International Baccalaureate. Pretty sure everyone is unfamiliar with it or probably never heard of it before. Honestly, same. So, let me tell you what I wish I knew during my university application period. Basically, IB is a system where you need to balance your academic and external assessment at its greatest. As you all know, A-level requires us to take 3 subjects, but for IB, we double the number to 6 subjects instead which consists of three Higher Level (HL) subjects, three Standard Level (SL) subjects and three other mandatory core subjects, which are Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), and an Extended Essay (EE).
First thing first, the subjects. Once you have a glimpse on your career path, then you can choose your HL subjects because they are your main priorities. SL subjects are just to endorse IB marks, but don't look down on SL subjects because they are quite cunning. Highest grade for each subject is 7 and the lower the marks, the lower the grade. Each subject has a thesis-like experiment or research (IA) that will be graded along with your semester 4 exam, including SL subjects. This stresses me out the most but here’s a piece of advice, please start earlier and don't wait for deadlines.
Next is the mandatory core subjects which are TOK, CAS and EE which carry 1 point each. In a simpler sentence, TOK is all about questioning the validity and the reliability of the foundation of knowledge, but of course the definition of TOK varies because we have different perspectives on it. TOK is quite fun actually but again, do not delay your work. CAS is basically ‘koko’ during highschool but it is more fun because you get to help people and the community by doing charity work, and also, pages of activity reports. Now onto EE, this is also a thesis-like research and mother of IAs, the real deal. EE needs more attention as it carries a grade without any support from internal subject assessment. The areas of subjects are flexible but better do research on areas that will support your targeted study field. You will have to propose to one advisor to monitor your EE progress.
Maximum grade for IB is 45 with 42 for the subjects and 3 for core subjects. MARA will set the minimum marks that you have to get for you to fly so do not worry about that yet. Alas, all the descriptions above are only the basic surface of the actual IB. See, IB is not that stressful actually so if you are an adventurer and wish to be challenged, why not challenge yourself with IB instead? Then again, goodluck! xx