Students already at BISB
Generally speaking, students who have completed Year 11 with us and have gained 5 IGCSEs at grade C or better will be accepted on to the IBDP. Each course sets a minimum entry requirement which, in most cases, is a B grade at IGCSE. The exception is Mathematics, with recommendations of a minimum C grade for Mathematical Studies, an A for Standard Level Mathematics and a C grade at Additional Maths for Higher Level Mathematics to complete these courses successfully.
Where a student has not studied a particular subject before at IGCSE, or under another examination system, it is sometimes possible to start that subject in the IB from scratch. You should look at the course guide booklet for details for each subject.
Some subjects are not offered at IGCSE and so students must gain a B grade in a related subject. This applies to Economics and Psychology. Spanish is offered as an ab initio course at Standard Level. This means that students should not have studied that subject in school previously.
We would like to stress, however, that should a student not meet the minimum entry requirements, either for the IB Diploma in general, or for a specific subject, we will look carefully and considerately at a student’s circumstances, attitude and academic record. We know that some students fall short of what they are capable of, perhaps because they started IGCSE part way through Key Stage 4, and
we appreciate that sometimes students do less well than expected in examinations. In these cases, it is possible for a student to retake the required IGCSE examination(s) in the November of Year 12. We might also accept a student on a provisional basis for IBDP.
There are two main reasons why we need to set an entry level. The first is that the IB Diploma programme is demanding and our experience tells us that students need a strong academic basis of the sort IGCSE provides to be able to make a success of the course.
The second is that IGCSE grades are becoming increasingly important in university applications, especially to universities in the UK where many of our students apply. IGCSE grades are the only externally-assessed record of academic achievement universities have at their disposal from IBDP students when they consider applicants in the autumn of Year 13. So, the better these results, the more impressive the application will be. These are both strong reasons why good IGCSE grades are so important.
Students from other schools
Much of the section above applies, especially to students coming to the BISB from similar examination systems. A good command of English is essential; we would request that prospective students sit
an English language assessment prior to enrolment since the ability to speak, write, read and listen effectively in English is so important in making a success of the IB Diploma. A Maths assessment will also be sat to decide on the appropriate level of Maths to be taken.
In addition to this, we require copies of the last two school reports, plus evidence of any public examinations which have been taken. We may ask prospective students to sit other placement
tests in some subjects so that we will be in a better position to be able to advise them about which choices would be the most advisable. Prospective students would have an interview with the Head of Secondary and/or the IB Co-ordinator to work out the most suitable choice of subjects and levels to be taken on the IBDP.
We have welcomed many students to the school at this stage of their education both from abroad and from Slovakia. Our existing students are very empathetic and make every effort to make new students feel part of the school very quickly.
Here are some statements from former students who were new to BISB when they joined the IBDP:
Potential students should bear in mind that the IBDP is challenging academically and will require commitment and determination to succeed. Throughout the two-year programme we shall, of course, offer our full support and guidance to students, but it is they who need to develop the skills and qualities needed to succeed – the very characteristics needed to be accepted by universities and to make a success of undergraduate life. The IBDP is not something done to students, but with them. The support that we give students in terms of monitoring progress and mentoring the students is all organised in each students’ Personal Success Plan.