IB Diploma Programme FAQ

About IB

What is IB DP?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB DP) is a complex 2 year secondary school programme of study. Successful candidates obtain an IB Diploma which is a school leaving certificate recognised by universities worldwide. 

What is the educational philosophy of the IB DP?

Students at IB DP not only gain knowledge from the excellent range and breadth of academic subjects they choose, but they also extend their skills in critical thinking, time management, develop  an awareness of global issues and grasp the importance of being a lifelong learner. The IB DP curriculum expects students to become internationally minded and to care for the world they live in.

As part of their education, students complete the CAS programme (Creativity, Action and Service), which is at the heart of the IB DP.  CAS encourages students to develop their creativity, physical endurance and social responsibility.

The philosophical concept of the IB is underpinned by the TOK component (Theory of Knowledge), which is omnipresent in each area of academic studies.

Last but not least, students will learn how to work at a very high academic level by writing an Extended Essay over the two years of study, which is excellent preparation for success at university.

Why IB at Park Lane?

We believe that the quality and strength of the programme is grounded in the holistic approach towards the education of young people today. As such, the programme represents the values we strive to support and develop in our students, in order to prepare them to become successful citizens in a changing world. Furthermore, the IB DP is a highly academically challenging programme, which opens doors to universities worldwide and is excellent preparation for further academic success.

How is the IB DP related to the MUN or DofE?

By participating in projects such as DofE or MUN, the student is not only able to develop and learn new skills, but participation in these activities aligns very well with IBDP in that both aspects develop leadership skills, encourage students to learn a new skill, promotes physical activity and inspires care for the community. 

Participation in MUN or DofE is also beneficial to students when making university applications, as universities nowadays seek not only academically strong candidates, but also socially responsible, organised team players and leaders.

How does Park Lane support their students at IB DP?

There is a wide range of support mechanisms available from class teachers and subject leaders (who monitor the overall progress of students in their subjects), to the Key Stage coordinator (who supports students pastorally). Each student’s performance is monitored throughout the course and intervention procedures take place when needed, as described in each departmental handbook.
Additional support comes from the IB coordinator, Director of Studies, the Careers Adviser, and the IB also has mechanisms in place to provide support to schools.

When do students begin the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB DP at Park Lane starts in Year 12.

Can the IB DP be studied externally?

It is not possible to study the whole programme externally, however it is possible to take a Group 1 subject as a Self Taught subject. This means that a student attending an IB World school which does not offer his or her mother tongue in the range of Group 1 languages, can still study his/her mother tongue as part of the IB Diploma Programme under special circumstances. Details of such arrangements are individually set by the internal policies of each IB World school.

Do I need to sign my child up to a Czech secondary school in parallel with Park Lane, or after he or she finishes their compulsory education?

At the end of Y10, Czech students at Park Lane will have completed their compulsory education – there is no need to sign them up with a Czech secondary school. Students at Park Lane will have their compulsory secondary education covered by the IGCSE and IB programmes.

IB subjects and subject choices

How many subjects do students study at IB DP?

Students at Park Lane will choose 6 subjects, one from each of the following five groups:

  1. their best language
  2. additional language(s)
  3. the social sciences
  4. the experimental sciences
  5. mathematics

In addition, students must also choose either an arts subject from group 6, or a second subject from groups 1 to 5. Subjects can be taken at either higher level or standard level.

Apart from the academic side of the programme, students will be required to complete the Core curriculum, which includes writing an extended essay, studying the Theory of Knowledge course and completing the CAS requirements (Creativity, Action and Service).

When do students choose their subjects?

Students will choose their subjects in the middle of Y11. Subject choices, related procedures and more details about the IBDP will be presented and explained in detail to parents and students at the Subject Choices evening in Y11. Each student will have an opportunity to discuss his or her subject choices individually with the IBDP coordinator, Director of Studies, Key Stage 4 coordinator and the Careers adviser.  

When should you start thinking about IB DP?

It may be a good idea to start thinking about the IB Diploma prior to the IGCSE subject choices, as some subjects at IGCSE may be a prerequisite for entry into the subject at IB. However, in cases where the subject doesn’t exist at IGCSE but is offered in IB, the individual student’s overall achievement at IGCSE will be considered and the IB DP coordinator, Careers adviser, Director of Studies and the KS4 coordinator will offer further guidance.

Remember though that the two year IB programme is an independent course of study and as such it should not be seen as a continuum to the IGCSE programme only. Therefore students are relatively free to choose their subjects according to their needs.

What is the Literature A: Czech subject?

It is a demanding course based on 13 works of Czech and world literature. Students explore various works from many different angles and learn how to analyse and interpret texts in general. They explore literary features used in texts and compose analytical essays and oral presentations on various topics. The course develops skills in critical thinking and analysis, social adeptness and communication and develops their appreciation of a writer’s choices. Classroom teaching methods emphasise teamwork and collaboration whilst empowering students to be independent learners.

If I want to know more, who shall I speak to?

The first point of contact regarding anything relating to IB, is the IB DP Coordinator, Mr. Jan Čihák. Please contact him at

IB and Assessment

How is IB assessed?

Students will complete internal assessments throughout the entire course of study. They will sit various oral exams in the languages subjects, as well as complete field studies and assessed projects in the sciences and humanities faculties. In May of their second year of IB, students will sit written exams in all subjects as part of their external assessment. This exam period lasts for about three weeks and papers are externally marked by qualified IB examiners. Some pieces of work done internally over a longer period of time (e.g. the Experiment study in Psychology) will be teacher assessed but moderated by an external IB examiner.

What if I fail the IB DP exams, can I repeat?

If for some reason a student fails their Diploma, they may re-sit the exam on the component that was failed, in November of the same year or in the following May. Another option is to request a re-mark from the exam board.

Will the Czech students sit both IB exams and Maturita?

Students at Park Lane with Czech citizenship will not sit the Maturita but must take the Literature A: Czech, Higher level exam as one of their IB subjects.

IB DP and Universities

What are the opportunities for IB DP graduates when making applications to universities abroad?

IB Diploma Programme is a secondary school leaving certificate recognised and respected by universities worldwide. Students with an IB Diploma are likely to enroll in top universities across the globe.

How can I make sure that my portfolio of IB DP subjects caters (mostly) to my university aspirations?

Subject choices will be partially influenced by the intended field of study at university. It is not entirely necessary to be 100% sure about your future studies before you start the IB DP course, however it’s good to have a rough idea of what you want to study at University so that the combination of subjects chosen for IB reflects your future intentions. Therefore, select subjects at IB carefully and with consideration for your future goals and intended field of study at university. Some universities and some areas of study expect a certain combination of IB DP subjects or a certain minimum achievement of points in selected subjects (and overall). This is a very individual issue which should be discussed during the subject choices process and in conjunction with the Careers adviser and IB coordinator.

Do the Czech universities accept the IB Diploma Programme? Is it possible to pursue studies at universities in the Czech Republic without Maturita?

In order to apply to the Czech universities students will need to present a certificate of completed secondary education, which the IB Diploma Programme fulfils. At the moment successful applications depend on the university and the field of study – universities may require a “nostrification” (validation of the IB Diploma for the Czech Republic) or they may accept students without such validation.

Detailed information about nostrification can be found here:


The IGCSE Program

Why do we need the IGCSE exams, isn’t the IB Diploma Programme enough?

Many successful IB schools use Cambridge IGCSE exams as a standardised measure of student achievement at the end of Year 11. This standardised assessment helps Park Lane ascertain student ability in order to ensure that they are able to meet the demands of their intended path through the IBDP. For example, if a student does not achieve a very high grade in IGCSE mathematics, the school would suggest they do not attempt to study Higher Level mathematics at IB DP.

How many subjects do students choose for the IGCSE exams and how does the IGCSE work?

At Park Lane the core IGCSE curriculum comprises 6 subjects: English Language and English Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Mathematics. Students then choose 4 subjects from our option blocks. The option blocks are created with the needs of the individual cohort in mind, and after considering any curriculum changes in the Cambridge International Examinations or in the IB. In exceptional circumstances, it is sometimes possible for a student to take on an additional IGCSE through our ECA programme. For example, in November 2017, three of our very able students studying French will complete the French IGCSE, having studied the extra content through an ECA.

Can I decide for my child not to sit the IGCSE exams?

No. The Key Stage 4 curriculum at Park Lane is based on the Cambridge IGCSE. A student’s IGCSE results will form the basis of the entry requirements into the IB Diploma and will inform those subject choices. Therefore, not sitting the IGCSE examinations may limit a student’s Diploma pathway.

I want to know more about IGCSE, who should I speak to?

Our Subject Leaders are able to provide an overview of each course and answer subject-specific questions. The Director of Studies will be able to answer general questions related to the Options process and the curriculum in general.