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Is Full IB That Bad??

conscious02conscious02 29 replies21 threads Junior Member
I'm planning to take full IB next year (currently a sophmore) and many say it is super rigorous. Some are even telling us sophmore to not take full IB and instead take the certificate route instead. I really want to get into a top college (at least top 50) and I know that taking the rigourous courses will help with admissions. For people who got into top colleges or the college of your dreams, was full IB that crazy? And if it was, was it worth it?

BTW: I am in all honors classes and currently have a 98.96 GPA (im not sure what that translate to the 4.0 scale) -
28 replies
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Replies to: Is Full IB That Bad??

  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43209 replies471 threads Senior Member
    It can be very hard - it depends on the subjects you choose and on your school. An advantage is that full IB automatically gives you "most rigorous" for colleges. If you o the certificate it'll be evaluated class by case. Combining in and AP classes can be a good choice, especially if you wish to take more Sciences. HL Maths takes you further than Calc BC so if you love math it's the most rigorous you'll find beside college courses. IB generally prepares you really well for highly selective colleges, especially LACs (Nescac, Pomona.. )
    What subjects are you thinking of?
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  • NEPatsGirlNEPatsGirl 2845 replies106 threads Senior Member
    Bad and crazy are subjective. There is alot of work but if you are in all honors classes already and that high of a GPA you can do it if you are willing to put in the effort. I don't think its a great choice for students who play sports or are otherwise engaged two or three hours each day. My D graduated top of her IBD class but her major EC was Girl Scouts which required anywhere from 5-8 hours/week (she was working on her Gold Award). She averaged 3 hours homework each night and at least a half day on the weekends but she enjoyed it. It really does prepare you for college in time management and organization, some things even top AP students have a hard time adjusting to.
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  • conscious02conscious02 29 replies21 threads Junior Member
    The subjects that I will be taking are English, Chemistry, History, Mathmatics, & French. All HL courses. My school does not provide AP
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  • NJEngineer3NJEngineer3 33 replies11 threads Junior Member
    D19 finishing Junior year of IB Diploma program. 26 kids to start Freshman year, down to 8 now. Kids got scared of talk they would have no social life. But if you plan properly and do not procrastinate, it can be done! My daughter is still managing to be very social!
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  • MYOS1634MYOS1634 43209 replies471 threads Senior Member
    5 HL's is INSANE. You will NOT get brownie points for taking an insane schedule. Decide which 3 subjects are most important to you so that you'll study them really in-depth, then adjust for 3 SLs accordingly.
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2110 replies74 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    For my son's class, over 100 started the MYP program, then by junior year that number went down to less than 50. By senior year, that number went down to 40. Of these 40, less than half received the IB Diploma.

    The junior and senior years in IB program was a real killer for my son, but part of that was his own making. Going through the full IB program was highly rigorous and stressful enough, but instead of narrowing down the list of his EC activities, he kept adding things on in spite of increasing stress level. He slept less and less as time went on in order to accommodate all of his interests. I as a parent had to constantly discourage him to take on any more. He is a conservatory level violinist who was extremely busy throughout his high school years with his youth symphony commitments, endless competitions and auditions, recitals and concerts. The music alone took a huge chunk of his time, yet he added competition Taekwondo, varsity tennis, volleyball along with several community service commitments.

    Just from my own personal observations from my son's high school, the IB students get admitted to more highly selective colleges than the AP students (his high school offers both). I had a distinct impression that these highly selective colleges respected the IB program more. But, of course, this is just based on my own personal observations at one high school.

    I was SO HAPPY and relieved when his high school was over with.
    edited June 2018
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  • sunsheyensunsheyen 25 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited June 2018
    I am also a parent of a full IB student. We have had quite a different experience than most, and the dramatic stories/YT videos about near dead IB students are always astounding to my D18. She never really averaged more than an hour or so of homework a day. She knew most assignments well in advance (maybe a couple of weeks out), and planned ahead to knock out chunks at a time, so might do 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon, for example, then relax or do other activities on other days. The biggest thing about IB is planning. The major assignments are known about months in advance (the EE is started about a year and a half in advance), and if you take that seriously and don't wait until the last minute, you'll be fine. Otherwise, there is normal math homework and lab work for science, etc. You will be reading books and doing follow up work/discussion for English just like any other high level course.

    She was a football manager all 4 years of high school, which entailed being at practice every weekday after school until 7-7:30, plus all evening on Fridays because of games. This ran until mid November or so, depending on playoffs etc. She also had the regular club involvement that most kids have, with a meeting once a week or so before or after school for a little while (NHS/BETA/environmental club, student govt, etc). She stopped working after the summer, but started again in February after the major IB papers were turned in.

    I do think it is easier for students who are good at writing/analysis, since that's a big part of the curriculum in most courses beyond Math Studies/Sciences. If you don't need tons of rewrites/outlines/coaching on written assignments or are able to easily comprehend in depth texts, my daughter doesn't think IB is as difficult as some make it out to be. She will be attending Columbia in the fall, others in her program are going to places like William and Mary, UVA, Wake Forest, Honors Colleges at state schools, etc. I also agree that all HL classes are unnecessary, and could very well be detrimental to your GPA, stress level, and ability to participate in other activities.

    From a social perspective, in her cohort, there was a lot of what I call "stress one upmanship" for people competing to see who could be (vocally, publicly) the most burdened, most stressed out, etc. That's also the case at many elite schools and causes some to feel like they aren't doing enough and push themselves more or contributes to the idea of something being more difficult than it is. Due to a lot of this kind of talk to underclassmen, the school is seeing declining interest in the IB program. Our school system does not screen for IB, and anyone can sign up, so that "overburdened" feel may be due to kids who are not necessarily qualified or capable, and might have been better off in an AP setting.
    edited June 2018
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  • gardenstategalgardenstategal 6653 replies10 threads Senior Member
    If you look at the IB website, you'll see that there are a gazillion ways to meet the requirements for the IBD. If you look at your own school's course catalog, Odds are that there are only a couple of paths because the school offers only a small subset of the possible classes. How hard the full diploma is can depend on what your school offers, how good the teaching is, how many non-IB requirements are thrown in and how many days of classes you have. Non U.S schools have a lot more time to cover the material in most cases.

    Most American schools offer the IB because of its rigor and breadth, so it is often challenging by design. The FL requirement is tough for many kids who have not had opportunities outside school to acquire another language. If your school offers any of the IB arts, this can help by adding some variety to the work.

    Personally, I love the IB and appreciate it's standards. How much work it'll be for you is highly dependent on you, your strengths and interests, and your school. It's really hard to formulate a good answer without knowing all of those.
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  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal 3486 replies34 threads Senior Member
    Every school is different. At my daughter's school you picked your EE adviser in April of junior year, turned in the rough draft in November, and the final in January. So the poster above who said you have 18 months to do it, not so much.l And it comes at the height of app season.
    In fall of senior year, which was the worst semester, I would say she was averaging 6 hours of homework/EE/college stuff a night.
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  • ASKMotherASKMother 240 replies1 threads Junior Member
    IB Parent here... D18 thrived in the program as did her BFFs. Started with 56 preIB classes freshman year and graduated with 23 (still waiting on scores but most should receive the diploma - one or 2 just didn't care, got college of choice and were like 'free at last'!) Great group of like-minded responsible caring kids. Not one of them only did IB ... my D18 was Captain of the swim team, President of the Girls Service Club and President of the Environmental Club. Every one of the 23 were involved heavily in a few solid ECs (which translates better on your resume than a long string of half-done ECs) from State Honor Band (four years straight) to President of the Gaming Club to Captain of the Sailing Team (got an academic/athletic scholarship to sail!) to leader of Model UN to lead in several Theater productions to taking 3 dance classes a week outside of school to outfielder for the State Champion Softball team AND State Cross Country relay member to lifelong Equestrian competitor ... the list goes on. They also are all attending some top notch schools - Vanderbilt, Duke, Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rhodes, Ole Miss, Tulane, Loyola-NoLa, Hobart-WmSmith, SMU-Texas, UWyoming, UAlabama, Auburn, SCAD-ATL, UAH and UAB. Several could have had more selective schools but followed the IS scholarships and several had several options for selective schools in addition to the ones they chose - Cornell, UVA, Wm&Mary, URichmond, Rice, Brown, BostonU, Emory, UChicago, Furman, Davidson. All this being said... IB has prepared them all for great college careers. They will easily survive and thrive their freshmen years and beyond at their college of choice. Yes, it is hard. But you do not have to give up your life for it... but you will need to work your agenda and maybe pass on Tumblr and Netflix a few nights! Good luck and I say go for it... you can always back out but it's hard to get into it once the CAS projects and TOK work begins.
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    I had two children earn a full IB diploma and each took six or seven exams as well as three AP exams.
    College was intellectually harder than IB for both my kids. One attended CWRU in physics and one attended GaTech in Computer science. IB prepared them both for the math sequences and physics sequences they took, and placed them both out of chemistry, English, and social sciences, as well as placed for math and physics too. They got organized in 11th grade and that made things easier, but the step up to college is much bigger than the step up from 10th grade to IB 11th grade for difficulty.

    IB is not particularly hard material, except for HL math for a kid who has trouble with proof based mathematics , its just time consuming , but the level is more or less advanced high school/early college.
    so if a child finds IB "hard" they are not going to be able to earn As at any top college. Absolutely sign up for the full IB diploma program. It will teach you to read and write well, and also write up lab reports. Its not that challenging, for most very bright kids, the way college will be!

    An IB diploma may , might get you a year of college credits and placements, especially in states that legislate that,
    so Georgia, Florida and Colorado public universities.

    The college students without IB preparation will have to learn to write in college, and you will be way ahead in writing..

    Success in IB is all about planning so it will be all nighters if you do not plan, but if you plan, more like two hours a night, for four HL classes, and two SL classes. Also realize that 12th grade is way easier than 11th grade, as 12th graders in IB are reviewing a lot more, than 11th graders, who are doing more assessments that count for your final IB score in that class. Sort of like "mid term exams" but they are homework that get handed in to IB for grading. Most kids double up on either social sciences or physical sciences as well, so do MORE than the IB diploma requires.

    IB is just not that bad for a motivated student.

    The extended essay can be researched and written over the summer. But we know plenty of kids
    who did that EE in one week. Its possible, but science EEs need to have actual experiments so plan ahead!
    Its just about planning and following directions.

    Also, Theory of Knowledge is a good class if you are considering a career in law.
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  • ColoradomamaColoradomama 2779 replies32 threads Senior Member
    My kids did not have any trouble with fall semester of 12th grade, it was easier than 11th grade for them.
    One of my sons played varsity soccer, that fall, and played in an orchestra, and he applied and got into his state flagship and one out of state private on EA, and relaxed a bit, and left all other college applications for after Thanksgiving, though, when soccer was over. IB did not interfere with his ability to apply to colleges, I would say soccer did a little bit.

    By 12th grade, students have mastered how to complete IB assignments, so its a lot easier than 11th grade for most.

    IB will get students very organized. I think the peer group is good in IB for boys in particular. I did not really see
    that much pressure at our school, although many IB kids did apply to very top colleges. I don't believe college admissions give extra "points" for IB over AP curriculums, at all though. The reason is, not every applicant has access to an IB World School.

    Whats good about IB is the student learns to read, analyze and write, and gets broad exposure to the sciences,
    and some in depth topics in chemistry and physics that are NOT included in AP curriculums. IB is broader,
    and more interesting than AP. IB exams asks students to EXTEND his/her knowledge while AP exams are more regurgitating facts.

    At our high school, the IB teachers are more dedicated than the AP teachers, and get better training.
    IB mathematics is broad and deep and the HL mathematics class really was useful to both sons who
    needed proof based math to pass college level discrete mathematics and other math classes. . HL Mathematics is challenging for many students,
    and a few will not earn their diploma because they fail the HL math exams at the very end.

    BC calculus is a great class, and both my sons took that as well, but it does not teach mathematical proofs,
    like HL mathematics does. Its great to get exposed to that, for any CS, math or physics major.
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  • TiggerDadTiggerDad 2110 replies74 threads Senior Member
    edited June 2018
    By the way, regarding the Extended Essay: I don't know of any IB kids in my son's class who took a great advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately, just about all of them merely thought of EE as just another hassle to deal with. I knew from my own college experiences that knowing how to write term papers is half the battle at least. I most certainly didn't want to waste this golden opportunity for my son to learn how to write a college level term paper, so I took him to a local university library and did a step by step in writing a term paper, including how to search on various electronic databases, that is surely going to be expected in college. This EE is what I'd single out as the salient advantage of doing IB over AP, namely, it prepares the student to write an effective term paper.
    edited June 2018
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  • fortiorifortiori 15 replies1 threads Junior Member
    You do not get your IB scores by the time of college applications. You can only take HL exams in senior year. From what I have seen at our IB school, it helps some times to do at least IB certificate. But, I saw people get into top schools with AP courses while not every one who did IB always got into top schools.

    If college admissions is your main criterion and your school does not offer AP path, just get IB certificate and use your time to develop other aspects of application.
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  • VickiSoCalVickiSoCal 3486 replies34 threads Senior Member
    Every school is different. Senior year was not just review at ours, for one thing she had 3 IA's senior year. Our school started with ~150 kids in 9th grade and ~90 received the diploma.

    My daughter took Junior year:

    SL Spanish
    SL Math
    HL English year 1
    AP Art History

    Senior year:

    HL History year 2
    HL English year 2
    HL chem yr 1/2 double period
    SL Econ

    She did find it very hard. She is getting A's in college.
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  • IBviolamomIBviolamom 378 replies37 threads Member
    My daughter did full IB in high school and earned the diploma. It was very rigorous and time-consuming. She often spent a good portion of her weekends doing schoolwork. I’m sure it helped with college applications because she maintained a high GPA and her guidance counselor was able to check the “most rigorous” box. But the workload was really tremendous and stressful at times.

    Now that she has finished her first year at college, it is easy to see the benefits of something that, at times, made us all wonder if it was worth it. IB prepared her very well for college, especially in writing. My daughter worked her butt off on her EE and received an A on it. All of her papers in college have been very well received by her professors; in fact, she writes so well one of her professors actually told her she forgot a citation when the writing was actually hers, lol. IB also taught her how to handle a heavy workload.

    One note on the flipside though. Her best friend, who is taking mostly science and math classes and has a lot more tests then she has writing, does not feel that it prepared her as well for her college experience. She finds that the program did not prepare her for the tremendous amount of learning she has to do on her own from textbooks in her college classes. So I thought I would offer that perspective as well. On the other hand, this same friend is working super hard and earning straight As so it must have done some good!

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  • curiouspenguincuriouspenguin 23 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Full IB is extremely valuable if you're intending on applying to universities that let you skip your freshman year of undergrad. Oregon State University is a school that does this.
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  • VineyarderVineyarder 164 replies0 threads Junior Member
    D19 is in a full IB diploma program—actually, at the school where the IB was created. She’s taking HL chemistry, visual arts and literature, SL math, economics and French. She’s finding it a lot of work, but manageable. Helps that she’s not in a sport, but she does take Chinese lessons on weekends (suspended at super-busy times). Her first-choice college, Parsons, doesn’t require especially high scores or grades, but we’re hopeful her IB projection and her SATs will get her a good merit award.
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  • Krli2790Krli2790 21 replies1 threads Junior Member
    Hey guys. I am presently a sophomore in an Ib school and I would like to ask you Ib students who will be taking the IB May session, if you could go back 1 year ago , what would you change or not and why ? What summer camps , online courses , research, help or resources would you have visited
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