Common misconceptions about International Baccalaureate

IB students are taught by exceptional teachers to ensure the best outcomes. (Rawpixel pic)

International Baccalaureate (IB) has been rapidly gaining in popularity because of its inquiry-based approach to learning that aims in nurturing responsible global citizens.

Nevertheless, there are also some misconceptions among students and parents all over the world regarding this curriculum.

Stefanie Leong, Head of Development & Recognition, International Baccalaureate (IB), Asia Pacific busts some of the most common myths about IB.

Myth 1: IB is extremely difficult

According to Leong, the IB challenges students to reach their full potential. It is an education that empowers students with confidence and the ability to reach further and be the best they can be.

IB students are motivated to go to school and study, knowing that they will be taught by exceptional teachers who work closely with parents and students to ensure the best outcomes.

Where it may seem difficult at first, IB students are given support to learn coping skills, and, throughout their education, will adjust to the requirements of the programme to become better learners.

As a result, students will finish school more academically adjusted to the rigour and expectations of university and will enter the rest of their lives with exceptional time management and life skills.

Myth 2: IB is not for common people because IB schools are expensive

Leong says the IB has no influence or control over independent school fees, however, IB programme frameworks can operate effectively with national curricula. In fact, more than 50% of IB World Schools are state-funded.

She also says they are continually reviewing their processes to make the curriculum more inclusive to state-funded schools.

Earlier this year, the IB announced that it is eliminating the $172/£138 “candidate registration” fee that students traditionally pay (as a cost separate from individual IB subject exams).

This decision to lower per student assessment costs is intended to help more students worldwide afford additional subject examinations or pursue a full IB Diploma Programme.

Elimination of the registration fee is the latest in a series of decisions by the IB to ease financial burdens and to open up access.

They also recently provided discounts for schools that offer three or more IB programmes and expanded their ongoing investments for professional development of IB educators too.

Evidence shows that IBDP students go on to tertiary study at higher rates than their non-IB peers. (Rawpixel pic)

Myth 3: IBDP will not be accepted by universities worldwide

Some parents may be concerned about the recognition of IB as an alternative qualification, where in fact, thousands of leading universities around the globe hold the IB in high esteem and accept many IBDP applicants every year, says Leong.

Evidence shows that IBDP students go on to tertiary study at higher rates than their non-IB peers, and are admitted more often to selective institutions, as well as perform better in their post-secondary studies, including higher rates of post-secondary completion (HESA 2016).

Studying the IBDP better prepares students for university by enabling them to keep their options open, because they study a wider range of subjects at a higher level than is required in any other curricula.

Most importantly, the IBDP also encourages independent learning, curiosity, effective time management and presentation techniques – all essential life skills that are highly valued by university admissions teams, as they allow students to “hit the ground running” when they begin their undergraduate studies.

Myth 4: The assessment process of IB is different and vague

The IB’s approach to assessment is not always understood by parents. However, all of the programmes are designed to create well-rounded young people, encouraging them to build the skills, empathy and confidence they need to thrive in a modern world, says Leong.

This learning methodology moves past knowledge transfer to knowledge use, analysis and evaluation, and, as such, the examinations and other forms of assessment have been developed to evaluate these skills as thoroughly as possible.

In the MYP, teachers organise continuous assessment throughout the programme according to specified assessment criteria which corresponds to the objectives of each of the eight subject groups.

As mentioned, in 2016 MYP eAssessment was introduced, which utilises the latest innovations in education technology.

It features coursework for performance-oriented subjects and a range of innovative on-screen examinations for language and literature, sciences, mathematics, history, geography, integrated humanities, and interdisciplinary learning.

She adds that IB is a unique curriculum with high academic standards, championing critical thinking and flexibility for learning across disciplinary, cultural and national boundaries.

Indeed, IB is a curriculum that prepares citizens of tomorrow, who are ready to step up as leaders and contribute to their world. provides information on private and international schools, extra-curricular activities as well as other education-related topics in Malaysia.