International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate Malaysia

Marlborough College Malaysia achieved accreditation to become an IB World School in April 2014. This is the outcome of going through the rigorous and stringent IB authorisation process which began in May 2012. As a result, we were able to start delivering the IB Diploma Programme from September 2014 to our first Lower Sixth cohort.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma is an internationally recognised qualification of high academic standing. It was originally launched in 1968 and approximately 150,000 students studying in nearly 150 countries achieve the Diploma annually. The IB Diploma is recognised by all UK universities and is highly regarded internationally. According to the IBO, diploma graduates head to high education in almost 90 countries.

The IB is also highly attractive to employers, because of the variety of skills and attributes which are fostered during the course of the programme. A range of exciting and challenging courses will be offered that will stretch the most able pupil, but which are well within the grasp of any pupil at Marlborough if they are prepared to commit to their studies.


The philosophy of the IB emphasises high academic standards,  the heart of the IB Diploma lies the Learner Profile. This sets out the key attributes which the programme seeks to develop. These mirror the College’s ambition to develop fully the potential of all its pupils and to instil a love of learning for its own sake.

Academic excellence is coupled with an emphasis on personal development. The IB supports the philosophy of a rounded education and the development of the whole person, rather than a narrow focus on the academic alone. To achieve this, pupils are encouraged to reflect upon both their academic subjects and their personal growth. Students are required to demonstrate initiative, independence and organisation. All important collaborative skills are also fostered.

Pupils study six subjects: three subjects are studied at higher level and three at Standard Level. This allows pupils to gain a greater depth of knowledge in those subjects which particularly interest them, whilst still developing further skills in their subsidiary subjects. In choosing their courses, students are required to maintain breadth. A subject must be chosen from Groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the hexagon. Group 6 offers the opportunity to study a creative subject (Art, Music or Theatre Arts) or to select a second subject from Groups 2, 3 or 4. At the core of the Diploma are the Theory Of Knowledge Course, the Extended Essay project and Community, Activity and Service experiences.

Key IB Staff

What is Marlborough doing to give pupils a thorough understanding of the IB programme?

After four years the IB Diploma is now well and truly established at the College. There are formal information sessions for pupils in the Remove and Hundred*, other presentations are also delivered to the parent body: This has particularly been well received by parents of younger pupils enabling them to make informative early decisions about their pathways. Senior assemblies are a weekly platform that allows us to share with the pupil body what the Sixth Form involves and their experiences in the IB programme.

Pupils are encouraged to ask questions frequently to ensure they have a good understanding of the IB Programme and time is designated to discussing IB Subject choices in tutor meetings.

*Course information is always available to pupils on our Virtual Learning Environment (VLE)

What experience do Common Room have of teaching the IB?

All teachers employed at Marlborough have demonstrated a high level of proficiency in the classroom whether from an IB or a purely A level background. There is a huge similarity of content between A-levels and the IB. If you have taught A levels effectively, you are well qualified to deliver the IB.

At least 50% of our teachers have taught in IB schools. The College has also ensured that new beaks attend IB training workshops which do not focus so much on the content of the subject but rather emphasise the ethos and principles, or “spirit” of the IB.

All IB teachers are required to be up to date with current practices and will take part in IB training initiatives every 3 years. The IB network in this region is superb and Marlborough is well placed to take advantage of these connections and does so regularly.

Do British Universities have a bias towards A-levels over the IB?

The IB Diploma is welcomed as a rigorous entry qualification by universities in the UK and around the world, with admissions tutors publicly recognising its strength in preparing young men and women for university studies.

A report by King’s College London showed that what IB students are offering is something far superior to A levels and this is echoed by universities throughout the UK.

According to Professor Sir Richard Trainer, KBE, Principal and President Kings College London, in March 2013 “Kings College London has welcomed International Baccalaureate students from the UK and beyond for many a year. These students have brought a great sense of energy, determination and diversity to our campuses and have adapted well to university life and studies, no doubt in part due to the nature of the IB.”

In 2016 the IBO published statistics which stated that “IBDP graduates have a 57% greater likelihood of attending a top 20 Uk university than A Level students. A further report by HESA*mt also compared success rates at University with IB Diploma students more likely to go on to achieve a 1st class Honours degree (23%compared with 19% in A Level students)

In addition, universities are now far more familiar with a range of qualifications. At Bristol, only 62% of candidates applied with A level in 2012. IB was the next most common qualification at 5%, while 33% applied with other qualifications from around the world.

*Higher Education Statistics Agency

Which Universities have Marlborough pupils been offered places at?

We are pleased to say that our first 2 cohorts have been offered places at a varied range of Universities covering both continents and include:

  • Oxbridge
  • Imperial College London
  • UCL
  • University of Durham
  • University of Warwick
  • Exeter University
  • Bristol University
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Toronto
  • St Andrews University
  • University of Edinburgh

Is there going to be a minimum entry level for the IB? In some schools, after IGCSEs, certain children are told they are “not IB candidates” and asked to make alternative arrangements. Will this happen at MCM?

We have a good sense of where your children are already. When we grade the pupils’ reports in Years 9, 10 and 11, this is our prediction of the grade we feel your child will achieve at IGCSE. We have plotted these IGSCE scores against the IB and this gives us a very good indication of their future grades. If we were concerned that your child might not respond well to the challenges of the IB programme, we would discuss this with you well in advance.

What grades at IGCSE level would be considered to indicate potential IB success?

A*’s, A’s and B’s to achieve safe passes and top scores. Pupils with C’s and D’s would have a chance of passing the Diploma too, if they make the right subject choices and commitment to Sixth Form studies. The college already has an excellent track record with pupils of all abilities.

If I have no GCSEs, what qualifications do I need in order to be accepted for the programme?

We will consider any qualifications a pupil brings with them. Candidates will also be assessed and interviewed by Marlborough to determine their readiness to study the IB Diploma.

What subjects will be on offer?

Group 1: English Literature / English Language and Literature/Literature and Performance

Group 2: English, French, Malay, Mandarin and Spanish

Group 3: Economics, Geography, History, Psychology and Business Management, Global Politics

Group 4: Biology, Chemistry, Design Technology, Physics,  Computer Science and Sports, Exercise and Health Science

Group 5: Maths

Group 6: Music, Theatre, Visual Arts

All the subjects will be offered at Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL), if there is demand.

Maths is offered at HL and SL and Studies.

Languages are offered at HL (advanced), SL (intermediate) and ab initio (beginner).

Some children, may perform well in certain subjects, but not be as capable across the full spectrum. In these cases, are they better candidates for A levels, which will allow them to concentrate on those areas of strength and maximise their points?

Possibly, however, all pupils at Marlborough College Malaysia will follow the IB Programme and will receive every encouragement from teachers and tutors towards achieving their full potential. We feel it is important that our pupils build on their perceived weaknesses, as well as their strengths. They should be courageous in the face of challenge, including in their subject choices.

We believe that a pupil’s school experience should be about more than just passing exams and jumping through hoops. Through the IB, we want to inspire our pupils to take an interest in a breadth of subjects and teach them not just what to think but how to think. School should be about an individual’s personal development and offer a life-long holistic preparation which will enable pupils to make a real difference in whatever field they choose.

Does Marlborough employ a career’s advice professional who will help pupils to pick their subjects and assist in their preparation for university interviews?

Yes, we have a well qualified and experienced universities guidance counsellor, who provides support to all pupils applying to a wide range of countries and institutions*. Other members of staff are always available to assist with specific applications for Oxbridge and Medicine.

In addition, the college runs both yearly Careers and University fairs. The latter is attended by representatives from more than 60 institutions.

*This includes: the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, The Netherlands, Japan and Singapore.

When should the pupils start visiting universities?

Pupils could start visiting universities as early as parents wish. Certainly by the end of the Lower Sixth it is wise for pupils to have made visits to universities of interest.

How many points would be considered to be an average entry level to a Russell Group University?

32 – 38 points

Offers for Russell Group Universities vary considerably depending on the course.

A typical offer for King’s London is 35 points with 666 in HL subjects. Bath University typically offer with 36 points and Warwick ask for 37.

The University of Kent typically accept 32 points.

What resources do you have to support pupils as they prepare for the IB Diploma? Will there be Sixth Form Literature and relevant materials available in the Library/Learning Resource Centre?

Also, what online IB and non IB resources will Marlborough use or recommend?

There has been a huge growth in the materials available to support the IB Diploma. As well as College issued text books there are plenty of IB revision guides available by Oxford University press for example. All departments have developed subject-specific areas on the Colleges’s VLE to support pupils learning. Subscriptions to additional resources like IB question bank, JSTOR, Questia and Massolit have also been acquired.

Fieldwork related to coursework – what are these likely to be?

The programme is launched with a Lower 6th weekend away this has a Theory of Knowledge focus but is also designed to encourage pupil interaction and camaraderie. There will be local fieldwork in Biology and Geography that may involve offsite and overnight accommodation which may incur additional, reasonable costs. Other courses also run relevant trips to galleries and lectures to enhance the quality of understanding and learning.