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The International Baccalaureate: How Does It Work?

If you or your child is considering completing the International Baccalaureate (IB) for their matriculation in years 11 and 12, it is crucial to understand the system itself. Unlike New South Wales’ HSC or Victoria’s VCE, the IB does not scale the marks of students alongside their peers or the wider state. It is an internationally organised system, so assessments are sent around the world to be marked. 

IB students must complete six subjects and three compulsory core components. Each subject is out of 7, whilst the core elements are compulsory tasks that each amount for 1 mark. Altogether, this makes the IB out of a total 45 points. A 45 out of 45 mark is equivalent to an ATAR of 99.95. 

To create the six subject selection, least one subject must be chosen from each of five groups:  

  1. English
  2. Languages
  3. Humanities
  4. Sciences
  5. Mathematics 

The sixth subject can be an Arts subject or a second subject from groups 2-4.

From their six subjects, students select three to be higher level subjects and three to be standard level. Higher level subjects involve 240 teaching hours; standard level subjects involve 150 teaching hours. Higher level subjects equate to roughly 5 units of HSC subjects, whilst standard level subjects equate to a 3 unit HSC course. This conveys the depth of content that IB subjects explore, catered to high achieving and well-rounded students. 

The three core components are the extended essay, Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Creativity, Action and Service (CAS). The extended essay is a 4000-word research-based piece in an approved subject on a topic of the students’ choosing. TOK focuses on critical thinking and the process of knowing, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. Assessment is based on an essay and a presentation. CAS involves students in activities outside their academic studies, including volunteering in their local communities. 

The IB programme, whilst rewarding, is also challenging. It encourages students to extend themselves in both academics and extra-curriculars, requiring students with strong work ethics and advanced organisational skills. TutorTime has many talented tutors in all IB subjects. If you or your child are completing or considering the IB, book a TutorTime tutor today. 

Learn more about the IB curriculum here: https://www.ibo.org/programmes/diploma-programme/curriculum/ 

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