Created for expats living in Japan

International Baccalaureate (IB) vs Cambridge A Level - What are the differences?

If your child wishes to enter an overseas university after completing their schooling in Japan, or transfer to another school in the middle of their studies, they must have an education recognized in the country. Here we will introduce the International Baccalaureate (IB) and the Cambridge A Level, 2 well-known internationally accepted university entrance qualifications (diplomas), and the differences between them. You can also find a list of each schools in Japan.

>> List of International Schools in Japan

What is International Baccalaureate(IB)?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) is a leader in international education, establishing young people who are curious, knowledgeable, self-assured, and compassionate. Their programs enable school-aged students to take charge of their own learning and assist them in building future-ready skills so they can make a difference and prosper in a world that is changing quickly.

Read their website to earn more:
・International Baccalaureate

In order to develop human resources with the skills to cope with globalization, the following educational programs are offered, depending on the age of the students.

International Baccalaureate Curriculum

The DP core and 6 subject groups make up the curriculum. The 3 required parts that make up the DP core are meant to challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills while broadening their educational experience.

The 3 essential components are:

1) Theory of knowledge
2) The extended essay
3) Creativity, activity, service

The 6 subject groups are:

1) Studies in language and literature
2)Language acquisition
3) Individuals and societies
4) Sciences
5) Mathematics
6) The arts

What is Cambridge A Level Programme?

With Cambridge International AS and A Levels, thousands of students gain admission to prestigious universities every year. Deep subject knowledge and the capacity for independent thought are developed by the curriculum content.

Cambridge A Level Programme  Curriculum

There is a large selection of more than 50 subjects, and schools are free to offer them in almost any arrangement. Students are free to specialize or study a variety of subjects; there are no required subjects.

Giving children the option to make their own decisions encourages them to strive in their studies. At AS Level, students typically take 4 subjects, and at A Level, 3 subjects. The standard admission requirement for UK universities is 3 A Levels.

To learn more, click here to download a PDF.

International Baccalaureate (IB), A-Level and Japanese Deviation Scores

The correlation chart between International Baccalaureate (IB), Cambridge A Level, and Japanese deviation scores is shown below.

* The IB is the total of 6 subjects plus core subjects, and A-Level is the result of 3 subjects compared to the ratio of the number of students.
* Deviation values are calculated by Global Education Foundation from the normal distribution table based on the ratio of the number of people, and are for reference only.

Source: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology

Find IB / Cambridge Schools in Japan

Both International Baccalaureate and Cambridge websites list accredited schools in Japan. Cambridge's international education programs are also available online.

List of International Baccalaureate accredited schools in Japan

List of Cambridge A Level accredited schools in Japan

You may also be interested in:

List of International Schools in Japan

Japanese education system and which school is the best for your child

Primary - Elementary School System in Japan

* Enrolling in a Japanese public school and materials you need to prepare

* What You Should Know about Japanese Public School Customs