How IB works and how to prepare for it

How to understand the internationally recognised IB system

Confused about the IB (International Baccalaureate) and not sure how it actually works or whether it would be the better curriculum for you? Not to worry, join us as we take a dive into everything IB! How it's structured, how it's graded and the benefits!

What is the IB?

The International Baccalaureate, or more commonly known as the IB, is a secondary school credential founded in 1968 in Geneva, Switzerland. It was designed to provide a universal, standardised and more importantly, transferable diploma for students who would move abroad. It is now taught in over 3000 schools in 140 countries worldwide and is recognised globally by universities. In Australia, the program is offered by both public and private institutions. Some will offer a choice between IB or HSC while others designate themselves to only the IB diploma.

The IB advertises itself as creating global-minded and well-rounded students after the completion of the two-year diploma. It forces students to think creatively and work in a variety of subject areas to ensure they have the best preparation going into whatever career path they may choose.


The IB diploma consists of six core subject areas that every student is required to choose from. There is a wide variety of course options, however, your school may not offer all of them. These subject areas are:

  1. Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature (English)
  2. Group 2: Language Acquisition (Foreign Languages)
  3. Group 3: Individuals and Societies (Humanities)
  4. Group 4: Sciences
  5. Group 5: Mathematics
  6. Group 6: The Arts

All of these subjects are required, with the exception of The Arts which can be swapped out for an additional Science, Humanities, or Languages course.

IB or ATAR? Which is the best option for me?

The choice between IB and ATAR depends on a variety of factors both external and internal to the student.

Speaking from personal experience, the IB Diploma has a lot to offer. It helps you advance in independent management, creative thinking and personal development mainly through the way it is structured. If you are still unsure about whether IB is the right choice for you, consider signing up for a free 30-minute study skills consultation with one of our many expert IB tutors.

Many students in Australia choose IB because of the generous grading when converting into ATAR or simply because they are looking for a different challenge. It generally suits students who are well-rounded and can adapt to different challenges presented by the different subject groups. If you want a full detailed analysis of how IB differs from ATAR make sure to check out our blog post on that!

Continue reading...

The IB (International Baccalaureate) Diploma has a lot to offer. It helps you advance in independent management, creative thinking and personal development mainly through the way it is structured.

The IB system can be confusing and overwhelming for new students and their families. If you need help with IB studies or have specific subject-related questions, KIS Academics tutors are knowledgeable about their subjects and can assist with understanding curriculum requirements. To get a better understanding of how the IB works and how each subject affects your final score, you can refer to the resources listed below.


What are the benefits of taking IB?

The IB Diploma Programme is recognised worldwide, meaning it increases adaptability and mobility for IB students. Furthermore, the IB programme encourages students to participate in active, creative and service-oriented activities outside the classroom through their CAS requirement. Lastly, many students in year 10 are uncertain about their vocational or future career options causing them to not enrol in certain subject areas and limiting their tertiary choices. The IB Diploma requirement is that students take subjects from each area of the curriculum. IB students end high school more well-rounded and with their university degree choices boundless.

Where can I find schools in Australia that offer IB?

The IB curriculum is becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Find a comprehensive list of every school in Australia offering IB here.

Do students need to have exemplary grades to enrol in the IB for years 11 and 12?

No.  According to the IB Mission Statement, it aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people who help to create a better and more peaceful world through intercultural understanding and respect. Hence, there is no exam or formal requirement for students to undergo the IB.

Is the IB program harder than ATAR curriculums?

The course intensity will vary between students and their strengths. Both curriculums seek to prepare students for tertiary education and should theoretically be of the same level of difficulty. Some students have felt the IB to be more demanding given its added requirements (TOK, EE and CAS) but its conversion to ATAR to be a bit more generous. Furthermore, ATAR allows students to play to their strengths while IB forces students to tackle each subject area. If you are unsure of which course is right for you book a free study consultation with one of our expert IB tutors today.

Understanding the


system 🧠

The first thing we recommend you do is understand how the curriculum works. This will help you choose subjects, understand marking schemes and how it all impacts what university course you can do:

Calculating your



Once you've got an idea of what subjects you want to do and how you'll approach your studies, you can experiment with a predicted ATAR using an ATAR Calculator.

Get your


Marked ✅

In-school assessments are a common and important part of your final ATAR score. If you want an expert to look over your work and provide feedback before your teacher does, you've come to the right place!

Getting the right


resources 📚

Knowing how things work is only half the challenge. You'll need to make sure that you find the best resources available for each subject you choose to do. Here are some of the most popular resources for common subjects:
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Finding the best


tutors 🎓

The best way to improve your chance of success is by finding a great mentor or tutor. Finding a good one can be difficult, but we recommend looking for a tutor who:
1️⃣ is young and relatable so lessons are engaging
2️⃣ has a good academic record, achieved a high ATAR themselves is an expert at your subject
3️⃣ loves teaching and genuinely cares about their students.
Here are some of our most popular tutors who fulfil all three criteria themselves:

Andy Dai


Hey there! My name's Andy and I tutor students across years 5 - 12 in mathematics and years 11 & 12 in physics.

I graduated as the Dux of my high school with an ATAR of 99.95 and along the way I have picked up many different tips and tricks that have made studying mathematics and physics for me much more enjoyable and effective. My goal is to be able to share these tactics with my students and guide them through their studies, so that they can achieve the best results possible for them without having to compromise their social life or extracurricular commitments.

For me, I believe the number one attribute that constitutes an excellent tutor is their superior communication skills. A great tutor should, for example:
-engage with their students on a personal level, making learning an enjoyable and stress-free experience
-be able to explain their ideas using simple, understandable language so that the student can more easily grasp complex concepts

These are the reasons why I believe I have managed to produce such consistent results with my past students, improving not only their grades, but also their confidence and eagerness to learn.

Outside of high school and tutoring, my passion for physics and mathematics has led me to study electrical engineering at the University of Melbourne via Chancellor's scholarship and I hope to share this passion with my students as well.

Charli Horchner


Hi friends!

My name is Charli and I am studying the joint Bachelor of Medical Science/ Doctor of Medicine program at Griffith University. In my free time, I love hiking, reading, swimming, and searching for the Gold Coast's best croissants.

I graduated high school with a perfect IB score of 45/45 in the International Baccalaureate program, which is within the top 1% of scorers worldwide and translates to a 99.90-99.95 ATAR equivalent.

During high school, I was House Captain, volunteered, frequented the gym and beach, and spent quality time with friends. I also never once pulled an all-nighter. This leads me to my next point...

You may have heard of the 'academic triangle', where one must choose only 2 out of the 3 categories: studying enough, sleeping enough, or socialising enough 😱. It is my mission to disprove this!

During tutoring sessions, we will not only go through active learning exercises and master the curriculum content - we will build upon effective study skills that maximise efficiency, minimise study time, and prepare you for academic life beyond high school. 📝🌷🏃

Whether your goal is going from failing a dreaded subject to passing, or to getting that ATAR 99, I am here for you and your academic journey. High school is a stressful, high-intensity time, so let's tackle it together shall we?

Hannah Pruscino


Hi! I'm Hannah, a student at the University of Melbourne studying Biomedicine. I love all things science and understand how stressful studying can be sometimes. Throughout high school exams and now uni, I have learnt the importance of quality over quantity when it comes to studying, and that just because you spent hours looking over notes, it doesn't mean you will get a good result. I'd love to help other students master this skill and really focus on what matters.
I have plenty of tutoring experience and believe that most of the time, all it takes is to have someone explain something to you in a simple way that makes all the difference. I got an ATAR of 99.00 and would love to help other students do the same!
Outside of studying, I love playing basketball, reading murder mysteries and meeting up with friends to drink bubble tea.
Can't wait to meet with you :)

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Hello there! I'm Manoj - the founder of Keep It Simple Academics (Or KIS Academics for short).

KIS Academics is an Australia-wide tutoring company that has helped hundreds of students achieve their academic potential. Through these last few years, I've learned a thing or two about how tutoring works. Now it's my goal to grow KIS Academics and help more students across Australia achieve their dreams (and somehow complete my medical degree in one piece 😅)

In the last three years:

✅ We've helped C students get straight As.

✅ We've helped wannabe doctors get into Australia's best medical schools

✅ We've helped students who live in rural towns gain opportunities to go to metropolitan universities.

✅ We've helped students who hate maths find their passion for it

✅ We've even helped some students get into an IVY league college.

But rather than listening to me ramble on about how great KIS Academics is, book a study skills consultation with one of our tutors and experience it firsthand!

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