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Making the Right Choice: A Levels or IBDP?

The A Level / IB Showdown

In the world of international education, the A Levels and the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBDP) are both popular; each with its own distinct features and benefits. As always, it's about the 'Fit' so what make each suitable for an individual student, their needs and aspirations?

Children at class

The A Levels and IBDP: A Detailed Comparison

A Levels, a two-year program from the UK; typically for students aged 16-18. Students choose only 3 - 4 subjects while the IB Diploma, aimed at students aged 16-19, is known to be more holistic in its approach, encompassing core components like the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and Creativity, Activity, and Service (CAS) alongside six subject areas.

From the Source


Traditional university pathways aren't for everyone. Discover some alternative routes to success in our insightful guide. Check it out here


Weighing the Pros and Cons

A Levels are appreciated for their depth, allowing students to choose only a few subjects that align with their strengths, interests and future academic pursuits. The IB is lauded for its emphasis on independent learning and critical thinking, equipping students with a globally recognised qualification that's well-respected by top universities worldwide.

Choosing the Right Curriculum for Your Child

When deciding between A Levels and IB, several factors come into play. Firstly, the student's academic strengths and interests are paramount. If your child prefers to study fewer subjects and give up a number of subjects, A Levels could be a good choice. If they would prefer to continue studying a broader range of subjects, including a language, IBDP may be the way to go.


According to HESA:

"For students in the United Kingdom, researchers explored the university enrollment and achievement of statistically matched groups of DP and A level students. DP students were significantly more likely than their A level counterparts to attend a top 20 university in the UK and to receive a first-class honours degree. Additionally, DP graduates were somewhat more likely to enroll in further education after completing university."

Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). 2016. International Baccalaureate students studying at UK higher education institutions: How do they perform in comparison with A level students? Bethesda, MD, USA. International Baccalaureate Organization.

University Enrollment and outcome for DP and A level

Making informed decisions for your child's education involves diligent research. Dive into our advanced guide crafted specifically for smart parents like you.


The Impact of Curriculum Choice on Future Academic Opportunities

The choice of curriculum can indeed shape a student's future academic and career opportunities. Both A Levels and IBDP are widely recognised by universities and colleges globally, but the skill sets they instill can differ. For instance, the IB's focus on independent research and critical thinking can be particularly beneficial for students and can lead to credit exemptions in some countries ie US.

Final Thoughts - A Levels or IB

In summary, choosing between the two involves careful consideration of a student's interests, academic strengths, and future aspirations. Both offer robust educational experiences that can pave the way for further academic success and career opportunities. Therefore, it's essential to understand each curriculum's characteristics and align them with the individual needs of your child for the best educational outcome.


Further Reading We hope you found this article on Top Schools in Asia helpful and informative. For additional insights and strategies related to school selection and preparation, consider exploring the following articles:

  1. Perfecting the Admissions Process: Obtain effective strategies for a streamlined and successful school application process.

  2. Demystifying School Placements: Navigate the complexities of school admissions with our guide that separates myths from reality.

  3. Shaping Future Innovators: Discover the role schools can play in cultivating the innovators of tomorrow.

  4. Exploring Alternative Pathways: Not every student's journey follows the conventional route. Learn about alternative pathways to higher education and career success.

  5. Mastering School Budgeting: School budgeting need not be a headache with our practical guide on budgeting for the school year.

  6. Guide to Advanced School Research: Make informed choices for your child's education with our in-depth guide to advanced school research.

Remember, finding the best fit for your child's education involves careful consideration and diligent research. These resources can provide a wealth of knowledge to aid in your decision-making process. Happy reading!


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