IB Diploma Course Structure
What is ‘the IB’?
3 Higher Levels + 3 Standard Levels + ‘the core’
The IB consists of six subjects studied over two years. Students opt to study three of these subjects at Higher Level (HL) for specialist depth and three subjects at Standard Level (SL) to retain breadth. Students choose one from each of five subject groups: English, Foreign Languages, Humanities, Sciences and Mathematics. The sixth subject is either a creative subject or an optional subject from the Languages, Sciences or Humanities groups.
The IB also has three additional elements (‘the core’) that must be completed by all students: Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay (EE).
The highest mark available for each of the 6 subjects at both HL and SL is 7. The EE and TOK combine for a total of 3 points, bringing the overall total to 45 points. Russell group universities tend to make offers of between 34 and 38 points, scores which are very achievable considering the average total for Whitgift boys in 2016 was 41 points.
Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
TOK provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the nature of knowledge and to think about how knowledge is acquired and produced in different disciplines; TOK therefore both supports and is supported by the study of other subjects, as well as developing valuable critical thinking skills. Assessment consists of one presentation and one essay, completed at the end of the course.
Extended Essay (EE)
The EE is an independent, in-depth study of a topic of each student’s choice. Supervised by a subject specialist from the teaching staff, this represents excellent preparation for undergraduate study and can greatly strengthen any university application.
Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)
CAS is a core part of the Diploma programme involving 3 categories of activity (Creativity, Action, and Service). For example, a student might fulfil his CAS through sport, music lessons and some form of volunteering.