VCE or IB?

The decision to study the Victorian Certificate of Education or the International Baccalaureate Diploma is an individual one.


VCE is a very flexible course with an English study being the only compulsory subject. Students can choose to specialise in a particular area such as the Sciences, Humanities or Creative Arts, or select a general course made up of subjects from a range of specialities. This flexibility also applies from year to year so students can adjust their programs to suit new interests and strengths. A wide range of VCE subjects is offered at Ivanhoe, giving students every opportunity to design a course that best suits their interests and future pathways.

The IB Diploma, on the other hand, is a structured and complete program. Subjects must be selected from particular groups and the same subjects are studied for two years. Given this, the IB Diploma particularly suits a well-rounded student who has broad interests across subject areas. The ‘learner profile’ for the IB, which shapes the curriculum and pedagogy, emphasises 10 personal qualities including open-mindedness, courageousness, and reflectiveness.

All subjects in the IB are equally weighted—there is no scaling up or down of subject scores; instead students choose to study three subjects at ‘higher’ and three subjects at ‘standard’ level, meaning that whatever their choices, they have the opportunity to study at an academically rigorous level.

The IB course also has a set of three ‘core’ subjects which require students to complete creative, active and service-oriented activities as part of their diploma, as well as an extended research essay (under the guidance of a supervisor) and the subject ‘Theory of Knowledge’, which takes students through the process of reflecting critically and analytically on the construction and deployment of knowledge in various academic disciplines.

The IB Diploma, by its very nature, is an international program taught in many countries and is readily recognised by universities overseas. With an emphasis on international-mindedness the program suits motivated and independent learners.