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A - Level or IB?

The main 16 - 18 course of study chosen by most students in the UK is the A - Level. Typically students start 4 A Levels and drop one at the end of the first year, only studying three subjects to full A - Level standard. IB students take six subjects, three at higher level and three at standard level. These subjects are studied for two years and are examined at the end of that two year period. A 'Theory of Knowledge' Course is compulsory, and a 4000 word essay which is also is a compulsory part of the IB 0 this is suspected to be a disadvantage to male students, who commonly do less well at coursework than females. There is also a Creativity, Action and Service component, involving 50 hours of community work.

The A Level is therefore more in depth and focused than the IB.

Both exams are popular internationally, but the A Level, run by British exam boards, has suffered from the same sort of grade inflation that has discredited the GCSE. Many people thought it was too easy to get a grade A, so the exam boards introduced the A* grade, but the proportion getting this grade is also increasing, prompting the same suspicions of grade inflation.

The maximum score achievable for the IB is 45. Only about 65 students worldwide obtain this score each year. The pass mark is 24 points and only 78% of students who take the Diploma each year pass it. A grade for an A - Level is supposedly a set standard. Theoretically, if everyone was good enough, every would get an A*.

According to the UCAS tariff, 45 points is the equivalent of 5 grade A* at A Level, 40 points is the equivalent of 4 grade A* at A Level and 35 points is the equivalent of 2 grade A* at A Level and 1 grade A. Finally, the percentage of students achieving a Diploma each year has remained constant over the last decade which indicates that, unlike the A Level, there has been little grade inflation.

When making your choice therefore, consider these:

Coursework. If you dislike it and more a hunter - killer sort of student, choose the A - Level.

If you want to study a subject in depth, choose A - Level.

If you are undecided on you Degree, consider IB.