What is the difference between IB | IG | SAT and what is the best option

Choosing a school for your children can be a very stressful time, especially when searching for the difference between the three types. Every parent wants to enroll their son or daughter in the best school and provide them with the best education system.

When it comes to choosing an education system for your children, there are many options. Apart from the curriculum, most parents are usually confused between the three main educational systems followed in international schools.

In our topic today, we will discuss the differences between the three systems:

To help parents applying to schools for their children, here is a detailed explanation of the three systems.

Many parents choose the American system because of its diversity and flexibility in terms of subjects, assessments and learning methods.

American Baccalaureate SAT

American Baccalaureate SAT

The American educational structure has 12 years of education.

  • Kindergarten: Nursery and kindergarten
  • Primary School: Grades 1-5
  • Middle School: 6th to 8th grade
  • High School: Grades 9-12.


The American diploma is thought to be fun and attractive. It helps students use critical thinking and learning rules and apply them, thus, children do not memorize information. 

In the American system, the academic year is divided into four quarters and the student's GPA at the end of the year is the average of all four quarters.

This gives students a chance to make up if they do poorly in one quarter because they have three more quarters to improve their grades. 

The grading system is based on a grade point average (GPA) of 4.0. 

Students work on projects, papers and presentations throughout the year which helps build leadership skills and prepare them for their working lives.

Testing is done throughout the year. Their school and teachers prepare tests after covering each chapter and this is where 40% of their grades are calculated.

Students are required to take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), which is an entrance exam that most universities rely on during admission. This test assesses a student's English and mathematics levels. The purpose of the SAT is to measure a high school student's readiness for college and to provide colleges with one common data point that can be used to compare all applicants. Students are allowed to take the SAT up to six times to improve scores. The duration of the SAT test is approximately three hours.

Read more about SAT test.

 British Baccalaureate IG

British Baccalaureate IG

The British system is distributed as follows:

  • Foundation stage
  • Main stage 1
  • Main stage 2
  • Main stage 3
  • Main stage 4

The British education system is divided into two categories:

  • National Curriculum: This is the education system followed in the United Kingdom. This system contains topics related to the United Kingdom, for example, British history.
  • Cambridge System: This system was developed for the international market. It is derived from the national curriculum and designed to suit international schools.

The difference between both systems is that in the Cambridge curriculum, students sit IGCSE examinations while schools following the British National Curriculum sit GCSE examinations. Some schools following the National Curriculum offer IGCSE. Some British schools in Egypt offer the national curriculum, while others offer the Cambridge curriculum.

The main advantage is that you choose subjects and subjects based on your desired university major.

Establishment stages:

Students are encouraged to learn through outdoor and indoor activities. It guides the child's personal, social and emotional development and creates awareness of the environment. They learn to explore motivation around them by reading stories and watching videos online.

Key stages 1 and 2:

Students are introduced to subjects such as English Literature, Mathematics, Science, Humanities and Art. They are assessed through formative assessments and end-of-semester assessments alongside class work and homework.

Key stages 3 and 4:

A very important teacher for British school students. At this stage, students begin their journey towards the International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) which are external exams.

Students study a variety of subjects, usually a mix of 5-10 subjects. Mathematics and English are compulsory subjects. Other subjects such as physics, chemistry and biology may be studied together or spread out over the years. Students also combine other subjects such as French, German, literature, business and physics.

In the early years of Key Stage 3, students take O-level subjects (9 subjects). Students can choose between Arabic, Chemistry, Biology, Accounting, etc. and can be divided over three years. If students score poorly in any of the courses, they can re-enroll them.

Later, students take AS level courses that follow O level and this is when their choice of university aligns with the courses they are taking. If they plan to apply to engineering school, for example, they will choose science subjects such as mathematics, physics and chemistry.

In the final two years, students have the option of continuing with their degrees or they can take courses at A or A2 level which are the same courses but with more detail and depth.

Read more about British IGCSE certificate

International Baccalaureate System (IB).

International Baccalaureate System (IB).

The International Baccalaureate system is an interesting educational system. Its mission is to develop informed and caring young people who create a better, more peaceful world through cross-cultural understanding and respect.

The International Baccalaureate system offers four programmes:

  • Primary Years Program (PYP): for ages 3 to 12
  • Middle Years Program (MYP): for ages 11-15
  • Diploma programme: 15 to 19 years old
  • Professional Certificate: Ages 16 to 19 years

PYP program

Students learn through play-based learning. They learn by asking questions and trying to find answers to these questions, which is inquiry-based learning. Through this method of learning, they develop skills, knowledge and understanding.

The Middle Years Program consists of eight thematic groups:

  • Language acquisition
  • Language and literature
  • Individuals and communities
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Arts
  • Physical and health education
  • Design

The MYP requires a minimum of 50 hours of teaching for each subject group in each year of the programme. In Years 6 and 8, students have the option of taking courses from XNUMX out of XNUMX subject groups within certain limits, to provide greater flexibility in meeting local requirements and students' individual learning needs.

The Middle Years Program aims to help students develop their personal understanding and emerging sense of self and responsibility towards their community.

DP program

The main goal is to develop students who have excellent depth of knowledge. Helps students flourish physically, intellectually, emotionally and morally. The DP curriculum consists of six subject groups and the core of the DP, consisting of Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS) and the Extended Essay.

Job related programme:

Students take a minimum of two IB DP courses, and the core consists of four components and career-related study. This happens after students graduate from school.

In the International Baccalaureate system, students sit written examinations at the end of their programme. These students sit written examinations at the end of their IB Diploma Program courses which are marked by external IB examiners. The rest of the core courses are assessed by the school itself.

Table of differences between the three systems

Difference pointAmerican certificateBritish certificateInternational Baccalaureate
Global recognitionPartial confession*Partial confession*Full confession*
study FEESHighHighlow
main languageEnglishEnglishEnglish
Duration of studyOne yearOne or two yearsTwo years
  • *Full recognition: We mean recognition of the degree in all countries without the need for the preparatory year.
  • *Partial recognition means recognition of the degree, but the student must undergo the preparatory year before university.
What is the difference between IB | IG | SAT and what is the best option

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