IB Exams & Diploma Requirements

  • How are students assessed through the IB?
    • Each subject is scored on a seven-point scale; the Extended Essay in combination with TOK (Theory of Knowledge) is scored on a three-point scale. The final IB Diploma is then scored out of a total of 45 points with a score of 24 and above required for an actual IB Diploma. IB Diplomas are criterion-based and not norm-referenced, which means that results are determined by performance against set standards and not by each student’s position in an overall ranked order. Therefore, the number of students gaining the top mark of seven in a particular subject does not fluctuate dramatically from year to year and the results are not subject to political interference.
  • How many IB exams are there, and when do students take them?
    • Candidates will take six IB exams:
      • one each for literature, foreign language, social science, experimental science, math, and arts
        • the arts course can be replaced by a second social science, a second experimental science, or a third language

      Of the six exams:

      • three are taken at the standard level (after a minimum of 150 teaching hours)
      • three taken at the higher level (after a minimum of 240 teaching hours)*

      Candidates are expected to take their examinations at the conclusion of the two-year Diploma Program. The IBO permits students to take one or two standard level examinations at the end of junior year upon the recommendation of the school’s IB Coordinator; however, higher level exams can only be taken at the end of the senior year.

      Higher level tests are longer and more challenging than standard level tests; these are the tests which may qualify for college credit. All examinations are administered by the high school, which is responsible for ensuring that IB standards for testing conditions are met.

      *Students are required to take English HL and History HL to meet the State of Virginia graduation requirements.

  • What scores does a student need to earn in order to gain the diploma?
    • Diploma candidates must earn a total of 24 points on their six IB examinations. A score of four is considered a passing score on an IB examination. Bonus points may be awarded for excellent extended essays and for excellent TOK work. Though every university has its own criteria, most universities which award credit for IB courses require a score of five or better on higher level exams.
  • Can an IB course be taken without taken the exam? Alternatively, can an IB exam be taken without having taken the course?
    • No for both. Students are required to take the IB exam if they are in the IB course, and part of the student’s final grade comes from work done in the course classroom.
  • Is it beneficial to take an SL examination in the junior year?
    • It depends on the individual student. If s/he is looking for an elective space in grade 12 and/or a “testing experience”, it can be beneficial. On the other hand, instruction may be too condensed to cover the material, thereby effecting a higher exam score.
IB Coordinator Contact Info

Wendy Edelman (AHS)

Jessica Orth (HHS)

Lesa Berlinghoff (LDHS)

Micah Eads (PHHS)

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