IB is one of the more academically-challenging programmes that is often compared to A-Level but is viewed as more balanced and well-rounded.

You will take a total of six subjects, one each from the following six broad groups:

  • Group 1: Language and Literature (e.g. English)
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition (e.g. Spanish, German, French)
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies (e.g. Economics, Geography, History)
  • Group 4: Sciences (e.g. Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Group 5: Mathematics (e.g. AA, AI)
  • Group 6: The Arts (e.g. Music, Theatre Arts, Visual Arts)

Within each of the subject groups above, you have a choice of choosing either Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL). Higher Level (HL) subjects normally require more studying time (total 240 hours of classes) compared to Standard Level (SL) subjects (total 150 hours of classes).

In total, you need to take three subjects at Higher Level (HL), and three at Standard Level (SL).

In addition, you must also complete the following courses, often known as the three core components of the IB programme:

(1) Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

This is an interdisciplinary course, linking all six subject groups. It is intended to promote critical and creative thinking on knowledge gained, both inside and outside of the classroom. You will be assessed based on a 1,200 – 1,600-word essay and presentation.

(2) Extended Essay

This component encourages independent research skills. You will be required to produce a 4,000-word research paper in a topic of your own choice based on any of the IB subjects studied.

(3) Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

This component teaches you to engage and collaborate with others and the local community through:

  • Creativity: Arts, music, writing and other experiences that involve creative thinking
  • Action: Physical activities, such as training or learning a new sport
  • Service: Unpaid and voluntary work for the community

You are expected to clock in at least 150 hours for projects under this component.