An Overall Introduction To The IB Diploma And How IB Tutoring Can Help

Fully recognised by top universities across the world, the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a high-quality programme for students between 16 and 19 years old. What IBDP aims for is not only to help students to acquire excellence in breadth and depth of knowledge, but also to improve their abilities of independent and critical learning. A study shows that IBDP students have demonstrated to be more capable in handling demanding workloads and time management. It may make people to wonder if the competition would be very severe and difficult for kids to succeed, particularly who have no previous experience in this approach. But it is important to note that through training at school and IB tutoring, most IBDP students have been admitted into world’s top universities.

It is crucial to have a clear overview of how IBDP is structured. There are three core elements and six subject groups. Aiming at improving students’ ability of critically thinking about what they have learnt at school and applying that knowledge beyond class to examining real situations or analysing other texts, the three core elements are Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay as well as Creativity, Activity, Service.

Theory of Knowledge (TOK):

Students are trained to think about what the nature of knowledge is and how we develop the knowledge of what we think we know. It often involves philosophical reading and writing on crucial concepts and understanding of classic debates on humanity, morality, economy and etc. Topics of Theory of Knowledge could be “To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past? Consider with reference to two areas of knowledge”, “There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge”, “The task of history is the discovering of the constant and universal principles of human nature.”

Extended Essay (EE):

Allowed to freely choose the area they are interested in, the subject they have solid knowledge or what they plan to study at university, students should conduct individual research and write a 4000-word (or 4800 Chinese characters) research paper. For students who have particular interest in literature, the topic could be “An analysis of the costume as an reflection of inner reality of female characters in Eileen Chang’s early short stories”, or “a comparative reading of Lo Live and its film adaption in the context of Post-socialist China”. For students deciding to study science at university, they may consider topics like “The effects of sugar-free chewing gum on the pH of saliva in the mouth after a meal”.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS):

CAS requires students to go beyond academic studies and to participate in various activities. This part is not formally assessed but students need to reflect on their CAS experiences and to prove that they have achieved what CAS expects from them. Generally, the three strands of CAS means that students should participate in the activities that improve creativity such as arts, creative writing; they also should put efforts in physical exercise to lead a healthy lifestyle along with other academic work within IBDP; they are expected to make contributions to an unpaid exchange experience as volunteers. Through those activities students could develop good communication skills with people and collaboration spirit as part of a team.

While TOK, EE and CAS help students to go beyond class and explore knowledge through various and creative approaches, the six subjects are what they should devoted most of their school time studying and preparing for examinations. The six subjects are Studies in Languages and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, and The Arts. To fully discover diversified talents and fulfill different plans for further development, IBDP gives students freedom to choose among different levels of courses that match him or her best and hence makes the learning process more personalized.

Studies in Languages and Literature

Students should take at least one subject from this group. For students who wish to obtain a bilingual diploma, they should take two subjects. This group of subjects provides students with a very broad range of texts and guides students to appreciate literature works from various perspectives, to improve skills in writing literary criticism, to get familiar with important theories and literary genres, and to develop abilities of looking at cultural phenomenon, and to explore some linguistic knowledge behind the languages we use in daily life. While they may have some particular interest in a certain language, but generally students should take the language that they are competent. There are three subjects for students to choose from: Language A: Literature, Language A: Language and Literature, and Language and Performance. Except Language and Performance which is conducted in English (unless by special request in Spanish or French), Language A: Literature and Language A: Language and Literature are available in 55 languages.

Language Acquisition

Students are required to take at least one subject from this group. The teaching goal of this subject is to promote understanding of another culture through training in languages. This group provides Modern Language: Language ab initio and Language B, and Classical Languages

Individuals and Societies

Students should take one subject from the six academic areas in this group. This group of subjects enables students to have a better understanding human behaviours and how modern society works from multiple perspectives. Social phenomena including economics, politics, culture would be discussed in classes. Subjects listed in this group are Business Management, Economics, Geography, Global Politics, History, Information Technology in a Global Society, Philosophy, Psychology, Social and Cultural Anthropology

Business Management

With the purpose of introducing business management theories and other tools frequently applied in viewing business management cases, this subject teaches students to explore business activities in both local and international level. It shows basic knowledge of finance, accounting, management, the history of business development and shows students how to make business decisions critically. This subject is available in both Higher Level and Standard Level.


This subject teaches students economic theories and methodologies with training in both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Available in both Higher Level and Standard Level, students will study microeconomics, macroeconomics, international economics and development economics. While Standard Level students are assessed by take two examinations, Higher Level students are assessed by three.


The goal of geography teaching is to provide academic training in both natural and human geography, showing them how nature influences human activities and how human reshaped the appearance of nature. Students will also study environment protection, sustainable management and how to analyze challenges and crisis that we face today. This subject provides both Higher Level and Standard Level courses, both will cover some core themes and optional themes while Higher Level students have extension topics to study.

Global Politics

This subject talks about crucial political concepts including power, human rights, international relations, and equality. Students will learn how to look at political issues from a global perspective and to analyse how one single political issue would have wide impact on the world. Available in both Higher Level and Standard Level


Studying history not only trains students to analyse what happened in the past but also to understand issues and human activiti