DP passing criteria

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To achieve an IB Diploma, candidates must meet the Diploma Programme (DP) passing criteria.

Structure of the Diploma Programme

The DP curriculum is made up of six subject groups and the DP core, comprising theory of knowledge, creativity, activity, service, and the extended essay.

A candidate must take and complete the assessment components for six subjects, together with these core elements:

  • theory of knowledge (TOK)
  • the extended essay (EE)
  • creativity, activity, service (CAS).

Candidates must take at least one course from each of the following subject groups:

  • studies in language and literature
  • language acquisition
  • individuals and societies
  • sciences
  • mathematics.

Students may take two courses in the studies in language and literature group (in different languages), in place of a language acquisition course.

A limited number of interdisciplinary courses count across subject groups. For example, environmental systems and societies simultaneously satisfy the individuals and societies group and the sciences group. The interdisciplinary courses allow students to flexibly choose which six subjects to take.

There are rules to prevent students from taking subjects whose content overlaps. The school’s DP coordinator can find this in the handbook of procedures for the DP.

How is the diploma outcome calculated?

The diploma points are calculated by adding together the grades achieved from each of the six subjects and the core. Candidates receive a grade of 1-7 for each subject and up to three points for the core elements (EE and TOK). Standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) subjects are equally valued in determining the candidate’s final points. To achieve a diploma, students must earn at least 24 points and have met the conditions listed below.

The highest score that a candidate can achieve is 45 points. The maximum points of 45 is obtained from 6 (subjects) times 7 (top grade) plus 3 points from the core.

Core points matrix

For TOK and the EE, candidates receive a grade from A to E. The third element of the core, CAS, does not receive a grade. Completion is assessed by the school.

Candidates can earn between zero and three points towards the overall diploma points. The number of points is calculated using the table below.

  Theory of knowledge
Extended essay   A B C D E
A 3 3 2 2 Failing condition
B 3 2 2 1
C 2 2 1 0
D 2 1 0 0
E Failing condition

Example: According to the chart, a candidate who receives a B in theory of knowledge and a C in the extended essay, will be awarded 2 points from the core elements. 

Conditions for achieving the diploma

A candidate can only receive an IB Diploma if the following conditions are met.

  • CAS requirements are met.
  • The candidate has achieved at least 24 total points.
  • A grade has been awarded in all subjects, TOK and the EE.
  • A grade of at least a 2 has been awarded in all subjects.
  • The candidate does not have a grade 2 awarded 3 or more times. 
  • The candidate does not have a grade 3 awarded 4 or more times.
  • The candidate has at least 12 points on HL subjects. (For candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count).
  • Candidates have at least 9 points on SL subjects. (Candidates who register for two SL subjects must be awarded at least 5 points at SL).

Bilingual diplomas

In addition to the usual diploma, a "bilingual diploma" can be awarded to a candidate who:

  • completes two languages selected from group 1 with a grade 3 or higher in both.
  • completes one of the subjects from group 3 or group 4 in a language that is not the same as the candidate's group 1 language. The candidate must get a grade 3 or higher in both the group 1 language and the subject from group 3 or 4.

Pilot subjects and interdisciplinary subjects can contribute to the award of a bilingual diploma provided the above conditions are met.

The following cannot contribute to the award of a bilingual diploma:

  • an extended essay
  • a school-based syllabus
  • a subject taken by a candidate in addition to the six subjects for the diploma ("additional subjects").