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IP vs IB – Which One Should My Child Choose?

With parents scrambling to secure a place in the Integrated Programme (IP) for their children, it may be easy to forget a thing or two about the program. Fret not, for we have rounded up information about the programme!

What is IP?

The Integrated Program is a 6-year long journey, allowing your child to skip over the O Levels. Once your child graduates, he or she will be rewarded with an A levels certificate, which would entitle him/her to admission to the local universities.

The academic-based Program runs intensively – students here are the top 10% PSLE scorers after all. Your child will be exposed to JC-level content in their 3rd-4th year in the programme. This may or may not boost chances of doing well in A levels, therefore, providing a seamless transition to university.

With that being said, parents should not be easily allured by the glamour and prestige of the IP. The IP drop-out rate is reportedly at 6% according to this Straits Times article. Some reasons cited as stress, or an unsuitable learning environment. Students who end up performing poorly for A levels and do not qualify for local universities would not have any O level certificate to fall back on.

Oh no! How do I know if IP provides a suitable learning environment for my child?

The IP program would suit students who enjoy a faster pace of lessons. Some students would not like how intensive the program is, preferring slower-paced lessons where they can truly enjoy learning. The IP curriculum is more in-depth. This would definitely necessitate a genuine intellectual curiosity in the content. Needless to say, consistent effort is needed in IP to keep the student’s spot in the school. This may help prevent feelings of complacency. Their most significant examination is, after all, many years down the road.  

What is IB?

The difference between IP and IB sets them worlds apart in terms of curriculum. With IB, the program is more broad, holistically encapsulating 6 academic subject groups and 3 IB-core assessments. In IP-JC, most students will be sorted into ‘Science’ and ‘Art’ streams, with a limit of what can be taken from the other ‘basket’ of subjects. Unlike the IP-JC route, it is compulsory for students to take up subjects from Studies in Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics and the Arts. The 3 IB-core assessments consist of the Extended Essay, a 3k research paper, the Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) and Theory of Knowledge. Evidently, a student in the IB program will be competent in essay-writing skills, that will prove invaluable in an essay-intensive university setting in the future. Unlike IB, opportunities like research can only be granted to students who perform exceptionally well to bring the subject up to H3. 

In a nutshell, where parents decide to place their child largely depends on their learning styles. It is imperative for parents to be familiar with their learning styles and to motivate them consistently throughout their years studying, be it IP or IB.

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