Frequently Asked Questions

General IB@GCVI Questions

What does IB offer that the mainstream program does not?

  • Emphasis on international-mindedness and global citizenship
  • Connections made across all subject areas
  • In preparatory:
    • planning and support for a smooth transition into senior courses (the IB DP)
    • students learn how to learn – critical thinking directly taught in global citizenship course
    • explicit teaching around communication skills
    • explicit teaching around time management – strategies
  • In the Diploma Program (DP):
    • Enriched critical thinking and analysis across all subjects but particularly in Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
    • Understanding balance in Creativity-Activity-Service (CAS)
    • Extended Research Essay (EE) in preparation for university expectations
    • Formal internal assessment (IA) in each course, moderated by the IB (explicit university preparation)
    • Formal IB exams marked by IB examiners (explicit university preparation)
    • Full-year/multi-semester courses for breadth and depth of learning (and possible transfer credits to university for HL courses)

What will high school life be like for the IB student?

  • Busy, but balanced. The student will not only be focused on academics but also on their community, their own creativity and development. The Preparatory Program will help students ease into the rigours of the program.
  • They need to be motivated and they need to love learning. We will help them develop the organizational skills and time management skills required for success in the IB DP.
  • We also work to build student resilience so they learn how to respond to challenges and how to learn from and overcome struggles.

Is transportation available for out-of-area/out of GCVI boundary students?

  • Transportation is only available to students who live in the GCVI boundary.
  • We try to put families in need of transportation from various parts of the city (East End, South End) in touch with one another so car-pooling can be arranged if that is the desired solution.
  • Many students use city transportation

Can IB students with IEPs access the resource room?

  • All students at GCVI, despite their program of study, have access to the resource room and IEP accommodations. 

International Student Exchanges

  • IB students who are interested in student exchange programs must be cautious of WHEN they embark on the exchange.  The Full Diploma program must be completed in two years, so Full Diploma students need to consider exchanges in grades 9 or 10 OR in the summers.  Grade 11 and 12 Full Diploma students MAY NOT miss the class time due to an exchange.  Here is a board-approved program to check out if you are interested in an exchange:

Preparatory Program Questions

 Why is there a preparatory program?

  • The Preparatory Program is essential for preparing students for the kinds of challenges the IB will bring (inquiry-based learning, fast-paced content, skill development, questioning our world, organizing and prioritizing)
  • Joining GCVI and the Preparatory Program in Grade 9 allows students to become involved citizens at GCVI and create deeper connections and relationships before embarking on the Diploma Programme.

What is the Preparatory Program?

  • Made by GCVI (not the IB)
  • In Grade 9 and 10 students will work on their OSSD subjects but will also work towards additional credits to ensure they are prepared for the Diploma Programme — such as an additional math credit, science, if they choose, specialty programs like MADE and CELP will need to happen in Grade 10 with special planning.
  • Students will mainly be attending 4 classes with their preparatory program cohort and 4 classes with the entire Gr. 9 population.

Who is the ideal candidate?

  • No particular average necessary… but ACADEMICALLY CAPABLE (we recognize that students need room to develop and grow – our job is to foster this growth).
  • IB Learner Profile – help students grow to become this.

French Immersion to IB – Specialty Program to Specialty Program

  • Leaving the French Immersion program for IB is a very difficult decision for students and parents and we understand the anxieties that all stakeholders face during this decision. Students are leaving a specialty program, their friends, and sometimes their school community, for another.
  • We have options that French Immersion students can select when building their GCVI timetable. These current options have been created with the IB Team, the French Language teachers as well as the administrators.
  • Senior students are given the opportunity to write the DELF (diploma awarded by the French Ministry of Education to prove the French-language skills of non-French candidates).

How can I take 3 sciences? 

Some students would like to fit 3 sciences into their high school experience. If this is your case, here are the common ways that students achieve 3 sciences and their  IB prep and IB Diploma years:

  1. Decide which science you *are not* studying in IB and take the grade 11 (3U) science online in the summer between grade 10 and 11 and then take the grade 12 (4U) in the summer between grade 11 and 12
  2. Take the grade 11 science (that you will not be studying in IB) in the second semester of grade 10 (after you have taken grade 10 science in semester 1)  and then take the grade 12 online in the summer between grade 10 and grade 11.
  3. If you are a strong student, you can consider taking grade 10 prep science in the 2nd semester of grade 9, take grade 11 science (the one that you will not be studying in IB) in the first semester of grade 10 and take the grade 12 in the second semester of grade 10 OR in the summer online. *this is the least common option

****Taking three sciences is not necessary for a student’s success in getting into the most competitive university programs. In fact, a number of our students have applied and gotten into Mechatronics at the University of Waterloo where a student needs a minimum of a 95% average with just two sciences. The only program in Ontario that requires three sciences is the integrated biomedical engineering program at the University of McMaster

How is the Grade 8 to Grade 9 transition facilitated to best support the students?

  • We will have a special IB Orientation Day for students to get to know one another and the IB program. We will also walk the students through a general idea of the next four years, and essentially, give them an overview of the program, their new school, etc.  

How many students will be accepted into the program?

  • We want to accept all students who demonstrate academic ability, an interest in the program and an enthusiasm to learn. 
  •  At present, the maximum number of students in the program is 186. 
  • The number of applicants exceeds the number of spots available. However, we have students on a waitlist and we continuously invite students into the program from the waitlist.

When can students begin their application process?

  • Once the application is live on the website, a student can apply.

What is the application process like?

  • The online application form has seven sections, outlined on the website.
  • Student Profile (extracurricular involvements)
  • In November – math proficiency and problem-solving assessment

IB Diploma Programme Questions

How much will the program cost and why?

  • $1,000 per year of the Diploma Programme (Gr. 11 and Gr. 12); 4 payments of $500 over 2 years
  • (At this point in time, there is no cost for the preparatory program)

What if a student is unable to afford the program?

  • Bursaries are available as well as payment plans, etc. on a student by student basis.  

What happens if a student is struggling during the program?

  • The coordinator has check-in meetings with the IB teachers to discuss student progress at reporting periods
  • Students are counselled on a case-by-case basis and provided the same support we would provide any student at GCVI struggling with courses and learning.
  • Students will also graduate with their Ontario Secondary School Diploma to ensure success (*Any student who graduates from the IB gets TWO diplomas, both the OSSD and the IB Diploma)

Does an IB diploma make a difference regarding university acceptance and preparedness?

  • It greatly impacts preparedness. Students will have written a mini-thesis (Extended Essay), taken an advanced critical thinking course (Theory of Knowledge) and will have managed a busy schedule, along with challenging academic material.  This creates a preparedness advantage for IB students compared to students not in the program.
  • Some universities have entrance scholarships for IB students / preferential treatment
  • Certain First-year courses waived for students who earn a level 5 or higher on their report card by almost all Ontario Universities (transfer credits)
  • If you want more information about how IB prepares students for university, please feel free to watch Andrew Arida (director of undergraduate admissions at the University of British Columbia) speak in Toronto at Upper Canada College on “The Value of an IB Education”. Simply search this video on YouTube or enter this link:

Do students taking IB have time to play sports?

  • Yes. In fact, the “Activity” component of CAS requires that students participate in sport and physical activity.
  • We have many high-level athletes who balance school and sports

Do IB students have time for a job? 

  • Absolutely. Many of our students have part-time jobs in addition to balancing school and extracurriculars.

Can a student take partial IB? Could the student take some subjects in IB but do others in the academic/university stream?

  • At present, students who enter the IB are required to take the entire program. 

What does grade 11 and 12 look like in terms of courses?

  • Students select 6 courses to study over the 2 years of grades 11 and 12
    • 3 HL (Higher Level) courses that run over 3 semesters
    • 3 SL (Standard Level) courses that run over semesters
    • They also take a Theory of Knowledge course (critical thinking/philosophy)

What is a translated grade? 

  • As IB is marked on 7 levels (unlike 4 levels in OSSD) this seven-point table of percentage equivalents was initiated and agreed upon by the Universities of Ontario and the Diploma IB Schools of Ontario. This table is used to determine the Ontario percentage for the reporting of the final 4U or 4M course in an IB series.
  • Level 5 is relatively equivalent to an OSSD level 3
  • IB Level  Ontario Percentage
    7 97 to 100
    6 93 to 96
    5 84 to 92
    4 72 to 83
    3 61 to 71
    2 50 to 60
    1 >50 

I heard that students earn two diplomas; is this true? 

  • Yes, a student who successfully completes the IB diploma programme automatically graduates with their IB Diploma and their OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma).