A Cambridge Diploma is awarded to students who pass a minimum of three Level A exams from the Languages, Science and Humanities +Global Perspectives course group. On the other hand, an International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma is awarded to those who pass all six courses of the core program and earn a total of 24 qualification points. The IB program was developed in Switzerland to be an internationally recognized diploma. The IB program is a two-year sequence of classes, projects, and other requirements that are generally only available to students in grades 11 and 12. It emphasizes writing and developing critical thinking skills. In some secondary schools, the IB is considered more difficult than the Advanced Placement (AP).
To earn this diploma, students must be enrolled in an authorized IB school. Having taught at both an IB school and an International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) school, I have had the opportunity to explore these two internationally recognized programs. American universities, in particular, think that IB students are better prepared and more qualified to succeed, so those who score high are highly regarded. The IB is known for being an educational framework as opposed to the IGCSE, which is a school curriculum system. The main difference between the two is that while both are rigorous, only the British curriculum provides students with a broad knowledge of disciplines such as art, music or geography, rather than focusing only on one area like science or mathematics. Students often report that AICE classes are easier than IB or AP classes, and many complete their AICE diploma by the end of tenth grade.
Levels A have been shown to offer a deeper subject matter experience, the IB a more global perspective and understanding of the world, and Cambridge Pre-U a more rigorous course for top students. The IB program includes four levels: Primary Year Programme (PYP) for children ages 3-12; Middle Year Programme (MYP) for 11-16 year olds; IB Diploma for 16-19 year olds; and Career-related for 16-19 year olds. The IB program is beneficial for students who want to earn a globally recognized diploma and enter select universities. AP and IB credits are widely accepted by universities, but there are many slight differences in credit policies. To obtain the IB diploma, students must choose a subject from six different groups: language and literature; language acquisition; individuals and societies; sciences; mathematics; and the arts.
It is believed that an IB diploma with a high score correlates well with success in the Harvard application process. The IB Diploma program focuses on developing critical thinking skills, digital competencies, as well as psychosocial skills through its Core program. The IGCSE helps students explore a variety of subjects (without going into too much depth since there are not enough hours in a day) that extend into the first two years of university. It also requires good analytical skills, self-study and discipline from a wider range of subjects. Most high schools generally give more GPA weight to an AP, IB or AICE class, resulting in students earning a higher GPA.
Nearly all parents, students and counselors agree that the IB curriculum offers better learning experiences. AP, IB and AICE programs allow students to study college-level material before graduating from high school. The IB diploma can be twice as much class work as a normal school curriculum, and it also requires a lot of independent study and self-discipline.