Ah yes, the sweet 45. The score everyone dreams of, but no one dares hope for. Some people try their hardest to get juicy grades, while others figure they’d instead pursue other interests. Since you’re reading this blog for advice on doing better in school, you’re probably the former.
Regardless of where you find yourself on the tryhard spectrum, consider the importance of your grades in the IB. Will 40+ points be life-changing & should you pour every last drop of energy into studying to do well in the exams? Or savour your youth and cut yourself some slack? As always, it depends—let’s discuss on what.
What IB Grades Do You Need for Top Unis?
One of the most, if not the most, important factors is what university you would like to attend. A word of warning, however, is to not bunker down on one option immediately. Be open to other options too, and have back-ups. Do not try to force a choice upon your future self, as that person does not exist yet. You will change, and so will your priorities. Be open to that, and don’t stand in the way of your own development. I am not saying you shouldn’t have a plan; you should have a list of unis you might want to attend. It’s good to scope out what your options are in the future. All I am saying is to be flexible!
What grades you need for universities is highly region dependent. You need to do well if you want to get into the top universities in the UK or the states. Princeton and Harvard require the highest scores in the US at 42. Cambridge requires 40 points and a 7/7/6 grade split in your HLs. If these numbers seem astronomical, you still have a chance to get into other top universities with scores around 36. Read more on admission requirements for top uni’s here.
Are Ivy Leagues Worth It?
Before you decide to go to a top university, stop and consider why you want to go to one. Look into the difference between an Ivy League university and a regular one and if it’s worth it to you. A good tip is to get in touch with students at the unis you want to attend and to hear what life there is like. Take a look at what Hazel, former Lanterna tutor, has to say about her time at Cambridge:
“Getting high marks in the IB was incredibly important for me! My Cambridge offer was for 40 points with 7, 7, 6 at HL […] I loved my time in Cambridge, and I do think the effort of getting high marks was worth it for the experience. However, I haven’t been asked about my IB results since I got them in 2017! High results opened a huge door for me at the time, but where I am today is based on so much more than that.” – Hazel
What if I Just Want to Pass?
Don’t worry, you don’t need to do insanely well to get into a good university. Most universities just require you to pass, and most universities provide a high level of education. We cannot dismiss the fact that better grades improve your admission chances. However, they are not the only thing that matters.
It’s Not Just Your IB Grades that Matter—It’s the Application, Too
Every university requires that you write some form of application. Applying can be a daunting process where you appreciate that the IB forced you to do CAS. Volunteering and sports look fantastic on applications, and without a solid application, you can risk being rejected even with 38+ points. Luckily, there are plenty of resources to help you, like our admission tuition packages.
Other Reasons to do Well
My primary motivation to do well in the IB, and what drove me to get 41 points, was entirely unrelated to getting into a university. I had heard of this magical tutoring company called Lanterna and that you could become a tutor for them if you scored anywhere above 38 points. If you want to learn more about being a tutor, check out this post.
The Answer Always Lies in the Middle
So, as always, there is no clear-cut answer. You must find out what you want to do after the IB and what grades you require. The best thing you can do for yourself is to be flexible. Try not to force your future self into a box you build today.