Education in Spain: A Levels Vs IB Diploma

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Understanding the differences between the IB Diploma and A Levels is key to being able to make the right choice. The International Baccalaureate (IB Diploma) and A Levels have one thing in common: both are examined by tests at the end of a two-year study term. But which option is the best for students considering their options?

A Levels (short for Advanced Levels) are UK national curriculum school-leaving qualifications. Students often select three or four subjects and study for these for two years between the ages of 16 and 18.

The IB Diploma is an alternative to A Levels for students aged 16-18. It requires no specific preparation classwork so it can be pursued directly after completing GCSEs. It provides a broad curriculum comprised of six subject groups, with students typically studying three at the higher level and three at the standard level.

The IB offers studies in language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and the arts.

The A Level programme consists of distinct academics and extracurricular activities, whereas the IB Diploma programme is unique in that it is centred on a set of core competencies, abilities, and values that are critical to the development of each student. The IB takes a comprehensive approach, demanding students to study a wider range of disciplines and examine the connections between them in an international context.

The IB has remained a tried and tested method whereas the A Level standard has been altered and continues to change. A Levels are a wonderful alternative for students who have a strong interest in a particular subject, desire to capitalise on their existing talents, and are self-disciplined enough to study in a less controlled atmosphere.

The IB Diploma is appropriate for students who want to maintain breadth in their topic selection, are ready to work hard in a structured atmosphere, and can tolerate feedback on weaknesses.

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Written by

Laura Kemp

Originally from UK, Laura is based in Axarquia and is a writer for the Euro Weekly News covering news and features. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at