Many Year 9 children in the British Curriculum are currently choosing their GSCE/IGCSE options but to do so without thinking what IB choices they are intending to make (if they are contemplating doing that in the 6th form) would be shortsighted.How will they choose ?
The IB (International Baccalaureate) diploma requires 6 subjects be taken; 3 at Standard Level and 3 at Higher Level. Maths, English, a Science and a Language are compulsory, the levels are flexible. And fortunately the definition of a Science widens from acids/alkalis/genes and particles to something called Environment Systems and Societies (ESS), Design and Technology (DT) and PE. Phew !
Many schools are flexible on what students can take at IB regardless of what has been studied before suggesting some subjects are easier to “pick up” Hmm, doing HL Psychology and HL Business and Management without having done them before is hard work and definitely not “easy to pick up” The IB in these subjects tends very much to be about volume of content as well as a sophisticated level of analysis. A very good grasp of the vocabulary involved is crucial, this is fine if your child reads the FT on a regular basis, or is involved in running a family business, not easy otherwise. The level of detail studied connected to each aspect is very complex, a bit lower than what would be studied at degree level but not much. Similarly Psychology requires a constant evaluation of quite difficult aspects of why people behave the way they do. Brilliantly informative but lots of brain power required to write brilliant essay answers.
Schools tend to steer the majority of people towards Maths Studies as opposed to the more grueling Standard Level Maths or rocket scientist type Higher Maths. But don’t be fooled, maths studies has a lovely element (I jest) called set notation, which doesn’t exist at GCSE! And some universities do prefer Standard Maths, but many extremely capable students change courses and end up opting for Maths Studies as time goes by. To do the Visual Art, again it would be obvious that some kind of graphics, art or design studied at GCSE level form the foundation for this course. Although the not being able to draw aspect may be less important than you think, it’s still very difficult to do this course without any art experience.
So choose your options at GCSE wisely and ask your school if you can spend some time observing an IB lesson in what you think you may want to take at higher level IB, talk to friends or contacts in years 12 and 13 and ask what overlap there really is between GCSE and IB in your chosen subjects as the jump is huge anyway, it would help if you had the right shoes on !
How is your child choosing their GCSE options ? Remember to think about whether the exam is modular or it’s one big exam in the summer of Year 11. What would suit your child more? Is it a GCSE or an IGCSE ? What’s the difference ? Find out here
Do like and share on facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, thank you, Monica. If you would like to hear more about the IB, perhaps precisely what’s involved in CASS and the International Gold Award then let me know by leaving a comment below.
Oh did someone just say English Baccalaureate and O Levels?!
I haven’t read this book yet but it has been highly recommended to me and I read an excellent review of it in the Culture recently headed Give us Grit not Grades, it’s on my list !
How Children Succeed
- Axing of some GCSEs will ‘downgrade’ other subjects (itv.com)
- MPs condemn plan to scrap GCSEs (bbc.co.uk)
- GCSE? EBacc? Confused? You’re not alone… (telegraph.co.uk)