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Choice Between A-Levels and the IB

xclass1xclass1 Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
Hey there!
I'm a ninth grade student who aspires to go to a prestigious university, either in the UK, Switzerland, or the US, specifically MIT, in a field heavily centered around the sciences, such as aerospace engineering. Would 5 A levels in maths, further maths, and the three sciences prepare me for a future outside of the UK? My other option would be to pursue maths, physics and chemistry HL, in a school which is arguably worse in terms of results. I need to decide by tomorrow.
Thank you!
Post edited by skieurope on

Replies to: Choice Between A-Levels and the IB

  • HRS1861HRS1861 Registered User Posts: 33 Junior Member
    I currently take a courseload similar to the IB Diploma (3 HLs and 4 SLs), and believe me, it could be a pain for students who want to specialize.

    I am very focused on the social sciences. As such, my GPA and overall IB mark if I took the IB Diploma has suffered greatly. I'll be getting 7s in my HLs and getting 5s in some of my SLs. I really wish I had the opportunity to take A-Levels.

    If you wish to specialize in STEM fields, your time is probably better spent not reading Gatsby or Macbeth but doing calculus or physics. You'll enjoy it more, do better and as a result get into a better university.

    That being said though, 5 A-Levels does seem....excessive. If Oxbridge requires an A*AA or A*A*A, I imagine MIT would want the same and for all five of your subjects (you won't be given a conditional offer like the UK but you'll definitely be expected to be predicted around that range).
  • elizziebethelizziebeth Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I'm currently doing A Levels, and I absolutely would not recommend doing 5 A Levels unless you are certain you can handle it. Even Oxbridge only require 3 A Levels, and most students in the UK wouldn't consider doing more than 4, as most universities will only look at your best 3 grades anyway.
    Sorry I can't help with IB, and while I don't know much about engineering, the friends I have who are interested in that path are doing Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics A Level
  • SybyllaSybylla Registered User Posts: 1,552 Senior Member
    My kids do IB in a US school and 4 A levels would be total bliss compared to an 8 schedule IB/AP set up. Many kids do 4 HLs because US schools obligate them into english and history HL. If I was in the UK no way would my kids do IB. They would kill for 4 hand picked subjects, they would only do all science and math or something close to that.
  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 Registered User Posts: 31,926 Senior Member
    edited August 26
    You need to get A/A* in all your CGSE classes including social science and humanities if you want to qualify for top 25 Universities like MIT, Stanford, or Harvey Mudd through A Levels since these Universities will require about 25% coursework outside of stem. Caltech will focus more exclusively on science grades. In both cases, Math, further math, physics, and chemistry would be a good choice for A Levels, provided you get A/A* in all (in addition to 8-10 GCSE with A/A*) or IB Math HL, Physics HL, Chemistry HL, plus foreign language, history/social science, and English/philosophy SL, provided you get 38-40 on those (the SLs decrease the importance of GCSE results on non stem subjects).
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