Blog Parents Key Decisions Let’s Discuss the Pros and Cons of the International Baccalaureate

Let’s Discuss the Pros and Cons of the International Baccalaureate

Do you have a child who is currently 16 to 18 years old and looking for good educational opportunities for them?

If that is a yes, you might have stumbled upon the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme or simply IB. Similar to a high school diploma, the IB diploma helps students prepare for their collegiate or university years. However, the IB program has a different curriculum as compared to a high school diploma since it can focus on either a child’s skill set for his or her chosen career or their knowledge in the arts, sciences, and mathematics.

Many have said that the IB program is great since it offers a wide variety of benefits to students especially when they graduate. However, others are skeptical about the programme considering the scope of the curriculum and its duration.

What exactly are the pros and cons of the IB programme that you and your child need to consider before applying for it? Here’s a short summary of these key points:


It is recognized worldwide

As its full name implies, the IB program will assist in opening opportunities for them to enroll in one of the world’s top universities. A majority of today’s universities worldwide accept IB degrees for admissions since the curriculum matches international standards. No matter where you graduated, so long as you are holding an IB degree, it will be taken into consideration and accepted.

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It prepares students for college or university

Just like a high school diploma, an IB program helps students prepare for college. Whether your child took the career-focused or knowledge-focused track, the programme will teach them the skillset they would need to succeed in college and in life.

The most notable skills the IB program can teach students are effective time management and efficient performance, which is honed by the heavy workload given to IB students. The workload for IB diplomas can be compared to the difficulty presented by first-year college subjects.

As a result, it will not be difficult for your child to handle the workload since they are used to it and they know how to use their time wisely. IB diploma holders are also taught how to analyze facts critically and see a topic in various sides.

It offers a well-rounded education

The IB curriculum introduces a large number of subjects for students as compared to the high school curriculum. Students can select what topic they prefer to take, such as politics, film, arts, and psychology, which are not commonly offered in other schools.

Since the student is able to tackle a larger array of subjects, they have a chance to discuss these topics easily and challenge themselves in improving in their weak subjects. Once they are able to improve in all these subjects, there is a larger sense of achievement for these students. They would also be able to take on the harder versions of the subject once they enter college.

By comparison, the high school curriculum would only discuss up to a certain level in class and not cover everything you will need for college. Because of this fact, some students will have troubles understanding advance levels of a certain subject since they do not know the concept.

It also focuses on the personal development of students

When a student takes the IB diploma, they do not just grow as a well-rounded and capable student, they also grow as a socially conscious individual.

Aside from learning the advanced levels of various subjects, the IB also teaches students how to become emotionally and socially active. Students get to do a lot of immersion activities so they know how to work with others and understand the world around them. In other curriculums, this is not often given importance and students can opt out from these activities.


It is a long commitment

Just like college, the IB programme is no easy feat to study. There are a lot of subjects to work on and it will take your child two years to complete it.

As a result, your child would have to keep studying for an entire year and exams aren’t done every quarter. They are done at the end of the course, testing the students if they are able to recall everything they have learned in the past couple of months. In order for your child to get past this hurdle, they will have to perform consistently throughout the degree.

It has a heavy workload

As mentioned above, the IB programme is a two-year commitment and during those two years, your child will have to study six major subjects in a harder level and present their progress through essays, assignments, projects and many others. They also need to work on the three core components of the IB program to pass the course.

Due to this, students have a heavier workload which can be very daunting for some students who are unable to balance their time and activities very well. One misstep and your child may find it difficult to keep up with the class. There is even a possibility this heavy workload can cause your child stress and illness since they need to finish their deadlines through the night.

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It is not really flexible

Although the IB programme introduces a wider range of subjects, students are not allowed to select the ones they want due to the IB curriculum.

The IB curriculum allows students to take on five to six subjects broken up into six categories. Your child would have to know in advance what category they will take on because they cannot cross-enroll to another category. If they do cross-enroll to another category, the workload may not be easy to handle.

Final Thoughts

The IB curriculum offers a lot of pros and cons for students, but in the end, it is important to remember that every student is different when it comes to how much assistance they need to prepare for college. Speak to your children about their options and ask them if they will be able to handle the challenges posed by IB if they push for the subject.

If they do select IB, support your children as best as you can because your support can help them handle the challenge it presents.

How can you support your child when they are under stress? Here are some articles to help you:

7 Signs Your Child Might Be Too Stressed – And How to Deal with It
5 Essential Tips to Overcome Exam Stress


Rum Tan

Rum Tan is the founder of SmileTutor and he believes that every child deserves a smile. Motivated by this belief and passion, he works hard day & night with his team to maintain the most trustworthy source of home tutors in Singapore. In his free time, he writes articles hoping to educate, enlighten, and empower parents, students, and tutors. You may try out his free home tutoring services via or by calling 6266 4475 directly today.