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IB Program - Frequently Asked Questions

IB, IB degree, IB diploma, IB certificates – what’s the difference?

The word “degree” is only used in the U.S. and is not part of the usual terminology.

Students who complete their subject studies, their core requirements, and who are successful in the written examinations in May of grade 12 will receive the IB Diploma.

Students who do not pass the IB exam will still receive IB certificates in each subject for which they took the exam and completed coursework.

Isn’t the IB diploma really difficult?

Challenging, but not difficult.

The minimum pass score is a total of 24 points. The maximum score possible is 45 points. Getting 40 or more points can be challenging, but any student who expects to get into college should be able to score at least 24 points. ISI students achieve an average of 32-33 points.

Our overall success rate varies between 83% and 96%.

What happens if a student does not receive a passing score?

Students who do not pass the IB diploma but meet state course requirements will still receive an Indiana Honors (Core 40) diploma, plus IB certificates in each subject for which they took the exam and completed coursework.

Does ISI have entry requirements for the IB diploma program?

We have no formal entry requirements. We call the IB diploma an “open access” program.

Students need to have made acceptable progress through the end of grade 10 of whichever school they are coming from, and have a reasonable academic foundation. Otherwise, they will struggle. We accept students directly into grade 11, but we cannot accept students into grade 12.

Students in our grades 9 and 10 follow a program that is an excellent foundation for the IB Diploma. Students who participate in the IB Primary Years Programme and IB Middle Years Programme follow a course of study that is the ideal preparation for the IB diploma.

The single most important requirement for us is a positive attitude.

What do you mean by “a positive attitude?”

Students need to show motivation and a determination to do their best, plus a willingness to organize themselves so that they can complete the work and lead full and balanced lives.

They need to be willing to work with others and participate in class. In our IB program, students learn a lot from our teachers, but they learn even more by interacting and cooperating with each other.

Can you do AP tests at the same time?

We do not encourage this, and we do not teach AP courses.

We believe the IB Diploma is the best program, but it needs teachers who are IB-trained, and who focus solely on the Diploma. Also, it needs students who are immersed in the spirit of the IB in order for all students to achieve the level of success we know they are capable of.

How is the IB diploma assessed?

About 20-25% of each subject is internally assessed by the teacher, using very specific IB grading criteria. Students submit work for internal assessment and have opportunities to develop this over a period of time with advice and support from the teacher. The teacher’s grading is scrutinized by the IB office.

In May of the second year, students sit the external written exams over a period of three weeks. The completed exams are sent to IB examiners all around the world, who mark them according to IB grading criteria.

The IB mostly uses a 7-point grading scheme, with 7 meaning outstanding, a 4 being the minimum pass, and a 1 being very poor. Students always have access to the grading criteria, so that they understand what they are being assessed on and what they need to do to improve their grades.

What subjects are studied for the IB diploma at ISI?

Students must choose six subjects, including at least one science, one math, a humanities subject, a literature course, and at least one foreign language. Their sixth subject may come from the arts, or from any of the other five subject groups.

ISI offers:

  • English literature (we also offer literature in mother tongue languages for non-English speakers – we have offered Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Thai, Swedish.)
  • French or Spanish at various levels, from intermediate to very advanced
  • Spanish, French, or Mandarin Chinese beginner-level
  • History, Anthropology, or on-line Economics, Psychology, Business & Management
  • Mathematics (at Higher Level, Standard Level, or Math Studies)
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics
  • Visual Arts, Theatre Arts, Music
Do IB students have any time for fun?

Absolutely. Our most successful IB students lead very full lives. They are often members of our athletics teams and maintain a wide range of involvement in different activities. Learning to manage your time and organize yourself well is key.

Will the IB diploma help me get into college?

Yes. The IB is widely recognized as valuable preparation for college and beyond. Many colleges give additional recognition to IB Diploma holders in the form of credits and scholarships.

Where can I get further information?

Visit the International Baccalaureate Organization website, or contact us! We’re happy to discuss any further questions you may have.