So what exactly is ‘IB’?

So a few times, I have mentioned the IB program or its more formal name: The International Baccalaureate Program (or Programme if you want to go with proper English!) and some of you are probably wondering what exactly this program is.

IB is an accelerated program that pushes you to your absolute limits in the academic sense. We also joke that it pushes us to the brink of insanity! But of course, depending on the person, this could describe any program that one finds challenging. Only select schools have the IB program incorporated within their school while other schools are completely IB-focused.

First though, you have to be accepted. The application process to become an IB student includes: writing a personal essay, getting middle school teacher recommendations, filling out paperwork, and you can even shadow an IB student for a day, giving you the feel of IB and the classes. Then after doing all the paperwork and other various tasks, you take the admissions exam (which could be considered to be along the same lines as an SAT or ACT, your acceptance practically depends on this test). After the exam, you are notified if you are going to be called in to interview or not. At the interview, you sit down with either an IB teacher or administrator and discuss whether or not IB is right for you, whether or not you are ready for IB, etc. etc. and after your interview you get to sign a paper saying you will be a part of the IB program (a time many of us look back on and say we sold our soul!).

Then comes the actual program. Your Freshman and Sophomore years are considered your years in the “Pre-IB” program. Two years designed to prep you for the actual IB program. Once you are a Junior, the fun begins! Course load goes up, difficulty of classes goes up, and you begin your testing to determine whether or not you receive your diploma. There are two types of tests: SL and HL. SL (or Standard Level) means you take the Pre-IB course then one year of the actual IB course (Junior/Senior year) and test. HL is the same except you take the IB class both your Junior and Senior year. While you need a certain amount of points to receive your diploma, there are also many other small rules you have to remember such as your 3 HLs must combine for a total of 12 points.These small rules are what normally keep a diploma candidate from receiving his/her diploma.

So if you are a student who enjoys being pushed academically, give the IB program a try! If you decide its not for you, you can simply drop out anytime you wish. Many drop it the end of their freshman year of some where during the Sophomore year simply because they decide its not for them. Although, the program is excellent and I feel I am prepared for college, even without my Senior year!

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