About the IB Diploma
- Why Choose the IBDP?
- What is studied?
- How do ISBerne students perform on assessments?
- Frequently Asked Questions
The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) high school programme for students aged 16-19, the Diploma Programme (DP), is a solid contender in the selection of public and private high school programmes. If you’re a parent searching for the best private schools in Bern, Switzerland, and you’re considering the IB Diploma Programme, look to these ten reasons for some convincing:
1. Students become well-rounded and multilingual.
The IB recognizes the importance of strengthening the student in multiple disciplines. When students enter the IB Diploma Programme, they grow not only academically but also have opportunities to grow artistically and athletically. Students become competent in French and other languages, hone artistic talents, and participate in athletic activities. In applying to university, it’s extremely valuable to have a breadth of knowledge and skills under your belt, which ensures that IB Diploma Programme students have an advantage over non-IB applicants. They are given the tools and support they need to become the multi-talented, versatile candidates for whom prestigious university programs are looking.
2. Students learn through hands-on activities.
IB DP students are taught concepts in a tangible lesson so that they proactively engage with the material and become self-motivated to learn it. Unlike traditional high school education, IB DP students are granted the independence they need to form logical conclusions on their own and to discover enthusiasm in learning new material. In addition, the hands-on approach allows students to connect with the curriculum rather than to passively sit back and listen to a teacher’s lecture for the duration of a class.
3. The IB Diploma is a globally recognized achievement.
An IB Diploma sets a student apart from other university applicants and is recognized by well over 2000 universities from 74 countries worldwide. It’s a diploma that international academics recognize as a much higher level of education than standard high school diplomas.
4. The IB Diploma Programme teaches practical learning skills.
One of the ten “learner profile” characteristics essential to the IB method is Inquiry. Students are focused on discovering new concepts for themselves, by themselves, and learning how to ask critical questions along the way. Beyond Inquiry, the IB emphasizes Thinking, which inspires students to delve deep into their important questions and reason with logic to find an answer. The focus on processes rather than material alone allows them to develop learning skills that will benefit them in university and life.
5. Students learn subjects in conjunction with one another.
The IB approach to learning is conducive to overall success in that it isn’t a linear system. High school students attend numerous isolated subjects during one school day, which can easily overwhelm, confuse and demotivate them. IB DP students value the connectivity of their programme, in that it is intended for students to relate subjects to one another within a global context. The standard method of keeping subjects isolated prevents students from applying classroom material in real life, and where non-DP high school students cannot swiftly see connections between science and humanities courses, IB DP students learn to identify the relationships across a wide range of disciplines.
6. Students grow more confident in their abilities.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of IB programmes is their recognition of personal growth. Students are taught in a supportive environment that fosters a sense of confidence in their abilities, leading to consistent work ethic, goal-setting, and motivation. In addition, the IB DP is learner-focused. Along with teaching a breadth of knowledge and effective learning styles, teachers encourage their students’ success by building self-assurance and independence.
7. The IB Diploma Programme teaches more than academics.
Interpersonal values and ethical decision-making are fundamentals in the IB approach. The IB DP believes that the whole student’s success is founded not only by curriculum and extracurriculars but also by how students approach success and life in general. Students are taught to be good communicators, risk-takers, team members, and caring citizens who are open-minded and knowledgeable about other cultures. Non-DP programs often focus too much on academics, forgetting that students need to develop valuable characteristics that will carry them through school and the rest of their lives.
8. The IB Diploma Programme uses an individualized approach to learning.
A programme centered on learning, the IB Diploma Programme is designed to give students an outstanding amount of support. Students are unique individuals with unique thought processes, goals, strengths, and weaknesses. Education that approaches every student, in the same way, undermines students’ differences in abilities and learning style preferences. The IB individualized method recognizes students as unique individuals, meaning that each and every student is given the right amount and type of support suited to their needs. Standard programs do not focus nearly as much attention on individual students, whereas IB DP teachers tailor their support to their students. In doing so, no student is disadvantaged and isolated because of a generalized approach to teaching.
9. The IB Diploma Programme focuses on university preparation rather than just completion of high school.
High school education is undoubtedly a crucial stage in the student’s journey. However, merely completing high school credits does not guarantee a student’s preparation for what comes next. Studies show that high schools students are often not adequately prepared for university. The IB program combats this problem by focussing on more than a diploma, but rather, a diploma earned through comprehensive education — comprehensive in that it anticipates university-level expectations. As a result, IB DP students develop the necessary work ethic, responsibility, and independence to tackle university, in comparison to standard high school students, who are not explicitly encouraged to be independent, self-reliant learners.
10. University admission teams seek out and consistently accept IB DP students.
Lastly, the globally-recognized IB DP is valued by university admission teams. Students who graduate with the IB Diploma are advantaged in their acceptance to highly-regarded universities. The expectations for a good university candidate are the foundation on which the IB DP is built. A preparatory program that molds the whole student academically and personally, the IB DP consistently fosters an exceptional rate of university acceptances. If the university is a priority in you or your child’s life, the IB DP can almost entirely guarantee preparation and acceptance into an impressive university program.
- Languages: two
- Individuals and Societies: one
- Science: one
- Mathematics: one
- Arts: one
This program is based around three core elements that work together to develop capable, self-aware, and international-minded young adults:
- Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
Students think about the nature of knowledge and reflect on the process of learning in all their subjects, looking for and understanding the connections between them.
- Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS)
This allows students to find and follow their passions, helping them to maintain balance in their lives, care for others, develop their character and undertake challenging projects.
- Extended Essay (EE)
Students undertake a piece of academic writing of up to 4,000 words. The process will take them through a process called metacognition, where they will learn to understand how and why they make decisions during an academic piece of research.
IBDP students work to become inquirers, knowledgeable, thinkers, communicators, principled, open-minded, caring, risk-takers, balanced and reflective. The IBDP also develops:
- thinking skills
- communication skills
- social skills
- self-management skills
- research skills.
The Diploma Programme culminates in an examination session at the end of Grade 12 lasting 3.5 weeks. Our students consistently perform well above the world averages on external examinations. Their achievements reflect both their commitment to learning and the high quality of teaching at our school.
Here you will find the answers to some of the most common questions families have about the IBDP at the International School of Berne. The Admissions Frequently Asked Questions page shows the most common inquires schoolwide. If you have any other questions or want to discuss any aspect of the process, please contact us or schedule a virtual consultation.
What kind of student is a good candidate for the DP?
The DP is a rigorous course of study for motivated students. That said, prior academic success is less an indicator of ability to earn the diploma than are a student’s determination to do their best, willingness to be organized in order to complete the work while leading a full, balanced life, and a solid commitment to learning in and beyond the classroom.
How does the IBDP differ from other university-preparatory programs such as Advanced Placement and Cambridge?
The IB DP is a two-year comprehensive curriculum with a culminating set of externally graded final exams. IB, Advanced Placement (AP), and other college-preparatory curriculums like Cambridge are all university preparatory, academically rigorous programmes. There are important differences, however, in the content and exams. The DP is a cohesive and comprehensive programme, not a collection of individual courses, as with Advanced Placement. The most important distinguishing factor is the core of the Diploma Programme (CAS, TOK, and extended essay).
Do DP students have time for anything beyond academics?
Absolutely. Most successful Diploma Programme students lead full lives. They are often members of athletic teams and involved in a wide range of activities. Time management and organization are essential skills the IB develops in students.
Do DP teachers receive special training?
All DP teachers receive professional development in the IB’s approaches to teaching and approaches to learning from certified IB workshop leaders. This is a requirement for IB World Schools, like the International School of Berne, to implement the programme.
Can you give a specific example of how the DP prepared students for university?
A study by the Consortium for Chicago School Research found that Diploma Programme students who graduated from 12 Chicago public schools were more likely to attend college, attend a selective college, and persist in college for two years than a matched comparison group. Additional studies on programme impact are available at www.ibo.org/research.