of knowledge is a course designed to encourage each student to reflecton the nature of knowledge by critically examining different ways of knowing 1
  2. 2. (perception, emotion, language and reason) and different kinds of knowledge(scientific, artistic, mathematical and historical).Creativity, action, service requires that students actively learn from theexperience of doing real tasks beyond the classroom. Students can combine allthree components or do activities related to each one of them separately Read more about the IB Diploma at: does assessment work?Students take written examinations at the end of the programme, which aremarked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks inthe school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated byexternal moderators or sent directly to external examiners.The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject tocertain minimum levels of performance across the whole programme and tosatisfactory participation in the creativity, action, service requirement. Thehighest total that a Diploma Programme student can be awarded is 45 points.When are exams taken, when are results available and how do I get myofficial exam results to a university?• Over three weeks in May (or three week in November in southern hemisphere schools) of the final year of the IB curriculum, students take their IB exams in six subjects (3 Higher and 3 Standard levels).• Results become available on 5 July (or 5 January in the southern hemisphere)• At the time of examination, students indicate to their IB Coordinator which universities need to receive .their scores. The coordinator completes a transcript request to the IB• If the student has not decided where to wish to have results sent, they must request a transcript independently. o Instructions for sending to Canadian and US universities – see o Instructions for sending to all other universities – see cfm• Annually, a full report on an examination session results is available at 2
  3. 3. What would an IB student expect to have on his/her school transcript forNorth American university admission?• At the point of application to US universities, students in the IB Diploma should request a copy of their transcript from their school’s IB Coordinator or Counselor to be sent to universities• The high school transcript of courses should indicate:: o which programme the student is completing and has completed in the IB continuum (Diploma and/or Middle Years) o whether or not the student is a candidate for the IB Diploma OR o whether the applicant is an IB Diploma Courses student, meaning that the student is taking a number of individual IB Diploma courses rather that meeting the requirement for the IB Diploma o IB subjects the student is taking and whether they are at Higher or Standard levelHow do you convert the IB results into a US GPA?There is no official conversion table for IB results into a US GPA. Universitiesreview the IB results holistically. Students should contact the admissions office ifthere are additional queries.What is the current status of university recognition of the IB Diploma?Recognized as the leader in international education, the InternationalBaccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme fosters the knowledge, skills andattitudes that enable students to excel in university.The IB works with universities in nearly 140 countries to promote broaderrecognition of the Diploma Programme for the 120,000 Diploma Programmegraduates entering university each year.Through the IB Diploma Programme, students gain rigorous and balancedacademic preparation, an ability to draw on knowledge and understanding ofvarious cultures and histories, and the experience of learning how to thinkcritically and apply what they have learned in different contexts and acrossdisciplines.The IB understands that success in higher education and beyond involvesthinking critically and creatively. The IB Diploma Programme’s challengingcurriculum educates the whole student, developing the capacity for inquiry,research and problem-solving as well as essential skills for communication andcollaboration 3
  4. 4. Do US universities award advanced standing for students completing theIB Diploma?• 1137 universities in Canada ( and the US ( have posted an IB recognition policy for admissions and university credit on the IB website. In the US, some universities will award sophomore standing for students with 30 or more points on the IB. Each university determines the level of advanced standing credit offered and each university determines the equivalence of an IB subject with a course offered, by university department.• It is the responsibility for universities to update a policy posted on the IB website. For the most current policy, students are strongly encouraged to search for “International Baccalaureate” on the university website and/or contact the admissions office for more information.Do universities offer scholarships for students completing the IB?• 235 universities in Canada and the US offer scholarships specifically for IB students, and IB students are also known to do well in selection processes for university merit-based scholarships.• A list of universities offering scholarships for IB Diploma holders is available at can I find out all I need to know about university recognition of theIB Diploma?A complete discussion of university recognition of the IB Diploma is available at 4