When deciding which JC to go to, I compared the differences between the A Levels and IB and looked at what I thought would be best suited for myself. Here are the three main differences I took note of:
No doubt, IB does have some group work and it’s always helpful to study with your friends etc., but the most major distinction is between EE/TOK/IAs and Project Work. For me, I’d rather count on my own efforts in producing graded work so that I can have full control. Being forced to work with a group of people I might never have met before and was an unpleasant prospect. On the flip side, many of the IB assessments require lots and lots of individual hard work which also scares me, but I would rather go through that knowing that what has been done is solely what I have done.
Prefer constant grading or an all-or-nothing final paper?
Graded work such as Internal Assessments do help me in coping with the terrors of the final exam. In A Levels, papers virtually count as 100% of your final grade. In IB, coursework that would in done in the two years do help in easing the stress of the final exam, reducing its weightage in the final grade. It’s still a considerable percentage, but IAs do take up quite a fair bit, and you can easily secure marks for them if you put in the effort. Although some nights you’ll have to stay up late to complete your IAs so you can meet the deadlines, working on them has helped me to revise my work; or for example in Econs, it showed me the relevance of what I study in class to the real world. This decision all boils down to how you prefer to work, whether you’d prefer to be focused only on the final exam, or prefer to put in consistent hard work.
In ACSI, we have most of our lessons in classrooms and only have lecture/tutorial based classes in TOK. Though for certain subjects we do have lectures, most of the teaching is done in the classroom, unlike in JC. Lectures are definitely not my style as I have a tendency to start playing on my phone, using my comp, etc. I prefer the classroom environment where teacher-to-student ratio is much smaller. Having a kind of rep with the teachers is wonderful as you’ll require a lot of help from them and it is far easier to ask questions and whatnot when you know them/they know you better. This is a crucial distinction as in the A Level stream you’ll have to quickly adapt from the secondary school classrooms to the JC lectures.
These 3 key points guided me to make the decision to come to this school. Do take into account that I’m naturally biased towards IB as I’ve no experience in the A Levels. Either way, I hope this article has helped you widen your scope of knowledge so you can make an informed choice!