Many parents and students are confused about what curriculum to choose in high school, keeping in mind their Study Abroad plans for college. Of course, since most – not all – IBDP pupils do travel to another country to pursue education after 12th, the schools offering this curriculum tout that IBDP is the only way, or that it offers a huge advantage in college admissions. While IBDP may offer a certain edge, it is certainly not the only way to get into a well ranked university. In this article, we’ll discuss three syllabuses: IBDP, CBSE and IGCSE, clubbing ISC and IPE under “CBSE”.

While we can argue whether CBSE is a more difficult curriculum than ISC or IPE, the fact is that all these Indian syllabuses. There are subtle differences like some streams – choice of subjects – are only offered in one and not the others. In the bigger scheme of things, I do not consider these to be make or break options. Universities around the world are well aware of the Indian curricula and know how to gauge an applicant based on their syllabus and scores.

IGCSE or Cambridge Curriculum has a Board Exam in both 11th and 12th grades, similar to ISC, for example. As the course is created and exams administered by CIE, one can assume that the curriculum is closer to what college might be like. Students who have pursued IGCSE upto 10th grade may opt, but do not need to, for IGCSE AS and A levels, as they’re called in 11th and 12th grades. AS and A Levels generally require a student to study four and three subjects respectively, but the material is quite in-depth. After finishing IGCSE 10th grade, one can continue to AS Level or switch to IBDP; but it’s always advisable to consult an expert before plunging in.

Finally, IBDP is, perhaps, more focused on overall development. It requires students to sign up for six courses from various categories, with Math, English and a second language being mandatory. Three courses must be taken at a higher level, which, similar to A Levels, can earn college credit. Where IBDP is very different from other curricula is that it has something called Theory of Knowledge, which develops students’ critical thinking, along with Extended Essay, a mini-thesis like paper of 3000 words on a never-before attempted topic or sub-topic. In addition, each of the six subjects also has a mini-project, helping students apply their theoretical knowledge to practical situations. IBDP does not have a Board exam in 11th grade, instead, there’s only one final exam conducted by the IBDP Board at the end of 12th grade.

Uwezo Learning’s advice? If you’re considering changing curricula, the best time would be while entering 9th grade and, sometimes, after having finished 10th grade. In both situations, it is better to consult an expert who is familiar with all the options.

It’s important to note that Uwezo Learning, in its 12 years of serving students, has placed wards pursing IBDP, CBSE, IPE and ISC into top universities around the world: UC Berkeley, UCLA, NYU, Johns Hopkins, CMU, Duke, Harvard, King’s College London, UCL, Durham, National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, McGill University, Waterloo and others.

We hope this article has shed some light on the various curricula and their impact on aspirations for study abroad. Feel free to visit uwezolearning.com or send email to info@uwezolearning.com and get a free 20-minute counseling appointment to erase any further doubts.