A levels vs IB Watch

Saoirse:3
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#21
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#21
(Original post by chickenonsteroids)
There was nothing really different about doing IB sciences.

The main difference is how the essay subjects worked. I found they were more based on argument than description.

(Original post by frogs r everywhere)
I would have thought it would be different. However, if this comes from a student who studied IB, then that just adds to the failure of the British education system.
I found IB Biology to be very different, compared to what my friends were doing in A-Level. For a start, it was much more practical, with a bigger emphasis on experiments than the very limited number in the A-Level syllabus. The coursework in particular required a lot more thought and analysis of what was happening, be it with data or the science itself, rather than simply rote-learning and description, and in particular there was no requirement to effectively have the mark scheme memorised to pass the exams. Then there was the Group 4 project, working with people doing other science subjects on a project which was completely unique to the IB. Like the rest of the course, the sciences are much more wholesome and academic rather than the "memorise-this-remember-that" culture of the A-Level system.
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chickenonsteroids
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#22
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(Original post by Saoirse:3)
I found IB Biology to be very different, compared to what my friends were doing in A-Level. For a start, it was much more practical, with a bigger emphasis on experiments than the very limited number in the A-Level syllabus. The coursework in particular required a lot more thought and analysis of what was happening, be it with data or the science itself, rather than simply rote-learning and description, and in particular there was no requirement to effectively have the mark scheme memorised to pass the exams. Then there was the Group 4 project, working with people doing other science subjects on a project which was completely unique to the IB. Like the rest of the course, the sciences are much more wholesome and academic rather than the "memorise-this-remember-that" culture of the A-Level system.
The group 4 project was useless imo. It did nothing. I did IB physics and there was nothing notable about how that worked even though that required less memorisation than biology. Same with the experiments.
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DarthVador
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#23
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(Original post by Yuanqii)
Hi there, I know this might be old fashioned but I'm still curious.

Is it true that the IB programme is more challenging and difficult to score than A levels? Because I'm considering both of these before I take my degree in the UK
Disregard all the other fluffy opinions in this thread and listen to me.
If you want to do a degree in the UK, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THE IB.

You will be HUGELY disadvantaged against A level students.

Getting AAA is considered equal to getting 766 HL subjects and 40 total points in the IB by top universities like LSE and oxford. It's absolutely horrendous because the amount of work to get a 40 and a 766 is magnitudes higher than a simple AAA; not to mention universities completely disregard your SL subjects as well as all your community action nonsense, yet still require you to pass the full diploma or they will summarily reject you even if you get perfect scores everywhere.

For comparison's sake, nearly 50% of Maths A level students got A or A*, whereas maybe maximum of 25% of Maths HL students got 6 or 7; and this is because the IB system is to change the grade boundaries depending on the how well a year has done on average (totally unfair).

Do not take the IB unless you like working long and hard without any recognition whatsoever.

PS: In my personal experience I know people whose lives were ruined by taking the IB.
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frogs r everywhere
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#24
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(Original post by Saoirse:3)
I found IB Biology to be very different, compared to what my friends were doing in A-Level. For a start, it was much more practical, with a bigger emphasis on experiments than the very limited number in the A-Level syllabus. The coursework in particular required a lot more thought and analysis of what was happening, be it with data or the science itself, rather than simply rote-learning and description, and in particular there was no requirement to effectively have the mark scheme memorised to pass the exams. Then there was the Group 4 project, working with people doing other science subjects on a project which was completely unique to the IB. Like the rest of the course, the sciences are much more wholesome and academic rather than the "memorise-this-remember-that" culture of the A-Level system.
I agree with you on the aspect of A-level "science" experiments, which in all essence, only required the knowledge of a GCSE student. However, the answers to the theory of practical assessments were ever so specific, that a considerable amount of schools decided to give students an advantage by giving tips, or at times, the actual answers, which would in turn inflate grade boundaries.
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CaldoVerde
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#25
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(Original post by Neverme)
I am currently in my first year of IB, and my sister is in her AS year. So far, I have definitely had more work than her, although it hasn't been overwhelming. In terms of the subjects we take in common, so far the level is pretty similar. I, personally, am really glad that I chose to do IB. While my sister only studies Bio, Chem, Maths and Business, I get to study bio, chem, maths, english, french and history. My school days are more varied and I find this more interesting. CAS is also challenging me to try new things outside of my comfort zone. Everyone complains about the IB but it brings us together more than the A level students.
However, my sister is glad she chose to take A levels, so to each their own, I guess.
What bull. The CAS system is useless, students should take on new hobbies and extra-curricular experiences from their own initiative, not because they need certain 'hours' as I seem to find the case with most people. And if the IB programme wasn't rigirous enough...to have CAS on top of that makes it so much more work and harder to time manage than A levels.

I'm in my second year of IB and pretty much hate it. If I lived in England, I would have definitely taken A-Levels, but because I don't have that option here in Portugal, the IB was the best option for intentending to study in the UK. Also, it's a waste of time for people dedicated to the arts. You can only pick one creative art subject, and having to manage your time between music or theatre with extra maths or sciences that you are never going to use again makes it a flawd programme for those who are certain they want to dwelve into the creative arts, or even some of the other arts subjects like literature or languages.

I want to do Drama courses at university, but I'm doing so much more work and have less time to make commitments to joining outside theatre
companies, when with A-levels at least that would have been more attainable option.
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_-_Ella_-_
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#26
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(Original post by chickenonsteroids)
I've done the IB. You could always take essay based A level subjects if you intially cared about it. You still have flexibility in your choices. It's an unnecessary program. Plus, they charge for past papers. So that makes me dislike them even more.
What do you do in the IB, what categories do you have to chose from? Do you have to do an languages?
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frogs r everywhere
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#27
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(Original post by DarthVador)
Disregard all the other fluffy opinions in this thread and listen to me.
If you want to do a degree in the UK, ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THE IB.
I would argue that it prepares a student more for university, unless all he or she cares for is getting in.

You will be HUGELY disadvantaged against A level students.
Students studying A-levels or IB's are equally considered at every British university I can think of.


Getting AAA is considered equal to getting 766 HL subjects and 40 total points in the IB by top universities like LSE and oxford.
False. AAA is believed to be equivalent to 36-38 points, depending on the University. Universities such as Oxford usually require A*AA, or A*A*A for other courses.

For comparison's sake, nearly 50% of Maths A level students got A or A*, whereas a maximum of 25% of Maths HL students got 6or 7.
Source? Even with the less credible Maths examination boards (Edexcel), this doesn't apply.
IB HL Mathematics is usually compared to an A-level in Further Mathematics.
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chickenonsteroids
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#28
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(Original post by _-_Ella_-_)
What do you do in the IB, what categories do you have to chose from? Do you have to do an languages?
You have to do at least one language, English, maths, a maximum of 2 sciences and a maximum of 2 humanities. That's if I remember correctly. There's another group like film studies and visual arts which you can pick from too. You also have to complete CAS, an extended essay and complete the theory of knowledge course.

It's all very doable. Just largely unnecessary.
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DarthVador
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#29
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(Original post by frogs r everywhere)
I would argue that it prepares a student more for university, unless all he or she cares for is getting in.



Students studying A-levels or IB's are equally considered at every British university I can think of.




False. AAA is believed to be equivalent to 36-38 points, depending on the University. Universities such as Oxford usually require A*AA, or A*A*A for other courses.


Source? Even with the less credible Maths examination boards (Edexcel), this doesn't apply.
IB HL Mathematics is usually compared to an A-level in Further Mathematics.
Do you work for the IB? Because you are a filthy liar.
IB HL mathematics is never compared to further maths at any british institution, for any subject that requires A level mathematics, you will need IB HL maths without exception.

Here are the sources:
45% of students get A or A* for A level maths:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/h...athematics.stm

25% of students get 6 or 7 for HL maths (go to page 33):
http://www.ibo.org/facts/statbulleti...l_bulletin.pdf

And AAA courses at top universities require 38-40 total points minimum:
Example: History and Economics at oxford:
http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...ory_and_2.html

A*AA is 41, 776 at cambridge for all subjects (e.g. English):
http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergrad...urses/english/


PS: There is no point being prepared for university, if one doesn't get in. I know lots of people who failed their sky high offers to imperial and LSE thanks to the IB (those are the people I'm talking about whose lives were ruined by the IB).
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frogs r everywhere
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#30
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(Original post by DarthVador)
Do you work for the IB? Because you are a filthy liar..
No I do not. I just wish people like you didn't put a bias stance on IB's and call it a "waste of time".

IB HL mathematics is never compared to further maths at any british institution, for any subject that requires A level mathematics, you will need IB HL maths without exception
IB HL Mathematics has been reported to be much challenging than an A-level in Mathematics. Imperial's engineering department, who usually requires Further maths, only ask for HL Mathematics.

Here are the sources:
40% of students get A or A* for A level maths:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/h...athematics.stm

25% of students get 6 or 7 for HL maths (go to page 33):
http://www.ibo.org/facts/statbulleti...l_bulletin.pdf
I must admit, this proportion took me to a surprise. Yet I believe that Mathematics is an anomaly. It would be rather ignorant to think that 50% of all A-level candidates get an A or an A*.


And AAA courses at top universities require 38-40 total points minimum:
Example: History and Economics at oxford:
http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/under...ory_and_2.html

A*AA is 41, 776 at cambridge for English:
http://www.study.cam.ac.uk/undergrad...urses/english/

Well, as I said it depends on the university.

AAA is 37 points at Bristol Medical school.
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/prospectus/.../12/admissions

This applies to nearly all medical schools in the UK.
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DarthVador
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#31
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(Original post by frogs r everywhere)
No I do not. I just wish people like you didn't put a bias stance on IB's and call it a "waste of time".



IB HL Mathematics has been reported to be much challenging than an A-level in Mathematics. Imperial's engineering department, who usually requires Further maths, only ask for HL Mathematics.



I must admit, this proportion took me to a surprise. Yet I believe that Mathematics is an anomaly. It would be rather ignorant to think that 50% of all A-level candidates get an A or an A*.





Well, as I said it depends on the university.

AAA is 37 points at Bristol Medical school.
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/prospectus/.../12/admissions

This applies to nearly all medical schools in the UK.
Mathematics is not an anomaly, A levels are much easier consistently across all subjects. Only 2% of students in IB HL history get a 7. That's ridiculously small, and I've looked at the history exam, it's a load of nonsense; you study a large range of historical eras over 2 years and you might be able to answer two or three questions out of the 25 that are given in the exam because the questions are based on geographical location. If you study european history there will be only 1 or 2 questions about it, and another dozen will be about iranian history, nepalese history, chinese history, nigerian history etc...

I don't think the IB is necessarily a waste of time, but it absolutely is if you want to go to a british university. Actually it's worse than a waste of time, because it will sabotage you.

It seems most universities consider AAA to be 38 or above. Also it seems they consider a 7 to be between an A and an A*, which is ridiculous considering how much more difficult it is to get a 7 compared to an A* (cue the history example where 4 times more A level students get A* than HL history students get a 7).
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Yuanqii
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#32
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I find the IB system more lively... As what I heard from my seniors. That's why I'm interested because my the education system in my country itself is like "memorise everything n write". It's quite lifeless ;(

The thing that's holding me back is, the science n maths. Because I'm planning to take law and I kind of plan to drop science n maths if I take A Levels.

my only concern is the university acceptation... I'm afraid I really can't score as well as A levels students to get into good universities...


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Yuanqii
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#33
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#33
(Original post by rebeccalrose)
I'm in the 2nd year of IB, and although the IB is more varied, there is scope to choose your specialisms. I am more of a humanities/ English student, and so took English, Philosophy and History at higher. If you can cope with maths GCSE, maths studies is only a little more difficult, and you can go for the 'soft' science option of environmental systems and societies. it's worth checking the options offered at your prospective college though, as some places don't offer some subjects. The IB is great, but hard work, so think hard before choosing it, but don't let it put you off!
Thank you for your advice! ill try considering about the soft sciences, but my problem is with maths haha. Just hope I can do it in maths studies the I can focus more in my humanities if I really take the IB


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Yuanqii
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#34
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(Original post by DarthVador)
Mathematics is not an anomaly, A levels are much easier consistently across all subjects. Only 2% of students in IB HL history get a 7. That's ridiculously small, and I've looked at the history exam, it's a load of nonsense; you study a large range of historical eras over 2 years and you might be able to answer two or three questions out of the 25 that are given in the exam because the questions are based on geographical location. If you study european history there will be only 1 or 2 questions about it, and another dozen will be about iranian history, nepalese history, chinese history, nigerian history etc...

I don't think the IB is necessarily a waste of time, but it absolutely is if you want to go to a british university. Actually it's worse than a waste of time, because it will sabotage you.

It seems most universities consider AAA to be 38 or above. Also it seems they consider a 7 to be between an A and an A*, which is ridiculous considering how much more difficult it is to get a 7 compared to an A* (cue the history example where 4 times more A level students get A* than HL history students get a 7).
Oh my Does it mean that is it SO MUCH MORE difficult to get an "A*" kind of grade in IB HL history compared to A Levels?... Does this apply to other subjects too? now it really looks challenging...


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DarthVador
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(Original post by Yuanqii)
Oh my Does it mean that is it SO MUCH MORE difficult to get an "A*" kind of grade in IB HL history compared to A Levels?... Does this apply to other subjects too? now it really looks challenging...


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Yes it is. Furthermore the IB changes the grade boundaries year on year so that the amount of people who get a 6 and a 7 is fixed.

8% of history A level students get A*, only 2% of IB history students get 7; YET british universities put more value on an A* than on a 7 for the IB.

And this is without even taking into account that the average IB student is more intelligent than the average A level student because IB students are mainly from wealthy and middle class international families while A levels serve the entire british population, which includes millions of stupid poor children with bad quality education.
I recommend that you do A levels if you want to study in the UK. If you want to go to the US or Canada, maybe the IB will be better recognized although I seriously doubt A levels would disadvantage you.
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Neverme
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(Original post by CaldoVerde)
What bull. The CAS system is useless, students should take on new hobbies and extra-curricular experiences from their own initiative, not because they need certain 'hours' as I seem to find the case with most people. And if the IB programme wasn't rigirous enough...to have CAS on top of that makes it so much more work and harder to time manage than A levels.

I'm in my second year of IB and pretty much hate it. If I lived in England, I would have definitely taken A-Levels, but because I don't have that option here in Portugal, the IB was the best option for intentending to study in the UK. Also, it's a waste of time for people dedicated to the arts. You can only pick one creative art subject, and having to manage your time between music or theatre with extra maths or sciences that you are never going to use again makes it a flawd programme for those who are certain they want to dwelve into the creative arts, or even some of the other arts subjects like literature or languages.

I want to do Drama courses at university, but I'm doing so much more work and have less time to make commitments to joining outside theatre
companies, when with A-levels at least that would have been more attainable option.
Maybe you feel that way personally, but only 3 months into the course I can already see my classmates trying out things that they would never be doing if it weren't for CAS. I know several people who would be perfectly content to study every evening and never get out and do anything, but CAS forces them to at least give things a go, and I think that's a positive thing
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Yuanqii
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#37
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#37
(Original post by CaldoVerde)
What bull. The CAS system is useless, students should take on new hobbies and extra-curricular experiences from their own initiative, not because they need certain 'hours' as I seem to find the case with most people. And if the IB programme wasn't rigirous enough...to have CAS on top of that makes it so much more work and harder to time manage than A levels.

I'm in my second year of IB and pretty much hate it. If I lived in England, I would have definitely taken A-Levels, but because I don't have that option here in Portugal, the IB was the best option for intentending to study in the UK. Also, it's a waste of time for people dedicated to the arts. You can only pick one creative art subject, and having to manage your time between music or theatre with extra maths or sciences that you are never going to use again makes it a flawd programme for those who are certain they want to dwelve into the creative arts, or even some of the other arts subjects like literature or languages.

I want to do Drama courses at university, but I'm doing so much more work and have less time to make commitments to joining outside theatre
companies, when with A-levels at least that would have been more attainable option.
Does it mean that you have really really less time to do what you like because of the extra sciences n maths subjects? I totally understand that because the education system in my country for high school students is quite similar.

But so so far how are grades? You still can manage to do quite well right?


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CaldoVerde
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(Original post by Yuanqii)
Does it mean that you have really really less time to do what you like because of the extra sciences n maths subjects? I totally understand that because the education system in my country for high school students is quite similar.

But so so far how are grades? You still can manage to do quite well right?


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Yeah, I had good exam results before the holidays and have 37 points predicted, so you can still do well with a busy schedule. I have huge commitments to drama, directing one play and leading actor in another, as well as preparing speeches for drama school, along with volleyball, model united nations and music commitments. You can always get the grades you want if you work at it, just don't expect much sleep at all
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Yuanqii
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#39
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(Original post by DarthVador)
Yes it is. Furthermore the IB changes the grade boundaries year on year so that the amount of people who get a 6 and a 7 is fixed.

8% of history A level students get A*, only 2% of IB history students get 7; YET british universities put more value on an A* than on a 7 for the IB.

And this is without even taking into account that the average IB student is more intelligent than the average A level student because IB students are mainly from wealthy and middle class international families while A levels serve the entire british population, which includes millions of stupid poor children with bad quality education.
I recommend that you do A levels if you want to study in the UK. If you want to go to the US or Canada, maybe the IB will be better recognized although I seriously doubt A levels would disadvantage you.
Okay, so basically sources show that IB is kind of more challenging in UK universities acceptation right? By the way, u did mention about the universities don't really see the SL subjects, just only HL subjects?

And so that means the grades for IB are unstable and quite difficult to maintain as the grade boundaries change every year?


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Yuanqii
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(Original post by AquisM)
It is true that you have to take maths and a science for IB, but it's actually a bit more flexible than it sounds. For maths, there are three levels to choose from - Higher Level, Standard Level and Maths Studies (not sure what the A-Level equivalents are since it's hard to compare the two, but I've heard that Higher is like AS-A Level Further Maths, Standard is A Level Maths, Studies is like AS Maths), so you don't have to go way beyond your ability to get a diploma.

For science, IB includes a lot of things, including some that aren't traditionally considered a science, like DT, Computer Science and Sports and Health Science. There is also an IB-unique course called Environmental Systems and Societies (ESS), which is like a cross between Bio and Geo, so there is a lot of choice beyond Bio, Phys and Chem. If you're interested, you might want to ask your teacher/Head of Year/IB Coordinator whether these courses are available at your school and find out more before you decide on IB or A-Levels. Whichever one you decide to take, good luck!
Did any of your friends or classmates take the Maths Studies or soft Sciences? Because I'm quite afraid that the universities might think taking Maths Studies and other soft sciences do not show that I'm a strong student in that area, and they might think that the subjects I've chose are not strong enough as an IB student...


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