The IB Diploma is a 2-year sixth-form course and is accepted as an entrance qualification for degree courses throughout the world. It is offered at over 1400 schools and colleges worldwide and at an increasing number of independent schools in the UK − sometimes as an alternative alongside A-levels. It is a broad and demanding programme which avoids the narrowing and constant examination inherent in the British curriculum.
In the UK, teaching for the IB is always in English. 6 subjects are studied (3 at higher level and 3 at standard level), including maths, a human science, an experimental science, the mother tongue, a second modern language and a subject of the candidate’s choice. In addition, there are three mandatory elements: the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course; Creativity, Action, Service activities (CAS); and an extended essay.
Each of the six subjects is graded on a scale from 1–7 (where 7 is maximum). To get the Diploma the student must meet defined standards and conditions, including a minimum total of 24 points and the satisfactory completion of the three mandatory elements (extended essay, TOK and CAS). The maximum score of 45 points includes 3 points for an exceptional essay and work in TOK.