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03-01-2024

Understanding the IB Diploma Programme scores: Everything you need to know

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) at Knowledgeum Academy is a two-year pre-university course. The course has an interdisciplinary curriculum, and learners can take 6 courses from 6 subject groups. The curriculum design enables learners to explore a range of subjects and ideas through independent research. To measure how much the learner has learnt and how well they can apply their knowledge, the board has created comprehensive assessments. Since the purpose of attending IBDP is to prepare oneself for the best international colleges and top college programmes, it is important to understand the scoring patterns. We will understand the IB Diploma Programme assessment and scoring in this article.

IBDP Course Selection

Although learners can choose up to 7 courses, they must take a minimum of 6 courses (1 course from each subject group) which they will study over two years. The subject groups are –

  • Sciences
  • Languages and Literature
  • Language Acquisition (second language studied at beginner level)
  • Mathematics
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Arts (this is an optional subject group and learners can choose another course from the other subject groups if they want to skip Arts courses)

Each course is further available in Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL) and the learner must choose at least three HL courses. HL courses have greater depth and intensity, but the grade descriptors are the same for SL and HL

Apart from the six academic courses, learners have to demonstrate their knowledge and skills with the DP core courses, that is –

  • Theory of Knowledge (ToK) - in literal terms the learners examine the purpose of knowledge through an essay and exhibition.
  • Extended Essay (EE) - the learners will write a 4000-word research essay which will be interdisciplinary and related to the courses they are studying.
  • Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) - learners have to commit 150 hours of non-academic activity towards sports, performing or fine arts, and community service engagements.

IBDP Marks System

IB courses are graded on a scale of 1 to 7 for each of the 6 courses, which brings the total to 42 points. The passing grade for each course is 4 points, so a learner must receive a combined score of 24 points across 6 courses. They must score a minimum of 12 points from HL courses and 9 points from SL courses. 3 points are assigned to the Extended Essay and TOK. CAS is not graded, but to receive the IB diploma, a learner must complete 150 hours of CAS and submit a written report on the same. The highest one can score in IBDP is 45.

Learners have the option to retake IBDP exams to improve their scores, but they must be well-planned because it could affect their university admission.

Assessment Criteria for IBDP

A learner faces internal assessments and external assessments. The learners will take 6 written exams- 3 exams for HL and 3 exams for SL. The exam question format for external assessments will be –

  • essays
  • structured problems
  • short-response questions
  • data-response questions
  • text-response questions
  • case-study questions
The exam format for internal assessments will be –
  • investigations in mathematics
  • laboratory work in the sciences
  • oral work in languages
  • fieldwork in geography
  • artistic performances

A Good IBDP Score

An IBDP score above 30 points is considered to be a good score. These scores demonstrate strong academic abilities and dedication to the programme. Very few students can boast of scoring the perfect 45 in IBDP. To get admission to the top colleges, generally, a score above 39 is expected. However, this depends on the subject combination and the university course one is applying to. Often, universities also consider non-academic factors such as participation in extracurricular activities, community service, internships, personal statements, essays and letters of recommendation. So, even if the learner is unable to score the desired grades, they can make up for it with strong profiles.

The basic aim of IBDP is to ensure that the learners meet the requirements for the university programme. The course curriculum is designed to teach learners the foundation subjects for the university course, and key skills expected from a college student. The assessments aim to ascertain that the learner has met these goals and that they have inculcated the IB principles of international tolerance and application of knowledge.

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