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What to choose? IB DP or A-levels?

Sun Feb 05 2023 Effa Iqbal

The International Baccalaureate (IB) and A-Level are both certifications of higher secondary education or pre-university study. Both systems are identical in terms of instructional medium, international recognition, and examination method.

These parallels are at the heart of the confusion that 16-year-olds who are already struggling with their career path encounters around the world.
IB OR A levels


First and foremost, let’s discuss about the subjects of IB Diploma. and A levels

Participating in extracurricular activities is not a required component of the A-Level. Any such activity in which a student participates is entirely voluntary.

In contrast, the IB’s CAS component asks students to participate in activities that demonstrate their ability to do non-academic labor. The student must generate project ideas and then regularly monitor and document their development.

When the project is finished, the student must provide documentation that they did it. The major goal of CAS is to help students develop a well-rounded personality, and it works.

Read More: Discover The Potential Of The IB Diploma Programme: A Comprehensive Guide

A-levels vs IB DP in a nutshell:

The following are the key advantages and disadvantages of the IB versus A levels. The rest of the article will go into greater detail on these topics.

IB advantages

  • You study more subjects
  • There are extra curriculum activities which plays a vital role in your grading

IB disadvantages

  • You do not have perfect control over your subjects, you at least have to choose 6 subjects.
  • To pass the IB, you must work extremely hard on your curriculum as well as performances.

A-level advantage

  • You are free to study whichever subjects you want.
  • You have more control over how much time you spend learning.

A-level disadvantages

  • You can’t study as many subjects as you do in IB DP.
  • You may wind up slacking if you are not self-motivated.

Choosing the subjects:

With A levels, you can choose any combination of subjects you like (as long as your school or college can timetable it). So, for example, if you wish to take only humanities topics, you can do so.

However, your curriculum will be rather limited because it is common to take only three disciplines and it would be extremely odd to take more than four.

The IB is intended to ensure that students study a diverse range of courses (six in total). You cannot, however, select any combination.

Subjects are organized into six groups (for example, sciences, modern languages, and humanities), and you choose one from each of the first five groups; your sixth subject can come from either the sixth or seventh category.
IB or A levels

Is IB more hectic than A-levels?

Despite the fact that the IB covers six subjects, you will only take three (or occasionally four) at higher level and the other three (or two) at standard level.

IB students are often required to take subjects at higher level rather than standard level for university courses that need certain subjects at A level or similar.

So, whether you take the IB or A levels, you’ll usually only have three topics to assist and achieve certain entry requirements.

So, are there any advantages to taking six IB subjects?

Even while taking the IB will not normally provide, you more possibilities, you may believe that there are other advantages to studying six courses rather than three, such as:

  • acquiring a broader education
  • Maintaining useful subjects (such as math and foreign languages), even if they are unrelated to your future plans
  • Studying subjects that interest you, even if they are unrelated to your future plans
  • Experimenting with subjects you might wish to study at university.

Whereas some degree courses require you to have studied a specific subject at A level or IB higher level (as outlined above), many others are more flexible and either do not require any specific subjects or have very broad subject requirements (e.g., ‘a math or science subject at A level/IB higher level’). So, for example, you may study psychology at the standard level while also pursuing a degree in it.

Which is more time and energy consuming?

In general, the IB will use more of your time than A levels.

If you choose the IB:

  • There will be more teaching time and less study hours (and still have plenty of homework and coursework on top).
  • In addition to your disciplines, you will be required to complete theory of knowledge assignments, an extended essay, and ‘creativity, action, and service’ (CAS) commitments.
  • You’ll have to juggle everything, but the structure and demands may help you get organized.

If you study for A levels:

  • In general, because there is a greater emphasis on individual study, you will have more flexibility in how you use your time.
  • During the school day, you will most likely have extra study sessions.
  • You will have fewer topics to manage.
  • You will not be required to commit to anything other than studying for your classes.

As a result, as an A level student, you have complete control over how hard you study. If you value academic success and are self-motivated, you will most likely study just as hard as an IB student. However, if you want to make time for anything else, such as high-level athletics, you will be able to do so more readily.
IB or A levels

Do universities appreciate the IB?

Universities regard both the IB and A levels as academically rigorous certificates, therefore it doesn’t matter which you obtain as long as you study the appropriate subjects at the appropriate level.

Do you want to apply in university abroad? Apply Now. Contact Edify Group of Companies, we are the best Education consultants in Pakistan and we are the best study abroad consultants.

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