What if IBDP Results are not as Expected


Let us first understand theeducation system structure of IB (International Baccalaureate). There are four different programs offered at different levels for students between the ages of 3 and 19 years by this system.

  • IB Primary Years Program (IBPYP) – for students between the ages of 3 and 12 years
  • IB Middle Years Program (IBMYP) for students between the ages of 11 and 16 years
  • IB Career Related Programs – for students between the ages of 15 and 19 years
  • IB Diploma Program (IBDP) – for students between the ages of 16 and 19 years

Students in the DP program choose one subject from each of the six ‘Subject Groups’ listed below:

  • Group 1 : First Language (English)
  • Group 2 : Second Language (French, Hindi, etc.)
  • Group 3 : Individuals and Societies (History, Economics, Business and Management, etc.)
  • Group 4 : Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Environmental Systems).
  • Group 5 : Mathematics and Computer Science.
  • Group 6 : Electives (either Visual Arts or a second subject from Groups 3, 4 or 5).


Additionally, all DP students must complete a two-year Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course, work on an Extended Essay (EE), and participate in Creativity, Action, and Service (CAS).

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program uses both internally and externally assessment components to assess the student performance.

For most of the courses written examinations at the end of the DP form the basis of assessment, because of high objectivity and reliability.

External assessed coursework, completed by the students over an extended period under authenticated teacher supervision, forms a part of the assessment for several program areas, including the Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. In most subjects, the in-school assessments completed by the students are either externally assessed or marked by the teachers and then moderated by the IB examiners.

In the DP, students receive grades ranging from 7 to 1, with 7 being the highest and 1 the lowest. They receive a grade for each DP course they complete. So, the maximum score for student to achieve on the successful completion of the course is 45 – the score for each of the subject groups and for the DP core elements.

The Creativity, Activity, Service – this does not for contribute for the score, but the participation is mandatory for the award of the Diploma. The assessments are held twice a year – May and November.

Planning ahead for university admissions, you would have already applied for your dream and preferred universities, with guidance and prompts from your respective schools. And some of you would have got conditional offers from couple of institutions – offer on the condition that you meet the required IB scores.


What If Your Results are Unfavorable

There is always a lot of variability between the predicted and the achieved grades. Be proud that you survived the IB!!! Regardless of the outcome, you have overcome personal, academic, and other challenges in this two- year journey. Yet, that anticipation of the rejections in spite of the conditional offers, just because you are a few points short of required score at your favorite institutions, is indeed overwhelming. This is referred to as a near-miss.

Actually, a near-miss situation does not mean that you will get rejected and can’t get entry into your dream university.

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What You Can Do At This Moment, Without Changing Your Plans

  • Wait until mid-August –  The Cambridge A level results are not out until mid-august for that specific academic year. Universities will consider your conditional offer letters only after these A level results are out. If these A level results are not favorable and the universities have not up the remaining spaces with the applicants who have fulfilled this offer, then there will be seats available in the course for you to join. The universities will reconsider your spot and perhaps approve your application. You can email the university to let them know are still interested. The university then can either approve your application or can ask you to wait till August, when the A level results are out.
  • Re-marking of your scores – The IB has a process called ‘Enquiry Upon Results’ (EUR). The process entirely goes through your IB coordinator. Usually, the students do not opt for this process as they fear of being graded even lower than the earlier scores. But this is a best approach. If you genuinely feel that you have done your exams well and that you deserve more, than go ahead and apply for re-marking. The categories for the EUR are:

o Category 1: This is the re-marking of externally assessed material for an individual student. A fee is charged for conducting the process but is refunded if there is a change in the grade. If a student is 1 or 2 points short of a higher-grade boundary, then this re-marking option is a good option for the students and parents to consider. The student also has the option of his EEs and TOK essays re-marked under this category.
o Category 2A: This is the return of externally assessed material by component for all candidates. No grade change will result. These materials can only be seen by teachers/faculty at the IB school and the specific student.
o Category 2B: This is the return of a student’s externally assessed materials by level/subject. No grade change will result. These materials can only be seen by teachers/faculty at the IB school and the specific student.
o Category 3 re-moderation: This is the re-moderation of a school’s Internal Assessments (IA) by level/subject. This request is only acceptable when the mean of the candidates’ moderated IA marks deviates from the mean of the marks given by their teacher by at least 15% of the component’s maximum marks.

  • Applying through the clearing process – The Clearing process is for the colleges and universities in the UK and UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admission Services in the UK) and it is specifically intended for students who have not received their conditional offer letters from the university of their preference. The UCAS provides Clearing as a means of filling any remaining seats for their courses. Each year the Clearing process allocates a large number of seats for the students who have secured a near-miss results and opens at July each year. The student needs to register on the UCAS platform to again access to the course vacancies and choose an apt course. The vacancies lists are regularly listed and updated by the colleges and universities of the UK
  • Re-sitting for the exams – If the student marks are not a near-miss, then he can consider re-sitting for the exam. Re-sitting IB exams are very normal procedure after each May examination and are conducted in the month of November. Re-sitting an exam is not looked down on by the colleges or universities during the admission process. And for sure, a student can do a lot better if given a second chance.


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What is the Lowest IB Score You Can Get?

IB exams are scored on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 representing the highest score. A student must achieve a combined score of 24 points across six subjects at least 12 points from higher level subjects and at least 9 points from standard level subjects to be eligible to receive the IB diploma.

What Should You Do If you Fail IB?

All six of your academic subjects may be retaken as long as your IB World School still offers them.

What If You are Sick During IB Exam?

IB will occasionally allow a student’s work to be graded even if they missed a portion of the test.

Are IB Exams Worth Retaking?

Retaking IB can be suitable alternative, if you are disappointed with your IB results for any reason, including not receiving enough points to get the diploma, receiving lower scores than expected in a particular topic, or any other reason.

Is IB Hardest Curriculum in the World?

IB is undoubtedly one of the most difficult curricula. For instance, Maths HL has a reputation for being challenging, difficult, and tricky.

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