The IB Diploma Programme, a choice for the future

The IB Diploma is the crowning achievement of the International Baccalaureate Programme – a certification that a student has achieved through the academic rigour and multidisciplinary approach that characterises the entire IB curriculum, The IBDP doesn’t just create “High School graduates” – it builds a foundation for its students that prepares them for university and beyond, with an appreciation for learning and an open-mindedness that are all core to the IB Learner Profile.

In today’s article, we explore the benefits and advantages of the IBDP, and how SISD implements the programme for our students.

What is the IBDP?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) is one of the culminating branches of the IB curriculum, along with the Career-related Programme (CP). It is a highly demanding,  two-year academic programme.

The DP was developed back in the 1960s, and features a unique array of requirements that more resemble university courses than traditional High School subjects, especially in the freedom of choice offered to DP students.

DP subjects are divided into six groups:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Experimental Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: Arts

Every DP student must select six subjects, one from each group. Three of these subjects must be taken at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. Instead of an Arts subject, students also have the option of choosing a second Individuals & Societies or a second Experimental Sciences course

In addition to the six subjects, a DP candidate also needs to meet the requirements of the three compulsory Core components:

The first requirement, the Extended Essay, is an independent research-based, academic-style essay up to 4,000 words in length. Students write the externally-assessed essay on a topic placed within one of their six chosen subjects.

The second requirement, Theory of Knowledge (TOK), is a course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing, rather than about learning a specific body of knowledge. The overall aim of TOK is to encourage students to formulate answers to the question “How do you know what you know?” in a variety of contexts, and to consider he value of that question. Students are assessed externally through the TOK Essay and the TOK Exhibition.

The third requirement, Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), is a programme that students involve themselves in throughout their two-year DP programme. They participate in and initiate activities in each of the three areas that may comprise community service, creative activities, or physical activities. Students determine specific learning outcomes for each of those activities and reflect upon the level to which they have managed to meet these learning outcomes. The CAS programme serves as a complement to the academic aspects of the DP, extending learning beyond the classroom.

The Benefits of the DP

Globally recognised diploma

In a highly competitive global landscape, simply being eligible for top higher education institutions can be a challenge. For DP graduates, this is no problem at all – thousands of universities in almost every country around the world recognise the DP, and some may even consider its subjects as course credit.

Higher acceptance rates

It’s not just eligibility for admission – DP graduates are also accepted at a 22% higher rate to most universities compared to the global average. For Ivy League applicants, they’re accepted at an 18% higher rate.

Better university preparedness

We’ve previously covered how many University Admissions officers consider the DP’s academic rigor to be excellent preparation for college. The DP’s detailed courses, its focus on the development of creativity, problem-solving, critical thinking and other soft skills, the research aspects, and the implementation of the IB Learner Profile all make it a powerful tool for preparing students for Higher Education.

At SISD, our DP students are also supported by the College Counseling Team, who can provide advice and insight for our students as early as Grade 9 in preparing them for admission to university, as well as considering alternative study and career paths.

Multilingual approaches

In SISD and other multilingual schools, many graduates may qualify for a bilingual IB Diploma. This confers the many advantages of bilingualism with the advantages of the DP, creating even greater opportunities for academic excellence.

Well-rounded students

DP Students aren’t just exposed to academic topics. They’re given a chance to perform tasks, learn outside the classroom, and gain knowledge about the nature of knowledge itself. They’re offered opportunities to discover learning independently, and develop soft skills that will eventually help them in the future workplace.

The IB Diploma Programme represents a forward-looking choice for any student who wants an advantage in just about anything they do. Whether they want to prepare themselves for university, or whether they’re looking much further into the future and would like to acquire and develop skills needed for life in the 21st century workforce, students will benefit greatly by selecting the DP as their academic choice of for the final two years of Secondary School.


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