International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme

The results of IB exams are recognised by universities all over the world, including the most prestigious institutions. They even serve as a substitute for entrance exams at some universities. We began offering IB exams to our students in 2009 and were the first eight-​year Czech grammar school to do so.

We prepare our seventh- and eighth-​year students for the IB exams over the course of the two-​year International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme. The entire programme is taught in English, except for Czech language and literature courses. To help students integrate smoothly, the majority of subjects are also taught in English in the fifth and sixth years.

The IB programme is made up of various component exams. Students take most of these during the final two years of their studies.

School Subjects and Optional IB Subjects at Open Gate

For the last two years of their studies (the seventh and eighth years), students choose one subject from each of six different subject groups. They study three of these at an advanced level and three at a basic level. These subjects then make up their IB exams.

Group 1 | Native Language Literary Studies

Exams in this group are taken in the student’s native language.

Exams in subject groups 2 through 6 are taken in English.

Group 2 | Second Language – English (two levels)

  • Language and Literature

  • Literature

Students must choose at least one subject.

Group 3 | The Individual and Society, aka Humanities and Social Sciences

  • History

  • Psychology

  • Economics

  • Global Politics

Students must choose at least one subject.

Group 4 | Experimental Sciences, aka Natural Sciences

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

  • Environmental Systems and Societies

Students must choose at least one subject.

Group 5 | Mathematics and Computer Sciences (various levels)

  • Mathematics

  • Mathematical Studies

Students must choose at least one subject.

Group 6 | Arts

  • Visual Arts

Students can choose the subject Visual Arts, or can choose to skip this group and replace it with an additional subject from groups 2, 3, 4, or 5. Within this group, Open Gate also offers the opportunity to take an exam in Spanish, French, or German at three levels (advanced, intermediate, or beginner).

Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge, and the CAS Programme

Under the guidance of a teacher the students write a 4,000-word essay, a philosophical reflection on the essence of knowledge and the subjects they have studied. They also take a course titled Theory of Knowleadge (ToK), in which they improve their critical thinking. These courses give them the opportunity to earn up to three bonus points which will then be added to the points from their other subjects.

Students also take part in a programme known as CAS, or Creativity, Action and Service. In this programme they develop their personalities through activities that that are somewhat tangetial to their studies. These may include for example, participating in theatre productions, exploring distant regions, or doing social work.

Methods of Evaluation

In the International Baccalaureate exams students can earn a maximum of 45 points. 7 points from each of the 6 subjects, i.e 42 points and 3 bonus points from Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay. The International Baccalaureate is so demanding that only 0.5% of students worldwide attain the maximum number of points.

Ordinarily, 24 points are required to pass the diploma. Of course in order for a student to earn a place at an international university without difficulty much better results are needed. To be accepted at Cambridge for example, the requirement is usually over 40 points.

For most subjects students take three graded tests during their two-​year preparation. The manner in which they are evaluated varies depending on the subject. In natural sciences for example, students are assessed according to laboratory work; in languages they take spoken exams; and in visual arts the quality of exhibited works is the deciding factor. Evaluations are carried out according to precise, fixed criteria and are performed by external examiners for 70–80% of each subjects’ content.

IB Certificates

Students who already have a clear idea of what they want to do next can choose certain IB certificates. They will not then take the International Baccalaureate exams to their full extent but will choose one or more favourite subjects and take an exam from each of them individually. They will then receive an IB subject certificate. Although this may not carry the same weight for acceptance into foreign universities as a result from the entire IB exams, it serves as proof that the students take their fields seriously. It can be helpful when applying for a research fellowship or a study stay. Students can obtain more than one IB certificate; in most cases they choose 1–3 subjects.