to think that the IB is not worth the extra work, and DS should just stick with A levels?(45 Posts)
Firstly, this will be DS' decision, not mine, and we will support him whatever. However, our local 6th form college offers the IB and he is pretty set on taking it next year.
My thoughts are - why give yourself more work to do? I think that the IB does help with skills prior to university, but most students going to uni won't have done it so he won't be at a massive disadvantage by not taking it.
If he does take the IB, he'll have to continue with a language (and he's always moaned about his language GCSE), plus maths which he is good at but does not enjoy). I get that he still gets to do four subjects he DOES enjoy, rather than just the three he could do at A level, but I am just unconvinced that it makes the whole thing worth it.
What do you think? Is the IB lots more work? Is the work worth the kudos and the additional skills?
International Baccalaureate - touted as the best qualification to take for high achieving students who would otherwise take A levels.
IB is International Baccalaureate.
It will give him a lot of advantages at university. There is a lot of evidence for this, I'll see what I can find.
I 100% agree. I went to Cambridge (of course thats not everything) and some of my friends did IB, some did A-levels. No discernible difference or advantage at that point. I did A-levels. IMO IB is stretching yourself too thin unless you are a REAL all-rounder; my best friend did IB and it's good for keeping your options REALLY open, but overall I agree with you.
He should NOT do the IB. Despite what schools say, and despite the fact that universities have admissions officers, they do not appear to understand the IB and make ridiculous offers such as scores of 36/38, far more difficult to achieve than 3 As for instance. My son took it and that year 8 out of a cohort of 24 taking the IB failed to get a university place.
It is very hard work (far harder and more time-consuming than A levels) and studying two subjects you don't much like for two years is not a good idea. They also have to do voluntary work/social duties which takes up a lot of time - and at the end of it are disadvantaged with regard to university places. Bad idea!
Both my DDs did it. DD1 graduated with a first in her subject at uni and said the IB was invaluable and made the first two years of uni easy. DD2 just went to uni this year. Apparently she is the referencing oracle in her friend group. Both gained such a lot from it but I know it is not for everyone.
If he wants to do sciences at uni, he need a levels. IB is too broad/general.
If he really wants to carry on with 4 subjects and is bright/driven enough, he could do 4 A Levels (though I tried this and nearly went mad). The IB has extra components like an extended essay and community service - I've heard it described as a 'lifestyle'. IME it tends to become quite all-consuming (not that A Level revision isn't!)
That said, if he really wants to do it, good on him.
My 2 DC both did IB. One is a true all rounder and did really well.The other would have probably done better doing A levels (he got 2 excellent grades , 3 mediocre and one rubbish one) BUT it kept his options open enough that he got onto a degree course that he wouldn't have got onto because he never would have taken the required A level in maths.
It was very hard work, certainly much harder than my DH and my experiences of A levels way back when. I can't compare workloads of modern A level because their school only did IB.
If he moans about doing a language GCSE then I wouldn't advise doing the IB where he has to do one for two more years, likewise with Maths. Even if he's good at it, if he doesn't enjoy it he will not like studying it for another two years.
Several people moved from my school to a nearby one for sixth form which only offered IB. As someone who did not enjoy Maths or English it would've been hell. I did like Biilgoy, but turned out to be terrible at it- at least if you do badly in one subject at A Level you can drop it and (most) unis won't even notice.
BTW- after a few years of only offering IB this school reverted back to offering both A Levels and IB.
Without doubt it is an excellent qualification but:
How long has the college been teaching IB?
What is their pass rate for IB compared to the pass rates for A levels?
I have heard that some colleges have struggled to match their A level success rate in the initial few years of reaching IB.
As well as the 6 subjects there is an extended essay etc.
I work in a school which only offers IB. It's a far rounder curriculum and I love the fact that it takes education as a holistic endeavor and isn't just about getting your marks at the end.
It massively opens your horizons and your options, and very many of our students study overseas afterwards.
It makes A levels look like an antiquated box ticking exercise imo.
I wouldn't recommend it. Our school dropped it because it was so rubbish and didn't offer any advantages at all. Much better just sticking with A-Levels, because admissions officers actually understand them and don't ask for unrealistic results.
I do think it is a total marmite thing tbh I don't like it personally as it doesn't seem to go deeply enough into any of the subjects - too much of a 'light touch'. GCSEs are the time for the wide ranging subjects. A levels are the time to refine your range and study deeper and then a degree is when you truly specialise.
I don't like marmite either!
Argh!! The teachers at the college (who teach both) are actually recommending the IB to DS. Is this just because they like teaching the IB more?!
They say the lower level is just below A level standard and the higher level, above A level. That sounds like sooo much work to me. I have to admit I like the independent thinking aspect though.
Can he not do 4 A levels and sort of have the best of both worlds? Or will the school not let him try that?
I did IB many years ago.
Pros and cons.
It delivers a pretty broad range of ability and the skills to think critically. The extended essay is useful at university level for knowing how to tackle research and presenting arguments.
If you're with a cohort who've all studied the same A level subject, the debates can be limited.
If your child is a free thinker, great plan.
If they need the reassurance of being the same as peers, stick to A levels.
I wouldn't. It is not as widely understood by emploiyers and even HE institutions as A levels.
It sounds too broad and woolly to me, like those stupid liberal arts things they have in America.
If he's going to university in England then most of his peers will have done A levels, so I wouldn't worry about the advantage that IB would give.
Depending on his A Level choices, 4 might be doable - essay subjects less so.
too broad and woolly to me, like those stupid liberal arts things they have in America
If this is the sort of ill-informed prejudice he'll be facing, God forbid he studies anything different. Stick to the familiar and don't upset the horses.
I did IB many years ago and the Highers I did (science) were much more in depth than the A levels in those subjects I thought? I used A level revision books and they only covered, from memory, 2/3 or 3/4 of the IB curriculum. We used university text books for chemistry and physics, which I took with me for my science course at university, first year at university was virtually no new material for me. Has it changed that much?
Higher sciences were definitely A level equivalent, or more, in my day.
Of course you have to do 3 other As level type subjects, an extended essay and TOK as well so I'd say you have to be pretty academic/keen.
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