Is the VCE for me?

As I wrote in my last newsletter piece, ‘To IB or not to IB’, Carey students are very fortunate to have the chance to choose between the IB Diploma and the VCE Certificate for their final years of secondary study.

Before detailing reasons why the IB should be considered as a genuine option for many students, my earlier newsletter piece noted that one key difference between the IB and the VCE is that VCE students can specialise in an area of interest through multiple subjects.

Many Carey VCE students study two of the three VCE Mathematics courses, and some study all three at Year 12 level during their time in Senior School. So too studying two Art and Design subjects, and or Music and Theatre is possible in the VCE. IB students study one subject from each of five discipline groups, with the option of studying a creative arts or additional Science, Language or Humanities subject.

Another feature of the VCE is that students are not required to study the same subjects in Year 11 and 12. While many students continue their Year 11 subjects at Year 12 level, this is not always the case.

Four of the five Carey students who achieved the highest (VCE) ATARs last year studied a subject at Year 12 level which they did not study in Year 11, and/or studied a subject at Year 11 level, but did not then study that subject in Year 12. This flexibility allows VCE students to explore areas of potential interest and change their subject selections as their interests and abilities develop during Year 11 and 12. For example, one student studied Legal Studies in Year 12, but not Year 11. Another studied Literature and English in Year 12, but only studied Literature in Year 11. Most, but not all of these students completed study of a Year 12 level subject in Year 11.

The type and frequency of assessment is another significant difference between the IB and VCE programs. In Year 12, most VCE assessments take the form of in-class tests, whereas most IB subjects have a major piece of work which allow students to pursue an area of particular interest. As with other aspects of each program, some students feel more comfortable with one form of assessment than the other. At the same time, students in the IB and VCE programs very quickly become familiar and comfortable with the arrangements of the program they have chosen. 

There are many resources and ways we support students decide if they will select the IB or VCE program, and the subjects they would prefer to study. In addition to discussions with their teachers and Mentor, this term, Year 10 students (parents are also invited) meet with their Career Practitioner. We also have a Year 10 Pathways Planning Day in the last week of this term and an information evening for students and parents in the first week of next term.

Please do not hesitate to contact our VCE Co-ordinator, Mrs Connie Black, (9816 1285) if you would like further information about the VCE Program, or our IB Co-ordinator, Mrs Frédérique Petithory, (9816 1232) if you would like further information about the IB Diploma Program.

I am also very happy to speak with you about the differences between both programs (email me or call on 9816 1238).

Graeme Young
Deputy Head of Senior School – Student Learning

Read about some recent VCE adventures:

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