The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme
Singapore ranks as one of the best performing countries for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). This diploma programme is an alternative to the GCE ‘A’ Levels and is broadly recognized by all Singapore universities and leading universities globally. It is valued for its holistic curriculum and the development of independent learning in pre-university students, aged between 16 and 19.
Singapore produces some of the best scorers for the IB programme. However, the stellar results and beaming smiles of these top scores hide the challenges of the IB programme. The rigorous curriculum of the IBDP examinations challenges the abilities of students in many aspects. With compulsory research and essay writing components, such as the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay (EE), and internal and external assessments, students have to keep abreast with these wide-ranging requirements. As such, students have to be consistent, constantly motivated and all-rounded in their academic abilities.
As the IB assessment and academic components are strikingly different from the GCE A-Level, many parents and students struggle and have difficulty scoring well. This is especially pronounced in the core components, like TOK and EE, which often test the soft skills of students, such as their critical thinking skills and ability to argue ideas in a balanced manner, that are often difficult to acquire without guidance. Therefore, it is extremely necessary for students to have private IB Tuition to receive necessary guidance to excel in these areas and to attain a high 40s out of a possible 45 points in the IBDP.
The Ins and Outs of IB Diploma Programme
The IB curriculum constitutes the 3 DP Core Elements and the 6 Subject Groups. The IB curriculum aims to broaden students’ educational experience and to challenge them to apply their knowledge and skills. The subjects within the categories are taken at either the Standard Level (SL) or Higher Level (HL). HL and SL courses differ in scope but are assessed using the same grade descriptors, with students expected to demonstrate a greater body of knowledge, understanding and skills at the Higher Level (HL). For comparison, this is similar to the H1 and H2 syllabus in the GCE A-Levels, where the latter is more academically challenging.
The 3 Core Elements include:
- Theory of Knowledge (TOK), in which students reflect on the nature of knowledge and on how we know what we claim to know.
- The Extended Essay (EE), which is an independent, self-directed piece of research, culminating in a 4,000-word paper.
- Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), in which students complete a project related to those three concepts.
Students have to take at least 6 subjects, with at least one course from Group 1 – 5. Taking a course from The Arts Subject Group is optional.
The 6 Subject Groups include:
Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
Students take their studies in a language in which they are academically competent. For Singapore students, this means English and English Literature is taken for this group. Through these courses, students will develop an appreciation of cultural nuances and an understanding of how language challenges and sustains different ways of thinking.
Group 2: Language Acquisition
Another emphasis of the IBDP is bilingualism. As such students are required to take one foreign language in order to achieve this curriculum goal. Taking an additional language increases students’ cross-cultural competencies and prepares them as global citizens.
Group 3: Individuals and Societies
Students have to take at least one course in this subject group. Some of the subject courses available include Business Management, Economics, Geography, Global Politics, History, Information Technology in a Global Society, Philosophy, Psychology, Social and Cultural Anthropology and World Religions (SL only). Through this Subject Group, students will be acquainted with the movements, ideas and events that have shaped human society today. These will prime students for undergraduate studies which usually intersects with societal and historical issues.
Group 4: Sciences
Students have to take at least one course in this subject group. Some of the science subject courses include Biology, Computer science, Chemistry, Design Technology, Physics and Sports, Exercise and Health Science. These science courses are inquiry-led and broaden their analytical abilities in the experimental sciences.
Group 5: Mathematics
Students also have to take one course in Mathematics. Students either take Mathematics (SL) or Mathematics (HL). Mathematics is an important course and it encourages students to develop an appreciation of the elegant equations and to refine their powers of abstraction and generalization.
Group 6: The Arts
Courses in this Subject Group are not compulsory but serve to enrich the learning experience and artistic interest of students. Arts courses include Dance, Music, Film, Theatre and Visual Arts. The emphasis is on creativity in the context of disciplined, practical research into the relevant genres.
Modes of Assessment in IB Diploma Programme
The assessment in the IB Diploma Programme includes a mix of externally-assessed and teacher-assessed components. This holistic form of assessment ensures that students develop skills beyond answering theoretical questions in exams.
- External Assessment
The final IB examinations make up 70-80 percent of total marks for each subject. The other key external assessments include the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay, the Extended Essay (EE) and the World Literature (Language A) assignments. These are completed within curriculum time under teacher supervision, and marked by external examiners.
- Internal Assessment
The final 20-30 percent is assessed by teachers and checked by external examiners. This includes oral work in languages, fieldwork in geography, laboratory work in the sciences, investigations in mathematics, and artistic performances (up to 50 percent). Students obtain the marks as long as they demonstrate the knowledge and skills required for the particular mark descriptor.
- The IB Points System
The highest possible total score is 45 points. All 6 subjects taken have equal weightage in IB score tabulation. Assessment for each IB subject is graded on a 7-point scale, 1 being the lowest and 7 being the highest. Students can be awarded up to 3 additional points for their combined attainment in Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay (EE). To be awarded with the IB Diploma, students must minimally gain 24 points, with satisfactory participation in Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS).
5 Important Benefits of IB Tuition
As the demands for IB tuition are high, it is important to ensure that your private IB tutor has the following essential traits:
- Curriculum and Exam Expertise
As the IBDP curriculum and examination components are strikingly different, students rely on their tutors to understand its requirements. Having a tutor who is familiar with the programme allows students to excel and find their footing in the various courses. This ultimately helps them to achieve a higher mark descriptor band and better results.
- Familiarity and Flexibility
IBDP tutoring offers the convenience of learning at home. It spares students from wasting the time and money shuttling to and fro from tuition centres. With these savings, students can solely focus on learning and improving their understanding in the various IB subjects.
Having a private IB tutor who is highly experienced is advantageous. They know where the curveballs are in the curriculum and are able to address these with ease and expertise. This effectively builds the student’s confidence and competence in the subject. With this newly acquired knowledge and understanding, they can apply these to the various types of assessments.
The results of each student is the reward reaped by the IB tutor. As such, a quality IB tutor ensures that they are exam-ready by sharing and reiterating various exam-tested strategies and techniques. These IB tutors also furnish students with proprietary material and custom content prepared by the tutor themselves. These will be the fuel that drives the student’s results to an ‘A’.
- Timely Assessments
Any IB tutor worth their salt provides timely reports on the student’s progress. This is helpful because it alerts the student to the amount of effort required in order to attain their desired goals. A passionate IB tutor will provide constant feedback to the student’s parents allowing them to stay better informed on the growth and areas for improvement in different IB subjects.
Nanyang Academics: Rest on New Laurels with our IB Tutors
At Nanyang Academics, we believe in constant revision and improvement. With the IBDP examinations, it is important to find a tutor that has the experience and ability to inspire students to perform better. With the help of a private IB tutor, parents and students can be assured that they have the best preparation for the challenging and rigorous requirements of the IBDP examinations.
Book your IB tutor with us today!