Global Indian International School Blog

    A Guide to Selecting Subjects in the IB Diploma Programme

    Deepa Chandrasekaran
    May 22, 2021

    The IB Diploma Programme (IB DP) is a two-year, pre-university programme offered by the International Baccalaureate that aims to develop internationally-minded learners and prepares students for university life. Rigorous and academically challenging, the IB DP encourages students to become knowledgeable, to think critically, to embrace inquiry and to develop open-minded thinking, empathy and cultural appreciation.

    The subjects in the IBDP are arranged into six broad categories. The category groups include Language and Literature; Language Acquisition; Individuals and Societies; Sciences; Mathematics; and the Arts. Students can choose between the Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) within each category. SL courses expose them to a range of disciplines, allowing them to understand a breadth of different subjects and make connections between them. HL courses enable students to explore their interests and dive deeper into the subjects. They receive 150 hours of instruction for SL subjects and 240 hours of instruction for HL subjects.

    The right combination of subjects helps students maximise their strengths and forms the foundation for their future study goals and eventually their career path. It is crucial for them to select the appropriate IBDP subjects. 



    How to select your subjects in the IB Diploma Programme

    Students are advised to choose subjects that are interesting and doable - they must be prepared to study the respective subjects in-depth which will require dedicated effort and time over the two-year programme.  Students must explore and understand what each subject offers and the various topics that they have to study under the subject.  Students can refer to the IB subject guide and subject briefs to understand more about the subject.  It is important that the student has an innate interest in the subjects chosen.  

    The internal and external assessments in each subject calls for higher level thinking skills and application of knowledge that is acquired over the course of two years of the IBDP. This is quite achievable for students when they are interested and take a liking to the subject that they are studying.


    Students must review the university requirements needed. Based on the career option that the student wants to pursue, students must choose their HL and SL subjects.  Students must review the university requirements in terms of subjects and subject levels needed.  They must refer to the university websites to understand better.  IBDP subjects must be selected so that it meets the requirements listed in the university website.  For example, many universities require HL Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics at Standard Level for medical courses, but some schools insist on Mathematics at Higher Level.  

    IBDP Subjects at GIIS

    The IBDP programme at GIIS offers multiple subject options for students. The school offers these subject choices based on the students’ needs and academic goals.


    At GIIS, our students choose one subject from six main groups as outlined below. Students can eliminate a subject from Group 6 if they want to take an additional subject from Groups 3 and 4. Students will select three SL and three HL subjects in IBDP. Additionally, every student takes three core components of the IBDP: the Theory of Knowledge, Extended Essay, and CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service).

    Group 1

    English A: Language And Literature HL & SL

    English A: Literature HL & SL

    Group 2

    French Ab Initio SL

    French B: SL

    Hindi B: HL & SL

    Spanish Ab Initio SL

    Tamil B: SL

    Group 3

    Business Management: HL & SL

    Economics: HL & SL

    History: HL & SL

    Psychology: HL & SL

    Environmental Systems and Societies SL

    Group 4

    Biology: HL & SL

    Chemistry: HL & SL

    Computer Science: HL & SL

    Design Technology: HL & SL

    Physics: HL & SL

    Environmental Systems and Societies: SL

    Group 5

    Mathematics Analysis and Approaches: HL & SL

    Mathematics Applications and Interpretation: HL & SL

    Group 6

    Film: HL & SL

    Visual Arts: HL & SL

    Core Components

    Theory Of Knowledge

    Extended Essay

    Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS)

    The IB Diploma Programme at GIIS offers many benefits

    As an established international school, we’ve offered the IB Diploma Programme for students since 2005. Our experienced teachers understand and know how to deliver the rigorous academic curriculum, and we ensure students have a fulfilling and successful experience. In May 2020, three students scored 45/45 grade points, and four students obtained near-perfect scores of 44/45. Additionally, over 40% of GIIS students scored grade points of 40 and above, and 71% scored grade points of 35 and above. 

    The IBDP programme at GIIS helps students build their critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills through several academic projects, group work, research essays, and other creative activities. Students also actively participate and contribute towards service projects as part of the Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) component of the IBDP.  It’s not surprising that the IBDP at GIIS prepares students not just for university but for life as well! 

    Contact us to learn more about the IB Diploma Programme at GIIS.


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