IB Diploma Programme (DP, 16-18 year olds) is an equivalent programme to (International) A-Levels, for ages 16-18. It differs from A Level qualifications in two distinct ways: its structure; and the emphasis on a larger amount of subjects (six rather than three or four). There is some possibility for specialisation in the form of Higher Level (HL) or Standard Level (SL) subject courses however the main focus of the DP is create rounded students with a strong international outlook. It also includes an extended 4,000 word essay which aims to prepare students for undergraduate study. Overall the course is very rigorous, with assessment both internally and through final examinations (normally taken in May in Northern hemisphere countries). It is well-respected at universities around the world, which will often state entrance requirements specific to the IB.
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