University FAQs

General FAQs for universities

Where can I find an example of an admission policy?

Find a sample model admission policy as well as many other useful items in our resources and document library.

How can universities update their records (passwords, contact info, policies, etc.)?

To view, update or create your policy and contact details, please log in or register here for the IB’s secure portal for universities and governments. After logging in, follow the on-screen instructions to update your institution’s information.

We will display all public information on university recognition through the country pages.

Where can I find information on changes to DP curriculums and assessment?

The latest developments to DP curriculums and assessment can be found here.

How are DP courses and assessments developed?

All DP subjects are reviewed on a seven year teaching cycle to ensure that each is fit for purpose and incorporates the latest educational research and lessons learned from the implementation of the existing curriculum. The process for curriculum review and development is spread across three phases: evaluation, development and implementation.

Representative and comprehensive feedback from DP teachers, students and universities about the course, an analysis of the effectiveness of the assessment instruments and a thorough review of subject-specific and broader pedagogical literature is incorporated into the evaluation of the existing curriculum. The DP utilizes both internally and externally assessed criterion-related components to assess student performance.

Assessment in the DP measures the extent to which students master basic and advanced academic skills, such as:

  • critical-thinking, reflective, research and independent learning skills
  • retaining knowledge
  • understanding key concepts
  • applying standard methods
  • analysing and presenting information
  • evaluating and constructing arguments
  • solving problems creatively
  • intercultural skills and understanding and an international outlook.

To ensure that student work is assessed fairly and consistently, nearly 8,500 trained examiners worldwide, many of whom are experienced DP teachers, are involved in the assessment process. Reliability of marking is ensured through: 

  • appointing and retaining only appropriately qualified and experienced examiners who have demonstrated they can mark consistently and objectively according to set standards
  • providing examiners with comprehensive instruction and training on how to mark
  • checking the standard of examiner marking through “seeding” every examination session.

For information about IBIS interface and instructions on how to access IB student transcripts, please download Accessing IB student transcripts: A guide for university staff [1.8MB] pdf icon

Impact of COVID-19

November 2020 examination session

Information about the examination session

The IB holds an examination session in November each year. For many students in the southern hemisphere, this is their primary examination session; however, this year it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in May 2020.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many schools–particularly in Latin America– to close for the rest of the calendar year.  Approximately three quarters of our schools, teaching around half of all IB students worldwide, have indicated that they are able to sit exams.

On what basis will students be awarded their diploma or certificates?

The curriculum content students should have covered for November 2020 has not changed, irrespective of their assessment route. 

The IB is permitting two different routes of assessment for this session:

  • The primary and preferred route is for students to be awarded a grade after sitting their exams.
  • However, we will be awarding results based on predicted grades, externally marked coursework and historic data to students whose schools have been forced to close.

The IB will ensure that the standards are maintained across both these two routes as well as  past November sessions.

The IB remains committed to supporting students’ progress despite schools closing around the world due to COVID-19. The IB is providing a path forward for our students to earn their DP/CP certificates. These include options for them to be safely assessed and awarded results, such as written examinations where they can be facilitated safely, and alternative routes using coursework and predicted grades.

When will results be released for the November 2020 session?

Due to the significant complexities of running the dual assessment model to support all schools and students globally, results for the November 2020 session will be released on 2 January from 12 (NOON) GMT 2021.

Will students be awarded a Diploma, numerical grade for each subject, the core and overall?  

We will award Diplomas and Certificates for the November 2020 session:

  • At a subject level, students will be awarded a grade on the normal IB 1-7 scale
  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay and the Career-Related Programme Reflective Project will be awarded a grade on the normal IB A-E scale
  • The DP core will be awarded on the normal IB 0-3 scale
  • A total points score will be awarded for the Diploma, out of 45 as normal

When will the results be available?

We will be publishing results on 2 January 2021, which will be on a timely basis for institutions such as ACTAC in Australia.  

Will the transcript that universities and colleges receive look the same as previous years?

Yes. Transcripts will look the same, irrespective of the assessment route, and will be sent to universities and colleges in the same way as previous years.

Will students be able to appeal their results?

Yes. Schools can access the Enquiry Upon Results and Appeals services as in previous years. 

How can I ask a question about the November 2020 session?

If you have a query about any of this information, please email us.

May 2021 examination session

Information about the examination session

The IB holds an examination session in May each year. For students in the northern hemisphere this is their primary examination session; however, this year it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in November 2020.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to force schools to close or prevent students from sitting exams safely into 2021. The IB continues to monitor this situation and has prepared contingencies to respond to a range of scenarios.

Since February 2020, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on students completing their IB qualifications in May 2021. This accounts for approximately three quarters of their overall learning experience, with many students learning remotely for much of this time. 

How is the curriculum being adapted?

The assessment model was adapted to ensure continuity in student learning despite unprecedented disruptions to our school community worldwide. It is the result of conversations with IB educators across the globe who, like us, considered essential to adapt our assessments for students whose learning was disrupted by the pandemic.

The adapted May 2021 assessment model does not reduce the content or skills contained within published Diploma Programme Subject Guides or within the programme's core components. Programme and subject-specific support developed during the COVID-19 crisis strongly encourages all IB World Schools to prioritise their resources and make best endeavours to address published content and skills.  

The adapted assessment model includes targeted adaptations to subject-specific assessments that ensure continuity of learning and support the submission of summative student work in a way that is manageable, practical and fair.  They also ensure coverage of subject-specific assessment objectives is consistent and comparable to prior examination sessions. 

Universities can read more on the changes made here

On what basis will students be awarded their diploma or certificates?

The IB will monitor and consider the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on assessment routes, as we have done for November 2020. Given these exceptional circumstances, we remain hopeful that universities will still regard the May 2021 session as both valid and valued in the admissions process for the coming year. 

Will students be awarded a Diploma, numerical grade for each subject, the core and overall?  

We will award Diplomas and Certificates for the May 2021 session:

  • At a subject level, students will be awarded a grade on the normal IB 1-7 scale
  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK), the Extended Essay and the Career-Related Programme Reflective Project will be awarded a grade on the normal IB A-E scale
  • The DP core will be awarded on the normal IB 0-3 scale
  • A total points score will be awarded for the Diploma, out of 45 as normal

When will the results be available?

We are planning to publish results for this session on 5 July 2021.  

Will the transcript that universities and colleges receive look the same as previous years?

Yes. Transcripts will look the same and will be sent to universities and colleges in the same way as previous years.

Will students be able to appeal their results?

Yes. Schools can access the Enquiry Upon Results and Appeals services as in previous years.

How can I ask a question about the May 2021 session?

If you have a query about any of this information, please email us.

November 2021 examination session

Information about the examination session

The IB holds an examination session in November each year. For many students in the southern hemisphere this is their primary examination session; however, in 2021 it will also serve as a retake opportunity for students who sat their examinations in May 2021.

At this stage, it is unclear whether the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to force schools to close or prevent students from sitting exams safely in 2021. The IB continues to monitor this situation and has prepared contingencies to respond to a range of scenarios.

Since February 2020, COVID-19 has had a significant impact on students completing their IB qualifications in November 2021. Many students will have solely learned on-line for much of this time. 

We will provide universities with more information regarding this session in due course.