Frequently Asked Questions

International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme

When was the IB Diploma introduced in Bulgaria?

Zlatarski School introduced the International Baccalaureate Programme in Bulgaria in 2003. After years of rigorous preparation, planning, curriculum revision, teacher training and school authorization visits, Zlatarski School offered the programme to both Bulgarian and international students.

What is the International Baccalaureate Organization?

The International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) is an independent nonprofit educational foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland. Founded in the 1960’s, the International Baccalaureate Organization grew out of a necessity to create a common curriculum and university entry credentials for the children of internationally mobile families. The organization employs educators around the world to revise curricula, evaluate student achievement, and provide teacher training and other educational services to member schools. Please visit the IBO web site for more extensive information about the organization and its programmes.

How many schools offer IB programmes?

As of April 2005, 1,485 schools in 119 countries offer one or more of the academic programmes of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) to roughly 200,000 students. Annually, nearly 1,000 schools register candidates for the IB Diploma Programme and roughly 50,000 students are assessed.

Can I take individual IB courses, or do I have to study the whole Diploma?

Yes, you can take individual IB courses; however, the strength of the IB Diploma Programme is in the Diploma itself. Students who enrol in individual courses will receive an IB certificate noting the courses they took and the marks they earned.

What does obtaining the IB Diploma mean?

A student pursuing the full IB Diploma will take six core courses, 3 at Higher Level and 3 at Standard Level, over two years. In addition, students participate in the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) course, complete 150 hours of CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) and write an Extended Essay research paper. For each course students must complete an internal assessment and sit for externally marked exams. These exams are marked by the International Baccalaureate Organization against set standards which are consistent for all students around the world.

How is the Diploma Programme different from other high school programmes?

The Diploma Programme is a comprehensive and balanced two-year curriculum and assessment system that requires students to study courses across all disciplines. Within this structured framework, the Diploma Programme provides a great deal of flexibility, accommodating students’ interests and abilities. Through careful subject selection, students may tailor their course of studies to meet their needs.

Is a lot of extra homework involved in the Diploma Programme?

IB courses are typically more challenging than regular high school courses, and so students may be asked to do more homework. The challenge is not always in the amount of homework assigned. Rather it is in the quality of the assignments and the extent to which students are engaged in those assignments. Students take greater responsibility for their own learning while they learn the valuable skills of time management and organization. Diploma students remain involved in sports, student government, clubs, theater, music, community events, and other extra-curricular activities. Such activities are incorporated into the Diploma Programme through the CAS (Creativity, Action and Service) requirement.

How are IB students assessed?

Assessment of student achievement happens in a variety of ways throughout the course of the two-year programme. It includes assessment of student work both by outside examiners as well as the students’ own teachers. All assessment undergoes careful review or moderation to ensure that a common, international standard is applied equally to the work of students around the world. Marking follows standard mark schemes created for both course content and skills. For these reasons, the IB Diploma is recognized by colleges and universities around the world as a university entry credential. Among North American colleges and universities, the IB Diploma is recognized as a superior education, preparing students to succeed at post-secondary institutions.

Can I take an IB exam without taking the IB course in that subject?

No. Part of the student’s final IB grade comes from work done in the classroom, so it is impossible to take an IB exam without having participated in the IB course in that subject.

Does the IB Diploma Programme satisfy UK university entrance requirements?

The IB Diploma Programme is growing in the UK and among British International Schools and is totally compatible with UK university entrance requirements. The UCAS university admission process is IB friendly and has the IB directly reporting scores to them.

Can I transfer from another IB School and graduate at Zlatarski School Sofia?

Yes, provided your subject choices are available at Zlatarski School. For this reason families are encouraged to contact our IB Coordinator in advance in order to make the necessary arrangements.