There is no answer to this question that applies to everyone: the choice to do IB (or not) is one that must be made based on personal circumstances, hopes for the future, aspirations, etc. However, to help you make the decision, here are things that you should consider:
1. University/college choices – If you already have a good idea (or even just a vague one) of what you want to study after high school and where you intend to study, then you should look at how the IB will help you to get there. Go to the website of all the relevant universities and see what their recogtion of IB is. Some offer extra credit or bonus ranks for completing the diploma (or specific IB subjects). Look at how they translate an IB score, compared to the local education system. What score would you need to get into your preferred courses? Do you think you could get that score? Sometimes, a university might not recognise IB at all (though this is rare). If possible, contact someone from the university to clarify these details. They might be making changes to their IB recognition between the time that you start and finish IB, which might affect your ability to get in. Do your research.
2. Career choices – How could doing the IB help you in your future career? Many employers will not look at your high school results, but on the rare occasion, they might. Do you intend to study or work overseas? (If yes, IB will help you improve your cultural understanding, abilities in a second language and make you more globally minded – this is a good thing). Does the IB school you will attend offer subjects that will be relevant to your career (i.e. if you intend to be an actor, do they offer drama?).
3. Time management – Your ability to manage your time – not your IQ – is the key thing that will decide how well you do in the IB. You should NOT think “Oh, I’m not that smart, I couldn’t do the IB.” I can tell you from experience that you can get excellent results in the IB without being the cleverest person in your class. Even if you aren’t very good at keeping up to date with homework now and tend to procrastinate, don’t fret too much. If you really want to do well, then you will have plenty of opportunity in the IB to develop your skills in this area. All you need is a commitment to work hard and manage your time as best you can. During my time at an IB school, I saw students who never handed in work on time, who later changed their attitude and did well in the end. Conversely, I knew students who were much smarter than me, yet got lower results because they wasted their time and never tried to change their ways. Are you prepared to work on breaking your bad habits?
4. Personal Circumstances – This category includes a number of things. Do you have somewhere to study (a desk, somewhere reasonably quiet and free of distraction?). Do you have access to the internet, libraries and a computer for doing assignments? If you don’t have these things at home, is there somewhere nearby where they can be found (i.e. computer labs in your local library, a relative or friend’s house where you can study?) Just because you have personal troubles or a distracting circumstances at home, it doesn’t make it impossible for you to successfully complete the IB.
Once you assess all these factors, it should be fairly easy to make your decision about the IB. Personally, despite various personal troubles during my time in the IB, I still think it was worth it to do the diploma. The course is difficult, I procrastinated often, but in the end I pulled through, worked hard and got excellent results. It is hard, but more rewarding that I thought. If you want any more information or still can’t decide, don’t hesitate to email me and ask – firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also wish to read the following: