Is IB school worth it for your Child?-Pros and cons of IB Curriculum

What is International Baccalaureate ( IB)

The International School of Geneva began offering the International Baccalaureate (IB) in 1968. The curriculum was heavily influenced by a booklet titled Do Peace Education Techniques Exist? 

The booklet, written by Marie Therese Maurette, a former school leader, argued for a focus on peace and international cooperation in education. 

The program’s emphasis on international cooperation and tolerance is one of the reasons it is so popular with schools and universities worldwide.

Is IB school worth it for your Child?

IB can make you well-prepared  for college, and despite its difficulties, I believe IB is well worth the effort. While the IB is unquestionably rigorous, it is also very doable.

IB Program is highly detailed and forward thinking program, and can give you the perfect preparation for the subjects you select in your University.

It takes a lot of effort but it assured that your university life is easy.(based on my friends who have done IBDP) It also has three core topics- Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and CAS.

I’m glad that my Child attends an IB school in Melbourne because IB offer Challenges to do better.

  1. Challenges make you stronger
  2. IB will give you a more rounded educational experience

Should I go for IB for my child?

Yes, you should! The IB is a superior educational system but I warn you, it isn’t for the faint of heart! It requires a lot of studying, good language skill, and the ability to manage your time accordingly.

Not to mention, class prioritisation is extremely important as you’ll have challenging courses that you’d take for  years and plenty of IB centred projects and mandatory essays.

My daughter is  an IB student since her KG class who’s been involved with the MYP previously and who is finishing up their first year of IB learning 

I personally agree with the perspective that whether or not you should take IB depends on yourself.

The IB curriculum, in my opinion, is geared towards making a “whole” human being and personality development

This can be seen in its various aspects: the fact that you are required to take one subject from all 6 areas (Language A, Language B, Humanities, Science, Math & CS and Art, although there are quite a few exceptions to the rule).

Understanding IB

Primary Years Curriculum (PYP)

The Primary Years Programme is designed for pupils aged between three and twelve. It centres around six transdisciplinary themes: who we are, where we are in space and time, how we express ourselves, how the world works, how we organise ourselves, and how we share the earth.

Middle Years Programme (MYP)

Middle Years Programme (MYP) is the first qualification accessible to secondary pupils and can be modified to satisfy the requirements of the Victorian and Australian curricula. It focuses on establishing an international perspective through emphasising communication, intercultural awareness, and global engagement.

Diploma Programme (DP)

Diploma Programme (DP) is a two-year pre-university programme developed for highly motivated 16- to 19-year-old secondary pupils. It leads to examinations and is acknowledged by universities worldwide, not just in Australia. 

It is currently recognised in over 140 countries for university admission, including all major Australian tertiary institutions.

The International Baccalaureate’s Core Values

The IBDP is designed to develop the aspirations of a global community by promoting IB students to be:

  • open-minded
  • caring
  • risk-takers
  • balanced
  • reflective.
  • inquisitive
  • knowledgeable
  • thinkers
  • communicators
  • principled

It has been emphasised that the IBDP needs a bigger time commitment than the Senior Secondary Certificate of Education, despite the fact that the IB is lauded for giving pupils a head start in university-style studying and for encouraging international study possibilities beyond high school.

Core studies

In addition, all DP students must complete the following three core studies:

Extended essay: The extended essay allows students to conduct independent research through a 4000 word in-depth analysis of one of their selected subjects.

TOK: theory of knowledge TOK is a course in critical thinking that teaches students “how” to learn, enabling them to gain a holistic understanding of the learning process that they can apply across all their topics and disciplines.

Creativity, action, and service (CAS): CAS engages students in a variety of extracurricular activities for around three hours per week, including arts participation, physical activity, and community service.


Throughout the duration of the DP, students complete assessment activities at school, which may be initially scored by instructors, then moderated by external moderators, or delivered straight to external examiners. 

At the conclusion of the DP, students take written exams that are graded by IB examiners from outside the institution. 

Students are assigned a grade between 1 and 7 for each subject.

Pros of IB

International acclaim:

This one is fairly self-evident. The IB is recognised by the majority of the world’s leading universities, significantly expanding the pool of prospective colleges in comparison to a country-specific course.

More IB students gain admission to prestigious colleges in the United States and, frequently, the United Kingdom than students from other programmes. 

Being a part of an IB programme also contributes to the development of an international network, with IB alumni events and groups located throughout the world. 

Wherever you are, you’re likely to find a few people with whom to bond over the IB’s unique pain and pleasure.

Preparation for University

The IB Diploma is effectively a “university preparation programme,” in that it teaches you skills and methods of learning that will prepare you for success in tertiary education.

After two years of practise, you should have mastered fundamental skills like university style report and essay writing, source citation, and how to conduct independent research.

So when you arrive at university and your first assignment is a 4,000-word research report complete with academic references, it won’t surprise you because you’ve done it before in the Extended Essay (EE) component of the IB.

While your classmates are looking up referencing guides and figuring out how to structure such a long essay, you’ll be working on your body paragraphs and keeping track of source citations as you go.

A well-balanced, well-structured curriculum

The IB curriculum is unmatched in its breadth. Students are required to take a science, a math, a foreign language, literature, and a social science, as well as a sixth subject of their choice. 

Naturally, the depth to which you delve—higher or standard—depends on their level of interest. However, receiving a liberal arts education in high school prepares students for liberal arts colleges. 

With an emphasis on interdisciplinary learning, no subject is off-limits.

You could write an English paper about the science behind Asimov’s stories or a math project about the engineering of catapult warfare. 

The curriculum forces you to think creatively and outside of the box, beyond the rigid disciplinary boundaries that exist in many schools.

At the same time, the IB’s grading system is systematic and based on specific criteria. 

Prior to the start of the semester, all students receive the criteria rubrics that will be used to grade their coursework.

This encourages them to plan and execute school projects, essays, and presentations in a systematic manner, which is a valuable skill for university and beyond.

 Focus on critical thinking and self-directed projects

Projects and papers account for a large portion of the IB curriculum. Each subject has internal assessments, which are essentially projects in which students choose their own topic and conduct experiments or extensive research on it.

All IB students must also complete a Project 4 science group project in which they investigate a specific scientific phenomenon as a group and write a proper research report.

Students are required to complete an Extended Essay and a Theory of Knowledge project in addition to their coursework. 

The Extended Essay has a word count of 4,000. Students must develop their own research question and answer it with the help of a teacher.

Theory of Knowledge varies by school, but it essentially covers the fundamental foundations of philosophy and teaches students to approach knowledge critically. Students are asked to unravel and examine basic ‘truths’ and explore them in contemporary and relevant ways for the essay. IB students are taught to question prior knowledge and to value the process as much as the outcome. This is especially important in today’s world, where innovation necessitates an understanding of processes as well as creativity.

An emphasis on social responsibility

Community Action Service (CAS) projects are another component of the IB programme. All students are required to complete 150 hours of community service. 

It is entirely up to them how they fill those hours, but the 150 hours of focused community and service work requires students to think beyond their schoolwork and college applications. Students must also write reflections on what they learned and accomplished as a result of their CAS projects.

Cultivating a community and service practise early on helps IB students become more socially responsible while also gaining valuable experience in executing actionable projects.

The International Baccalaureate’s benefits

  • Offers a path to university study abroad
  • Encourages kids’ independent thought
  • Encourages all pupils to learn a second language
  • Students acquire research skills and are prepared for postsecondary study.
  • Includes a variety of academic disciplines

Cons of IB

Workload is extremely heavy.

The IB includes not only all of the coursework and assignments associated with the six mandatory subjects, but also the essays, presentations, and projects associated with the three core components: EE, TOK, and CAS.

As a result, it is a much more demanding and content-heavy course, and being diligent and organised is more important than being smart. You must be able to manage your time effectively in order to fit in all of the activities while also maintaining consistent grades with all of the different assessments.

The program’s worth varies depending on where you are in the world.

While the IB is internationally recognised, it is not equally weighted in all countries. The IB programme is probably most valued in the United States, but even American colleges do not accept standard level coursework for college credit. 

American universities, on the other hand, accept all Advanced Placement courses for college credit. 

Most European countries do not place as much emphasis on the IB as they do on their own programmes, and they frequently request equivalencies in terms of degrees and grading. 

As a result, it is critical to consider where you want to attend college. If it’s in the United States, the IB is a good bet; if it’s somewhere else, you might want to look into other options.

Duration of Study

The IB is not for the faint of heart. It’s not even a walk in the park. Consider it more like a run – but a marathon, not a sprint.

To do well in the IB, you must be a “long distance learner.” Over a two-year period, consistent work and solid performance are required. While everyone else is required to be “on” for one year, you are required to be “on” for two.

Exams aren’t spaced out either, so by the end of your final year, you’ll have been tested on two years of material, and you’ll need to have just as strong an understanding of the material taught at the beginning of the course as you do at the end.

It is critical that you understand what you are signing up for with the IB; you are making a two-year commitment, which can seem like a lifetime when you are young!

Finally, some Conclusions

Much of what the IB has to offer cannot be matched by its domestic counterparts, but where there are advantages, there are disadvantages. The International Baccalaureate is not for everyone. And if you do decide to do it, make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Those who are a good fit for the programme will thrive, but those who aren’t may struggle.

You want your child to perform well in the right environment for your  child’s academic and intellectual development, whether that is the IB or another option.

If your child  do well in their school curriculum, you have a much better chance of getting into a top-ranked university than if you do “just okay” in the IB!

If you want your child to take IB courses but need assistance managing the rigours coursework or maximising your performance for the best possible results, there are many IB advisories in every IB school to help you decide! 

If you’re still unsure about which curriculum is best for your  child’s strengths and interests, schedule a free one-on-one consultation with any IB Colleges around in your area   and meet up with Academic Advisors, who can help you get started on the right track.