The International Baccalaureate
Guest reporter Nikita reflects on her experiences studying for the International Baccalaureate, or IB - an internationally recognised year 12 equivalent course of study.
As I clicked on the "You know you're in IB..." group link on Facebook, I came across an interesting yet accurate description of the International Baccalaureate.
The description, placed right beside an image of students bowed down before the letters "IB", stated that "IB is a program designed for the elite and gifted of mind. Don't even think about partying or sleeping; those words don't exist in the IB language. However, they are replaced by the words 'Ivy League' and 'Insomniac'. Welcome one and all, to the elitist world of International Baccalaureate."
In all honesty I walked through those golden gates into world of the International Baccalaureate not by choice, but rather fate. After my Dad's company relocated him to India, I had no way of coming back to Australia for college unless I did the 'daunting' IB.
But although I began this program out of necessity, I'm finishing this program because I have gained a passion for learning.
What is the IB?
The IBO (International Baccalaureate Organization) (new window) prides itself in its diploma program because it believes that it produces unique, well-rounded world citizens and academics. These positive characteristics are insured by the structure of the program.
Within the IB six subjects need to be taken all from different fields, (maths, social science, language, etc.). Of these six subjects, three need to be Higher Level courses (which mirror university courses) and three need to be Standard Level courses (which mirror high school courses).
This program is intensified by the requirement of 150 hours of Creativity, Action and Service. Furthermore an extended essay or thesis must be submitted alongside the active participation in a regulatory one-year course known as Theory of Knowledge (TOK). In TOK the philosophy of learning and knowledge is discussed in great depth and the validity of our knowledge is questioned.
Each class that an IB student undertakes has a two-year duration with an exam at the end of the two years. Final exams account for approximately 75% of the IB score (equivalent to an ENTER) and internal assessments make up the remaining quota, leading to two years of sleepless nights and flourishing minds.
Why do the IB?
So what is it that makes IB such a worthy pursuit? What does one gain from the tireless hours of editing 20-page Internal Assessments or researching the best definition of Art?
Why do we push ourselves through two years of endless amounts of homework and sleepless nights only to receive a diploma that could be easily forged on our home printers?
An IB student, despite all these drawbacks, comes out as a stronger, motivated and more worldly student. And despite certain times when I feel like pasting the IB logo on a dart board and giving it my best aim, I have already begun to feel the immense positive effect of IB on my life.
As the International Baccalaureate has limitlessly advertised, the program has the standard benefits of:
- Preparing a student for university
- Leaving students with a "weighted GPA"
- Teaching the fulfillment that one can gain from helping the community
These, however, aren't be the only reasons that push us to tirelessly work through IB.
A unifying experience
IB is a society or a brotherhood (sisterhood, if one is feminist) that you adhere to as you go through the program. Across the seven continents and the nine seas, IB unites us.
In a world where all countries define themselves individually, where we are constantly faced with the division of people into different castes, religions and even skin color, IB ignores these barriers and brings students from around the world together.
IB grants a universal education system that brings the future generation together as one. We are no longer any different from that French speaking scientologist kid who studies in a small village in Cote d'Ivore.
IB connects us, and if the brilliant recognition the IB receives or the happiness that one gains by achieving something truly remarkable in high school isn't motivational enough, consider the connection you will make with the world as you walk through the golden gates of IB.
Finally as John Lennon famously sang, "Imagine… A brotherhood of man, imagine all the people, sharing all the world..." With IB, this isn't hard to do.
For more about the International Baccalaureate, check out www.ibo.org (new window). For more information about school and study, check out our Study & training section. And for more articles about the world of study, check out our Articles archive.
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