International Baccalaureate - Bridgwater & Taunton College

Course Overview

This challenging and exciting two-year course is an internationally recognised alternative to A Levels and provides a Level 3 qualification that is accepted and highly regarded by universities and employers worldwide.

You study six subjects: three at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL). HL subjects receive four hours of tuition per week and SL subjects are taught for 2.5 hours per week. Subjects are chosen from six groups, along with a core programme of TOK (Theory of Knowledge), an Extended Essay and CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service).

You study six subjects from the following groups:

Group 1: English (compulsory)

A wide range of periods and genres are covered, enabling heightened comparative and analytical study. The HL course provides an excellent preparation for English at university, and the SL course is an impressive addition to other university applications.

Group 2: Languages (choose one)

For the non-GCSE language students, or for those seeking to learn a new language, the Ab Initio (from beginning) SL course is an excellent introduction to a new language, covering the basics through topics such as family and firends, work and leisure, and town and country living. Residental visits are available at all levels to help develop speaking skills, and to provide valuable cultural insights; recent visits have included Paris, Berlin and Madrid.

Studying a language is a central feature of the IB, and an excellent preparation for careers in an increasingly globalised world. GCSE linguists have the opportunity to continue their studies of French or Spanishat SL, and for those considering languages at university,HL study is available.

Group 3: Humanities (choose one)

This focuses on modern history, with a diverse range of topics investigating themes of international relations, war and peace, revolutions, dictatorships, and independence movements. At either level, students develop highly transferable skills such as the ability to research complex material, analyse sources, and produce well-argued extended essay writing. HL study is an excellent preparation for history, law, politics, and international relations at university, and SL study provides a highly respected addition to all university applications. It is not essential to have taken GCSE history.

Research, analysis and experimental skills are developed at both HL and SL. Psychology at HL is an excellent preparation for the study of psychology or other social sciences at university. If taken at SL or HL, it is an excellent addition to all other applications – including medicine.

This subject integrates both physical and human geography, and ensures you acquire elements of both scientific and socio-economic methodologies. It embodies global and international awareness in several distinct ways, and examines key global issues, such as poverty, sustainability, and climate change. You will consider examples and detailed case studies at a variety of scales, from local to regional, national to international.

Group 4: Sciences (choose one or both)

Biology is the study of living things, the natural world and our place in it. There is breadth and depth at both HL and SL, covering topics such as cells, genetics, ecology, evolution, human health and physiology. Optional topics are also offered, including ecology and conservation, microbes and disease. HL biology is an excellent theoretical and practical preparation for the study of biology, biochemistry, environmental science, medicine, veterinary, dentistry, pharmacy and other science-related courses. At SL, it offers a general grounding in science and the scientific method, which can be of great help with subjects such as psychology.

Please note: this subject is only available as a Group 6 option taken alongside Biology and in-place of a creative subject.

At HL, this course is highly respected by university chemistry, biochemistry, pharmacy, medicine, veterinary, dentistry, and other science-related courses. SL is available for those interested in gaining a grounding in the study of chemistry.

Group 5: Mathematics (compulsory)

Please note: Mathematics HL is not available.

Focusing on applications and interpretation, this subject provides the academic acclaim of having taken your studies of Mathematics to Level 3 in a more applied way. It supports a wide range of university options, including medicine and social sciences. The use of graphics calculators is an integral part of the course.

Group 6: The Arts (alternatively, chemistry or a second languagemay be studied in this group)

This is an open access creative course that requires no previous study of film, or prior technical knowledge of film making. Students are guided in the analysis of films, film genre, and the international film industry. They will also develop skills in filmmaking, scripting, editing, directing, and producing. Students are assessed through practical filmmaking and written coursework.

The Core (compulsory)
All students study The Core which is made up of three separate components:

CAS is at the core of the International Baccalaureate (IB) programme, and provides an important addition to the qualification. You are expected to complete the equivalent of three hours a week of CAS activities throughout the duration of the programme.

The strengths developed through the experiential learning involved in CAS – such as reflection and self-awareness – are highly valued by university admissions tutors and employers. There is an optional CAS expedition abroad each year, conducting voluntary work.

You can continue, or develop, existing activities that you are involved in, but it is expected that you will try something new. CAS activities can be specifically tailored to match your needs.

Creativity includes a wide-range of creative activities, as well as the creativity that students demonstrate in designing and implementing service projects, or in developing new skills. Students have kept creative journals, learnt instruments, appliedhennadesigns, and have made short films. They have also taught and learnt new languages, including Arabic, Latin and sign language.

Activitycan include participation in individual and team sports / physical activities, as well as taking part in expeditions and local or international projects. Previous projects have included fitness classes, playing for sports teams, teaching dance, and helping at Scouts or Brownies.

Service encompasses a host of community and social service activities, such as working with children, the elderly, people with learning difficulties, and those who are new to the country. Project work has taken place in Morocco, as well as local primary schools, forming a central feature of the service element.

At the core of the IB programme is the Extended Essay; a major piece of formally presented and structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen.

The Extended Essay promotes high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery, and creativity. It can take the form of a traditional essay or an evaluation of an experiment. University admissinos tutors are particularly impressed by the research and analysis skills developed through the Extended Essay. One example is a consideration of whether Richard III deserves his villainous reputation in history, and another explored the use of robotics in curing cancers.

A flagship element in the IB programme, the content here focuses on questions such as what counts as knowledge? How does it grow? What are its limits? Who owns knowledge? What is the value of knowledge?

In Theory of Knowledge, you have the opportunity to step back from the relentless acquisition of new knowledge, in order to consider knowledge issues. Assessment is through an exhitbition, and an applied philosophical essay. Strengths are developed through the consideration of abstract and theoretical propositions through a reflective and self-aware approach. These critical thinking skills are highly valued by university admissions tutors and employers.

Assessment Methods

You will be assessed through written and practical examinations, projects, group work, presentations, and analysis. The International Baccalaureate is graded using a points system out of 45. Three points are available for the Core and seven points for each subject at HL or SL, leading to a total score out of 45 points. UK universities give offers on the basis of points out of 45. Collectively, in 2021 BTC students achieved an average score of 35.5 points, placing them above the global average of 32. Furthermore, over half the cohort achieved 39 or above, and one student gained very high scores of 41 points.

Progression Options

This course serves as an ideal preparation for university study and provides skills that are relevant to most careers. In 2021, students progressed to prestigious universities such as Exeter, Lancaster and Plymouth to study medicine, children’s nursing and biomedicine. This course also lends itself excellently to interdisciplinary HE courses such as Natural Sciences.

Course Summary

Course Title International Baccalaureate
Entry Requirements

You need at least six GCSEs in the 9 to 5 range in a breadth of subjects including English, Maths and Science, and we recommend you have grades 9 to 7 in the subjects you wish to study at Higher Level.

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I really enjoy studying here. My lessons have a friendly atmosphere and the tutors push me to be the best I can be. Studying here has allowed me to gain the qualifications I need to go on to a degree!

Myles Fisher

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