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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

SPM - Pre-U: International Baccalaureate Diploma

“Eh, so what you studying in US ah?”

“I’m doing the IB,” I answer.

“Wth is that?”

The International Baccalaureate Diploma, fondly known as the IB, is a pre-university course fairly unknown to many Malaysians. Instead of launching into a tirade about it, having been asked the question so many times, I usually reply with something like, “er, something like A-levels and STPM-lah.”

Truth be told, the IB is not exactly similar to A-Levels and STPM. In the IB, the focus is to create give students a holistic education. One is required to take six academic subjects in six different subject areas; at least 3 in Higher Level and 3 in Standard Level. The six different areas consist of: Group 1 - Language A1, Group 2 - second language, Group 3 - individuals and societies, Group 4 - experimental sciences, Group 5 - math and computer science, and the arts. The arts component can be replaced by options from Groups 1-4 or Further Math or Computer Science in Group 5. To give you an example, in my case, I am taking English Text and Performance for Group 1, Spanish ab initio for Group 2, Economics for Group 3, Chemistry for Group 4, Math Higher Level for Group 5, and Physics as an option for Group 6.

In my opinion, the good thing about the IB is that unlike the A-Levels and STPM, it is not totally exam-based. Coursework in class does count for a significant portion of one’s final grade. In my Text and Performance course, the performance aspect consists of two-fifths of my final IB grade; in economics, essays for internal assessment consist of roughly one-fifth of my final grade. Thus, it takes off some pressure off the candidate in comparison to having everything based on a final exam.

In addition to the subjects, other requirements have to be met as part of the course: Theory of knowledge, Creativity, Action and Service(CAS), and the Extended Essay. Theory of Knowledge(TOK) is a course that intends to teach students how to analyze problems of knowledge in issues we face daily in and out of the classroom. TOK requires one to do a presentation and also to write a 1200-1600 essay on a chosen topic as part of the requirements of the course. For the Extended Essay or EE, IB students are required to do independent research on a topic of interest to them to equip them with independent research and writing skills required in university work. This paper should be about 4000 words and is usually done in one of the subjects that a candidate is taking.Last but not least, and also my personal favorite of the IB course, is the Creativity, Action and Service(CAS) component. The goal of CAS is to produce well-rounded and responsible citizens. As part of my CAS, I get to do Forest Service, be part of the New Mexico Search and Rescue Network, as well as learn new things like Massage and Ballroom Dancing.

According to the official IB website, there are 6 schools in Malaysia that offer the IB Diploma: 4 private and 2 government. The government ones are MARA College Banting and MARA College Seremban. The four private ones are Intl School of Kuala Lumpur, Intl School of Penang(Uplands), Mont’ Kiara Intl School and KDU Smart School Sdn Bhd. As far as I know, Intl School of Kuala Lumpur and Intl School of Penang(Uplands) offer scholarships for the IB Diploma.

Official International Baccalaureate website
International School of Penang(Uplands)
International School of Kuala Lumpur IB Scholarships


Blogger Andrew said...

note also that by virtue of the IB becoming the most accepted pre-u course in the world, it is actually making their junior colleges do IB instead of A lvls. I think.

5:06 PM

Blogger Patrick Leong said...

Gosh. Your IB course sounds good.
I'm also doing the IB, in KMB (Mara College Banting)

The range of subjects is very limited.
We had to choose Malay, English, Math HL, Physics HL/Biology HL, Chem HL, Econs/Business/IT.

And our range of CAS Activities...isn't as exciting as ballroom dancing and massages!

8:20 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is not easy to run the IB program, unlike the A-levels where colleges only need to pay for the licence and have decent classrooms with competent teachers.

Even if one wants to do IB, there isn't a place here where you can just pay the fees and enroll yourself.

9:45 PM

Blogger ps said...

I would gladly give anything to be in your shoes now...long live IB/UWC! I'd just like to point out that the reason behind all the blank looks are mainly edu counsellors, most of whom don't disseminate info about the diploma. In fact, I had to inform mine about the ISKL IB scholarship..sheesh. Thanks for spreading the word on IB!

8:42 PM

Blogger M@rK said...

The IB is a fulfilling yet maddening experience... Beware, it is only for the brave-hearted (and also those who are forced to do it, like Patrick).
I'm in my final year of IB and am currently in a mad rush to complete my ToK essay and English World Lit 2 Essay...hehe..

subjects: English A1 HL, Mandarin B SL, Psychology SL, Biology HL, Mathematical Methods SL, Chemistry HL

10:18 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After IB can go to public Us in Malaysia or not? Say don't have money to pursue education overseas, how? Can apply for scholarship after IB issit? Provided the result good lah

3:14 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

After looking up all sorts of sites on IB, I'm ashamed to say that I'm still LOST. I have just completed my SPM 05 and have collected my results last week, and am currently doing A levels in Taylor's College Malaysia.

I don't know if A levels is the best course for me but somehow i don't feel (what's the word..) fulfilled.. And after reading up on what you wrote on IB, enghan, I feel i'd certainly want to give it a try. Can you tell me how to apply for an IB diploma programme? Do you have to specify which college/university you hope to enter? I heard from a friend that the final application date was 15th of March, which means I'm like, 5 days too late, but can i know when the next intake is? My email is sien.egg@gmail.com. Thanks a lot in advance, and sorry i couldn't locate your email address on the blog.

5:51 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heylow, ok like, in my words, my mom says that this IB thing is like, hot right now. And she says that MARA is offering IB which is separate from the usual JPA/MARA scholarship thing and has like, advertised this in the newspapers somewhere? Unforunately I missed it and I'm trying to ask around if anyone knows anything about it. So like, if you do know how to apply for MARA IB please please could you inform me? my email is psbabbphat@hotmail.com... lol and like, sorry if i sound so ... ditzy.. I assure you I got straight As for SPM 05 and its just funner being less serious

9:43 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am seriously interested in IB and if I do not get MARA IB I'll go for Uplands IB. My main worry is that after i finish the programme, I'd go to a local university. Then it would be such a waste of money. Might as well just do matrikulasi. I'm wondering if after I finish private IB, I would get scholarships to do medicine overseas. How can I secure that? my email is psbabbphat@hotmail.com

3:39 PM


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