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Straight A levels or IB? Please help!

(17 Posts)
BaconAndAvocado Fri 15-Nov-13 11:16:54

DS is currently in Year 11 and wants to hopefully go,to University to study Chemical Engineering so he's looking to do Maths, Chem, Physics and possibly Further Maths.

One of our local 6th forms offers the IB, would this be appropriate for Chem Eng?


mummytime Fri 15-Nov-13 11:34:43

For IB you need to do a mix of Art and Science subjects. He could do Maths, Physics and Chemistry, but would also have to do English, a MFL and a humanity. He could go to University to study Chemical engineering with IB, but may well have to catch up on some Maths, and it is a less usual route.
However if he is not really committed to Chemical Engineering and/or he is a good all rounder then it could be a good option.

Dancingdreamer Fri 15-Nov-13 14:50:56

Posted a similar thread few weeks ago. Based on advice from MN my DS has decided to go for A levels. If want to go to non UK university, however, think IB would be good option.

Talkinpeace Fri 15-Nov-13 15:09:12

IB is ideal for Law and PPE and stuff
its not got enough science / maths for most BSc degrees

complexnumber Fri 15-Nov-13 21:14:11

its not got enough science / maths for most BSc degrees

This is absolute nonsense and it really annoys me to see people spreading this tosh.

IB HL (Higher Level) Maths is far more demanding than A level maths.

As a teacher of HL maths I have seen my students go off to some of the best universities in the world, to study courses with a very high maths/science content.

complexnumber Fri 15-Nov-13 21:15:51

And yes, many of my students have gone on to study Chem Eng.

Talkinpeace Fri 15-Nov-13 21:36:16

such as?
please name - because DH works in RG Uni outreach and I have family links to Ivy league : the IB is not on their radar that we've seen.

my thoughts are based on Harvard, Cornell, Stanford and a couple of UK ones

complexnumber Fri 15-Nov-13 21:46:08

^such as?
please name - because DH works in RG Uni outreach and I have family links to Ivy league : the IB is not on their radar that we've seen.^

Name me a University that does not recognise the IB Diploma as qualification for a science BSc

I have yet to come across a 'pukka' UK university that does not have entry requirements with regards the IB.

I am in contact with many universities as they take the time to visit our school and actually talk to our students (and me).

I have ex-students studying at all the universities you mentioned.

crazymum53 Sat 16-Nov-13 12:50:23

I agree with Complexnumber I have former students who have gone on to study Engineering and Medicine at RG universities with IB qualifications as well as Science degrees.

I have also had feedback from university Science degree students that on their courses those students who had taken the IB were ahead of those who had studied A levels!

BaconAndAvocado Sat 16-Nov-13 13:13:32

I think I'm erring on the side of A levels because DS is not an "all-rounder" but very scientific.

He also has AS which, in his case, makes him very focused on one area.

Next week we're visiting 2 grammar 6th forms, one offers the IB and the other doesn't, so will give each a good quizzing.

Looking into the future, he has his heart set on Imperial College (talk about aiming for the stars!) so I guess I need to contact them re the above.

trulymadlydeeply Sat 16-Nov-13 16:55:52

I don't know if this helps, but I work in an IB school and am a Sixth Form tutor. I think if your son knows what he wants to do, then he could specialise in the subjects which will help him, by doing A' Levels, whereas the IB has a much broader base - you have to take 6 subjects from across a wide spectrum.
My son is in Y11 at my school, and knows that he wants to study Languages at Sixth Form level and beyond. He can only study 1 language at IB, so it makes sense for him to do A' Levels where he can study 2 languages.
The IB is highly pressurised as well. I look at my lovely tutor group, almost all of whom have regretted pursuing the IB at some point over the last 2 years, and I think on balance I would prefer MY kids to enjoy being in school. I know there is a lot of debate, and past students say it really helped their first year at university to have studied the IB because they were ahead of their peers, but I think enjoyment is pretty critical too.

trulymadlydeeply Sat 16-Nov-13 16:59:10

PS Have a look at the Russell Group publication "Informed Choices" (on the web), which I found to be very helpful when looking at universities and the possible Sixth Form options which they need to consider in the light of the degrees / universities they want to look at.

BaconAndAvocado Sat 16-Nov-13 19:08:10

Thanks truly lots of great advice there thanks

summerends Sun 17-Nov-13 07:41:54

Truly, I understood that in the IB you can study a second language or science instead of an art subject. Does not your school allow that flexibility?
I can definitely see an advantage in future life for a potential scientist to continue with English and a language.

NearTheWindmill Mon 18-Nov-13 21:38:17

My understanding of the IB is that it is well received by all UK universities for Maths/Engineering except Cambridge which is a bit of a no no because it expects the two maths A'Levels. That's what I recall my DS's headteacher saying anyway. He might even by your boss Trulymadly.

DS's old school has reintroduced A'Levels this year for the first time in many years because the school believes they are returning to more rigorous standards again. DS probably would have been better suited to A'Levels but he was too happy at the school to move when we suggested it. He still got 42 points and his first choice uni though.

LibraryBook Mon 18-Nov-13 23:13:57

If you want to study maths at the better universities, you'll have to sit the MAT (Oxford) or STEP (Cambridge, Bristol, Warwick, etc) regardless of whether you're an IB or A level candidate. And lots of mathematicians self-teach A level further maths because their school doesn't offer it, or because they are in the IB system.

I think A levels are better preparation if the student is clear about his subject choices.

ESSOH Thu 21-Nov-13 12:20:41

I feel a child knows what he or she wants to study at University and is clear about his/her subjects then A Levels it is. There is no trophy for "additional suffering" doing the IB. If your child is not sure about what the future then it is IB no choice here and I'm afraid has to just do the extras. Someone what's to become a medical doctor does not need french or language etc. 3 or 4 science based a levels is all he/she needs

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