I BE Doing IB For What Reasons

Breanna Huynh
Feature Editor

An inside look on whether or not the IB program is worth it.  

     There are many things in life that can ruin one’s high school experience. This may be trauma, mental illness, or a death of a loved one. However, ask some current IB student at Mission and the first thing they’ll think of is IB. 

     IB (International Baccalaureate) is a program offered at Mission, starting junior year, that is more academically rigorous and demanding than that of AP (Advanced Placement). 

     What makes it different is that it is international, meaning that an IB diploma is recognized around the world. So, if you’re not planning on going to school in the UK or elsewhere, is it even worth doing? 

     If you’re looking for endless nights of homework, studying, and writing essays then IB is definitely worth considering. Okay but in reality, there are some positives to doing this program. 

     One of the 20 senior students in IB, Shelby Mills, says that by doing IB, she has learned a lot such as realizing that, “time management is a really challenging thing, but it is also such an important skill. Staying on top of your work is one of the biggest keys to success in IB.” 

     Similarly, others have shared similar thoughts. Emily Brown, another senior, strongly advocates for the IB program but emphasizes that, “be prepared for it and don’t go in without knowing that it’s a commitment and will take up a lot of your time” for those considering joining the program in the future. 

     While AP depends on passing an exam in May, IB is more well-rounded in terms of what counts for getting your IB diploma. Besides preparing and studying for the end of the year exams, full diploma IB students are required to fulfill their CAS (creativity, activity, and service) hours. 

     You can fulfill these 150 hours by doing various activities that fall under those categories such as learning a new recipe, joining a sports team, or tutoring kids in your neighborhood, which is all done outside of school and falls on the responsibility of the student. 

    However, CAS was the least of our worries as February came and our workload, which consisted of writing the dreaded EE (extended essay) and back to back IA’s (internal assessments) which became absolute hell for the first few months of senior year. 

     “It was especially hard at the time of all the IA’s [because] it was difficult to manage my time with so many different projects going on all at the same time,” Mills explained as she is also involved in many other extracurriculars such as choir, volleyball, church, and Girl Scouts. 

     This is why senior, Delia Redman, is extremely anti-IB. She is not in IB but has taken AP classes her entire high school career and has made it her mission since sophomore year to persuade her friends and her peers to not take IB. 

     “My main reason is that the school has the IB and AP system so there’s  no opportunity to focus on either and you end up with just a bunch of exams at the end of the year,” Redman comments. 

     It is doable to do both IB and AP but in my personal experience, as someone who has been in the program since junior year, it is true that the school doesn’t do the best job in balancing the two programs. 

     The bulk of the IB exams we have to take is during our senior year and most of these courses are HL (higher level), indicating knowledge of a subject studied for more than a year. However, these classes are usually taught your junior year, but we take these classes our senior year at Mission. 

     This is because AP Literature is typically taken during junior year and if IB was done like how it was done at other IB schools, we would’ve started TOK (Theory of Knowledge) our junior year but because of how our school is structured, it interfered with the AP program. 

     That being said though, it wasn’t that bad when looking back at it, even though it might have seemed terrible in the moment.

      It definitely helped with the teachers that were heavily involved in the program says Sophia Kopp who glady shares that “Mrs. Beaman and the people made it better. You get a closer connection with your teachers, which I really appreciated.”  

     So, is IB worth it? Overall, I do think that if you’re willing to commit to spending hours outside of school doing more school and wearing the gold robes at graduation, it’s worth a try. 


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