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 Post subject: IB versus GCSE/Alevel
PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:37 pm 
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Any thoughts on this would be really appreciated. Having viewed an IB school this week, we were really impressed; loved the modern & diverse cross-curricular theme, broader choice of subject material etc..but are wondering whether it would be too off-stream from the traditional A-level / uni perspective ?


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:25 pm 
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mm23292 wrote:
Any thoughts on this would be really appreciated. Having viewed an IB school this week, we were really impressed; loved the modern & diverse cross-curricular theme, broader choice of subject material etc..but are wondering whether it would be too off-stream from the traditional A-level / uni perspective ?


All universities quote their entry requirements for the IB (and for many / most countries' school-leavers' qualifications), total points required, requirements for Higher level subjects and scores etc. e.g. 36 points with 6,6,5 at higher level.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:32 pm 
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Hi mm23292,

IB vs A Levels is a fairly popular discussion topic in the 6th Form and University sections, if you do a search. In summary, IB is considered good for the all-rounder while A Levels might suit a specialist better. IB develops good organisational skills and independent study skills which apparently makes the transition to uni more comfortable. However some forumites have said A Levels are better preparation for STEM subjects at uni and the IB is best left to those thinking of studying languages and humanities.
Both courses are internationally recognised but the IB would help an applicant going to a university in the US, for example, as the student would be expected to take a range of courses in subjects that an A Level student might have abandoned at GCSE.

The IB students do get to sit their exams sooner and also get their results earlier. No frantic summer.

This is just a ‘once over lightly’. There are lots of opinions out there! Personally, I like the IB though it has been suggested that it is somewhat undervalued by universities. See the UCAS points system to see how they compare the marks given in both schemes.

(Edited 1x)

HTH
PS


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:55 pm 
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PerpetualStudent wrote:
Hi mm23292,

IB vs A Levels is a fairly popular discussion topic in the 6th Form and University sections, if you do a search. In summary, IB is considered good for the all-rounder while A Levels might suit a specialist better. IB develops good organisational skills and independent study skills which apparently makes the transition to uni more comfortable. However some forumites have said A Levels are better preparation for STEM subjects at uni and the IB is best left to those thinking of studying languages and humanities.
Both courses are internationally recognised but the IB would help an applicant going to a university in the US, for example, as the student would be expected to take a range of courses in subjects that an A Level student might have abandoned at GCSE.

The IB students do get to sit their exams sooner and also get their results earlier. No frantic summer.

This is just a ‘once over lightly’. There are lots of opinions out there! Personally, I like the IB.

HTH
PS


Actually, IB students who achieve slightly under their offer may find themselves put 'on hold' by their firm, insurance, or both, until A level results Day if the university decides to wait to see how their A level students have done before accepting or rejecting them. So still the wait for the middle of August for them.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:11 am 
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I think IB can be popular with students in the sixth form who are genuinely broad in their interests and abilities, mine would have been fine doing humanities, science and language at A level but personally, being illiterate, I would have hated it.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:56 am 
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Kings Wimbledon was purely IB until 2012 but now offers the option of IB or A level.
If you do a search you will see what prompted the change.
We were told if a child was planning to do maths and further maths A levels they we be better equipped to do a maths degree than someone who had done IB.
My godchildren did IB overseas. They would have preferred to leave behind some subjects at 16 which they had to continue.
Must be really good if you are a great all rounder.
I don’t think I’d let the IB be the deciding factor in school choice at 11 though.
Children change so much over five years it’s hard to predict which of the two would be the best fit for them.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:17 am 
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hermanmunster wrote:
I think IB can be popular with students in the sixth form who are genuinely broad in their interests and abilities, mine would have been fine doing humanities, science and language at A level but personally, being illiterate, I would have hated it.


I took Biology, German, Economics and General Studies (the 'proper' Joint Matriculation Board A level one written about here https://alansmithers.com/reports/GeneralStudies.pdf), plus Spanish O level in one year in Lower Sixth. So a sort of 'mini IB', I suppose.

With the IB, you are stuck if you want to carry on with all three sciences in sixth form, so it would not have suited DS1 at all.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 29, 2019 3:17 pm 
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Thank you for your replies. From what we are reading / hearing, A level seems to regarded as the more straightforward option, particularly if not considering university beyond the UK. However, we really do like the MYP as an alternative to GCSE, and are thinking we could always switch to A levels come the time if need be.
Would there be any disadvantage in taking MYP as opposed to GCSE? Would universities look at this when making applications, and are the point equivalents in anyway comparable? For instance if a child has 10A* at GCSE, would the equivalent IB points be as or more difficult to obtain?


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:34 pm 
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Hi mm23292,

DD’s school avoid this question by doing GCSEEs and letting MYP ‘flavour’ the KS3 and KS4 years. I tried searching MYP on UCAS etc but couldn’t find the official guidance but I think the question is whether the school you are looking at is running a properly accredited programme, using the eAssessment the IBO set up in 2015? I’ve seen a lot of confused discussion on The Student Room about whether a poster’s MYP grades count and which to cite.

While looking on a university website (UCL’s) to see what they said I found 2 interesting notes. 1 on the topic of GCSE equivalents, and another relevant to an earlier point re IB vs A Level maths:


1). All programmes require GCSE or equivalent passes in English Language and Mathematics at grade 5 or higher. Some programmes require grades higher than 5 or additional GCSE passes in specific subjects, as outlined on individual degree pages.

GCSE grades 1-9 - UCL equivalencies: 8 = A*, 7 = A, 6 = B and 5 = C.

Qualifications accepted as GCSE equivalents include the following:

IGCSE at grade C or higher;
O level at grade C or higher;
IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) at grades 4 to 7;
...


2) SPECIAL NOTE FOR INTERNATIONAL BACCALAUREATE (MATHEMATICS)

UCL are aware of the changes to the International Baccalaureate Mathematics modules. From 2021, programmes requiring A-level Mathematics will accept either Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches or Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation at higher level. Programmes requiring Further Mathematics at A-level will accept higher level Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches only.

One hopes somebody with actual experience of MYP grading will be along shortly.

PS

Edited for typo


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:47 pm 
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I don't know much about the MYP, apart from the fact that a grammar school we looked around used it in year 9 and then did GCSEs.

However, I would be a bit concerned if it was being used instead of GCSEs, as employers won't know anything about it, and may want to see GCSEs. I know of someone who had a maths masters, but had to take a functional skills test in maths before an employer would accept them, as they didn't have GCSE maths (they had been home educated and had gone straight to A level)


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