Which is harder: IB or A Levels? Watch

Poll: Which is harder?
IB (57)
80.28%
A Levels (14)
19.72%
anonymous1231231
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#21
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#21
(Original post by anxiughty)
there are some sixth forms that do IB and I've met sixth formers that did the IB whilst the majority of their school did A Levels it's not a wide thing tho and it's like a small amount of UK schools that do it (and i think most if not all that do it are independent schools haha)
ah ok thanks!
is it weird i wish i couldve done IB lol
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anxiughty
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#22
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#22
(Original post by anonymous1231231)
ah ok thanks!
is it weird i wish i couldve done IB lol
i mean yes and no haha
if you wanted to go outside of the UK, it wouldve been better, otherwise a levels is the easier option to get into UK universities my school offered AP (american) and IB and i wouldve done AP had i not chosen to apply to both america and the UK and saved me all this stress and trouble lmfao
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anonymous1231231
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#23
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#23
(Original post by anxiughty)
i mean yes and no haha
if you wanted to go outside of the UK, it wouldve been better, otherwise a levels is the easier option to get into UK universities my school offered AP (american) and IB and i wouldve done AP had i not chosen to apply to both america and the UK and saved me all this stress and trouble lmfao
thats true, the conversion stats used by uk unis seems sketchy for ib students lol
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jpammg531
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#24
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#24
(Original post by SomMC1)
Hahah, we were basically discussing the same things. *high five*
HL maths being compared to normal A level maths gets me so triggered though. Im here struggling to get a 7 predicted in HL and being compared to an A student with normal A level maths just drives me nuts. King's with another Institution did research and surprise surprise they said that HL maths should be taken on a similar level as Normal A level maths + Further maths.

Only 2/3 of offers for pure Economics @ LSE have Further Maths in their A levels. That means that 1/3 of offers are handed to people with Normal A level Maths. But if I, an IB student, tried applying to LSE pure Econ. with just Standard Maths, they'd laugh me off.

Sad.
On the matter of the King's study, the University of Birmingham wrote a response to this saying " the in-depth knowledge required by the Higher IB course significantly raises the demand of the specification (in this respect
Higher IB is similar to Further Mathematics A-level, although Higher IB is found to cover less content
than the combination of Mathematics and Further Mathematics)."
This suggests that although higher level is more challenging than the A-level, it definitely does not equate to TWO a-levels (maths and F maths) in terms of volume.
I do think this is an example of where it is very hard to compare the two courses because their specifications do not contain the same maths. It also depends on the IB subject. For example, the 2006 UCAS study found that IB Geography at HL contained 20% less content than the A-Level.
A-level as a qualification presents different challenges to the learner. Independent study is key to achieve A*A*A*. You need to go significantly and regularly above and beyond the specification independently to achieve those grades. It is not enough simply to learn the spec points. The fact that an A-level student has more timetabled free time also presents another set of issues. Finding the motivation and drive to work independently without supervision when there is nobody telling you to work is where the difference between those C grade students and A* students really take shape. My school has a "recommended" 6 hours of homework per subject per week, which I make full use of. If you take 3 subjects, that's 18 hours of homework a week on top of classwork, and adding that "oh so easy" further maths makes 24 hours of homework. I am currently on track to achieve A*AA, and with that volume of work makes me question how much easier A-Level really is to IB. Sure the specifications may be the same as HL but the truth is that the freedom in time associated with A-Level also makes the qualification a personality test. Only the really organized, determined learners will physically put in the hours in their frees or at home to achieve those top A* grades, as you definitely can't get to that level in a classroom alone.

I personally think the IB diploma OVERALL is more challenging and rigorous. This is because the truth is with A-Level, you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want. If you want to achieve CCC, then sure life is wayy easier than getting a pass at IB. But to put in unlimited hours of work needed to even contemplate getting A*A*A* is a whole other ball game.
Surprisingly some countries such as France are in the process from switching from the Baccalaureate to an A-Level system and I can understand why. Being completely committed to only a few subjects makes more sense as a bridge between secondary school and university.
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tim_72
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#25
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#25
(Original post by jpammg531)
On the matter of the King's study, the University of Birmingham wrote a response to this saying " the in-depth knowledge required by the Higher IB course significantly raises the demand of the specification (in this respect
Higher IB is similar to Further Mathematics A-level, although Higher IB is found to cover less content
than the combination of Mathematics and Further Mathematics)."
This suggests that although higher level is more challenging than the A-level, it definitely does not equate to TWO a-levels (maths and F maths) in terms of volume.
I do think this is an example of where it is very hard to compare the two courses because their specifications do not contain the same maths. It also depends on the IB subject. For example, the 2006 UCAS study found that IB Geography at HL contained 20% less content than the A-Level.
A-level as a qualification presents different challenges to the learner. Independent study is key to achieve A*A*A*. You need to go significantly and regularly above and beyond the specification independently to achieve those grades. It is not enough simply to learn the spec points. The fact that an A-level student has more timetabled free time also presents another set of issues. Finding the motivation and drive to work independently without supervision when there is nobody telling you to work is where the difference between those C grade students and A* students really take shape. My school has a "recommended" 6 hours of homework per subject per week, which I make full use of. If you take 3 subjects, that's 18 hours of homework a week on top of classwork, and adding that "oh so easy" further maths makes 24 hours of homework. I am currently on track to achieve A*AA, and with that volume of work makes me question how much easier A-Level really is to IB. Sure the specifications may be the same as HL but the truth is that the freedom in time associated with A-Level also makes the qualification a personality test. Only the really organized, determined learners will physically put in the hours in their frees or at home to achieve those top A* grades, as you definitely can't get to that level in a classroom alone.

I personally think the IB diploma OVERALL is more challenging and rigorous. This is because the truth is with A-Level, you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want. If you want to achieve CCC, then sure life is wayy easier than getting a pass at IB. But to put in unlimited hours of work needed to even contemplate getting A*A*A* is a whole other ball game.
Surprisingly some countries such as France are in the process from switching from the Baccalaureate to an A-Level system and I can understand why. Being completely committed to only a few subjects makes more sense as a bridge between secondary school and university.
Do you have a link to that UofB response?
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Jeffrey8770
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#26
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#26
Well... As someone that did both A levels and the IB, I'd say that the IB is harder. Especially with the HL math vs further math comparison, and with how unis in the UK differ in their IB/AL offers. Ask away if you're still wondering
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Jeffrey8770
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#27
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#27
I disagree with your point with how its really hard to get top marks at A level especially when compared with the IB. The fact is that, IB students have 6 subjects and all that crappy EE TOK CAS stuff also chunks away your time. I'm not too familiar with how the A level system has changed since, but before when there used to be AS and you could be taking half your exams in one year and the other half in year 13 (and maybe even retake AS modules that you didn't do well in) makes it generally easier to manage. And considering that IB students seem to get more coursework in IAs (at least for the A level subjects i did they were all exam based) the time management is quite painful. The fact that you get free periods for A level (whereas IB students dont, at least not in my school when i did it) only accentuates the fact that the IB has more content to cover, as again, 6 subjects. I say this as someone that did both btw
(Original post by jpammg531)
On the matter of the King's study, the University of Birmingham wrote a response to this saying " the in-depth knowledge required by the Higher IB course significantly raises the demand of the specification (in this respect
Higher IB is similar to Further Mathematics A-level, although Higher IB is found to cover less content
than the combination of Mathematics and Further Mathematics)."
This suggests that although higher level is more challenging than the A-level, it definitely does not equate to TWO a-levels (maths and F maths) in terms of volume.
I do think this is an example of where it is very hard to compare the two courses because their specifications do not contain the same maths. It also depends on the IB subject. For example, the 2006 UCAS study found that IB Geography at HL contained 20% less content than the A-Level.
A-level as a qualification presents different challenges to the learner. Independent study is key to achieve A*A*A*. You need to go significantly and regularly above and beyond the specification independently to achieve those grades. It is not enough simply to learn the spec points. The fact that an A-level student has more timetabled free time also presents another set of issues. Finding the motivation and drive to work independently without supervision when there is nobody telling you to work is where the difference between those C grade students and A* students really take shape. My school has a "recommended" 6 hours of homework per subject per week, which I make full use of. If you take 3 subjects, that's 18 hours of homework a week on top of classwork, and adding that "oh so easy" further maths makes 24 hours of homework. I am currently on track to achieve A*AA, and with that volume of work makes me question how much easier A-Level really is to IB. Sure the specifications may be the same as HL but the truth is that the freedom in time associated with A-Level also makes the qualification a personality test. Only the really organized, determined learners will physically put in the hours in their frees or at home to achieve those top A* grades, as you definitely can't get to that level in a classroom alone.

I personally think the IB diploma OVERALL is more challenging and rigorous. This is because the truth is with A-Level, you can make it as easy or as difficult as you want. If you want to achieve CCC, then sure life is wayy easier than getting a pass at IB. But to put in unlimited hours of work needed to even contemplate getting A*A*A* is a whole other ball game.
Surprisingly some countries such as France are in the process from switching from the Baccalaureate to an A-Level system and I can understand why. Being completely committed to only a few subjects makes more sense as a bridge between secondary school and university.
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username4280702
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#28
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#28
To sum up answers:
1. The system my school followed
2. Yours

And IB is harder
Last edited by username4280702; 2 months ago
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Jeffrey8770
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#29
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#29
(Original post by SomMC1)
It is ridiculous how disadvantaged we are. And when an A level student takes further Maths, s/he is seen as an absolute god. AND it's 4 A levels so s/he is praised even more and it just makes me want to quit IB and do A level.

We could both take normal maths at A level and get into the same unis but no, we are forced by the requirements to take HL maths and get at least a 6 in it. It just makes me angry... thank god im finishing next year.
yep you see the thing is that if you did enough research at the beginning you'd have picked A levels instead which would've made your life that much easier. But RIP you didn't. Fact of the matter is that too many IB students like to complain about how hard the IB is compared to other systems but hey if an A level student gets into oxbridge but you think you didn't because you did the god awful IB, it doesn't actually matter does it because the A level student is the one that got in.
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Jeffrey8770
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#30
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#30
actually no idea what you mean by either 1./2.
Especially 2. 'the other' whats that lol?
(Original post by LegallyJasmine)
To sum up answers:
1. The system my school followed
2. The other

And IB is harder
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username4280702
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#31
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#31
(Original post by Jeffrey8770)
actually no idea what you mean by either 1./2.
Especially 2. 'the other' whats that lol?
Meant this is what people’s answers will be.

They’ll say their system was harder, and the other one was easier.
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Jeffrey8770
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#32
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#32
(Original post by LegallyJasmine)
Meant this is what people’s answers will be.

They’ll say their system was harder, and the other one was easier.

Yeah biases are definitely big in this one hahahaha. Just hope these guys all realise that your high school grades are only good for getting into uni and nothing more, at the end no unis/people actually care about how hard someone thinks their education system was if the grades were trash. Really that simple.
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rosieb11
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#33
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#33
IB is harder, there is no question. 6 subjects: 3 at A level equivalent and 3 at AS level equivalence, another subject in TOK, a 4000 word essay (the equivalent of the EPQ - ANOTHER A LEVEL), and a constant monitoring of your life outside of academics in CAS - you are never free, and never safe from the wrath of the IB. It consumes your life socially and academically.
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tim_72
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#34
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#34
(Original post by rosieb11)
IB is harder, there is no question. 6 subjects: 3 at A level equivalent and 3 at AS level equivalence, another subject in TOK, a 4000 word essay (the equivalent of the EPQ - ANOTHER A LEVEL), and a constant monitoring of your life outside of academics in CAS - you are never free, and never safe from the wrath of the IB. It consumes your life socially and academically.
It doesn't have to consume your life. It didn't consume mine when I did it; I made sure I had a school-free day every week for just relaxing. I also did my own thing every single day besides all the work and CAS.

One of the challenges of A-Level is that it doesn't force you to focus like the IB. You have to make the choice of focusing on your subjects in order to do well in them, whereas with the IB you pretty much have to do all that just to get by.

I'm not trying to roast IB here, I sat it! Just making the point that, for someone like me at least, it would be harder to willingly and without force study hard to do well at A-Level than getting a good score on the IB.
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