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IB Diploma Programme

In the Finnish IB schools the IB Diploma Programme dp-programme-logo-en_web.pngconsists of three academic years: preparatory year and two actual International Baccalaureate years. The students are exposed to the two great traditions of learning: the humanities and the sciences.

The IB Studies

The IB programme differs from the national curriculum in the number of subjects IB programme logo.gif(six subjects) and in that their teaching is not clearly organized in courses.

In addition to these subjects the students study the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and they have to complete the Creativity, Action and Service (CAS) which is an experimental component of the diploma. The aim of the CAS programme is to educate the whole person. TOK is a course that examines the origins and validity of various forms of knowledge. The aims of the course are to gain an understanding of what it means to know something and to develop the critical thinking. The students are also required to write an Extended Essay of some 4000 words. The Extended Essay is an in-depth study of a limited topic chosen from one of the subjects of the IB Diploma Programme. The essay permits student to deepen his/ her programme of study. These three elements form the core of the curriculum model.

IB subjects are selected during the spring term of the Preparatory year. The students choose their programme of the six subjects to be studied over two years, from the following:dp_eng_reduced.jpg

  • Studies in languages and literature (Finnish, English, others self taught)
  • Language acquisition
  • Individuals and Societies (Economics, History, Psychology)
  • Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics)
  • Mathematics
  • Arts (Theatre)


The student must have at least three (but no more than four) higher level subjects and two or three standard level subjects. Higher level subject equals 8,5 courses and a standard level subject 5 courses.

There are two exam periods (Mock-exams) during the school year. Also the working methods, e.g. working in groups, preparing essays, doing investigations/ laboratory works, giving presentations, require active participation and motivation from students.

The Preparatory year

The preparatory year mainly comprises studies which comply with the Finnish national secondary education programme, for example in mathematics and natural sciences, humanities and social sciences, religion or ethics, physical and health education, as well as arts and practical subjects.

In addition to the compulsory courses, there still remains room for the students’ own interests and it is advisable that the students take benefit from this opportunity. The students take courses from the school curriculum so that they have a minimum of 28 courses during the preparatory year. In order to familiarize the students with the actual IB studies the preparatory year will include guiding to IB Diploma Programme requirements.

The students who have successfully completed the preparatory year’s studies are accepted to the Diploma Programme.

Academic honesty

1.1 Academic honesty must be seen as a set of values and skills that promote personal integrity and good practice in teaching, learning and assessment. It is influenced and shaped by a variety of factors including peer pressure, culture, parental expectations, role modelling and taught skills. Although it is probably easier to explain to candidates what constitutes academic dishonesty, with direct reference to plagiarism, collusion and cheating in examinations, whenever possible the topic must be treated in a positive way, stressing the benefits of properly conducted academic research and a respect for the integrity of all forms of assessment for the Diploma Programme.

1.2 All Diploma Programme candidates must understand the basic meaning and significance of concepts that relate to academic honesty, especially authenticity and intellectual property. Ensuring that candidates understand and respect academic honesty should not be confined to original authorship and ownership of creative material: academic honesty includes, for example, proper conduct in relation to the written examinations.

1.3 The concept of intellectual property is potentially a difficult one for candidates to understand because there are many different forms of intellectual property rights, such as patents, registered designs, trademarks, moral rights and copyright. Candidates must at least be aware that forms of intellectual and creative expression (for example, works of literature, art or music) must be respected and are normally protected by national and international law. By implementing measures to prevent plagiarism, schools are helping to combat illegal out-of-school activities (for example, illegal music downloads, peer-to-peer or P2P file sharing) for which candidates may face legal proceedings.

1.4 An authentic piece of work is one that is based on the candidate’s individual and original ideas with the ideas and work of others fully acknowledged. Therefore all assignments, written or oral, completed by a candidate for assessment must wholly and authentically use that candidate’s own language and expression. Where sources are used or referred to, whether in the form of direct quotation or paraphrase, such sources must be fully and appropriately acknowledged.

1.5 Although the Regulations clearly define plagiarism as the representation of the ideas or work of another person as the candidate’s own, this definition alone does not provide candidates with sufficient information or guidance on what constitutes plagiarism and how it can be avoided. Candidates must receive guidance on when and how to include acknowledgments in their work.

Similarly, the practice of paraphrasing is a skill that must be taught so that candidates do not simply copy a passage, substitute a few words with their own and then regard this as their own authentic work. When using the words of another person it must become habitual practice for a candidate to use quotation marks, indentation or some other accepted means of indicating that the wording is not their own. Furthermore, the source of the quotation (or paraphrased text) must be clearly identified along with the quotation and not reside in the bibliography alone.

Using the words and ideas of another person to support one’s arguments is a fundamental part of any academic endeavour, and how to integrate these words and ideas with one’s own is an important skill that must be taught.