Frequently asked questions
How is the IB Diploma Programme different from other college prep programs?
The Diploma Programme encompasses two years (junior and senior year). The IB curriculum is designed to enhance student learning by exploring the connections between the six subject areas. This cross-curriculum approach uses an international perspective to enhance a student's education. To maintain the integrity of the IB standards, students and teachers are assessed throughout the year by the IB administration. Each subject area is also in a 5 year cycle of review to ensure students are exposed to the most relevant high school curriculum in the world.
Which universities recognize the IB diploma?
Public Texas Universities will award a Diploma graduate a minimum of 24 hours of credit (this is state law). For a list of other universities which have provided the IB with a published recognition policy, please select the country of your choice here.
Can a student take IB courses without enrolling in the IB Diploma Programme?
Yes. Students may take IB courses and receive college credit for those courses without receiving an IB Diploma.These are referred to as course students.
Which courses are recommended prior to entering the IB Diploma Programme?
To enter the IB Diploma Programme, a student will need to have passed their EOC tests. The following courses are recommended but not required to enter the IB Programme. It is suggested these courses are completed by the end of the student's sophomore year:
Math: Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2
English: Pre-AP English 1 and Pre-AP English 2
Science: Pre-AP Biology and Pre-AP Chemistry
History: AP Human Geography and AP World History
Spanish 1, Spanish 2, and Spanish 3
Students will need to have passed the following EOC tests:
English 1, English 2, Biology and Algebra
What’s the difference between Higher Level and Standard Level classes?
Most IB courses are taught at two levels, higher level and standard level. Diploma students must take at a minimum 3 HL and 3 SL courses. They are allowed to take 4 HL and 2 SL if they choose. All higher level courses are two years in duration (240 hours of instruction). Standard level courses typically are one year in duration but some are two (150 hours of instructions). Though rigorous, standard level class requirements are not as strenuous as the higher level course.
Can I still take AP courses if I am in IB?
Yes, it is encouraged. Some courses cover the same material as what the AP equivalent course covers. You can therefore take the IB and AP test in that course. This can be helpful because different universities value IB credit and AP credit differently.
What courses should I take in middle school to help prepare me for the IB Diploma?
It is very helpful for a student’s schedule if they have taken Algebra 1 and Spanish 1 before their freshmen year. It is also helpful to take as many Pre-AP classes as you can.
Do you have the same teacher both years of a higher level course?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no, depending upon the subject.
How many IB exams are taken? When do students take them?
IB Diploma students will take six IB exams (all exams are in May):
1-Art or it can be replaced by a second social science, a second science, or a third language.
IB students have the option of taking up to two exams in May of their junior year for SL courses only. Higher level exams can only be taken at the end of their senior year in May.
How are the subjects graded?
Each of the six subjects offered is graded on the following scale:
Grade 7 = Excellent
Grade 6 = Very good
Grade 5 = Good
Grade 4 = Satisfactory
Grade 3 = Mediocre
Grade 2 = Poor
Grade 1 = Very poor
The number represents the student’s exam score combined with the other forms of assessment. Up to three bonus points can be added to the student’s total score based on overall performance in Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. (Click here to see Internal and External Assessments).
How many points are needed to receive an IB Diploma?
Students take written examinations at the end of the programme, which are marked by external IB examiners. Students also complete assessment tasks in the school, which are either initially marked by teachers and then moderated by external moderators or sent directly to external examiners. The marks awarded for each course range from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest). Students can also be awarded up to three additional points for their combined results on theory of knowledge and the extended essay. The diploma is awarded to students who gain at least 24 points, subject to certain minimum levels of performance across the whole programme and to satisfactory participation in the creativity, action, service requirement. The highest total that a Diploma Programme student can be awarded is 45 points. For more information click HERE.
Can I take an IB exam without enrolling in the course?
No. Part of the student's final grade comes from work done in the classroom.
How do IB courses compare to AP courses?
They differ from course to course. Both are highly regarded. IB typically provides study in much greater depth. Here are a couple of articles to read about the differences.
How will IB courses effect my GPA?
IB courses will carry weighted GPA points just as AP courses do. It doesn't matter if it is a HL or SL course. Both are weighted the same. All IB courses will be graded on a 6.0 scale.
How important is the IB Program to colleges when deciding whether or not to accept a student?
College admissions look at the student as a whole when deciding on admission. One of the most important factors examined, is the rigor of a student's courses. The IB curriculum represents the highest level of rigor of any high school program.
How much does the IB Programme cost?
Diploma students will pay only $40 per IB test. There are a total of six test for the IB Diploma. Total cost to the student is $240. You may qualify for a reduced rate. For more information make an appointment with the IB coordinator.
How many credit hours for college do IB students typically earn?
Credits granted by colleges can vary widely, from none to over 50 credits. At MWHS students have the ability to take both AP and IB classes. This provides a unique opportunity that most schools do not offer. The state of Texas guarantees a minimum of 24 credit hours at any public University in Texas, if the student receives the IB Diploma and scores a 4 on each exam. For more details see Senate Bill 111.
Are the IB teachers trained?
All IB Diploma teachers have received official IBO subject area training. This is a requirement of authorized IB schools.
- asks students to engage in independent research through an in-depth study of a question relating to one of the DP subjects they are studying. The world studies extended essay option allows students tofocus on a topic of global significance which they examine through the lens of at least two DP subjects. A mentor teacher is assigned to help in the research and writing of this essay.
- develops a coherent approach to learning that unifies the academic disciplines. In this course on critical thinking, students inquire into the nature of knowing and deepen their understanding of knowledge as a human construction.
- involves students in a range of activities alongside their academic studies throughout the Diploma Programme. Creativity encourages students to engage in the arts and creative thinking. Action seeks to develop a healthy lifestyle through physical activity. Service with the community offers a vehicle for a new learning with academic value. The three strands of CAS enhance students’ personal and interpersonal development through experiential learning and enable journeys of self-discovery.
"The IB Diploma Programme." Diploma Programme at a Glance. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.