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Guide to IB Grade Boundaries - Group 1 English

Welcome to our series of blog posts on IB grade boundaries!

An understanding of IB grade boundaries is critical to maximising your IB Score. Grade boundaries are the range of marks out of 100 you need to achieve in your assessments to gain a 7, or any other grade. For example, in May 2016, TZ1, the grade boundaries for Mathematics Studies were 7: 100-80; 6: 79-68; 5: 67-56; 4: 43-55. This means that you’re graded on a curve; in other words, the IB compares you to other students. Some subjects, like History Route 1 and Physics, are considered more difficult than others, so the IB lowers the grade boundaries to compensate. Further, some papers are more difficult than others and so the grade boundaries are lowered for students completing that paper.

Little Geniuses have compiled data from May 2014 to Nov 2016 to analyse trends in grade boundaries for a wide range of subjects.

This post is on group 1 subjects: English as Language A1 (Literature) at SL and HL.

The chart below shows the movement of the cut off mark for a band 7. Here, exam number 1 is May 2014 TZ1, exam 2 is MAY 2014 TZ2, exam 3 is Nov 2014 TZ1 etc. Note that there are three exams every calendar year - there is only one time zone in November. The cut-off varies from 79 to 81 between May 2014 TZ1 and November 2016. Generally, the cut-off for HL students is higher than for SL students however, this wasn’t the case in November 2015. The data does note hint at any long term trends – it is likely that the average cut-off will stay at around 80 for the next few years at least.

From this data we can learn that the average cut-off over the last 5 years is very similar for both levels of English: 80.2 for HL and 80.0 for SL. To be on the safe side, aim to score 82 or above, and you’re almost guaranteed to get a seven.

Please contact Little Geniuses if you need help achieving in group 1 subjects.

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