More than 170,000 students across the world receive IB results


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Tomorrow, July 6, more than 170,000 students across the world will have received their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP), and Career-related Programme (CP) results from the May 2021 examination session.

The IB is incredibly proud of our new Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme graduates who persevered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and reached this milestone. This could not have been accomplished without the IB community's unwavering commitment and support.


M21 results overview


Olli-Pekka Heinonen, Director General of the International Baccalaureate, said:

"The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging for students, teachers, and schools throughout the world as COVID-19 has undermined much of what we had come to take for granted. I salute their spirit and dedication to our shared mission: education for a better world.

A key responsibility of the IB this year has been to ensure that our students are not disadvantaged by the pandemic, including in their applications to university and higher education. The many changes we have made to this session are part of this commitment to ensure students are not affected by the hugely challenging circumstances in which they have been learning.

We understand the pressure being put on the whole education system by COVID-19, and we thank all our partners, including universities, for their support and understanding as we have navigated our way through this challenging time.”

This year the IB's priority has been to provide students equal opportunity to progress after the global disruption due to COVID-19, regardless of whether students sat the examinations or were assessed by the non-exam route. We have carefully considered the impact of the pandemic on students.

IB teams have regularly spoken to educators to ensure they receive updates and information to support their work in the most trying circumstances. We also worked with government regulators across the world regarding local context, restrictions and the impact of COVID-19 on students.

Schools were surveyed to determine which of two pathways was best for their context: written examinations, where they could be administered safely, or the non-exam route using a combination of internal assessment coursework and teacher-predicted grades, where they could not.

On the decision to adopt a system for 2021 with dual routes, the IB Heads Council said: "We believe that the IB's approach to the May 2021 examination session – in which schools that could sit the exams did so – was the fairest possible solution. We also believe the non-exam route for allocating results to students who were unable to take exams was fair, clear and allowed for grades to be distributed that reflect their achievements and abilities."

The IB worked closely with universities and education ministries to maintain and encourage the recognition of the IB qualifications. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IB continued to engage in ongoing conversations and provided universities and ministries with regular updates, including webinars.

We have received messages of support from a wide range of universities across the world.

"The University of Warwick is mindful of the disruption and anxiety that many students have experienced over the past year; we confirm that we will happily accept IB results awarded in 2021 in the same way that we would in any other year" – University of Warwick, UK.

"Cornell University looks forward to welcoming many more new IB students this year. We've followed IBO's careful, ongoing plans for student safety and progress during COVID disruptions. We remain confident about IB rigor and adapted assessments, and we will continue to accept IB scores as accurate indications of students' preparation"– Cornell University, USA

Results Overview Data:

  • The number of candidates for the May 2021 session is 170,660 and for the May 2020 174,360;
  • Out of 170,660 students, 104,275 were in the non-exam route and 65,576 in the exam route (and 809 split between both routes);
  • The number of the Diploma Programme candidates for the May 2021 session is 87,307 and for the May 2020 session 86,657;
  • The average diploma score for the May 2021 session is 33.02 points, up from 31.34 in May 2020;
  • The number of students achieving 40-45 points is 15,513, up from 9,701 in May 2020;
  • The average diploma grade is 5.19, up from 4.95 in May 2020;
  • Diploma pass rate 88.96%, up from 85.18% in May 2020.

Download results overview data [671KB]pdf

Initial data is provisional and liable to change as results processing continues until the end of the session on 15 September.

The IB will be publishing its first interim statistical bulletin in the next few weeks. Find more information on the May 2021 Examination session here.