A-Levels and the International Baccalaureate (IB) are academic qualifications that students in the UK work towards from the ages of 16 until 19. They take place in the final, known as Year 12 and 13 or Sixth Form. In countries such as Russia where university programs run over 4 to 5 years, Year 12 and 13 in Britain are equivalent to the first two years of degree-level education. They correspond with junior and senior years of high school study in the United States.
A-Levels courses involve the study of three or four subjects. By contrast, the International Baccalaureate (IB) requires six subjects for study.
The decision over whether to take the IB or A-Levels depends on the young person in question. We advise clients on an individual basis, according to what a student’s personality and outlook is like.
The ideal IB student is highly disciplined and organized in order to take on the workload of six subjects. They wish to have a broader knowledge of the world, which will be satisfied by a wide rather than narrow scope of study at Sixth Form. They are also grounded and practical in their approach to academic study and are comfortable studying all aspects of a course, rather than single strand. For example, an IB student who wishes to take Biology should want to study the multiple topics covered in the course, including human biology, botany and zoology, rather than just human biology.
A-Levels are well suited for students who wish to make an in-depth study of three or four particular subjects and commit themselves fully to a particular field of study, prior to university entry. Other subjects that they wish to explore and try out can be taken through extracurricular activities and courses, such as a extended writing project or a summer engineering program.
Students who wish to pursue their university study outside of the UK in Europe or the United States may be advised to take the International Baccalaureate. Nonetheless, this choice would still depend on the young person’s ability to be organized and academically minded in 6 subjects to effectively pass exams for the IB Diploma.
The challenging path to university begins with GCSEs and they are absolutely crucial for the future education of your child, as they are common courses taken by both British and international students. Competition for places at the best universities is fierce, and further and further emphasis is being placed on students’ performance at GCSEs. The grades that your child achieves at GCSE will have a significant impact, not only on his or her Sixth form choices, but also on university offers, as A level results are not published until the second week of August, a few weeks before the admission deadline to university.
Also, to stand out from the crowd, whether for a prospective university place or a job, it is not enough for your child to only excel in their A levels / IBs. It is increasingly important, as our world is becoming smaller due to globalization and improvements in technology, that young people have strong social and networking skills. Many good schools will be well prepared for this and will support children with extra activities to develop these skills.
Leadership and teamwork qualities are also absolutely essential, whether applying for academic or professional courses in university. In many leading boarding schools, students often run the extracurricular clubs and activities themselves. This is a great chance for children who are born leaders to develop their leadership skills
The admission to top UK universities and courses is increasingly becoming very competitive with 5 to 10 applicants per every university place. There are many great schools and six form colleges, which prepare their children for university admission very well.
Because of this, our advise to you is to employ specialist company to help your child to apply to best school / college possible to study A levels / IB (for six form), as often competition for a place for a six form is high.
Schools and colleges, where your child can study A levels / IB, vary significantly in their price (starting at 16 thousand pounds per year), and style of teaching. So right advice, when choosing a place to prepare your child for university, is essential.
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