IB Diploma Candidate

  • How to earn the IB Diploma
    Diploma Candidate Students study six courses at higher level (HL) and standard level (SL), and complete the core requirements that include the Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Creativity Activity Service (CAS).  

    1.  To be awarded the IB Diploma, the following requirements must be completed:


    Test in six different IB subject areas:

    • Group 1—Language A (English)
    • Group 2—Language B
    • Group 3—Individuals and Societies
    • Group 4—Experimental Sciences
    • Group 5—Maths
    • Group 6—The Arts*

    Three additional components:

    2. The IB exams are administered on two different levels:

    • Standard Level (SL) - one year of instruction and can be taken in the 11th or 12th grade. Traditionally, these are the subjects in which the student does not feel as strong nor are favorites.
    • Higher Level (HL) - two years of instruction in the same subject but can only be taken in the 12th grade. Traditionally, these are the subjects in which the student feels strongest and are favorites.
    • A student must have a minimum of 3 HL courses and 3 SL courses.
    • Two SL exams may be taken in the 11th grade year.
    • A student may take more than 6 IB exams; however, the additional exams will be considered “extra;” that is, above and beyond the required 6 exams. Additional subjects are not included in the diploma points total. (See Scoring, below)

    Please note: PreDP courses do not have IB exams.

    3. The Courses: Below is a list of courses that apply to each subject area and if SL or HL is offered in each:

    Group 1
    Language A
    English Language and Literature HL
    Group 2
    Language B 
    Chinese - SL / HL
    French – SL / HL    
    Arabic – SL / HL     
    Spanish – SL / HL
    Group 3
    Individuals & Societies

    Business & Management – HL 
    History of the Americas – HL 
    Economics – SL / HL 
    World Religions – SL 
    Art History SL

    Group 4
    Experimental Science
    Biology – SL / HL

    Chemistry – SL / HL                                   

    Physics – SL / HL

    Computer Science – SL / HL 

    Environmental Systems – SL
    Group 5

    Mathematics Analysis & Approaches SL/HL
    Mathematics Applications and Interpretations SL/HL

    Group 6
    The Arts*


    Dance –  HL
    Film – HL
    Visual Arts – HL
    Theatre –  HL

    Please note: Dance, Film, Visual Arts, and Theatre are two-year courses regardless of SL or HL.

    *Also fulfills the Group 6 requirement:

    • A second Group 2
    • A second Group 3   
    • A second Group 4

    4. The Scoring

    • IB exams are scored on a scale of 1 – 7. A score of 4 is considered passing.
    • Students are required to earn a minimum score of 24 points to receive the IB Diploma. At least 12 points must come from HL subjects.
    • Bonus points (3 points maximum) are awarded for “excellent” Extended Essays and TOK Papers; however, they are not included as part of the required 24 exam points.
    • The highest number of points a student can earn is 45 (42 exam points + 3 bonus).

    5. How the Score is Determined

    • The Internal Assessment (IA): the application of knowledge learned in an IB subject.
    • This may take the form of oral commentaries (English, foreign languages, theatre), written commentaries, investigation papers, projects, dossiers, etc.
    • Each IB exam consists of two or more parts (known as “papers”). With the exception of Art History and Music, the fine arts are assessed through performance review and reflections of the creative process.
    • Each component (the IA and each “paper”) receives a percentage of the overall grade. Each component is assessed by a different examiner located in a different part of the world.
    • In addition, the IB instructor is required to submit a predicted grade (PG); that is, what the instructor believes the student’s final score will be. 

    6. College / University Recognition of the IB Diploma

    A minimum of 24 hours of college credit will be awarded to any student who earns the IB Diploma and attends a public college or university in Texas.
    The student must earn a score of at least 4 on each IB exam taken for the IB Diploma. The college credit earned must be applied to the student’s degree plan unless the college/university does not have an equivalent course available. In that case, elective credit will be awarded.
    Similar legislation is in place in Florida, Colorado, California, and several other states.
    Additional college credit hours may be awarded depending on institution, number of exams, and scores.
Last Modified on April 9, 2020