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The International Baccalaureate Diploma, known as the IB, is one of the fastest growing and most respected qualifications in the world. It is your passport to the best universities and is a qualification that challenges, encourages and inspires internationally-minded students like you to become caring, critical thinkers, ready for university study and a globally focused career.


The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma is an internationally recognised programme obtained after two years of studying (6 terms). The programme is demanding but rewarding and encourages you to think independently and explore your creativity.

Quick facts:

  • Course length: 6 Terms (Sep start)
  • Age: 16+
  • English level: IELTS 5.5+, or upper intermediate
  • Entry requirements: A secondary or high school level of education and a good school report

IB result: 32

“I chose to study at CATS because I wanted to take the IB diploma. I like the course because I’ve developed a good understanding in a wide range of subjects. I think it will be useful for university applications and future job opportunities.”
Giulia Asia Vendrami - Italy - Studying Business and Management at Queen Mary University of London

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Frequently asked questions:

Why you should study the IB

IB students develop strong academic, social and emotional characteristics. As an IB student, you are also likely to perform well academically – often better than students on other programmes. You will become more culturally aware and be able to better engage with people, as well as inspiring your own independent thinking.

Who should study IB

The IB is ideal for students aged 16+ with broad interests. If you wish to develop beyond the traditional boundaries offered by other academic programmes, enjoy a broad subject-range and independent research, the IB would be a great choice. It is for students who enjoy independence and want to enrich their studies inside and outside of the classroom.

Where IB fits into the overall UK education system

The IB programme is one of the best ways you can enter into university and study for an undergraduate degree.

Where IB fits into the overall UK education system

Number of subjects

You will expect to study three different subjects for the two year course. For some specialist course combinations, such as Further Maths, you might study four subjects, and we will advise you on the best option for you. You will also study English alongside your A levels.

Subjects studied

You must choose one subject from each of the groups ensuring experience in Languages, Social Studies, Experimental Science and Mathematics. Your sixth subject may be an Arts subject chosen from group 6, or, you can choose to take another subject from one of groups 2 to 4 so you can specialise in a specific field of study, like medicine.

Where IB fits into the overall UK education system

In addition to these six subjects you also study three core areas that help your academic study and broaden your education.

  • Theory of Knowledge (ToK): You study an introduction to the critical evaluation of all knowledge. The core modules encourage you to question, explore theory and engage in real-world comparison and critical thinking.
  • Extended Essay (EE): You undertake a research project and write it up as a 4,000 word essay based on a personal theme, similar to a university dissertation.
  • Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS): This is a programme of arts, sports and community service that helps you become a reflective, open-minded individual.

How IB prepares you for further study before university

The International Baccalaureate Diploma is your passport to the best university destinations in the UK and overseas. These universities recognise the benefits of a broader study programme and the additional modules in the IB core in creating better prepared students who are ready to succeed at university.

How IB prepares you for a successful career

The IB acts as a springboard for a wide range of careers and specialisms with politicians, world leaders and CEOs across the globe beginning their journey with the Diploma. Notable IB graduates have included: leading business people, UN directors, royalty, actors, politicians, authors and astronauts.

How you are assessed

Subjects are assessed through both internal and external coursework which is written or practical work that you complete during the year and which counts towards your overall grade. You also take examinations at the end of Year 2 in May and June. To ensure that you are well prepared, you will also take CATS mock exams so that your teachers can help with anything you are finding difficult. English is assessed through an IELTS examination, ready for university admission.

When the results are published

IB results are published every July. Your IB Diploma is marked on a numbered scale. Each of the six subjects taken is marked out of 7, and there are an extra 3 points available for the Extended Essay and TOK parts of the programme. To gain the Diploma, you need at least 24 points, and the maximum score available for the most academically gifted students is 45 points – equivalent to six A levels at grade A*.

You could gain much higher grades in comparison to the standard three A levels.


Comparison between IB points and A level grades

IB points IB points UCAS (university points) A level grades
45 720 A* A* A* A* A* A*
35 400 A* A* A*
28 348 A A B
24 280 B C Social
CATS Canterbury International Baccalaureate (IB) key facts
Course length 6 terms (Sep start)
Age 16+
English level IELTS 5.5+, or upper intermediate
Entry requirements A secondary or high school level of education and a good school report
Subjects studied 6 subjects and 3 core areas