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    So I've been kind of torn between IB and A level for 6th form. For those of you who don't know, IB is basically an international qualification but still not as popular with universities in the UK as A levels currently. There are pros and cons for both of them; IB could give me more breadth however A level allows me to specialise. I've been to countless open evenings in different schools, talked to other students in both fields and I got some very mixed advice. One of the students from Brentwood directed me to TSR, so which is better? Any feedback would be appreciated
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    I do A levels, but I have lots of friends doing IB. I'll start by saying IB is hard. Each subject goes more in depth, there's more subjects, and you have barely any free periods. For example, I have 11 hours free on my timetable each week. My IB friends have 2. They have to revise so much more, and with the only exams being at the end of the two years, there's a whole lot to remember. IB gives you breadth and depth. It requires good time management and revision skills. But, the IB people (here anyway) are all really close. In the first week of college they went on a residential together, they spend literally all their time together. The classes are smaller, which is good for teaching and getting to know everyone. I was tempted with IB, but I didn't want to do English :P

    How are you coping with GCSEs? A levels are quite a jump, IB even more so. So you'll have to decide if you could cope with the workload and difficulty. Hope that was useful. You can message me for any more advice, I can answer any questions you have about A levels, and I can ask my IB friends if you have any questions about that
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    Personally I would say A-levels. It depends on what you want to do, but for example if I wanted to do medicine (or just really liked science), I'd want to do maths, physics, chemistry, biology, and that isn't possible in IB. You also waste time doing something similar to critical thinking and you have to do foreign language as well, not my cup of tea :/
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    I'm just about to finish the IB, have my exams in two weeks!
    It is a very demanding course, doing 6 subjects as well as CAS, extended essay and TOK is stressful not going to lie. Also doing all your exams at the end is so much work, I'm actually dreading them so much!
    As for uni however I haven't had a problem with regards to getting a place/ offers, got all five offers and most people at my school got all of theirs too
    I actually think the grades for me to get into my first choice uni are lower than if I'd done a levels (32 points for Southampton uni) so guess there is some benefit there.
    Another plus is the 4 month summer at the end, that's all that's getting me through school right now :')
    So yeah I think as long as you're self disciplined and pick the right subjects for you then you should be fine with IB. It will also depend on the schools you're looking at and the support they give
    I also find that IB is quite in depth detail despite people thinking it's not as thorough as a levels. But that's just my personal opinion


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    I met someone who did IB and they said it was very hard, may aswell just do A-levels.
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    (Original post by Zebrajess)
    I do A levels, but I have lots of friends doing IB. I'll start by saying IB is hard. Each subject goes more in depth, there's more subjects, and you have barely any free periods. For example, I have 11 hours free on my timetable each week. My IB friends have 2. They have to revise so much more, and with the only exams being at the end of the two years, there's a whole lot to remember. IB gives you breadth and depth. It requires good time management and revision skills. But, the IB people (here anyway) are all really close. In the first week of college they went on a residential together, they spend literally all their time together. The classes are smaller, which is good for teaching and getting to know everyone. I was tempted with IB, but I didn't want to do English :P

    How are you coping with GCSEs? A levels are quite a jump, IB even more so. So you'll have to decide if you could cope with the workload and difficulty. Hope that was useful. You can message me for any more advice, I can answer any questions you have about A levels, and I can ask my IB friends if you have any questions about that
    I did IB and I genuinely did enjoy the variation of material that it offered. I personally didn't find it a huge jump up from GCSE but I did do IGCSEs and fairly easy subjects. I think we need to know more about what subjects you would plan to do for either course. Especially with regards to Maths as from what my teachers said at least, Higher maths is a huge step up from even Add Maths at GCSE.
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    (Original post by takingtime)
    I did IB and I genuinely did enjoy the variation of material that it offered. I personally didn't find it a huge jump up from GCSE but I did do IGCSEs and fairly easy subjects. I think we need to know more about what subjects you would plan to do for either course. Especially with regards to Maths as from what my teachers said at least, Higher maths is a huge step up from even Add Maths at GCSE.
    I'll just clarify that the big jump is more the jump in workload and need for revision. Which is more so in IB than a levels. The content (for my a level subjects anyway) is not too big a jump, its just the sheer amount of it.

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    (Original post by Zebrajess)
    I'll just clarify that the big jump is more the jump in workload and need for revision. Which is more so in IB than a levels. The content (for my a level subjects anyway) is not too big a jump, its just the sheer amount of it.

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    Ah I agree it is definitely a bigger jump, although I didn't actually mean to quote you, I meant to quote OP. Pretty dopey, just shows anyone can do IB if they put their mind to it. Haha.
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    Both have their pros.
    What subjects would you do if you did A level, and what would you do if you did IB?
    Also, what are you planning on doing in uni?
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    As it has been said, both have their pros and cons. It honestly depends on one thing: do you know what you want to do at uni? If the answer is yes, then do not do IB. I am an IB student about to sit my exams and I knew during my GCSE's I wanted to be a nurse. While the IB does discipline you in meeting multiple deadlines and time management, skills which are very useful, I do find it frustrating that I have to keep doing subjects like History and Maths. If you are an all rounder, it's better. I can do all the basic maths required for life, but got a C at GCSE and have really struggled with the Maths Studies Course (which is sold as being easy!). There's my advice, good luck!
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    Yeah don't be fooled into thinking maths studies is easy, it's really not!! And neither are ab initio languages!


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    Okay, so to the people asking what subjects I plan to do, here they are:
    At A level they would be Maths, Latin, Biology and Chemistry
    At IB, higher would be Bio, Chem and Latin
    standard would be Maths standard, English Lit and either Psychology or Textiles (I was told to include something arty, is this beneficial?)
    I'm a bit of a mind-changer and the current route I'm aiming for is medicine, however classics is still a possibility. I do also enjoy textiles but art and design has a much more risky.
    Also I'd like to do medicine at a top university e.g. Kings, Imperial, Cambridge etc, but I have heard that they much prefer A level students to IB students. Is this true?
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    I don't think it makes much difference, there's quite a few people at my school who do IB and have got places at kings, Cambridge and imperial they do ask for around the 39+ points though!


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    I do IB and I'm currently in my first year. Zebrajess is right, you will get hardly any free periods and from the word go, revision will need to be consistent and routine to meet the demands of a diploma of such breath compared to A-Levels. Personally I only get 2.5 hours of free periods a week. Top that with CAS, EE and ToK.

    I chose it though because trust me doing all your exams at the end of the two years is not as bad as it sounds. It's like two years of preparation in my opinion; you have no intermediate exams which some AS students find stressful. Also applying to unis will be so much more effectual. You have a wider range of courses to choose from; imagine how much unis will hold you in good favour if you're able to say that you have already completed a project of uni standard (extended essay). Doing English is very beneficial, and not as bad as people make it: for a start you've been studying the language for at least 15 years! When it comes to essay writing at uni, you will ahead of those who struggle with bringing back technique having perhaps only written their last essay in GCSE English. Also, it's evident from what people tell me, that the workload at IB is more intense (if not as intense) than most uni courses, so in comparison to those coming out of A-Levels, you are "better prepared" for university. Coping with the work/life balance at uni will be easier having developed organisational and time management skills doing the IB.



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    (Original post by jams168)
    Okay, so to the people asking what subjects I plan to do, here they are:
    At A level they would be Maths, Latin, Biology and Chemistry
    At IB, higher would be Bio, Chem and Latin
    standard would be Maths standard, English Lit and either Psychology or Textiles (I was told to include something arty, is this beneficial?)
    I'm a bit of a mind-changer and the current route I'm aiming for is medicine, however classics is still a possibility. I do also enjoy textiles but art and design has a much more risky.
    Also I'd like to do medicine at a top university e.g. Kings, Imperial, Cambridge etc, but I have heard that they much prefer A level students to IB students. Is this true?
    It's not true, the top universities (especially the London ones due to international multiculturalism) recognise the IB quite well (as well as A-Levels), although for some strange reason they do ask for more out of IB students. For example to study medicine at Cambridge you need 777 at HL, for A-Levels only A*AA. The point is though there is really no preference between IB and A-Level students. IB students might be better able to give what they have in terms of organisational skills though which unis will undoubtedly favour.

    Doing something "arty" is only necessary if you are thinking if doing that art at uni, so unless that's so, it's not really beneficial. English is enough of an "Art" in itself.

    PM me if you have any Qs. or want more advice about the IB or applying for med

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