Skip To Main Content

Frequently Asked Questions about IB

What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program?

The International Baccalaureate Diploma is a two-year course of study that requires study in the four “core” subjects, plus a foreign language and an elective. Students who achieve satisfactory scores in six IB courses in grades 11 and 12, and complete TOK, EE and CAS requirements earn the IB Diploma. Students may also elect to take two or more IB classes without pursuing the full Diploma. Colleges and universities often consider IB scores for credit, class placement and merit-based scholarships.

What are “Pre IB” classes, and why should I take them?

Pre IB classes are strongly encouraged for those who are considering the IB program. These classes help students build solid writing and reading skills and utilize higher-order thinking for success in IB (or other advanced) classes in grades 11 and 12. The pre IB advisory program helps students learn about their own learning styles, develop good study habits, manage their time, and gain awareness of local, national and global issues.

How are Pre-IB and Pre-AP Advanced Level similar

Students who can do well in Pre-IB can usually do well in Pre-AP Advanced Level, and vice versa.

Both Pre-IB and Pre-AP Advanced Level classes receive a +.5 GPA weight (same workload).

Both Pre-IB and Pre-AP Advanced Level classes emphasize effective writing, critical reading skills, vocabulary development, and learning through inquiry. 

Check out this comparison / contrast chart about AP and IB.

How are Pre-IB and Pre-AP Advanced Level different?

  • Pre-IB classes have a strong emphasis on developing speaking and listening skills. Pre-AP Advanced Level classes have a strong emphasis on problem solving and critical thinking skills.
  • Pre-IB classes are more integrated than Pre-AP Advanced Level classes due to an interdisciplinary focus. 
  • Pre-IB students are together during advisory CREW time.
  • Pre-IB 9th grade students should start or continue taking a foreign language.
  • Pre-IB students can also take Pre-AP Advanced Level classes (math and science).

Check out this comparison / contrast chart about AP and IB.

How do I apply for Pre-IB or IB classes?

There is no application for our IB Program.  If enrolling in 9th grade, students simply register for Pre-IB English and history classes like any other classes. They will also be in a homeroom "CREW" with other Pre-IB 9th grade students.

Once students begin Pre-IB courses, they should maintain a minimum C average in their academic classes to maximize their success in Pre-IB 10th grade courses.

Students who wish to join Pre-IB in 10th grade or IB in 11th grade, should schedule a meeting with the IB Coordinator to make sure they have a clear understanding of the program and its requirements.   Many of our IB courses are two-year-sequences, so students wishing to join IB in 12th grade will have to meet with the coordinator and choose only one-year IB courses. 

Can I be in an academy and Pre-IB/IB?

Because every 9th grader has to take Career Prep or an equivalent academy, we do everything we can to accommodate the Pre-IB 9 schedule and all of the academies.  Almost every Pre-IB 9 student this year is also in an academy.

Starting in the 2019-20 school year, Health Science Academy courses (10th - 12th grade) will be scheduled at the new Riverchase Career Center RC3, and students attending RC3 will be there for half of their school day and take both math and English at RC3.  Pre-IB and IB courses will not be available at the RC3 campus.

Starting in the 2020-21 school year, we will begin offering an IB Business Management elective.  This junior or senior level-course will be open to all IB students, and it will be co-seated with Business Management for students in the Business and Entrepreneurship Academy.

The Engineering Academy requires students to take AP Physics in their junior and senior year.  Students who pursue the full IB Diploma are required to take IB Chemistry or IB Biology in both 11th and 12th grades, so students who wish to pursue both the Engineering Academy and the full IB Diploma must double up in their science courses.

Will advanced courses mean I won’t have a social life?

Advanced students are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities: Sports, Choir / Band, Theater, church youth groups, Scouts, other civic organizations.

They attend school and social events -- football games, dances, pep rallies -- just like their peers.

Can students do Pre-IB/IB and band?


We have Pre-IB and IB students in band at every grade level.  We even offer IB music as an IB elective option for IB seniors.

Band is a very time-consuming extracurricular, so taking advanced classes while doing band does require students to have good organization and time management skills (refer to the advanced courses rubric).

Can students do Pre-IB / IB and a sport?


We have Pre-IB and IB students in every sport available both at HHS and in the community: Swimming, lacrosse, soccer, football, color guard, cheerleading, tennis, bowling, etc.

But won’t Pre-IB / Pre-AP Advanced Level “kill” my child’s GPA?

Example: Luke was a typical incoming freshman, who ranked in the bottom half of his 8th grade class. 

His freshman year, first semester he made

Algebra 1: B

PE: A               

Band: A

Spanish 1: A

Pre-IB English: C

Pre-AP Biology: C

Pre-IB World History: B

What was Luke’s weighted GPA?                                                           3.35

Does taking Pre-IB courses mean I have to take the IB courses in 11th and 12th grades?

No.  Each year a handful of students decide that Pre-IB / IB courses are not for them. They all are equally prepared for Pre-AP and AP courses as well as Dual Enrollment.

Can I take some IB classes without taking the whole IB Diploma?

In the junior and senior year, students can choose from an array of courses; however, students in IB must take 2 or more IB classes.

See HHS IB Diploma Course Overview 

Isn't IB only for students who are going to ivy-league or international colleges?

100% of IB students go to college, but  only 1.6% of our IB graduates have attended international schools, and only 4.7% have attended ivy-leagues. 57.4% of our students stay in state for college.

What if I'm zoned for Spain Park High School?

We are the IB program for all of Hoover City Schools. Students who are zoned for Spain Park High School would be eligible for an Administrative Assignment to Hoover High School to participate in the IB program. Students must remain enrolled in the IB program to be eligible for the Administrative Assignment.  However, students will need to be able to have their own transportation to school.