I.B. & University Entrance

The Class of 2017!


Barra Unit Class of 2017

Barra Unit Class of 2017


Urca Site Class of 2017

Urca Site Class of 2017



The IB Programme

The International Baccalaureate (IB) programme is a comprehensive and rigorous two-year pre-university course of study. It is designed to meet the needs of the highly motivated student and is internationally recognised as an excellent preparation for university.

Based on the pattern of no single country, the IB is a deliberate compromise between the specialisation required in some national systems and the breadth preferred in others. It offers a curriculum which is international, innovative, balanced and flexible.

The IB curriculum consists of six subject groups, with subjects offered at Higher and Standard Levels. Higher Level courses study the subjects in greater depth and require more class hours than Standard Level courses.

IB regulations for subject choices ensure that breadth and balance are maintained. The flexibility in the choice of Higher Level subjects allows students to pursue areas of personal interest and to meet special requirements for university entrance. An IB Handbook for prospective candidates is available from the IB Coordinator.

The Urca Site and the Barra Unit are affiliated to the IBO Diploma Programme offering the Diploma Programme and examinations on its campus. IB World Schools share a common philosophy—a commitment to high-quality, challenging, international education—that we believe is important for our students.

For further information about the IB and its programmes visit www.ibo.org.

Choosing Subjects

In the second term of Class 9, each student is interviewed by one of the management team or the Careers and Guidance Counsellor, in order to decide which subject combination will best suit them. The choice of subjects will depend on individual future educational needs and on academic recommendations in each subject area.

Subject recommendations are based on the student’s previous academic record and on the results of the mock IGCSE examinations which are reflected in the October half-term report. In the case of external candidates, tests are taken in the desired subjects. Recommendations may be upgraded at a later stage if the student shows a significant improvement or a good IGCSE result.

Students aiming to follow the Diploma Programme must be recommended for at least three Higher Level Subjects and show the motivation to fulfil all diploma requirements. All subjects offered in Classes 10 and 11 are IB subjects. The status of the student does not affect the course content of any particular subject. See more: Careers & University

Diploma Programme

IB Diploma candidates are required to follow six academic courses, selecting one subject from each of the six subject groups. The Group 6 option, Arts and Electives, may be substituted by a second subject from the Humanities, the Sciences or Languages.

At least three, and not more than four, of the six subjects must be taken at Higher Level, with the other subjects taken at Standard Level. Candidates may sit additional single subjects, at either level, for which they will receive a certificate. Such ‘Extra Certificates’ do not contribute to the Diploma score.

In addition to the six subjects, candidates are required to complete three essential requirements:

  • The Extended Essay, an individual personal research paper of around 4000 words.
  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK), which leads the students to engage in critical reflection and analysis and to formulate a rational argument. TOK explores the relationships between the various disciplines and provides the student with a unified approach to learning.
  • Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) – a programme that offers students the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities, which will enhance their social and personal development. Although emphasis is placed on some aspect of community service, each student’s range of activities must encompass all three aspects of the programme.

IB Subjects

IB Subjects Offered at The British School


Group 1
Studies in Language and Literature

English Literature HL & SL
English Language & Literature HL & SL
Portuguese Literature HL & SL
Portuguese Language & Literature HL & SL
     Group 4
Experimental Sciences

Biology HL & SL
Chemistry HL & SL
Physics HL & SL
Group 2
Language Acquisition

Portuguese HL & SL
French HL & SL
Spanish HL & SL
Group 5

Mathematics Higher Level
Mathematics Standard Level
Mathematic Studies SL
Group 3
Individual and Societies

Geography HL & SL
History HL & SL
Business Management HL & SL (Urca)
Economics HL & SL (Barra)
Group 6
Arts and Electives

Visual Arts HL & SL
Music HL & SL
Theatre HL & SL
Computer Science HL & SL
Or a second option from groups 1,2,3 or 4

The IB Curriculum

The IB Curriculum consists of six subject groups, as shown in the diagram, with subjects offered at Higher and Standard Levels. Higher Level courses study the subjects in greater depth and require more class hours than Standard Level courses. IB regulations for subject choices ensure that breadth and balance are maintained.

The flexibility in the choice of Higher Level subjects allows students to pursue areas of personal interest and to meet special requirements for university entrance.


IB assessment methods ensure that students have the opportunity to demonstrate their academic achievement throughout the course, while at the same time, maintaining standards world wide. A significant proportion of IB scores is based on coursework and continuous assessment carried out from the start of the IB programme. The value of these assessment elements accounts for between 30-50% of the student’s final result. The final exams are taken in November at the end of Class 11. Upon their completion, exams are sent immediately to IB examiners around the world.

All subjects, whether Higher Level or Standard Level, are graded on a scale of 1 (minimum) to 7 (maximum) the passing grade for individual courses being 4. The award of the Diploma requires a minimum total of 24 points and the successful completion of all requirements. Bonus points (a maximum of three) may be awarded for an exceptional Extended Essay and/or outstanding performance in Theory of Knowledge.

Students who successfully complete both an A1 and A2 language course and fulfil all other requirements, are awarded a Bilingual Diploma. Students who do not achieve all diploma requirements are awarded a certificate for each subject completed.

IB Results

The majority of our students (around 75-80%) follow the full Diploma programme. Since the first IB group in 1992, 92% have been awarded the diploma and most of these have been awarded a Bilingual Diploma.

The Class of 2016  secured our best IB Diploma results!

At the Urca Site, we had the highest number of IB graduates in TBS history – with 63 students achieving the IB Diploma qualification. Even with the increased number of candidates, we maintained our average points score of 33 points and managed to improve our average grade per subject, with a very healthy 5.30! A total of 24 students from the year group achieved 36 points or more – up from 16 the previous year – which is an outstanding achievement. Six candidates obtained the world class total score of 40 points, and our congratulations go to João Pedro Crema, Maria Cecilia Marques, Catarina Mocelin, Maria Eduarda Penteado, Frederico Rodrigues and João Pedro Machado, our highest scoring student, with 41 points.

At the Barra Unit a smaller cohort sat the diploma, 21 full diplomas were awarded. The average score awarded was 33 ​points which similarly to Urca matched last years pleasing results. Congratulations go to class of 2016 at the Barra site for their achievements and particularly to Felipe Veiga who scored an impressive 41 points.

We wish all the students that graduated last year well as they embark on the next stage of their educational journeys.

International Recognition

The IB Diploma is recognised and highly regarded by universities in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and most European countries. In Latin America, the degree of recognition accorded to the IB varies between countries and institutions. In Brazil, students are currently required to sit the Vestibular exams or ENEM - Exame Nacional do Ensino Médio in order to enter university.

Many British School students take the opportunity that following an international programme offers by keeping their options open until they are ready to make a final decision about studying in Brazil or overseas.

The IB & The Brazilian Extension Course (BEC)

Since the initiation of the IB at The British School in February 1991 we have made great progress in adapting our programme to meet the needs of our Brazilian students.

Two major developments have been the introduction of a new course, Historical and Contemporary Brazilian Studies and a complementary preparation course for Brazilian university entrance exams, called The Brazilian Extension Course.

Historical and Contemporary Brazilian Studies was specifically designed by British School teachers to cover Brazilian History, Geography and Social Studies. The Brazilian Studies course is available to all British School students, whether as a component of their IB Diploma programme or as a separate IB certificate.

The Brazilian Extension Course complements the student curriculum in relation to the IB programme.  In addition to classes in Philosophy and Sociology, which are required for all students from Class 9 onwards in Brazil, classes are offered in Biology, Physics, Chemistry, History and Geography, all taught in Portuguese.  Given that several of our students intend to continue their studies in Brazilian universities, all of the classes follow a format that prepares them for Brazilian university entrance exams (vestibulares and ENEM). Indeed, our faculty is composed of teachers with long experience with these exams.

In addition to these classes, which main purpose is to complement the I.B. curriculum, we offer additional classes after regular school hours, also focused on preparing our students for the entrance exams.  These additional courses: ‘Vestibular’ Essay Writing, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, History and Geography.

We have also been offering, since 2008, mocks exams of the ENEM model of entrance exam. This practice has proven very effective for those students who take mock exams in earnest.

With these offerings, we combine the best pedagogical programme available (the I.B.) with the necessary preparation for Brazilian university entrance exams; together with the excellent preparation for universities overseas.