Why IB? and The IBDP Situation in Malaysia

A little background: 
I keep on hearing about how IB is really, really hard, both on the web (like overseas) and here locally from friends. When I tell them that I took this course, they have only two responses. Either they have heard of it and think it is freaking hard, or they go:

Huh? Sorry but I have never heard of that before..what's that?

(my initial response: launch into an entire tirade of explanation.
my final response: one sentence: "it's like A-Levels".)

Unfortunately, IB is not as straightforward as A-Levels (or as easy!)

The IBDP Situation in Malaysia
Searching for more information about this practically unknown (although I think that recently it's starting to become more popular as an alternative to A-Levels) pre-u course is a daunting task. There are loads of info about it, true, but unfortunately the info from Malaysia is super super limited. :/

And I know that we're all generally not risk-takers, plus it's an expensive risk. It's hard to compare to A-Levels because the fee for ALVL varies between famous and not-so-famous institutions (ranging between 8K-40K), but I can say that the IB I'm taking now, at Taylor's, cost a private student 100K, excluding textbooks (1-2K), lab fees, and miscellanous fees. Do your math.

So cute <3
So unless a student is fully sponsored (like me), the average family will find it hard to support the course. I've noticed that a lot of MARA-sponsored students are sent to local government-owned colleges like Kolej Mara Banting and Kolej Mara Seremban to do IB, and then fly overseas directly if they achieve a minimum of 35/45 points, while those who scored below that get to do their degrees at local private colleges. FYI, MARA is only sponsoring bumiputera students (e.g: Malay) so non-bumi like me have no chance. :(

I just realized that actually IB has been undergoing for many years in Malaysia now, in MARA colleges and international schools. That's why I think the Chinese students go for A-Levels, they're generally not that rich to afford, IB scholarships are super limited (compared to A-Levels ones), they can't apply for MARA, and also no knowledge about the existence of IB. =.=

The no-knowledge part is bolstered by proof that under the MOE Bursary, which gives full tuition scholarship to over a thousand students, less than 20 chose the IB. A-Levels is still more widely known. I still have to tell people "oh erm it's like A-Levels" every time they give me a blank look.

It has worldwide recognition, like A-Levels, and about the accreditation by Malaysia, it's accepted all right. It must be a good thing if the government is sending its best and brightest bumiputra students to study this right? You can apply for certain local public uni (like UM and USM) with IB, although they give preference to Matrics/STPM students. But people have been successfully getting into local unis with IB, so it works.

Personal reasons for choosing the IBDP:
I'm pretty excited about reading back everything after two years, what I felt at first and in the end. Sucks that all my friends are grouped with each other and no one is with me, but I'm definitely sure this is my path and the most important is what I really want. I can make new ones along the way, right? 

About why I'm so sure about this, I can say that I have no idea. Less than three months ago I didn't even know what it is. 

What I know later is that it's the longest, hardest, most unknown, highest-risk course among the choices I was given under the KPM Bursary (STPM, Matrics, Asasi, ALevels, IB).
think I chose this because:

  • I didn't want to take something that everyone takes...I have an inclination toward something different.
  • Not 100% exam orientated, but still 70-80% exam based (I don't know wtf I'm talking about LOL)
  • It's something that comes closest to what a real education is supposed to be (I guess)
  • I'm an avid believer of education being for what it is and not just a stepping stone in life and only about exams. I don't believe in rushing through education.
  • I want to make the most out of my Pre-U life, not just studying and cramming for exams because life is short
  • I want to challenge the part of me that keeps insisting that it is impossible for a lazy, disorganized last-minute bum like me to survive IB and to-
  • challenge myself to be more hardworking and organized now so that it will be easy to have fun at university later and still get a first class degree. ;)

Final Words
You only live once, and you only go through Pre-U once.
I know the majority of students don't have a choice like me (I had way too many choices) and I know I'm lucky! Pre-U isn't that important, but it's two years of your life, which is important, so you'll want to be sure you will enjoy your study life.
I won't ever be sure, but I do hope to enjoy my life. :)

Hopefully I'll survive through this!

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