11 April, 2024

What's the best curriculum for your child? Exploring the outstanding strengths of the IBDP and A levels

The outstanding strengths of the IBDP and A levels | BIS Hanoi
Understanding the differences and strengths of each curriculum helps parents and students make informed decisions. Highly regarded and offering many advantages with globally recognised diplomas and qualifications, both IBDP and A-Level programmes are top choices for families interested in international education and studying abroad.

IB Programme: Holistic Education and Global Perspective 

Present in over 140 countries, the International Baccalaureate (IBDP) programme emphasises a comprehensive educational approach, focusing on intellectual, personal, emotional, and social development. The programme revolves around six subject groups, including Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, and Creative Arts.

The outstanding strengths of the IBDP and A levels | BIS Hanoi

The IB Diploma Programme is taught at British International School Hanoi (BIS Hanoi) and British International School Ho Chi Minh City (BIS HCMC).

A standout feature of the IB programme is its emphasis on global thinking and international awareness. Through the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course and activities such as Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), students are encouraged to explore connections between different disciplines, diverse perspectives, and become active global citizens eager to learn.

Additionally, the IB programme requires students to undertake an independent research project, promoting self-directed learning, critical thinking, and creativity. This holistic educational approach helps students cultivate knowledge and skills to excel in global universities while developing adaptability and success in a rapidly changing world. Excelling in the IB programme can also lead to credit exemptions at some universities, reducing study time.

A-Level Programme: In Depth and Passion Discovery

Considered the "gold academic standard of British education," the A-Level programme is taught in 130 countries worldwide, renowned for its depth, allowing students to focus on a certain number of subjects, typically three to four subjects chosen based on interests and career aspirations. This enables students to gain profound understanding of subjects and develop a solid foundation of expertise in their chosen field.

A level vs IBDP | BIS Hanoi

Students studying the A-Level programme at British Vietnamese International School Ho Chi Minh City and British Vietnamese International School Hanoi benefit from its flexibility. 

Another significant advantage of A-Levels is its flexibility. Students can actively adjust their learning journey to align with their interests, personal strengths, and future goals by selecting and pursuing subjects that match their passions and skills across various fields such as economics, science, humanities, medicine, or creative arts.

A-Level graduates receive widespread recognition and praise from many universities worldwide. The rigorous nature of A-Level courses equips students with crucial skills and knowledge such as critical thinking, analytical skills, research skills, and independent learning. Some universities may exempt credits for subjects in which students excel in A-Level exams, helping them shorten and optimize their study time at university.

Each programme has its strengths, so families need to understand their child's preferences before making a decision. Moreover, prestigious universities worldwide recognise both diplomas from both programmes, including renowned institutions like Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, Harvard and Yale in the US.

Ms Julia Paolitto, representative from the Oxford University Admissions Office, stated: "We don't compare which diploma is better because both diplomas help students get admitted, and all applications are carefully considered."

Top universities seek candidates who not only achieve high grades but also demonstrate unique qualities, such as active participation in extracurricular programmes, personal development, pursuit of passions and dreams, and meaningful contributions to the community.

In Vietnam, interested families can find both international secondary curriculum at the four premium international schools within the Nord Anglia Education organisation. Specifically, the IBDP programme is taught at the British International School Ho Chi Minh City and the British International School Hanoi, while the A-Level programme is available at the two British Vietnamese International Schools in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

Graduates from the four schools have achieved outstanding results in IBDP and A-Level exams and have gained admission to prestigious universities worldwide, including Cambridge, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, Columbia, and New York University.

A level vs IBDP | BIS Hanoi

Students from four Nord Anglia Education member schools in Vietnam participate in STEAM Week at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.

In addition to providing outstanding education quality and a team of rigorously selected teachers, Nord Anglia Education schools in Vietnam offer a unique educational journey with diverse experiences for students through partnerships with leading organizations such as MIT, Juilliard School, and UNICEF. This helps enhance students' personal profiles when applying to prestigious universities, alongside their academic achievements in the two international secondary curriculum.

Nord Anglia International Education now has more than 80 international schools in over 30 countries spanning across the Americas, Europe, China, Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East. Learn more about the four Nord Anglia Education member schools in Vietnam here.