Dianysus
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#1
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#1
Hi guys, I am a year 11 student making subject choices for 6th form next year:confused:, and my school offers both IB and A Levels. At the moment I am leaning towards the IB as I want to keep my options open, but some advice from current IB/A Level students would be greatly appreciated!
0
reply
Enoch.
Badges: 16
Rep:
?
#2
Report 9 years ago
#2
Have you seen how much UCAS points the IB is worth? I just found out a few weeks ago, I was surprised.

Edit: though I doubt any IB student would go to a uni where ucas points are required...:beard:
0
reply
Dianysus
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#3
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#3
(Original post by ussumane)
Have you seen how much UCAS points the IB is worth? I just found out a few weeks ago, I was surprised.

Edit: though I doubt any IB student would go to a uni where ucas points are required...:beard:
Haha yeah, it's quite surprising how many UCAS points it is worth: proportionally more than A Levels. But as you said, I am hoping to head to a uni where UCAS points are of little significance (like Oxbridge...I like to have high aspirations )

So are you an IB student? If so which subjects are you taking? Thanks for your post btw
0
reply
MinorDisaster
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#4
Report 9 years ago
#4
I chose:

English HL, Mandarin HL, History HL, Psychology HL, Chemistry SL, Maths SL

To be honest, considering you're applying to UK institutions, A-Levels completely own. There are no practical advantages of IB over A-level, that is, admissions will not distinguish properly between the two even if IB is much, much harder than A-Levels. I suppose what IB offers is flexibility. Unless you are an aspiring doctor, then the IB allows you to choose between a variety of subject combinations, so you can have a wider choice when it's time for UCAS. If you know what you are going to do, then choosing the 3 A-Levels that are required of you is much easier than doing 6 IB subjects, a few of which you won't need for your uni course. You will also get better results in the A-Levels, since you have less on your plate.

If you are applying to America, then IB is obviously much more valuable there than A-Levels, since your CAS activities will be a big part of your resume.

So to sum up!

Advantages of IB against A-Levels:
-Offers flexibility for the indecisive
-You have a more holistic education and you learn more about yourself and the world around you(though unis doesn't give 2 shiets about this)
-Much, much better chance going abroad for uni
-Supposedly, it will help you more in the Oxbridge interview if you manage to get one, as IB EEs require you to read around your subject quite a bit, though you can do the same for A-Levels, except it just isn't required of you.
-Its fancier

Disadvantages:
-More time consuming
-Unnecessary workload - at least 2 subjects you do will be unrelated to your degree
-CAS isn't worth **** to uni
-Same can be said of TOK
-Harder grading system(% of people getting 6s and 7s is much lower than those getting A)
-Harder offers from unis(38 points is a lot harder to achieve than AAA, yet is seen as equivalent)
-Because of ALL of the above, you will have a harder time trying to get into oxbridge with IB than with A-Levels
3
reply
Dianysus
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#5
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#5
(Original post by MinorDisaster)
I chose:

English HL, Mandarin HL, History HL, Psychology HL, Chemistry SL, Maths SL

To be honest, considering you're applying to UK institutions, A-Levels completely own. There are no practical advantages of IB over A-level, that is, admissions will not distinguish properly between the two even if IB is much, much harder than A-Levels. I suppose what IB offers is flexibility. Unless you are an aspiring doctor, then the IB allows you to choose between a variety of subject combinations, so you can have a wider choice when it's time for UCAS. If you know what you are going to do, then choosing the 3 A-Levels that are required of you is much easier than doing 6 IB subjects, a few of which you won't need for your uni course. You will also get better results in the A-Levels, since you have less on your plate.

If you are applying to America, then IB is obviously much more valuable there than A-Levels, since your CAS activities will be a big part of your resume.

So to sum up!

Advantages of IB against A-Levels:
-Offers flexibility for the indecisive
-You have a more holistic education and you learn more about yourself and the world around you(though unis doesn't give 2 shiets about this)
-Much, much better chance going abroad for uni
-Supposedly, it will help you more in the Oxbridge interview if you manage to get one, as IB EEs require you to read around your subject quite a bit, though you can do the same for A-Levels, except it just isn't required of you.
-Its fancier

Disadvantages:
-More time consuming
-Unnecessary workload - at least 2 subjects you do will be unrelated to your degree
-CAS isn't worth **** to uni
-Same can be said of TOK
-Harder grading system(% of people getting 6s and 7s is much lower than those getting A)
-Harder offers from unis(38 points is a lot harder to achieve than AAA, yet is seen as equivalent)
-Because of ALL of the above, you will have a harder time trying to get into oxbridge with IB than with A-Levels
Thanks for the detailed reply! I think the main reason that would steer me towards IB rather than A levels is the flexibility that you mentioned - I have no idea about what I want to study post 6th form.

So would you say that your IB workload is dramatically worse than that of A Level? I only ask this because I often get mixed replies; some say that IB is SO much harder, others that there isn't much different as the IB offers "less depth of study".
0
reply
Dianysus
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#6
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#6
(Original post by boromir9111)
To put it simply, stop fishing for compliments or if you geniunely want to know then you shouldn't be doing either if you can't decide for yourself especially in yr 11!
1. I am not fishing for compliments, merely looking for some advice for someone with expertise/experience.

2. I can decide for myself, but I not only want advice to aid me with my decision, but I am also just interested about other people's opinions about the topic.
0
reply
h2shin
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#7
Report 9 years ago
#7
Well I'm not in sixth form yet but maybe you'll find this helpful since I was in your situation as well

I was considering IB, and of course I got in to the schools that offered it, but I felt that there was more flexibility with A-levels. in IB you HAVE to choose a subject from a group of 6, and I since I didn't want to carry on with subjects like english or german, because I want to go into maths or the sciences at uni, I felt it much more appropriate to choose A-levels that were a lot more relevant to what I want to do. I just kinda feel that at this point, I needed to settle on the sort of direction that I want to head towards in my life and A-levels completely won me over since I could pick any 4 subjects that I wanted (actually 5 in my case) and I have the choice of carrying them all on to the higher A2 level or drop subjects that I don't feel that I need or enjoy anymore. I think like the answer above, it'd be easier when applying to Uni in england and since I want to study in england it was the obvious choice to make. I actually want to go work in america for a bit but I can always consider after a degree
0
reply
Kimiechi
Badges: 11
Rep:
?
#8
Report 9 years ago
#8
Hi, just thought I'd say that I am in a similar situation - can't decided between IB and A Levels for next year. What subjects would you be doing for each?
0
reply
Dianysus
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#9
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#9
(Original post by h2shin)
Well I'm not in sixth form yet but maybe you'll find this helpful since I was in your situation as well

I was considering IB, and of course I got in to the schools that offered it, but I felt that there was more flexibility with A-levels. in IB you HAVE to choose a subject from a group of 6, and I since I didn't want to carry on with subjects like english or german, because I want to go into maths or the sciences at uni, I felt it much more appropriate to choose A-levels that were a lot more relevant to what I want to do. I just kinda feel that at this point, I needed to settle on the sort of direction that I want to head towards in my life and A-levels completely won me over since I could pick any 4 subjects that I wanted (actually 5 in my case) and I have the choice of carrying them all on to the higher A2 level or drop subjects that I don't feel that I need or enjoy anymore. I think like the answer above, it'd be easier when applying to Uni in england and since I want to study in england it was the obvious choice to make. I actually want to go work in america for a bit but I can always consider after a degree
Yeah I definately agree that A Levels are great for scientists, but personally I can't choose between sciences and arts subjects!:confused:
0
reply
MinorDisaster
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#10
Report 9 years ago
#10
(Original post by Dianysus)
Thanks for the detailed reply! I think the main reason that would steer me towards IB rather than A levels is the flexibility that you mentioned - I have no idea about what I want to study post 6th form.

So would you say that your IB workload is dramatically worse than that of A Level? I only ask this because I often get mixed replies; some say that IB is SO much harder, others that there isn't much different as the IB offers "less depth of study".
Yes, IB HLs do generally go in less depth than A-Levels. I think the study by UCAS said an average HL subject covers 90% of an A2, and an SL is basically an AS level. There are a lot of exceptions to this, of course.

So if you go with those estimates, doing IB would be the same as doing 2.7 full A2s, but with 3 separate AS-Levels at the side. This compared with the standard A-Level workload of just 3 A2s and 1 AS, is a lot more. So IB doesn't cover as much material in individual subjects, but more of it overall. More breadth vs depth.

In IB you definitely have more to do and be more stressed, because you have more subjects plus EE, IAs and CAS to worry about. But individually, IB subjects cover less material than doing A-Levels.

IB is definitely "harder" than your standard 3 A-Levels, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A person who chooses A-Level further maths will know more about maths than someone who chose IB Maths HL, but the IB guy will also have have to do a 2 languages and a humanity that the A-Level guy won't have a clue about. A-Level is a bit more specialised, but you do a lot more stuff in IB.
0
reply
Dianysus
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#11
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#11
(Original post by Kimiechi)
Hi, just thought I'd say that I am in a similar situation - can't decided between IB and A Levels for next year. What subjects would you be doing for each?
If I did IB:

HL Maths
HL Chemistry
HL Latin

SL English
SL Physics
SL History


If I did A Levels:

Maths/FM
Chemistry
Latin
History

How about you?
0
reply
Dianysus
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#12
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#12
(Original post by MinorDisaster)
Yes, IB HLs do generally go in less depth than A-Levels. I think the study by UCAS said an average HL subject covers 90% of an A2, and an SL is basically an AS level. There are a lot of exceptions to this, of course.

So if you go with those estimates, doing IB would be the same as doing 2.7 full A2s, but with 3 separate AS-Levels at the side. This compared with the standard A-Level workload of just 3 A2s and 1 AS, is a lot more. So IB doesn't cover as much material in individual subjects, but more of it overall. More breadth vs depth.

In IB you definitely have more to do and be more stressed, because you have more subjects plus EE, IAs and CAS to worry about. But individually, IB subjects cover less material than doing A-Levels.

IB is definitely "harder" than your standard 3 A-Levels, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. A person who chooses A-Level further maths will know more about maths than someone who chose IB Maths HL, but the IB guy will also have have to do a 2 languages and a humanity that the A-Level guy won't have a clue about. A-Level is a bit more specialised, but you do a lot more stuff in IB.
Oh ok, so would you say that the missing depth in IB would put you at a disadvantage to those who studied the same subject to A2?

Also, I hear people say that IB is "better preparation for uni", have you heard similar things?

I really appreciate the fact that you have spent time listening to (/reading) my naive questions, so thank you :ta:
0
reply
patsseh
Badges: 0
Rep:
?
#13
Report 9 years ago
#13
well IB results only take about 1 month after you have finished your exams to actually be announced and 2 months for A levels.

if you didnt score really well, you could have a back up plan ( IB ) . A levels not much time for you to come up with a back up plan. as you have to start uni quite soon thats if you are taking the summer exams.
0
reply
cant_think_of_name
Badges: 15
Rep:
?
#14
Report 9 years ago
#14
Well personally, depending on where you want to go in life:

IB advantages:

1. Studying in the USA/Canada/Australia/NZ/Ireland - although I know someone who got into Princeton with 4 A-Levels, he is very smart but if you have aspirations of Oxbridge then you must be pretty smart :bl:
2. More subjects to study - you can study more subjects, if you don't want to close down to 3/4 subjects then picking six would keep more options open, you say you don't know what to do post Sixth Form so it may be a good option.
3. It sounds cooler
4. CAS/TOK looks good for jobs etc...

Advantages of A-Levels:

1. It gives a more in-depth view of each subject - although not much more it could help
2. If you wanted to do all three sciences, further maths, more than one language, or another subject/combination of subjects that isn't offered, you can with A-Levels but not IB.
3. You get to have a social life with A-Levels. Believe me, you'll be lucky to get any sleep over the two years of IB
4. Retakes - you can retake A-Levels if you take them before summer of Year 13 - IB exams are all at the end so if you do badly in your exams THERE IS NO MORE OPPORTUNITY to retake
5. A-Levels are better for British Uni's.


So in short, if you want to study in the UK I'd recommend A-Levels; if you don't, IB. Also if you aren't sure what to do or don't want to limit yourself IB could be good.

Also if you are at a Sixth Form offering IB and A-Levels I've heard that the two different groups become 'clique-y' and you won't see as much of your A-Level buds.

Hope this helps!
1
reply
Rahul.S
Badges: 14
Rep:
?
#15
Report 9 years ago
#15
i still prefer a levels....points wise ib is proportionally more....but ucas points per subject dont vary depending on the subject, plus ib is quite broad and doesnt consist of modules....i prefer that but many would prefer to split exam content into several modules.
0
reply
bluesky42
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#16
Report 9 years ago
#16
It's easier to meet an A level uni offer. You'll have done most of your modules before with the opportunity of retakes.

Whereas with IB, regardless of whether you have a Cambridge offer, you'll need to get a 42 (or whatever) to meet it and all that will depend on 2 weeks of exams.
0
reply
physicsfuntimes
Badges: 10
Rep:
?
#17
Report 9 years ago
#17
I'm not sure if it's important or if the distinction has been made, but I don't think A levels study subjects in any less depth, just fewer topics... so less breadth.

Also, from talking to Oxbridge applicants, many seem to think universities don't appreciate how tricky the IB is (as people have said) or that they don't really understand the system or it hasn't been in place long enough for Oxbridge to have sorted out what scores are good, etc. So if you want to aim for Oxbridge, doing A levels seems a much easier option
0
reply
MinorDisaster
Badges: 9
Rep:
?
#18
Report 9 years ago
#18
(Original post by Dianysus)
If I did IB:

HL Maths
HL Chemistry
HL Latin

SL English
SL Physics
SL History


If I did A Levels:

Maths/FM
Chemistry
Latin
History
If thats the case, do A-Levels. Missing out on Physics and English, both at SL, won't make much of a difference.
0
reply
ConorMC
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#19
Report 9 years ago
#19
A few important things to note: Maths IB at HL is harder than A Level Maths. You don't get nice split up modules. IB Maths HL is basically A level Maths with bits of A level Further Maths chucked in. So the advice is, if you don't want to do something mathematical at Uni, don't do Maths IB HL. This advice is from someone who has done IB Maths. Having looked at what the A level Maths students have to study, I personally feel they have an easy life. Please note that there were people in my class who got A* at GCSE and only managed to scrape a 4 (some even got less). You have to be naturally good at Maths to do well basically.

A-Levels- Easier to get into a top university. Some universities ask for stupid points which don't equate to the A levels asked.

IB- will benefit you more as an individual. I have learnt alot about myself due to having done IB, and it will make you a more rounded person. Also, if your school has just started offering the IB, don't do it. People will be upset on results day. The teaching will be disorganised and you may find yourself teaching yourself a lot.
0
reply
ConorMC
Badges: 3
Rep:
?
#20
Report 9 years ago
#20
Ah, one last thing. British universities don't really understand the IB and how it is much harder than A levels. I'll put it like this- with A levels they can ask for As, Bs and Cs (and now A*s, but still this is quite rare). With IB they can ask up to 45 points. So if a Uni asks for top grades they will ask for AAA at A level. Because they can ask for something up to 45 points, they are going to ask for something nearish that top number. However, in regards to difficulty to obtain, they don't equate. Basically they equate top for one qualification as the same as top for another, even though they vary in difficulty. Saying this, some Unis are getting better at equating them, while unfortunately others are getting worse.
0
reply
X

Quick Reply

Attached files
Write a reply...
Reply
new posts
Back
to top
Latest
My Feed

See more of what you like on
The Student Room

You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

Personalise

Are you travelling in the Uni student travel window (3-9 Dec) to go home for Christmas?

Yes (48)
31.17%
No - I have already returned home (19)
12.34%
No - I plan on travelling outside these dates (33)
21.43%
No - I'm staying at my term time address over Christmas (14)
9.09%
No - I live at home during term anyway (40)
25.97%

Watched Threads

View All
Latest
My Feed