International Baccalaureate (IB)

If you are considering what's your next step after secondary school, here's what you need to know about International Baccalaureate (IB)!
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Jaideep Patel
Publisher for the Malaysia and Singapore offices of GTI Media Asia


The International Baccalaureate (or International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme) is a pre-university course that is often confused with a regular diploma programme. However, they are very different courses. 

While the International Baccalaureate is a pre-university course comparable to the AUSMAT or A levels, it is not a diploma programme that allows students to immediately seek employment or resume studies beginning from the second year of a degree programme upon its completion. Students who successfully complete the International Baccalaureate will be required to enter the first year of a degree programme.

The International Baccalaureate is administered by theInternational Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO)in Geneva, Switzerland.


The duration of an International Baccalaureate course is around 24 months.


There are multiple intakes for the International Baccalaureate course each year, depending on the college or university of your choice. Most private institutions typically offer intakes in January and/or August.

Structure & assessment

Students receive grades ranging from 7 to 1, with 7 being highest. Students receive a grade for each diploma programme (DP) course attempted.

A student’s final diploma result score is made up of the combined scores for each subject. The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance including successful completion of the 3 essential elements of the DP core. 

The Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)and Extended Essay (EE)components are awarded individual grades and, collectively, can contribute up to3 additional points towards the overall diploma score.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS) – the remaining element in the DP core – does not contribute to the points total but authenticated participation is a requirement for the award of the diploma.

Source: International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO)


The 6 subject groups offered in the International Baccalaureate are:

Studies in language and literature
Courses offered:

  • Language A: literature
  • Language A: language and literature
  • Literature and performance

Language acquisition
Courses offered:

  • Language ab initio
  • Language B
  • Latin or Classical Greek

Individuals and societies
Courses offered: 

  • Business management
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • Global politics
  • History
  • Information technology in a global society
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Social and cultural anthropology
  • World religions


  • Biology
  • Computer science
  • Chemistry
  • Design technology
  • Physics
  • Sports, exercise and health science
  • Environmental systems and societies


  • Mathematical studies standard level
  • Mathematics standard level
  • Mathematics higher level
  • Further mathematics higher level

The arts

  • Dance
  • Music
  • Film
  • Theatre
  • Visual arts
Source: International Baccalaureate Organisation (IBO)

Expert tips

  • Research on the which private universities offer the International Baccalaureate!
  • Ask yourself if you are ready because the International Baccalaureate is a difficult pre-university course!
  • Look at other pre-university courses if independent thinking isn’t your thing!

It is RIGHT for you if…

  • You like to push yourself to think outside of the box
  • You want to cover a wide range of subjects
  • You want a good chance of entering a respected overseas university 

It is WRONG for you if…

  • You want the fastest route to a degree
  • You want to focus solely on academic matters
  • You dislike studying for many different subjects