This blog was written by John Chilton, an experienced IB Physics teacher. To read more blogs written by John, click here.
Of course you are! If you have chosen the IB for the right reasons, then it is obviously the right choice. Ignore anyone who tells you otherwise.
Having said this, there are a couple of other things worth noting:
The IB is a better system of education.
This is not true. The IB is simply an alternative to other educational systems – it is not better or worse, just different. So do not believe anyone who tells you that the IB is better than another system – this is not correct – it is just different. There is only one real area where the IB is actually considered to not be quite as good as A-Levels, if that is the alternative for you – a mathematical degree e.g., Maths, Physics, Engineering. For these kind of degrees, most IB students would study Maths HL. However by comparison, it would be much better to do two A-Levels in Maths – you would cover far more maths and this would probably make your first year at university a little smoother. It should be stated however, that you can do these types of degree with the IB as your background, so don’t worry too much about this.
The IB is tougher than other systems and you have to be more organised.
The IB is not tougher except that you are covering 6 subjects. But you are generally, still covering the same amount of work as students in another system. And although it is true that you really should be well-organised with so many subjects being studied, the truth is that if you are going to do well in any system (not just the IB), then you need to be well-organised.
IB students work harder.
Not true. I know of hard working and lazy students in the IB and in A-Levels. If you are going to do well, you need to work hard, whatever the system you are in. It might be true that if your alternative is A-Levels, and you are doing 4 A-Level subjects rather than 6, then you may have more study / free time, but it is up to you, what you do with this time – if it is spent on your work, then there is no real difference in the two systems – you work as hard as you want to work.
IB students get better grades.
Of course this is rubbish. There is something called a ‘tariff’. It is the comparison between the IB grades and the A-Level grades. When this was first developed by universities, it was so that comparisons could be made between IB and A-Level students. The original tariff was biased towards A-Levels and IB students were unfairly compared. Now the balance has moved the other way and the tariff overemphasises the IB. In the end it make no difference for most students. Most universities will ask for grades and they will ask for the grades they know give their students the best chance of doing well on their course. The tariff is mostly irrelevant.
IB students do better at university.
Not true. The ultimate degree someone gets at university is based on how good you are at the subject and how hard you work when you are at university – it has nothing to do with you studying A-Levels, IB or any other system.
The above points are aimed at pointing out that most of the comparisons made by schools about the IB and other systems are rubbish. If you have chosen the IB for what it can give you, then you have made the right choice. If it is your feeling that you would like to study 6 subjects in the IB and have the extra parts of the Diploma (e.g., Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, CAS), then this is the right thing for you – ignore all the rest.
Be happy with your choice, work hard and it will be fine.
Want to get ahead in the IB? Attend a Pre IB Summer School in Oxford, UK or Boston, US to meet students from all over the world and be taught by world-class IB teachers.