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IB Diploma or GCE A levels

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Replies to: IB Diploma or GCE A levels

  • yshuwah93yshuwah93 Registered User Posts: 81 Junior Member
    I did the IB programme in Hwa Chong International School and I would agree that the A levels are a cheaper alternative to the IB.

    Most schools that offer IB have very high school fees (mine was $25000 a year!). That being said, schools like RI and SCGS are going to offer IB in the near future so that can be a consideration.

    I didn't do the A levels but knowing the experience of my A level friends, I must say that the IB is comparatively harder. Instead of working extremely hard in your 2nd year, students are forced to work hard throughout both years if their pre-university education. That's because of the projects that you have in IB, such as writing research papers that involve analysing real organisations through things like interviewing their senior mgmt and plowing through government reports. I think this is a crucial benefit if IB, that you learn how to write reports and analyse in a professional manner.

    The IB very much trains critical thinking. You are not only expected to understand the entire syllabus, but know how to appreciate them in real application situations. My tuition teacher who used to be from RJC and studied mathematics in NUS said that the IB's math component is equivalent to the first year of university mathematics and is extremely hard since most questions tested cannot be predicted.

    There's also a compulsory "Theory of Knowledge" segment where students learn about questioning 'truths' and understand about the limitations of humans in our perception of knowledge. I think some JCs offer this as "knowledge and inquiry". But in the IB, this segment is embedded in all subjects to facilitate critical thinking.

    We also have components that involve engaging in community projects and creative pursuits, which really creates an interesting environment in the school as students develop a wide-ranging appreciation for things in the world, such as the arts and cultural differences.

    I must really say that being educated through the IB programme helps in personal development and in building up in students a zest for life and learning - an education for the modern world. That being said, the A levels possibly can offer similar things if you really seek these experiences and opportunities.

    But it's incredibly difficult. If your child has been lax so far, he/she will either become a workaholic after the IB, or quit midway. For more than a year, my classmates and I worked every second of our life (except when sleeping and eating) and even on the way home from school, I would be thinking of all the things that I would have to do when I got home. Normal sleeping duration was 4.5 hours a day for everyone. Sounds scary, but it really is true.

    A thing that I must say is that it is possible that things are much better in experienced IB schools like ACSI where there would be more spoon-feeding and such.

    This is all from my perspective, which is subjected to my possibly and probably biased opinions. But if you really want to know more, you'll probably have to examine each school's environment and programmes.
  • LovingmumLovingmum Registered User Posts: 25 New Member
    Good debate and useful information from everyone. I really appreciate the various perspective from all of you.

    Thanks!
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