Somerset Times

Nine Myths of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Course




Somerset Times Edition

Week 4, Term One, 2018

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I have been the International Baccalaureate Diploma Course (IBDP) Co-ordinator for one year now, and have been teaching IBDP subjects for about ten years. In that time, I have heard many opinions about the IBDP and, to be honest, I am getting a little frustrated with the amount of misinformation I am hearing from our students and in the community.

Allow me to address some of the most common myths I have heard:

2018 - T1 - W4 - IB

1. Myth: IBDP students study longer in Year 12 and hence miss “Schoolies”.
Reality: As much as some parents may wish this was the case, it is wrong. IBDP students have finished their whole course and examinations by Valedictory Chapel.
2. Myth: The Extended Essay is just like the Personal Project.
Reality: The Personal Project is largely design-based, and serves as a culmination of the MYP. The Extended Essay is a significant research-based assignment that augments the IBDP.
3. Myth: The IBDP is too much work – and I’ll have no life!
Reality: You are kidding if you think Senior School is going to be a walk in the park whatever course you take. IBDP work may at times be different, but there is no more of it compared to the QCAA course.
4. Myth: IBDP students are isolated.
Reality: While it may be true that the IBDP cohort form a strong bond with each other, they are in no way separate from their peers – they are simply in their own classes, just like everyone else in the senior school.
5. Myth: CAS is an onerous component of the IBDP.
Reality: CAS in the IBDP is more than community and service. It stands for Creativity, Activity and Service. Most of this requirement will be met just through the day-to-day activities of all Somerset students. They DO NOT count hours.
6. Myth: IBDP students are always doing assessment.
Reality: Most IBDP courses have 1 or 2 pieces of Internal Assessment, plus the final exam. And that’s over TWO years! Of course there will also be formative tasks throughout your courses.
7. Myth: You only ought to do the IBDP if you are planning tertiary study overseas.
Reality: The IBDP converts to an ATAR, just like the QCAA course, and the QCAA course can also be used to access overseas universities.
8. Myth: The IBDP is just for “smart kids”.
Reality: I’m not really sure I know what a “smart kid” is, but the IBDP is an inclusive course that can cater for students of all academic ability. It’s more of an issue about how you work – each type of course (QCAA and IBDP) serve different types of learners.
9. Myth: It is easier to get a better overall mark in the QCAA.
Reality: Over the years IBDP student results have compared favourably to the QCAA course. Almost every IBDP student here at Somerset has received entry into the university course for which they aimed.

If you have any questions or would like a more detailed explanation on some of these matters, please feel free to contact me:

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