Alevels or IB

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Alevels or IB

Postby nelly » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:31 pm

Hi! i would like to ask for you to share your opinion if IB or alevels is better. i am considering between IB or alevels and would like to do my research first before my results come out. I know both have their pros and cons but i would like to ask
does IB have it harder to get into uni? Many people i know are wary of IB cause they are still not familiar with it. And although many universities says they do accept IB, i am afraid there might be some prejudice since alevels has been around for a longer time. Many consider alevels a safer option but Ib really does sound tempting.

nelly
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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby emoh » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:52 pm

nelly wrote:Hi! i would like to ask for you to share your opinion if IB or alevels is better. i am considering between IB or alevels and would like to do my research first before my results come out. I know both have their pros and cons but i would like to ask
does IB have it harder to get into uni? Many people i know are wary of IB cause they are still not familiar with it. And although many universities says they do accept IB, i am afraid there might be some prejudice since alevels has been around for a longer time. Many consider alevels a safer option but Ib really does sound tempting.


some earlier discussions can be found in this thread, hope this helps

http://www.kiasuparents.com/kiasu/forum ... 0&start=70

emoh
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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby guaigirl24 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:35 pm

nelly wrote:Hi! i would like to ask for you to share your opinion if IB or alevels is better. i am considering between IB or alevels and would like to do my research first before my results come out. I know both have their pros and cons but i would like to ask
does IB have it harder to get into uni? Many people i know are wary of IB cause they are still not familiar with it. And although many universities says they do accept IB, i am afraid there might be some prejudice since alevels has been around for a longer time. Many consider alevels a safer option but Ib really does sound tempting.


Hi. I am a student in a similar situation as you too (: Been searching up about the IB for about one week now and have gathered quite a bit of information.

First of all, the IB is recognised by all Singapore universities as well as many overseas universities. It has been around since 1968, if I'm not wrong, and has been implemented in many national and international schools worldwide.

Do not be afraid to stick out from the norm! The IB is not the mainstream pre-U programme here in Singapore, but that does not necessarily mean that you will be at a disadvantage. It is quite a recognised programme, so if you are interested in it and find it more suitable for you, don't worry about being the odd one out and just go with your belief! (That said, you should still do some comparison with the A-Level programme to determine really if it's a better fit for you - from what I know, the workload and depth of thinking required may not be something everyone is able to cope with)


Regarding whether A-Levels or IB is "better". It really depends on who you ask. (but, like you, I'm leaning towards the IB being so-called better as I find it more meaningful than A-Levels)
You can take a look at this:
http://www.ibo.org/ibworld/may2012/docu ... easons.pdf
'IBO - 10 Reasons Why The IB Diploma Programme Is Ideal Preparation For University'

I suggest you go to the IBO website and well as the websites of the IB schools (ACSI and SJI) to read up for more info. You can also find plenty of threads here on kiasuparents on the opinions of students and parents towards the IB.

Hope this helps! :smile:

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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby guaigirl24 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:38 pm

you can go for the open houses too to find out more about the IB from the schools.
not sure when ACSI's one is , but SJI Senior School (IBDP launched last year) open house is 15 January, 10am-3pm at their Bishan holding site

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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby guaigirl24 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:06 pm

From the thread posted above:

Lovelypetunias wrote:
Though I am unsure about foreign schools and the A levels, I assert that the IB might be a more rigorous course, for it will prove to be strenuous to students as they are engaged in a program that demands much discipline from them.

The IB places great emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and application, and within the context of Singapore, this course differs across schools! While ACS may yield many students with full scores, how are we to know that their curriculum is variant from one in SJI? Can we really gain knowledge of the IB curriculum from the empirical?

The media does not present us with such truths and as such we cannot justify it to be a valid claim that all students taking the IB in Singapore will yield the same results, for their learning processes are different. However, this should not mean that the two schools I have mentioned are to be judged as good or bad in their curriculum. It is true that we as outsiders cannot identify the mechanics of the program in the school, but by simply discerning the nature of the course, and understanding your child's potential, only then can we possibly assure ourselves that the course is suitable for the child who is taking it.

Another matter that remains poignant is the fact that schools offering the IB in Singapore don't provide the same courses for everyone. Though this is hearsay, a friend of mine told me of a relative who got into United World College (UWC), and was required to take Language B (Chinese) at a Higher Level, forcing her to drop one of her desired subjects to Standard. Though this example applies to an International school, it does reveal that the IB is indeed variant across all schools.

Though I don't have enough evidence to justify this claim, I think that most IB schools in Singapore will offer different Humanities and Science subjects (eg: Psychology / Philosophy and Design Technology) which will also affect the rigor of the course as certain subjects demand different expectations. Biology students have more content than Chemistry students, and are marked quite strictly during examinations for key phrases and precision in facts.

The Core topics [TOK, EE and CAS] may appear to be of less significance in comparison to the other 6 compulsory subjects, but they can prove to be equally distressing if not managed well. If poorly managed, these three subjects can create much disharmony to schedules, and plans for revision/work on other subjects.

Yet one must not regard the IB course with aversion as it is highly dependent on your child's potential. As aforementioned, I am unclear of the mechanics of the A-levels, but I believe that the IB is a much more well-rounded course as it engages the students to apply critical thinking (with the compulsory implementation of ToK) as opposed to the A-levels, where Knowledge Inquiry (KI) and other subjects are rendered optional, or placed into streams for students to pick.

Having a much more well-rounded course will benefit your child as they may eventually act upon their will to engage in higher order thinking, and discern what is suitable for their surroundings and themselves. A well-rounded course will ensure that they will gain heightened awareness to the disciplines that are advantageous to them. As cogs for the future of the organic structure of society, they will be able to function according to the values that they have learned and held strong during their education, ensuring the maintenance of society and its sustainability. This is a reason as to why I prefer the IB over the A levels, for I feel that the system of the A levels does not entirely encourage students to pursue critical thinking that will enable them to become more discerning, leaving them to treat such subjects with contempt or disinterest.

But nonetheless, these are my own thoughts of what the IB offers in comparison to my little knowledge of the A-levels. While I personally favor IB and regard it to be more challenging in workload and subject juggling, both are important courses that will determine your child's path in the future. I reiterate that the child's potential is key in deciding whether IB or the A-levels are suitable for them.

:goodpost: btw

(though :itwasntme: that posted it ...)

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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby twilight » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:40 pm

guaigirl24 wrote:you can go for the open houses too to find out more about the IB from the schools.
not sure when ACSI's one is , but SJI Senior School (IBDP launched last year) open house is 15 January, 10am-3pm at their Bishan holding site

ACSI does not hold open house during the week or the 2 or 3 days after release of O level results (I forgot when is the normal open house period for JC). Their open house is usually some time in May.

For ACSI, I am a bit skeptical about the idea that doing the IB curriculum fosters critical thinking in students more strongly than doing the A level curriculum. This is largely due to the teachers we have in the school. There are some very good teachers that try to instil in us the ability to think and reason. The degree of success is of course up to the student's ability/willingness to engage in such guidance.
I think many teachers in ACSI graduated from NIE. They received the same training as teachers who teach in JC, so I don't think there is any difference between their style of teaching and thinking and those of JC teachers. And most of them did the A level as students, as such I think it is difficult for them to deviate from the rigidity of thinking that they have been taught, and hence in turn are unable to teach students to think critically. Subjects like TOK are supposed to foster critical thinking but many TOK teachers are unable to encourage higher order thinking in students. This is actually true for many subjects but its implications are of course felt the worst for TOK, as reflected in the average TOK grade for ACSI. Perhaps C is a good grade already considering TOK is not an easy subject, but relative to the >6.5 MSG for other subjects, C is quite poor.

This is not to say that I do not like the IB curriculum, it's just that the teaching in ACSI is actually no different than in JCs despite doing the IB curriculum, which sort of diminishes the benefits one could receive from doing IB.

Personally, I think an incredibly science inclined student (one who has no interest or aptitude in humanities and would choose ESS as a group 3 subject to avoid doing a real humanities) is better off doing the A levels. IB math and science are really easy compared to A level, and I feel a loss of opportunity in not being able to learn H3 stuff that is only available to A level students.
In addition to the group 3 subject, there is also English Language and Literature or English Literature to contend with. I also think that it's more worth learning a science SL than humanities SL. A science or math SL is really way easier than their HL counterparts, but there is not too much difference between humanities SL and HL. As such, if one only desires a holistic education for the sake of a holistic education but without much interest in humanities, I do not recommend doing IB. If one thinks one can start to think more critically upon doing IB, think carefully before really enrolling in IB. Do take into account the context of a Singapore education system.

For me, I think my greatest gain from doing IB is learning to write lab reports and a science research paper. My teachers didn't really guide me in doing these, so my takeaway is really the result of the IB system itself. My next greatest gain would be improving my communication skills. This I have to attribute to my amazing literature teachers and TOK teacher. If one gets a good teacher, one can really reap much benefits, whether doing A levels or IB.

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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby kitty2 » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:14 pm

twilight wrote:
guaigirl24 wrote:you can go for the open houses too to find out more about the IB from the schools.
not sure when ACSI's one is , but SJI Senior School (IBDP launched last year) open house is 15 January, 10am-3pm at their Bishan holding site

ACSI does not hold open house during the week or the 2 or 3 days after release of O level results (I forgot when is the normal open house period for JC). Their open house is usually some time in May.

For ACSI, I am a bit skeptical about the idea that doing the IB curriculum fosters critical thinking in students more strongly than doing the A level curriculum. This is largely due to the teachers we have in the school. There are some very good teachers that try to instil in us the ability to think and reason. The degree of success is of course up to the student's ability/willingness to engage in such guidance.
I think many teachers in ACSI graduated from NIE. They received the same training as teachers who teach in JC, so I don't think there is any difference between their style of teaching and thinking and those of JC teachers. And most of them did the A level as students, as such I think it is difficult for them to deviate from the rigidity of thinking that they have been taught, and hence in turn are unable to teach students to think critically. Subjects like TOK are supposed to foster critical thinking but many TOK teachers are unable to encourage higher order thinking in students. This is actually true for many subjects but its implications are of course felt the worst for TOK, as reflected in the average TOK grade for ACSI. Perhaps C is a good grade already considering TOK is not an easy subject, but relative to the >6.5 MSG for other subjects, C is quite poor.

This is not to say that I do not like the IB curriculum, it's just that the teaching in ACSI is actually no different than in JCs despite doing the IB curriculum, which sort of diminishes the benefits one could receive from doing IB.

Personally, I think an incredibly science inclined student (one who has no interest or aptitude in humanities and would choose ESS as a group 3 subject to avoid doing a real humanities) is better off doing the A levels. IB math and science are really easy compared to A level, and I feel a loss of opportunity in not being able to learn H3 stuff that is only available to A level students.
In addition to the group 3 subject, there is also English Language and Literature or English Literature to contend with. I also think that it's more worth learning a science SL than humanities SL. A science or math SL is really way easier than their HL counterparts, but there is not too much difference between humanities SL and HL. As such, if one only desires a holistic education for the sake of a holistic education but without much interest in humanities, I do not recommend doing IB. If one thinks one can start to think more critically upon doing IB, think carefully before really enrolling in IB. Do take into account the context of a Singapore education system.

For me, I think my greatest gain from doing IB is learning to write lab reports and a science research paper. My teachers didn't really guide me in doing these, so my takeaway is really the result of the IB system itself. My next greatest gain would be improving my communication skills. This I have to attribute to my amazing literature teachers and TOK teacher. If one gets a good teacher, one can really reap much benefits, whether doing A levels or IB.



Thanks for sharing :) may I know which are the subjects that you are taking?You are from ACSI?

kitty2
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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby sparks » Mon Jan 06, 2014 1:25 pm

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, twilight. It's insightful.

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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby DadOfGirl » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:37 pm

guaigirl24 wrote:you can go for the open houses too to find out more about the IB from the schools.
not sure when ACSI's one is , but SJI Senior School (IBDP launched last year) open house is 15 January, 10am-3pm at their Bishan holding site



SJI already moved to Holding Site? Does it mean lower L1R5 cut off for this year IB...Last year was 9-2(7) ... Will it be possible to that it will be 10-2(8)

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Re: Alevels or IB

Postby nelly » Sat Jan 11, 2014 12:37 pm

thank you all for your insightful replies! i will see how my results goes before making my final decision

nelly
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