Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for International Baccalaureate Chinese Program

  1. What is the International Baccalaureate (IB) Programme?
    The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) is an assessed-based programme for students aged 16 to 19. It is respected by leading universities across the globe.
  2. What is IB Chinese?
    IB Chinese is a second language course for IB.
  3. What are the benefits of taking IB?
    a. According to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), students will:be encouraged to think independently and drive their own learning
    b. Take part in programmes of education that can lead them to some of the highest ranking universities around the world
    c. Become more culturally aware, through the development of a second language
    d. Be able to engage with people in an increasingly globalized, rapidly changing world
  4. What are the requirements for the IB Diploma?
    A student has to take 6 IB courses as outlined by the IBO. One of these courses must be a second language, e.g., Chinese.
  5. What is partial IB?
    A student may choose not to take the IBDP in order to reduce the number of IB courses they wish to take depending on the requirement of their English school. For example, some schools allow students to take two or three IB courses instead of six courses.
  6. Which schools does The Chinese Academy (TCA) work with to provide IB Chinese courses?
    Since 1997, TCA is the only school in Calgary that works with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) to provide IB Chinese courses for the five CBE IB high schools: John G. Diefenbaker, Sir Winston Churchill, Western Canada, Henry Wise Wood and Lester B. Pearson High School. In addition, The Chinese Academy permits any students to register for our IB Chinese courses if they are approved by an IB school within the Calgary Catholic School District or a private/charter IB school. Also, under special circumstance, we will consider any students who are attending IB Schools outside of Calgary, as long as we are offering on-line classes.
  7. Will I get high school credits if I study IB Chinese courses at TCA?
    Yes. A student will receive 5 credits upon completion of each Chinese course (Chinese 10 Honours, Chinese 20 IB and Chinese 30 IB) at TCA. This is a total of 15 credits from Alberta Education. Chinese credits fulfill one of the requirements for The Alberta Education High School Diploma.
  8. What are the levels of IB Chinese courses offered at TCA?
    TCA offers:
    a. Cantonese Standard Level courses (Cantonese B SL) – These courses are for students with some background in Cantonese
    b. Mandarin Standard Level courses (Mandarin B SL) – These courses are for students with some background in Mandarin
    c. Mandarin Beginner Level courses (Mandarin ab initio) – These courses are for students with little or no background in Mandarin
  9. Are IB credits accepted by universities as university credits?
    Yes. Many universities accept IB credits as university credits. With university transfer credit, a student can receive university-level credits for IB work completed in high school. Transfer credits can allow you to free up time in your university course schedule and save money.
    For example, at the University of Alberta:
    IB Course University of Alberta Equivalent
    Mandarin ab (SL) CHINA 101 (★3) & 102 (★3)
    Mandarin B (SL) CHINA 101 (★3) & 102 (★3)
    Each university has their own list of subjects that they grant advance credits. For details, please check the universities’ websites.
  10. What does the IB Chinese program at TCA involve?
    a. Grade 10 Honours: students study Chinese and Cultural syllabus to prepare them for IB Chinese
    b. We evaluate students in grade 10 Honours classes before we recommend them to take IB Chinese in grade 11 and 12
    c. Students take IB Chinese in Grades 11 and 12 and participate in the IB Chinese exam from IBO in grade 12
  11. Do IB Chinese candidates have to write a placement assessment?
    All new high school students at TCA must write a placement assessment. Students will do the placement assessment after registration is completed.
  12. How long is the placement assessment? What is the content of the placement assessment?
    The placement assessment takes approximately one hour. The placement assessment evaluates the student’s general Chinese language abilities in listening, speaking, reading and writing.
  13. How do I apply to study IB Chinese?
    a. Students must obtain confirmation from their English school IB Coordinator and inform TCA as part of the registration process into the IB Chinese program at TCA.
    b. A student’s grade in TCA must match his/her grade in English school.
    c. TCA will determine if a student will study in the IB Chinese Standard Level (SL) or the IB Chinese ab initio course according to the student’s placement assessment, cultural background, previous Chinese education and Chinese proficiency.
  14. I have studied grades 10, 11, 12 in another school; can I skip any grades in TCA’s IB program?
    No. IBO has specific curricula requirements that a student must study in order to take the IB Chinese exam in grade 12. In grade 10 honours, TCA evaluates the student to confirm if they qualify for the grade 11 IB Chinese program.
  15. I have studied Chinese for many years and my Chinese level is very high. Can I challenge IB Chinese?
    No. IBO does not allow challenge exams.
  16. How much does it cost to study IB Chinese per year?
    The tuition at TCA for IB Chinese and non-IB students are the same. Please refer to the registration page on The Chinese Academy website, or email the school office at