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  • Writer's pictureolivershearman

IGCSE vs. MYP for IB DP?

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

This is a difficult question and one often asked in international schools globally. IGCSE? or MYP? Which of these two options is better as a preparation for IB DP?

The International General Secondary Certificate of Education (IGCSE) is a specific curriculum with set examinations with straight topics and answers. It is generally thought of as linear, comprehensive and compared to the MYP, a bit old-school. The IGCSE itself is typically run for 2 years in international schools as an intensive program to learn a broad set of subjects with summative examinations to finish the program.

The IB Middle Years Programme (MYP) is a framework that can be run in several ways, but in complete would be a 5 year programme which allows teachers to teach content and curriculum as they see fit. The MYP does not need to have examinations, but can include them if selected and if schools choose to do so. Yet the MYP examinations are more flexible in nature and try to test student thinking rather than content knowledge itself.

So... which is a better preparation for the IB Diploma Programme (DP). Unfortunately, the answer is...

it depends.

Generally speaking, IGCSE will often lead to more comprehensive and complete content coverage to prepare students before they go into the ultimate international school experience for IB DP. While the IB MYP usually provides more opportunity to do inquiry and projects in the IB-style which will help students translate requirements and understand expectations that will come with doing an IB programme.

Even teachers do not necessarily have a clear preference between the two preparatory programs. I ran a small poll on Linkedin and of 76 teachers who responded, 45 (59%) believed MYP was the better preparation while 31 (41%) felt IGCSE was a better program to get ready for IB DP.

Having taught both programmes myself and talked to many colleagues from different schools who have done so as well. I would suggest that it depends on how the programmes are taught, while IGCSE is - has - to be taught more consistently to meet the content requirements. MYP can be taught very well and cover all the content needed while also providing students with deeper thinking and inquiry related skills they need to tackle the IB DP. However, the IB MYP really depends on the teachers and school that are providing it.

No matter which you teach or take of these programs, my advice would be.

For those teaching / taking the IGCSE, look out for deeper thinking opportunities and being able to do independent inquiry wherever possible.

If you teach / take the IB MYP, then make sure you cover all content suggested for the subjects you will take before hitting the IB DP.

My final thoughts on this topic would be that IB MYP is the winner in which can be the most effective implementation to prepare for IB DP. Yet the more consistent and reliable program which always covers the same material would be IGCSE. Therefore for those with the space, resources and school structure to allow it MYP would be best. For those with more restrictive school requirements, less funding and established structure, then IGCSE would be the choice to go for I believe.

Either way and either program.

Thanks for reading.

Cheers and stay curious - The Teaching Astrophysicist

If you would like to learn more, then please feel free to look at the official sites:

OH! and if you would like to look for suitable astronomy and astrophysics questions that work for IGCSE / IB MYP level, then do consider these - link here.

(Note: This blog post was NOT generated by AI and is conceived, typed and uploaded by a real person.)

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