IB Grades Explained For Top US & UK University Admissions

by Ignite Training Institute

Are you a student currently enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, or perhaps a parent seeking clarity on your child’s academic journey? Understanding the IB grading system is crucial for charting a successful path through this rigorous curriculum.

The IB grading system is unique, designed to assess students’ depth of understanding and critical thinking across a broad range of subjects. With its holistic approach, it goes beyond traditional grading systems to evaluate students’ abilities to think critically, communicate effectively, and engage with global issues.

In this blog series, we’ll delve into the intricacies of the IB grading system, demystifying its components and shedding light on what each grade truly signifies. Moreover, for students seeking academic support in their IB journey, Ignite Training Institute offers tailored guidance and resources to help students excel in IBDP and MYP curriculums.

What Is An IB Grading Scale 1-7?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) grading scale is a system used to assess the performance of students in the IB program. This scale consists of a range from 1 to 7, with 7 being the highest score achievable. Each subject in the IB program is graded using the same scale, except for the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay (EE), which use a different grading scale.

The IB grading scale is designed to measure the student’s mastery of the subject matter and skills taught in the program. A score of 7 on the IB grading scale is considered equivalent to an A+ or A in the traditional grading system, while a score of 1 is the lowest score achievable and indicates that the student did not meet the minimum requirements for the subject.

In addition to subject-specific grades, students also receive an overall IB diploma score, which is the total of all their subject grades. The maximum score achievable for the IB diploma is 45, with a minimum score of 24 required to pass. The IB grading scale emphasizes critical thinking, problem-solving, and analytical skills, which are essential for success in the program.

IB grades are typically equivalent to certain numerical scores for academic purposes:

  • A grade of 7 is equivalent to an A+ or 97-100%
  • A grade of 6 is equivalent to an A or 93-96%
  • A grade of 5 is equivalent to a B or 85-92%
  • A grade of 4 is equivalent to a C or 77-84%
  • A grade of 3 is equivalent to a D or 70-76%
  • A grade of 2 is equivalent to an E or 60-69%
  • A grade of 1 is equivalent to an F or below 60%
ib grades explained

Related: IB Computer Science Syllabus: HL & SL Complete Overview

IB Grades Explained For IB Diploma Programme

The grading system for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program includes a separate grading scale for the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay (EE), which are both required components of the program.

The TOK grading scale ranges from A to E, with A being the highest score achievable. Students are assessed on their ability to think critically and reflectively about knowledge and how it is acquired. The assessment includes both a presentation and an essay, with a maximum combined score of 10. The TOK grade is then combined with the student’s Extended Essay grade to determine the additional points they will receive toward their overall diploma score.

The EE grading scale ranges from A to E, with A being the highest score achievable. Students are required to complete an independent research project of up to 4,000 words, which is then assessed by an external examiner. The EE grade is then combined with the student’s TOK grade to determine the additional points they will receive toward their overall diploma score.

The combined TOK and EE grades are awarded a score of 0 to 3, with 3 being the highest score achievable. The additional points earned from the TOK and EE grades are added to the student’s subject grades, with a maximum of 3 points possible. The maximum score achievable for the IB diploma is 45, with a minimum score of 24 required to pass.

Related: List Of Top 10 Benefits Of The IB Diploma Programme

How Is IB Score Calculated?

Understanding how IB scores are calculated is essential for students aiming to excel in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Unlike traditional grading systems, the IB utilizes a holistic approach to assess students’ performance across various subjects. Let’s delve into the intricacies of how IB scores are determined:

Internal Assessments (IA)

Internal Assessments form a significant portion of the final IB score. These assessments are conducted by teachers within the school and can take various forms, such as essays, projects, or oral presentations. Each subject has its own set of criteria for internal assessment, which contributes to a percentage of the overall grade.

External Assessments

External assessments are standardized tests administered worldwide. They include written examinations, which are typically conducted at the end of the course. These exams are marked externally by trained IB examiners. The results of external assessments also contribute to the final IB score.

Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)

Theory of Knowledge constitutes an essential element within the IB Diploma Programme.. It explores the nature of knowledge and encourages students to critically reflect on different ways of knowing. TOK assessments include an essay and a presentation, both of which are evaluated according to specific criteria. The TOK grade contributes to the overall IB score.

Extended Essay (EE)

The Extended Essay is an independent research project undertaken by students in a subject of their choice. It provides an opportunity for students to engage in in-depth inquiry and develop research skills. The Extended Essay is externally assessed and contributes to the final IB score.

Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)

CAS is another core component of the IB Diploma Programme, emphasizing experiential learning through creative pursuits, physical activities, and community service. While CAS is not directly graded, successful completion of CAS requirements is a prerequisite for obtaining the IB diploma.

Related: 10 Tips On How To Get Good Grades In IB Curriculum Exams

What Is A 7 In IB Equivalent To?

In the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, attaining a grade of 7 represents the highest level of achievement possible in a subject. But what does a 7 in IB equate to in other grading systems?

A score of 7 in IB is often considered equivalent to an A+ or A* in other grading systems, such as the British A-levels or the American Advanced Placement (AP) program. It signifies exceptional mastery of the subject matter, demonstrating a deep understanding, critical thinking skills, and the ability to apply knowledge in complex contexts.

Related: 10 IB Learner Profile Attributes Shaping Your Fututre

What Is A Good IB Score To Get Into Top Universities?

A good IB score to get into top universities varies depending on the university and the program the student is applying to. Generally, top universities consider IB scores as one of several factors when making admissions decisions, along with other criteria such as standardized test scores, extracurricular activities, essays, and letters of recommendation.

A score of 40 or above out of a maximum of 45 is considered a strong IB score that can enhance a student’s chances of being admitted to top universities. However, some highly selective universities may require a score of 42 or higher for admission. It’s also important to note that many top universities consider other factors beyond just academic performance, such as leadership potential, community service, and unique talents or skills.

Related: IB Program Pros & Cons: 10 Facts You Must Know

Ideal IB Scores For Top US & UK Universities

Here are the ideal IB scores to get admission at top US universities: 

  1. Harvard – 42
  2. Yale – 40
  3. Princeton – 42
  4. Columbia – 40
  5. Stanford – 40
  6. Duke – 40

Here are the ideal IB scores to get admission at top UK universities:

  1. Cambridge – 40
  2. Oxford – 38
  3. Imperial – 38
  4. UCL – 35
  5. Kings College – 40
  6. LSE – 37

When Do The Results For The May & November IB Exams Come Out?

The release dates for International Baccalaureate (IB) exam results vary depending on whether the exams were held in May or November. Typically, results for the May session exams are released in early July, while results for the November session exams are usually released in early January of the following year.

These dates may vary slightly depending on the specific year and region, but students can generally expect to receive their results within these timeframes.

How Hard Is It To Achieve A Score Of 45 In IB?

Earning a perfect score of 45 in the IB Diploma Programme is an exceptional feat demanding unwavering commitment, diligence, and proficiency. With only 772 students out of 173,000 worldwide achieving this milestone in the May 2022 session, the attainment rate stands at a mere 0.87%, as reported by the IB website. 

To secure a perfect score, students must excel in all six subjects, scoring a maximum of 7 points in each, and garner an additional three points from their combined TOK and EE grades. Moreover, they must exhibit outstanding research, analytical, and critical thinking abilities in their extended essay and theory of knowledge assessments. 

Achieving a score of 45 epitomizes the pinnacle of academic excellence within the IB framework, a testament to unparalleled dedication and scholarly aptitude.

Ignite Training Institute: Tutors In Dubai For IB Academic Excellence

Ignite Training Institute, nestled in the vibrant city of Dubai, UAE, stands as a beacon of academic support for International Baccalaureate (IB) students. Specializing in tutoring services tailored to the unique needs of IB students, Ignite provides comprehensive assistance to navigate the challenges of the IB curriculum with confidence and success. 

With a team of experienced educators dedicated to empowering students, Ignite offers personalized tutoring sessions, exam preparation courses, and guidance in key IB components such as Internal Assessments, External Assessments, Theory of Knowledge (TOK), and the Extended Essay. 


1. What Is The IB Grading Scale?

The IB grading scale ranges from 1 to 7, with 7 being the highest score achievable, assessing students’ performance across various subjects based on international standards.

2. What Is A Good IB Grade?

A good IB grade typically falls within the range of 5 to 7, indicating a strong understanding of the subject and mastery of its concepts. However, what constitutes a “good” grade may vary depending on individual goals, university admissions criteria, and the competitiveness of the academic environment.

3. What Are IB Grades Equivalent To?

IB grades are typically equated to numerical scores as follows: 7 is akin to an A+ (97-100%), 6 to an A (93-96%), 5 to a B (85-92%), 4 to a C (77-84%), 3 to a D (70-76%), 2 to an E (60-69%), and 1 to an F (below 60%).

4. How Is The IB Grade Calculated?

IB grades are calculated based on a combination of internal assessments and external examinations, with each component weighted according to specific criteria set by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO).

5. What Are The Yale IB Requirements?

Yale University is renowned for its high academic standards and selective admissions process. While there are no strict International Baccalaureate (IB) score requirements, achieving a total IB score of 40 points or higher showcases a student’s dedication, intellectual prowess, and ability to excel in a rigorous academic program like the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP).


ib grades explained

IB grades play a crucial role in evaluating a student’s academic performance and can have a significant impact on their future opportunities. Understanding how the grading system works and what each grade represents can help students set achievable goals and work towards achieving their academic aspirations. 

The IB program is recognized globally and can open doors to higher education and career opportunities. The journey toward earning an IB diploma and achieving high grades may be challenging, but the rewards can be immense, both in terms of personal growth and future opportunities.

Related: What Is An IB World School? All You Need To Know