Talk to me about the IB!

(20 Posts)
DullUserName Mon 03-Oct-16 22:26:08

I always thought DC1 would do A levels. IB looks like it'll be a better fit for my polymath. I'm out of my depth, knowing nothing about it.

Do employers like it? Do unis like it? What's it like to study 6 subjects to that level?

Noofly Tue 04-Oct-16 12:01:02

No idea, but will watch with interest. One of DS' teachers has suggested that he may want to consider the IB route instead of Highers. I'm not convinced it would be the right thing at all for him, but would be interesting to see other experiences.

blueskyinmarch Tue 04-Oct-16 12:12:11

Both my DD’s did it. DD2 just finished this year and is off to uni. It is very hard work but great for all rounders. DD2 did history, english and economics at higher level and Spanish, biology and maths at standard. She was predicted 37 points but got 36. This was absolutely not due to lack go work but i think because of all her exams (something like 17 or more papers) were crammed into 9 days! This meant she missed out on her first choice of Durham uni but is now at Bristol - so both good uni's. DD1 got 35 which got her into Glasgow 6 years ago. Some of DD2’s friends got scores into the 40’s and are off the Oxbridge. The only uni we have found that doesn’t like it is Edinburgh. This is the only uni that did not offer either DD’s a place.

Is there specific information you want to know? If your DC wants a social life for 2 years then forget the IB. It is very full on and they also need to do the CAS hours plus the extended essay and TOK essay. Having said that, DD1 said her first 2 years at uni were a absolute doodle. DD2 has already expressed surprise that all she has to provide in her first term at uni is something like 3 x1500 word essays.

I think both mine enjoyed the challenge and both would say go for it - but if your DC does not need maths do maths studies (rather than higher or standard level).

Dancingdreamer Tue 04-Oct-16 18:47:29

I believe that King's College School in Wimbledon reintroduced A levels after moving totally to IB. They seemed to think that when they moved to all IB being some Oxbridge courses eg maths, the numbers of offers dropped when the quality of students hadn't. IB however can look very attractive if your DC wants to study in US.

I do agree that IB suits all rounders. However, for a child who is clearly stronger in one area, then A levels tend to be better.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 04-Oct-16 19:41:33

DS is at Kings and advice from the school has been the complete opposite of Dancing's post.

This is a link to the Kings website which should give you some information.

www.kcs.org.uk/admissions/sixteen-plus/international-baccalaureate-diploma-ib

Interestingly the numbers taking IB are dropping, it was about 50/50 last year but it will be down to less than a third this year. IB is very hard work and favoured by the very bright at Kings hence the average score is now about 42.

OCSockOrphanage Tue 04-Oct-16 20:45:59

Given that (I think) the maximum marks on IB is about 45, the average score can hardly be 42, unless you are talking about an exceptional cohort. Doubtless, some one here will correct me quickly.

But we were talked out of IB (though it is a really sound qualification) because standards for maths and physics ( two of DS's) are so exacting, according to one school we viewed.

My niece was asked for 35+ points for Oxford Brookes, so the conversion tariff is also demanding.

sendsummer Tue 04-Oct-16 20:49:41

favoured by the very bright certainly at selective schools that offer it in parallel to A levels there is further self selection and ancouragement for the bright, organised allrounders towards the IB.
One of my DCs considered IB but in the end was dissuaded by the relative inflexibility of the subject groups (compared to the choice allowed by 5 A levels) and little things like having to write reflective notes for CAS.
I think with the trend for sixth forms only allowing 3 A levels, IB becomes more attractive.

DullUserName Tue 04-Oct-16 21:45:22

Thank you all so much. DC1 is certainly an all rounder and is very excited about the prospect of doing the IB. Looks like higher English, chemistry and history, with standard anthropology, maths and either German or ab initio Japanese.

blueskyinmarch Tue 04-Oct-16 21:49:12

Get him to do maths studies not standard maths! DD1 did studies and DD2 did standard. DD2 very much regrets her choice!

cakeisalwaystheanswer Tue 04-Oct-16 22:26:40

The average is 42 with a cohort of about 75, about 20 scored the full mark, 45. Kings is usually the best scoring IB school, or in the top few, and is a very selective London day school so it is not an average cohort. Even so as the number of 7s at IB last year were almost 70% of entires compared to only half that of A levels being A* so IB is seen more and more amongst the boys as the option for the super keen.
Dull - if he is very excited about it, it's probably a great choice for him and you are very lucky. My DS is quite lazy and never seriously considered IB.

blueskyinmarch Wed 05-Oct-16 08:48:52

42 points might be the average for a super selective school but the average score for the IB overall is 30 points. At my DD’s school only the super bright pupils achieve over 40. DD2 is very bright and although was slightly disappointed with her 36 points, she knows realistically she could not have done more. The average score at her school this year was 34.

DullUserName Wed 05-Oct-16 16:03:01

Thanks again all. Our local IB providers (state 6th form colleges) have averages of 31 and 32 with max of 41 and 42 respectively last year. Both have a comprehensive intake, selecting only on interest.
We did look at a local private 6th form's stats but DC1 refused point blank to consider it.

Noitsnotteatimeyet Fri 07-Oct-16 10:57:33

Ds did it the year before last - he's exceptionally bright but very lazy and it was a massive shock to his system after having breezed through GCSEs

It is a huge amount of work and there were times when he (and we) thought he'd made the wrong decision

However he managed to get it all together in the end and did very well in his final exams

He's just started his second year at uni and like other posters' dc has found it a doddle compared to IB

Despite the workload he mainly enjoyed the curriculum and as he's a real all-rounder would have struggled to narrow down his choices for A-levels. He's still doing more subjects than most at university though as he's doing joint honours with an extra language module

IB would be a complete disaster for ds2 though as he's a STEM student through and through

2StripedSocks Fri 07-Oct-16 18:25:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Dancingdreamer Fri 07-Oct-16 23:13:56

Cake : This is what Halls - the HM of Kings - is quoted as saying (in the book Heads Up) after reversing the decision to abandon A levels
"If a boy wanted to read Maths at Cambridge, he probably shouldn’t come to King’s -I hated having to say that. Then I began to see that Cambridge engineers didn’t like the IB either, they want Maths and Further Maths."

Temporaryanonymity Fri 07-Oct-16 23:25:48

I was one of the first cohort to take the IB at my school 25 years ago. We were woefully unprepared for it and I probably wasn't a good candidate in retrospective, despite having straight As at GCSE.

If my sons were to consider the IB (which is unlikely, as it isn't offered where we live) I'd want to be sure that the school had run it for a good few years.

I scored a very underwhelming 27 points, including a 1 for Chemistry. The chemistry course was way beyond my capabilities. Maths Studies was great, a breeze really. Despite my terrible performance my Russell Group uni took me anyway, confirming my place before the A Level students got their results. It all worked out in the end.

I absolutely loved the IB. Our huge workload meant we all spent a lot of time studying together and organised lots of fun things to cover the CAS requirements. University was fairly undemanding afterwards and the extended essay was excellent preparation for university. In fact, I recycled my extended essay in my second year and scored top marks for it with little in the way of editing!

DullUserName Sat 08-Oct-16 00:32:56

Thanks again for all the feedback. DC1 has a v strong work ethic (totally unlike DC2!) so we have no concerns there.

They are already a Young Leader for a youth group, doing their leadership qualification, and we've been told that could simply continue for the CAS element.

cakeisalwaystheanswer Sat 08-Oct-16 15:15:27

It may be because Kings are pushing the IB as much as posible now because so few boys are taking it, down to about a third, but as current parents we were told that there was no Oxbridge preference and that they were familiar with both IB and A levels. Similarly we were told that USA unis know both and that anyway they only really care about their entrance test results and if you get through that you get a pretty easy "conditional" offer.
The only problem with IB maths according to Kings is that Higher Level is notoriously difficult, at least as difficult as Maths and Further Maths A level combined. This is not recognised by some Unis for a few subjects like Economics who will require a 7 for HL Maths but only require normal A level Maths. Anyone interested in these courses is advised to do A levels but that's it. I believed this to be true until someone pointed me towards the IB results by subject statistics which did not support this at all. I suspect the problem may have more to do with the King's Maths department a view shared by my son's maths tutor who also tutors quite a few other King's boys.
I doubt Mr Halls gave any boy the advice not to come to Kings before he re-introduced A levels regardless of their long term study plans. He would have focused on telling them how much more "academically rigorous" IB is. Headmasters are salesmen and they are very good at selling their schools.

Flum Thu 27-Oct-16 04:14:22

Academically very challenging! They practically give you a degree in US if you arrive with IB. I don't think it gets las much credit in UK. Unless your child absolutely loves to study probably better suited to A levels. Also good if undecided on subjects as covers 6 subjects. The extended essay is tough but great training for Uni. The theory of knowledge is interesting and challenging. Most I a. Students find independent study at Uni easy after IB as they have done that kind of thing whereas A'levels are more guided. If the kids have a choice then great! this can he'll see if it for them. If no choice like at my kids school they joust need to roll their sleeves up and get in with it. Many find it very tough couple of years as our school in international and non selective.

DontBeSoStroppy Fri 28-Oct-16 01:30:18

Only about 200 kids in the whole world got 45 points in 2014 so Kings is really exceptional to get so many scoring full marks. I have 4 kids and only the eldest did IB, we had lived overseas so she hadn't taken GCSEs so we thought IB would suit her better.
She is glad he did it but it was a hell of a lot of work and there is a certain randomness to the exam results that's not there with A'levels. She got what she wanted to study medicine (40 points ) but an awful lot of her friends got much lower results than expected. They had excellent GCSEs so it wasn't because they weren't bright or hardworking.
I think it's easier to get AAA or better at A level than a high mark at IB.
DD is in her final year doing medicine and claims it's still easier than doing the IB.
The only time I would consider the IB is if my DC were at one of the super successful schools such as Kings that have a proven record of getting amazing results. DDs state school had an average 27. It's stopped offering the IB now confused
If your DC does decide to do the IB then they should be tactical about what subjects they take. There is a lot of difference between how hard subjects are and how they are scored.

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