Top reasons parents choose IB curriculum

Top reasons parents choose IB curriculum

October 1, 2019 / blog / Comments (0)

Top reasons parents choose IB curriculum

Are you making the right curriculum choice for your children.  British A-level has come under greater competition from IB Diploma as both claim better acceptance rates for university entrance. 

For parents and students curriculum choice is between IB and A-level is essential.  Finding the right information and making the right choice is critical for the long-term future of the student. The key to selecting between both is understanding the main differences each have to offer.

Curriculum choice – what are the differences between IB Diploma and A-level?

IB Diploma

Curriculum Choice between IBDP and A-level

Curriculum Choice.
Curriculum Choice. Helping you make the best decision.

The IB Diploma is for students aged 16-18 and requires no specific preparatory classwork, so is undertaken directly from GCSEs. It offers a wide curriculum based on six subject groups – students usually study three at a higher level and three at a standard level.   

The 6 core subject groups are as follows:

Language & Literature

Language & Acquisition

Individuals & Societies

Highlights of IBDP:
Every subject is scored on a scale of 1-7. The pass rate is 24 points (260 UCAS pts). An additional 3 extra points are available for completing the DP core requirements. Making a total of 45 maximum points.

One of the primary goals of IB Diploma is the student’s ability to apply  knowledge to a given situation. The study techniques aim to encourage a more holistic approach to imparting the knowledge learned to a given situation. Community, Action, Service (CAS) is a learning technique that encourages students involvement in different activities and experiences whilst they are writing their dissertation/essay based on their research. This area of IB sets itself apart from A-level and it an important element to consideration when weighing up curriculum choices.

Read more :


Advanced Level (A-Level) is the British curriculum qualification studied by most British students aged 16-18 years old.

Depending on the capabilities of the student 3-6 subjects are typically selected and studied over 2 years. The pass grades are A*, A, B, C, D, E pass.

The Extended Project Qualification

Curriculum Choice between IBDP and A-level

Curriculum Choice
Curriculum Choice. Helping you make the best decision.
This EPQ qualification challenges students to undertake their own research to encourage critical thinking and project management.
For the Pupils studying at least 3 A levels they will also take EPQ. However students undertaking 4 or more A-levels do not have to take EPQ.
The EPQ trains students in the discipline of undertaking a real part of personally researched work that applies critical and reflective learning techniques. Many university admissions value the EPQ as an important part of students’ A-level study.
Recent changes (2016) to the A-level syllabus include the removal of A/S results contributing towards overall A level marks. Previously students in year 12  who studied A/S would add their results towards 50% of overall A level results. This no longer applies. Now all A-level exams taken will not carry over any marks from A/S levels.
Other changes include reduced course work and less practical assessments. Putting more emphasis on final exams and revision towards these exams.
Furthermore the maths content of many subjects has increased and the assessment level increased too. The grading remains as before A*, A,B,C,D,E.

Choosing between the two

Within each family Curriculum choice may vary. The same curriculum may not work for all siblings. For students who wish to keep their options open IB offers a broader choice of subjects. It helps that students can endure a challenging structured environment and focus on their weaker skill as well.
In contrast A-levels offer those students who have a defined career path and want to focus on specific subjects and want to build on their care strengths and skills. Students should to able to study in a less structured environment.

What do universities prefer?

How do universities rate IB verses A level. What curriculum choice do they prefer when looking at candidates qualifications. There is a survey with IB and IB Schools and Colleges Association (IBSCA) that polled 80 UK university admissions departments to discover what qualification they preferred. The results showed a preference to IB Diploma for it’s preparation to cope with university working practices and office work practices.
The IB Diploma is considered the better option for over 16 years old qualification, which gives students an advantage when they progress to higher education.

University Admissions Officers Report 2017

Curriculum Choice
The curriculum choice between A level and IB Diploma can weighed up by what each student has in mind for their future goals. Both qualifications offer students a well trodden pathway towards successful higher education acceptance. The IB Diploma with it’s boarder education prepares students well for university and workplace environments. By offering a more holistic approach on a wider range of subjects it provides a high skill set that makes an influences students for life beyond university.

Bottom Line

The IB Diploma offers a different approach and philosophy to 6th form students which should be carefully considered in curriculum choice. IBDP focuses more on each students core competencies, values and skills. It’s a holistic approach that encourages students to learn a wider range of subjects see the relationships between from a global mindset. This is a key point to consider in curriculum choice.
In contrast the A-level focuses on selected core subjects and extra-curricular activities. The A -level benchmark gets reviewed and changes over time. Whereas IB Diploma syllabus has stayed constant. To gain the best advice on curriculum choice speak to independent teachers and students whom have experience in both.

Further reading:

IBO in United Arab Emirates

Dubai 2019: Several UAE schools saw their highest level of results for this year’s crop of students studying the (IB) Diploma Programme (DP).
Curriculum Choice 
Over the last 15 years The IBDP is one of the highest-regarded school qualifications accepted by leading universities worldwide — 42 schools in the UAE offer the programme. Around 2,000 students in the UAE joined over 169,000 IBDP and Career-related Programme (CP) candidates worldwide in receiving their results.  This year’s cohort achieved record results — in both the pass rate and average points. For parents and children curriculum choice is an important decision, try to seek independent advice from both teachers and students.


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peter caush

Director The School Agency