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A Levels or IB(7 Posts)
Hi there - Wondering if anyone has gone through this and share the experience . My DC will be finishing his GCSE from well reputed top grammar school and has shown interest to pursue IB diploma instead of A levels . We are not sure of advantages / disadvantages and challenges he might face and would welcome yr view .
There’s a lot more studying with the IB and your son would need to take a range of subjects from different areas. I did it and found it great fun but I did love studying and researching.
If your son wanted to do a much more narrow range of subjects, then A Levels would be a better fit.
My ds took the IB and it is a demanding course (not suggesting that A levels aren't) and with the activity and service requirements you need to work really hard for two years - last minute cramming does not work with the IB diploma.
Disadvantages - you may have to take subjects you are not keen on eg mfl is compulsory and so is maths. It's ideal if your dc is an all rounder. You cannot normally take all three sciences so if you want to specialise early, A levels may be more appropriate.
Standards tend to vary across subjects imo - HL maths is very difficult and harder than A level maths (I think the IB is changing all the maths aspects as of 2020). Ds took AS maths (achieved grade A ) with his gcses and therefore was feeling pretty confident about HL maths but found it pretty demanding. SL Geo, by comparison, was very straightforward and ds found it to be no more challenging than GCSE.
Advantages - great range of subjects, the community and service aspect means you always have something for your UCAS personal statement, all subjects have an IA (coursework) which may reduce exam pressure and the EE is great for continuing with essay writing.
My ds took HL maths, Chemistry and Bio and SL English, German and Geo and achieved 43 points.
Does he genuinely want to do the range of subjects? Would he struggle to keep A level choices down to just a max of 4? If yes, then do IB. If no, then definitely not IB!
DC1 suited IB, but it is phenomenally demanding. Teaching time is typically 5 hours for each Higher subject and 3 hours for each Standard subject, plus 2 hours of ToK, every week. That's 26 taught hours every week.
Large course work element in every subject. Extended Essay is like doing the EPQ.
Then they do CAS too: creativity, activity & service.
It's like doing 3 A levels, 3 AS levels, the EPQ and DofE Gold (without the walk), all rolled into one.
As others have said you need to be a good all rounder. I'd say that if you are not getting 8s and 9s across the board do A levels instead.You really do need to be good at everything for the IB.
DS1's school offered both and generally it was the super keen and very hardworking who opted for IB. Despite being a very selective school with about 60% of all GCSE results at 9 this year, they would only let the top 2 of 7 maths sets take HL maths. This obviously forced anyone needing maths not in those sets into A levels. For others the school was hardselling IB because it is easier to get 7s than A*s at A level. Before A*s were introduced a 7 was an A equivalent and although the percentage attaining A*s is a lot lower than the previous A grade there has been no change to the 7 boundary at IB and the numbers attaining it as it is an international qualification.
IB was originally attractive for DS because he wasn't sure what he wanted to study but we quickly realised that IB would restrict him to 3 HL choices from commencement whereas with A levels he could keep 4 options open for a year. Like many before him his 4th option became his favourite A level and his top choice was actually the A level he dropped!
Many thanks all for a valuable feedback
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