Study International Baccalaureate (IB) in Malaysia 2022

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International Baccalaureate or IB is currently gaining fast recognition from numerous universities worldwide. It is a pre-university programme that originated in Geneva, Switzerland in the 1960s. Through this programme, students are prepared to enter university level through a curriculum that gives them the opportunity to earn a well-recognised diploma. 

Students may take IB Programmes after completing their SPM or O-Level examinations. The duration of this programme is approximately 2 years and is relatively known for being a rather challenging syllabus as it necessitates students to study a broad spectrum of subjects.

What are the Differences Between IB and A-Levels?

While it is often compared to A-Levels, some view IB programmes as a more well-balanced variation of the latter. Both of IB and A-Levels are well respected and accepted academic qualifications in universities, but it ultimately goes down to which would suit you best.

To make it easier to for you to digest and compare, here is a table that shows you the similarities and difference between the two:




Duration of Programme

24 months

15-24 months

Number of Subjects

Total of 6 subjects

Minimum 2-3 subjects

Types of Subjects

  • Language & Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  • Individuals & Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Mathematics
  • Economics
  • English Literature
  • Business 
  • Psychology
  • Computer Science

Compulsory Programme

Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay*



Internal + External Assessment + Core (TOK & EE)

100% exam based

Grading System

Point system

  • 45 points

A* (Highest)

For more information on the duration, assessments, and compulsory programmes, contact us now!

*The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is an interdisciplinary course that serves the purpose of encouraging critical and creative thinking from both inside and outside a classroom. In IB, this assessment will take place based on a 1200 – 1600 word essay alongwith a presentation.

The Extended Essay (EE) requires you to write a 4000-word research paper based on a topic of choice in any of the IB subjects you have studied. This module is designed to encourage you to hone independent research skills. 

What Do You Learn in an IB Diploma?

On top of the core elements you would need to take in IBDP, you would need to choose at least one subject from the following six subject groups as seen in the table below:



Subject list

Subject description

Group 1

Studies in Language and Literature:

This group offers you a variety of texts upon which you may be able to learn and appreciate a language’s complexity.

Language A: literature

55 languages

Language A: language and literature

17 languages

Literature and performance (SL only)*

3 languages

Group 2

Language Acquisition:

This group promotes an understanding of other cultures through the study of their language. 

Language ab initio (SL only)*

12 languages

Language B

23 languages

Classical languages

2 languages

Group 3

Individuals and Societies:

This group provides you with an opportunity to develop a critical appreciation of human behaviour and the history of social and cultural structures.

  • Business Management
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy
  • History
  • Economics
  • Environmental systems and societies (SL only)*
  • Global Politics
  • Information Technology in a Global Society
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology
  • World Religions (SL only)*

Group 4


This group provides you with the opportunity to explore the theories and concepts that are needed to understand scientific methods. 

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Computer Science
  • Environmental Systems and Societies
  • Sports, Exercise, and Health Science

Group 5


The aim of this group is directed towards developing mathematical knowledge, logical and critical thinking, as well as refining powers of abstraction and generalisation. 

  • Further Mathematics HL
  • Mathematical Studies SL
  • Mathematics SL
  • Mathematics HL

Group 6

The Arts:

The subjects of this group is design to foster reflective practice that is meant to help you understand the nature of the arts, as well as explore the diversity of arts on top of learning how to express yourself through artistic methods.

  • Dance
  • Film
  • Literature and Performance
  • Music
  • Theatre
  • Visual Arts

For more information on the subjects, requirements, and SL*, do contact us now!

Should You Opt For IB or A-Levels?

A-Level is most suitable for students who already have a clear preference and aptitude for specific subjects. It is because of this freedom to choose your own subjects, and the lesser number of topics to focus on, A-Level is able to provide you with a deeper understanding and gain in-depth knowledge in your chosen subjects. So, if you are comfortable with 100% exam-based assessments, and gaining deeper knowledge in a few chosen subjects, then A-Levels is best suited for you.

On the other hand, the IB Diploma approach offers you a different assessment method with a wider range of subjects for you to explore. It is considered more challenging than A-Levels as it largely promotes the method of critical thinking and learning how to link the relationships between various subjects through logic. The broad range of subjects in IB gives students a chance to be more well-rounded.

Ranging between learning new languages, gaining knowledge in the world of science and art, as well as community service will be able to assist you in gaining a balanced educational experience. Not to mention that the IB Diploma programme teaches you to be more independent and mindful of your time management skills as you prepare for an intensive study in the 6 subjects provided. It is less about teaching you to learn another subject, but also ensuring that you are well prepared for the path you’ll have outside of a classroom. IB provides you with the advantage of keeping your options open to learning new things outside of your interests as you develop knowledge on a wider level of topics. If maintaining a breadth in your choice of subjects and to be working in a structured environment is what you feel best suits your studying methods, then the IB programme just might be what is best for you! 

Unsure if A-Levels or IB Diploma is the best option for you? Book your free consultation session with our experienced consultants today!

Where Can You Study International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma in Malaysia?

Fairview International School, Kuala Lumpur

Fairview International School is currently offering an IB Diploma Programme for students who are interested in learning this curriculum. It is well known to be one of Malaysia’s largest networks of IB World Schools, making it also well recognized as the oldest and largest IB school in the country. 

As an international school, Fairview has also been well known for being an affordable option. With its excellent academic results, distinguished educators, accessible scholarships, and the cultural diversity of being an international school, Fairview makes a competent and great option for you to pursue your IBDP in!

Should you have any further enquires, do contact us now!

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About The Author

Karisse Hannah 

Journalism and Advertising major. Passionate about reading and writing, and an advocate for the truth.

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