International Baccalaureate Diploma (I.B)

International Baccalaureate Diploma

It is now widely accepted that the IB Diploma programme is the best pre-University preparation that a student could possibly obtain.  The Diploma requirements are recognised universally as being equivalent to three British "A-levels" or the American High School Diploma plus AP programs or the French "Baccalaureate", etc.  The Diploma gains its equivalence to British A-levels/AS-levels and U.S. AP programs by providing "depth of study" in 3 subjects taken at Higher Level.  It gains its equivalence to a High School Diploma and other nations' baccalaureate programmes by providing "breadth of study" in 3 additional subjects taken at Standard Level.

For the Diploma, in addition to this rigorous, academic programme of 6 subjects, the student is also required to: i) complete a course of study in the Theory of Knowledge (TOK); ii) present a 4000+ word essay based on individual research and iii) participate actively in a programme of Service Learning previously termed "Creativity, Action and Service" (CAS). As a result of its high academic standards and the TOK and research/essay components, the International Baccalaureate has gained the respect of University Admission Officers who recognise that the student has already proven their ability to work at the University level.  Students who gain the Diploma can expect Universities to offer them Advanced Placement equivalents, Course Credits and special consideration at the time of admission.

As a reflection of its Mission and Philosophy of Education the School expects all IB students to follow the full IB Diploma programme. However, during the second year of the 2-year course, upon the advice of the teachers and with the agreement of the Administration, a student may be permitted to drop the additional CAS, Extended Essay and TOK components, enter the examinations for individual subjects and receive a “Certificate of IB Results” ... not the Diploma.

Hence over 95% of our graduates follow the full IB Diploma programme and among those graduates we have maintained an average pass-rate greater than 90% over the years. We have consistently produced at least one Diploma graduate with 40 points or higher each year and we are the only School in Costa Rica to have produced IB graduates with the maximum score of 45 points ... and to have done so on 3 separate occasions.

The academic programme of the IB is divided into 6 groups of curricula, students must choose AT LEAST one subject from each of Groups 1 and 3 to 5 and an additional sixth subject from Groups 2 to 6 with 3 subjects at HL and 3 subjects at SL. N.B. Some subjects MAY appear in 2 different groups :

Group 1 (Literature and Language)
Students SHOULD choose two courses, one in each language. Each course is available as HL or SL. Students may choose two literature courses, two language/literature courses, or one of each. However SOME students may need to take the Spanish B option from Group 2 instead of Group 1 Spanish.

  • LITERATURE IN ENGLISH SL/HL
  • LITERATURE IN SPANISH SL/HL
  • LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE IN ENGLISH SL/HL
  • LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE IN SPANISH SL/HL

Group 2 (Language Acquisition) 
Students may choose French as their third language in place of a Group 6 subject.

  • FRENCH B HL/SL
  • SPANISH B HL/SL (at the recommendation of the Spanish Department in place of Group 1 Spanish)

Group 3 (Individuals and Societies) 
Students must choose at least one course; they may choose an additional Group 3 course in place of a Group 6 choice.

  • ECONOMICS HL/SL
  • GEOGRAPHY HL/SL
  • HISTORY SL, HL (EUROPE), HL (AMERICAS)
  • *** NEW *** GLOBAL POLITICS HL/SL *** NEW ***
  • ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS and SOCIETIES SL ONLY

Group 4 (Experimental Sciences)
Students must choose at least one course; they may choose an additional Group 4 course in place of a Group 6 choice.

  • BIOLOGY HL/SL
  • CHEMISTRY HL/SL
  • ENVIRONMENTAL SYSTEMS and SOCIETIES SL ONLY
  • PHYSICS HL/SL
  • COMPUTER SCIENCE HL/SL – N.B. not available for 2016.

Group 5 (Mathematics ) 
Students must choose one Mathematics course.

  • MATHEMATICS HL
  • MATHEMATICS SL
  • MATHEMATICAL STUDIES SL

Group 6 (the arts) 
Students may choose any Group 6 course as their sixth subject.

  • MUSIC HL, SL (PERFORMING), SL (CREATING)
  • VISUAL ARTS HL /SL

HL = Higher Level, SL = Standard Level.  HL/SL means both levels are available for the student to choose one.  N.B. The programme “Mathematics Studies” (SL only) is NOT recommended for students going on to university to study any subject where Maths is involved e.g. any Science, Economics, etc.

To obtain the Diploma, candidates must:  a) maintain a good average (55%) in three Higher Level AND three Standard Level subjects based on final examinations (approx. 80%) and course-work (approx. 20%); b) submit an acceptable extended essay (4,000 words+) based on original research; c) complete the TOK course and d) complete the CAS. programme.  The examination papers are produced, marked and graded by the IB Curriculum and Assessment Office in Cardiff, U.K.  The final Diploma or Certificates are awarded by the International Baccalaureate Office in Geneva.