Why study the IB?
The Rochester Grammar School has taught the IB curriculum for 11 years. In today’s highly competitive job market and Higher Education sector, the IB puts students at an advantage.
According to the HESA report, there are many advantages of studying the IB for entry in to Higher Education:
• IB students outperform A-Level students at university in terms of classification archived at the end of their degree.
• The overall median annual salary of IB leavers was higher than that of A‐level and equivalent leavers.
• IB students more likely to achieve a first or a second classification in their degree.
• Further findings from the HESA report can be found here: IBO
What do universities think of the IB?
The University of Bath made the following comments at the UCAS Advisors Conference 2018 regarding the IB:
The IB is a “great qualification” as it is:
• Offers a global perspective
• Integrated programme
• develops essay writing skills
• Extended Essay is an extended piece of writing developing inquiry, independent study skills and research skills
• TOK develops the skill of critical analysis
What do our students think of the IB?
Molly McDonough: Studied Geography at Lancaster University
‘Choosing to study the IB at The Rochester Grammar School from 2013-2015 was an initially daunting but highly rewarding decision. In contrast to A-Level, primarily being the taking of 6 instead of 3 subjects, your path through the Sixth Form is both diverse and ever-changing. I chose to take Biology, Geography and English at Higher Level, whilst taking History, Mathematic Studies and Spanish ab Initio as Standard Levels. Twinned with both Theory of Knowledge and an Extended Essay, my timetable was incredibly diverse. I was initially apprehensive at the prospect of taking both a language and Mathematics, two areas I found challenging at GCSE, as Sixth Form subjects, but the varying options available ensured the subjects were accessible, with my strengths being my Higher options. Achieving 42 points secured me not only a place at Lancaster University, both a Times top 10 and 2018’s University of the Year, but also an academic excellence scholarship throughout my studies. Moreover, my organisational time management skills grew immensely through the balance of the IB, part-time employment and being Head Girl at RGS.
The biggest reward however was the skillset that the IB provided me with as I proceeded into Higher Education; experienced in a variety of subject areas, I felt confident with the sudden varying nature and challenges of university life. I was able to take on employment, volunteering opportunities and engaging in student politics. Extending beyond an expansive subject knowledge, the skillset obtained through completing the IB not only prepares you for higher education, but career prospects too. Friends from my cohort range from medics, a pilot and dentists, whilst I myself have returned to RGS to undertake teacher training in Geography. Without a doubt, the life experience, skills and education gained through taking the IB elevates prospects whilst providing a wide and enjoyable intellect.’
Lauryn Anderson: Currently studying English at Cambridge
‘Deciding to take the IB was somewhat of a late decision for me; I began year 12 taking four A Levels, and switched over to the IB after two weeks of sixth form. Despite this unconventional start I am very glad that I made the transition. I relished the breadth and diversity of the IB and its unique benefits. The Extended Essay, for example, has helped me enormously in writing critical research essays during my degree, teaching me skills such as referencing and academic formats which I otherwise would not have been exposed to. Moreover, TOK is an excellent way to develop your critical thinking, on both an abstract and material plane. Even CAS hours provide a welcome break and really help to enhance your personal statement and CV. The holism of the program is what I really learnt to embrace – the ability to traverse the peripheries between subjects and ideas has undoubtedly prepared me for the independent and open nature of university life. The small classes, the increased number of contact hours and the dedicated peers you’ll encounter through the IB are a really great advantage too.’
Alex Cameron: Currently studying Medicine at St Georges.
‘My decision to take the International Baccalaureate was a swift one. When I came to choose my options I recognised that as an aspiring medic, it would be beneficial to continue studying maths alongside the three subjects that I wanted to take- biology, chemistry and history. The realisation that the IB would allow me to do this, along with the fact that I enjoyed foreign languages and English, made my final decision on which sixth form path to take surprisingly easy.
Throughout my two years completing the IB, I acquired many skills that have aided me in my first year as a medical student. Managing 6 subjects, helped develop time management skills that have been invaluable when it comes to keeping track of everything I need to know about topics such as human anatomy, cellular biology and physical examinations, just to name a few. The fact that each IB subject contains a coursework element in which you are required to undertake some degree of independent research has truly benefitted me when it came to writing essays in the first year of university. TOK particularly helped to improve my ability to quickly get my head around complex concepts along with my proficiency in evaluation and reasoning, crucial for me in terms of discussing medical ethics but I believe these skills are beneficial across a plethora of degrees and professions.
Another benefit that I found with the IB was the CAS programme, which ensured that I maintained a work- life balance throughout sixth form and into my life at university. This aspect of the course provided me with opportunities to volunteer abroad and continue with activities that I already enjoyed doing and perhaps wouldn’t have prioritised during the stress of applying to universities.
The IB was demanding but also incredibly rewarding, not only for the sense of achievement on completion of the course but also for the close friendships and camaraderie that we formed supporting each other.’
Azjargal Duurenjargal: Currently studying the IB at RGS
‘As an IB student, I have gained a deep appreciation for broadening my horizons in multiple areas and engaging with subjects through applying TOK. By developing knowledge from a worldwide perspective and being encouraged to partake in more activities, the curriculum has been really refreshing.’
Elizabeth Castell: Currently studying the IB at RGS
‘Doing the IB has offered me opportunities to push myself that have not been presented with any qualification I have done before. The various subject groups and the holistic nature of the learning experience has been influential in my development as more confident and well-rounded learner. I recommend the diploma to anyone who is looking to stretch themselves as an individual.’
What sort of learner will you become on the IB?
The comprehensive curriculum that you will study on the IB allows you to develop skills that form the IB learner profile. These skills typify those required to succeed in study and employment. They are unique to the IB and help individuals become responsible members of a local, national and global community.