The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma is widely considered to be more difficult than A-Levels. With six subjects to study, compared to the three of A-Levels, it's no surprise that many IB students end up with relatively low grades. But which one is the best for getting into college? It depends on the student's goals and academic abilities. In terms of exams alone, the Advanced Placement (AP) exams were slightly easier compared to the IB exams.
However, the A-Level and IB exams for STEM subjects were quite similar, with A-Levels being more academically rigorous in some areas and IB exams in others. For example, IB Further Math consists of linear algebra and geometry, while A Level Further consists of Linear Algebra-Calculus-Precalculus. From a temporal perspective, IB's are more demanding of their students on a daily basis. While A-level students can focus on a smaller group of subjects in one area, all IB Diploma students must study subjects in the arts and sciences.
Additionally, the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and Creativity, Action and Service segments of the IB require additional work. If getting the best grades is a priority for you and you're self-motivated, you'll probably end up studying as hard as an IB student. The IB requires organization and independence from the beginning of the course; since all six-subject exams are taken at the end of the course, it is simply not possible to take the weeks leading up to the exams. While A-levels have their own difficulties, the extra hours required to complete the IB really take their toll.
The IB's expanded essay and epistemology elements add additional flavor and rigor that prepare them well for university.