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IB Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is IB for?
The IB Diploma Programme is open to any student aged 16-19 and there are ~175,000  IB students all over the world.   The IB Diploma is a two year program that includes both Grade 11 and 12.  Students may take 1-6 IB courses during this time.

Why should I take an IB class?
IB classes are both academically challenging and balanced. These classes address the intellectual, social, emotional and physical well-being of students, and are respected by universities across the globe.   Students at IB World Schools receive a unique education within which they learn to be more independent and drive their own learning. They become more globalized citizens with the critical thinking skills to thrive in a changing world.

What is the difference between the IB Diploma and an IB Certificate?
An IB Certificate is earned by students who are taking between 1 or up to 5 IB classes.   Students who earn the IB Diploma take all 6 IB courses plus complete 3 extra "Core" courses:  Theory of Knowledge, an Extended Essay, and a course in Creativity, Activity, and Service.

How much does it cost?
There is a $250 deposit required to register for the IB Programme.  This registration fee is refunded at the end of the IB Programme when the students complete their IB courses.  The full IB Diploma Programme costs $500 per year.  For students taking individual courses the fee is $150 per course per year.  These fees cover the exam costs.  Other fees included in the IB Programme are covered by our school district.

Are there prerequisites in Grade 9 and Grade 10?
Students wanting to take the full IB Diploma, or IB French as a certificate course must have completed French 9 and French 10 at a British Columbia school or an equivalent level of French in another school system.   The Parkland IB French teacher will determine if a student’s French level is sufficient for them to be successful in the IB French class.

What if I didn’t take French or Spanish in Grade 9-10?
IB offers an online introductory language course called Ab Initio in either French, Spanish, or Mandarin through a company called Pamoja.   This course begins during Grade 11 and finishes in May of Grade 12 and meets the language requirement of the IB Diploma.   Families are responsible for paying the cost of this online course, ~$1300 CAD.   More information can be found at

How else can I prepare before Grade 11?
Parkland Secondary offers IB English Prep classes in both Grade 9 and Grade 10 to familiarize students with the IB learner attributes and focus on key research, writing, and inquiry skills that are applicable to all of the Grade 11-12 IB courses.

How do I apply?
Application is available at any time and feel free to contact the IB Coordinator, Erin Stinson at or the IB Head of School, Kal Russell at with questions.   Generally, applications are submitted between January-March for the following school year.   Students moving to our area after the March deadline or during the summer are encouraged to contact the Head of School and apply.   

Can the full diploma be taken online?
No, IB does not allow this.   Face to face learning, collaboration with peers and teachers, and cross-curricular learning opportunities over the two-year courses are key aspects of the program and not available in the online forum.

Do universities recognize the IB Programme?  
Yes!   Universities worldwide recognize the integrity of the IB curriculum and actively recruit IB students into their programs.   IB students are much better prepared to be successful in their first year courses and universities will often give them earlier admission and earlier course registration.   Depending on the university program and IB final grade, students may earn university credit for their Parkland IB work.

How have Parkland students done in their courses?
As a whole, Parkland students score at or above the world average in their IB courses.   

How are final papers and projects marked?
In each course, students will complete both formative and summative work that is marked by their Parkland teachers.   Some of this work is also sent to IB to be externally assessed.   Final exam papers are marked only by IB and results are available to students online in July.   For more information about assessment, please see

Who teaches the IB courses?
IB courses are taught by Parkland teachers who have years of experience in their subject area.   They have also all completed specialized training by the IB Programme to run these courses.

What IB courses are offered at Parkland?
Currently, Parkland offers French SL, English Language and Literature HL, Math Analysis and Applications SL, History HL, Biology HL, Chemistry SL, Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and Creativity, Activity, and Service.    Courses that we plan to offer in the future include: Music, Fine Art, Computer Science, Sports and Exercise Science, and Language A Self Taught School Supported Literature, Physics SL, Psychology SL.

What does SL and HL mean?
A Standard Level (SL) course is completed over two semesters, while a Higher Level (HL) course is completed over three semesters.   Parkland offers combinations of SL and HL courses that meet the IB Diploma requirements.

What if I start the IB and then change my mind?
Students are asked to complete any IB courses for the semester that they are in.  Changes are possible after that.  Sometimes students’ goals and directions change or they find their IB courses quite difficult.  We always work to develop an educational program that is best suited to each individual student.