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International Baccalaureate (IB)

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The International Baccalaureate (or IB) is an internationally recognized course of studies which is offered in more than 2000 schools and 139 countries around the world. Graduates of this school are qualified for matriculation at the majority of higher educational institutions in the world, along equal lines with such diplomas as British A levels, the French Baccalauréat and the German Abitur. There are now IB schools in several of the major cities in Norway.

The IB, directed by the International Baccalaureate Office (IBO), is an international foundation with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

One of the basic ideas behind the International Baccalaureate, which was founded in 1962, was to develop an educational institution for internationally mobile families. This idea was supported by UNESCO. The IB diploma programme is a two-year pre-university course which enables children of itinerant families to continue their upper secondary school studies without major changes in subjects or syllabuses. Another intention of the IB programme is to internationalise education to promote understanding and tolerance across borders. Moreover, as with the Norwegian upper secondary school, IB aims to promote personal growth and maturity. The syllabus and the studies as a whole require a high degree of independence and critical, reflective thinking and reasoning.


IB is a two-year course for pupils between 16 and 19 years of age, building on the completed first year in the programme for specialization in general studies in Norwegian upper secondary school qualifying for higher education, or a corresponding background.

To attain the IB diploma you must pass exams in six subjects, your extended essay must be accepted, you must participate in aesthetic and social activities (CAS - for Creativity, Action, Service), and you must pass a course in Theory of Knowledge (TOK).

The six subjects are chosen from six groups – one subject from each group. Three of the subjects must be taken at High Level (HL) and three at the lower Standard Level (SL). The high-level requirements are substantially higher than for corresponding subjects in the ordinary Norwegian upper secondary school, and standard-level subjects are at least equal to corresponding subjects in upper secondary school.

The IB diploma gives full qualifications along equal lines as the certificate from the programme for specialization in general studies. IB students do very well in the competition for admission to universities and colleges, both in Norway and abroad.

For more information, visit the official IBO website:

Curriculum briefs for some IB subjects:


Trondheim Katedralskole offers the following IB subjects:


Group 1 Studies in language and literature (“A” language):

Norwegian for Norwegian students

English for English-speaking students


Group 2 Language acquisition (“B” language):

English for Norwegian students

Norwegian for non-native speakers



Group 3 Individuals and societies:*



Group 4 Experimental sciences:



Biology (NEW from 2014)


Group 5 Mathematics:


Mathematical Studies


Group 6 One extra subject from group 1, 2 or 4


In addition to the six chosen subjects from the list above, the students must satisfy the following requirements:


  1. Theory of Knowledge (TOK): Take a course in Theory of Knowledge



  1. Extended Essay: Submit a major essay of at least 4000 words in one of the chosen subjects. The essay is supervised by a teacher and must be approved by IBO.



  1. Creativity, Action and Service (CAS): Participate in practical social, aesthetic or artistic activities comprising a half day per week.


The available subjects – and which subjects are taken at High Level or Standard Level – will depend on the collective selections of the students and the available resources at the school.

* Starting August 2014: Economics and Psychology will be offered to a limited number of students as online courses (maximum five students per subject).



Generally, the majority of the teaching will be given in English, and the majority of textbooks are in English. Good English skills are therefore an important prerequisite for doing well in IB. The requirement for students who have a native language other than Norwegian is that they understand Norwegian reasonably well. With regard to the language used during the exam please see below.

The studies are a combination of teacher-controlled instruction and self-study. Some of the teaching time is reserved for tutorials where the teacher gives individual guidance to each student. This means that there are relatively fewer teacher-controlled classes. Therefore training in self-study is a central part of IB.

The IB Diploma Programme is demanding and students who choose this must be motivated and prepared to work hard.



IB students at Trondheim Katedralskole have the same rights and obligations as the school's other students. Continuous evaluation is given through internal reports.

Exams are administered by the IB Exam Office in Wales (IBCA) and are held in the month of May on the same days in all the countries in the northern hemisphere. A universal standard is ensured through common questions and grading based upon common criteria.

With the exception of the language subjects all exams must be answered in English. Orthographic and stylistic mistakes will not affect the grade – except, of course, the exam for the English courses.

Candidates can sit for an exam up to three times. If a candidate does not satisfy the minimum requirements for a diploma he or she will receive certificates for the individual subjects.


The grades used in IB are:

 1 = very poor

5 = good

2 = poor

6 = very good

3 = mediocre

7 = excellent

4 = satisfactory


Application form (pdf)


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