A Levels or IB? Watch

Carpenoctem_
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#1
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#1
Hi everyone, I'll be choosing my sixth form/college soon and I'm not sure whether I should take A levels or opt for the International Baccalaureate? If it helps, I don't have specific (or any) ideas as to what I'd like to do when I grow up. Any experiences/advice would be really helpful. Thank you.
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xhds
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If you're not sure about what you want to do then IB is definitely the better option. Although you'd probably have to decide if you want to go down a science or art route to pick appropriate HL options - you can change in your first year at most schools though so don't worry too much.

Feel free to ask any IB or school related questions !
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doughjobs
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I agree. If you're not sure what to do, IB is should technically be the better option. However, you do have to be a bit of an all rounder.
Before you make the decision ask yourself how much time and independent research are you planning on putting into your work? As I'm sure you're aware, the IB takes a LOT of time and effort and many people struggle to have a social life.
Also, it depends on whether you have your heart set on a particular university. Many people will say that AAA at A level is equivalent to 38 points and that is generally (excuse my generalising here) what the top top universities look for. In addition, many of those universities requiring AAA at A level prefer 666 at HL. This may seem ok but remember you have to get at least 6s in all your other subjects and pass the core (TOK, EE, CAS)
Also, you run the risk of failing your diploma if you score below 3 in any of your HL subjects, score below 24 points overall or fail EE, TOK or CAS. I can't speak much for the A Levels but as far as I'm aware the only way you can fail is if you score a U.
Having said all that, I went into the IB with average gcses and came out with a score that I was most happy with. Also, the nerdy banter is literally the best.
Hope this helps, don't hesitate to ask more!
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Mr.Troll
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Hi, I am a year 2 IB student. I partially agree with above. The decision isn't that easy.

First, ask yourself if you particularly enjoy/dislike some of your subjects. A substantial number of my friends dislike 1-2 subjects in IB, but they have to take them due to the IB subject requirement (1 literature, 1 language acquisition, 1 maths, 1 science, 1 humanities, 1 free choice) Ask yourself if you can not dislike 1 subject (or dragged down by 1). I have a friend who got predicted 4X7s, a 6 and a 4 in English Literature (he is a native speaker) due to his lack of interest in English literature, and now he probably cannot apply to top science courses due to the 4, how stupid it works. However, facing your weakness and uninterested subjects is always a good experience, but is it worth risking your university placement? Can you cope with it? I picked up English at a very late stage (2 years before IB started), and I worked really hard to improve this amazing language with enjoyment (literature and TV shows!). I got a respectable 6 for my predicted grade in English literature, so remember to work hard.

Second, ask yourself if you are prepared to work reasonably focused over the two years. 20%-55% (or more) of subject grades are based on written reports/essays/presentations, which occur over the two year course. Unlike A-Levels, IB does not tolerate lazy exam/learning genius. I once had 3X12 pages reports due on the same day with 1 week to work right before my predicted grade exam (I did not leave them until that time period, it was bad planning in the teachers' part, or perhaps IB works that way), and I basically had to dump my most confident subject's report (my strategy worked! still got predicted 7 for physics SL despite my rubbish report). Otherwise, you will be working on presentations, essays, and reports without a good long break, and you have to understand they all matter.

Note: Good time management and high working efficiency=social life+sleep

If you don't have a clear preference, debate with your parents or something. IB could be the better choice in your case, but it is unfair to just go for IB if you are not sure. The simple thing is to imagine your life in the two curriculums.

Nonetheless, IB has been a wonderful experience so far, and I can't wait for the start of year 2. Unfortunately, it is a disadvantaged course if you are thinking of applying to Oxbridge as you are not nicely tuned into a specific mindset. Or else, I would still pick IB over any other curriculum for its wonderful breadth and exposure. Good luck!
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Mahel
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I go to the best IB school in the country and as much as I love it, I'm not sure whether I should stay or not because university A Level requirements just seem so much simpler and easier than the IB requirements
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thecsstudent
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IB has a more requirements than A levels (such as CAS, TOK and Extended Essay). Also it places greater emphasis on being a well round student and even though the Higher Levels subjects are like doing 3 A levels there is also a lot of emphasis on Standard level subjects which might not be relevant to what you want to study and university offers include these subjects. Also, with A levels you take half your exams in your first year which to universities is a greater indicator of academic performance than predicted IB grades.
But IB is definitely better if you are not sure what you want to do at university and is recognized on a more global level.
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seaholme
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The answer is almost always A Levels. Actually I can't think of a circumstance where the answer wouldn't be A Levels beyond personal preference to do IB. Bar if you want to go internationally, but even then A Levels actually have decent international recognition, so even that would only really be relevant to if you thought you might have to change countries in the middle of your A Levels.

People say that the IB is for those who don't know what they want to do, but actually A Levels can keep your doors open perfectly well. The IB lets you do 6 subjects but you only do 3 to Higher Level and the number of compulsory subjects/subject combination restrictions means you actually end up doing 2 irrelevant subjects anyway, pretty much every time. Which leaves you with 4, which is the same as A Levels.

The IB is a lot of hard work for no reward beyond anything you may take from it personally. It's less well recognised by most Universities than A Levels and often the IB offers are for very high point scores relative to if you'd received an A Level offer. IB courses are harder in certain important subjects and this isn't recognised at all in offers.
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aRandomStudent1
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You've actually made a fair point. I transferred from a comprehensive school to a Grammar school to do the IB; I have come to realise that course is not for me just from the first week and I honestly don't think it's worth it. I will probably move back to my old school to do A-levels.
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