IB Vs. A-levels In Singapore: Which To Pick In Singapore?

What Is IB?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) and the A-levels are two of the most popular education systems in Singapore, but they are very different from each other. Both of these systems are designed to challenge students and prepare them for university and beyond, but they have different advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll compare IB and A-levels in Singapore, so that you can make an informed decision about which system is right for you.

First, let’s talk about the International Baccalaureate. The IB is an internationally recognized educational program that aims to provide a well-rounded education that prepares students for success in university and beyond. The IB program is designed to be flexible, so students can tailor their education to their individual needs and interests. Schools that offer IB in Singapore include the ACS(I), SJI (Senior School), United World College (UWC) South East Asia, Hwa Chong International School, and Singapore International School.

IB vs a levels comparison

Comparison Of School Fees For IB Vs. A-Levels

**Keep in mind: If you are a Singapore citizen, the costs of both academic programs are heavily subsidised so you won’t be paying the full tuition fee here.

In terms of school fees, IB programs in Singapore can be quite expensive. On average, tuition for an IB program is about $20,000 to $30,000 per year, which is significantly more expensive than A-level programs. However, the benefits of an IB education are substantial and well worth the cost for many students.

Now, let’s talk about the A-levels. The A-levels are a group of exams that students can take in their final year of secondary school. These exams are designed to test students’ knowledge and skills in a variety of subjects, and they are widely recognized by universities and employers around the world. Schools that offer A-levels in Singapore include Junior Colleges, Millenia Institute, and Raffles Institution.

In terms of fees, A-level programs in Singapore are generally less expensive than IB programs, with tuition averaging around $5,000 to $10,000 per year. However, it’s important to note that the cost of an A-level program can vary depending on the school, so it’s always a good idea to do some research before making a decision.

Weighing Pros & Cons Of IB Vs. A-Levels

So, what are the pros and cons of taking IB vs A-levels in Singapore? Let’s take a look:

Pros of IB:

  • Well-rounded education: The IB program provides a well-rounded education that prepares students for university and beyond.
  • International recognition: The IB is an internationally recognized program that is widely respected by universities and employers.
  • Flexibility: The IB program is designed to be flexible, so students can tailor their education to their individual needs and interests.
  • Strong focus on critical thinking and creativity: The IB program places a strong emphasis on critical thinking and creativity, which can help students succeed in university and beyond.

Cons of IB:

  • Higher fees: The fees for IB programs are significantly higher than those for A-level programs.
  • Rigorous curriculum: The IB program is rigorous and demanding, which can be overwhelming for some students.
  • More coursework: The IB program requires students to complete more coursework than the A-levels, which can be time-consuming and challenging.

Pros of A-levels:

  • Lower fees: A-level programs are generally less expensive than IB programs.
  • Specialized education: The A-levels allow students to specialize in a particular subject area, which can be an advantage for students who are particularly interested in a specific field.
  • More flexible coursework: The A-levels require less coursework than the IB program, which can be a advantage for students who prefer more free time.

Cons of A-levels:

  • Less well-rounded education: The A-levels focus on a particular subject area, which means that students miss out on a well-rounded education
  • Another aspect to consider is the syllabus. A-levels in Singapore typically follow the syllabus set by the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE). The syllabus covers a wider range of topics compared to the IB programme, which focuses more on critical thinking and analysis. This may suit some students better, as they have a deeper understanding of the topics they study.

The structure of the two programmes also differs. A-levels have a modular structure, with exams taken at the end of each year.

On the other hand, the IB programme has a more continuous assessment system, with exams taking place at the end of the two-year programme. This means that students taking the IB programme have to maintain a high standard of work throughout the programme, as their results are based on a range of assessments including exams, coursework and internal assessments.

How do universities view IB Vs. A-Levels Certifications?

When it comes to university admission, both IB and A-levels are widely recognised by universities around the world. However, some universities may have a preference for one over the other. It is important for students to research the universities they are interested in attending and see what their admission requirements are.

Finally, the cost of each programme should also be taken into consideration. Taking the IB programme can be more expensive than taking A-levels, as students have to pay a one-time fee to the International Baccalaureate Organisation, as well as fees for individual subjects. The cost of tuition for each programme will also vary depending on the school.


In conclusion, choosing between IB and A-levels is a personal decision and should be based on a number of factors, including personal interests, academic strengths, career goals and financial considerations. It is important for students to weigh up the pros and cons of each programme and make an informed decision that is right for them.

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At our tuition agency, we offer support and guidance to students who are considering either the IB or A-levels programme. Our experienced tutors are available to help students with their academic goals and provide them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you achieve your academic potential.



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