Singapore IB students make up half of world's perfect scorers

Republic accounts for 35 of 69 such scorers globally; local cohort achieves 97% pass rate

School of the Arts student Farrah Adystyaning Dewanti scored 41 points in the International Baccalaureate diploma exams.
School of the Arts student Farrah Adystyaning Dewanti scored 41 points in the International Baccalaureate diploma exams.ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI

Students who sat the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma exams in Singapore last November have continued to outperform their global counterparts.

The Switzerland-based IB Organisation, which conducts the exams, said Singapore accounted for 35 of the 69 perfect scorers globally.

Of the 2,250 students in Singapore who took the exams, 96.66 per cent passed. The global pass rate was 70.03 per cent, while the rate for the Asia-Pacific region was 87.76 per cent.

The average scores of Singapore students were also higher than those of their global and regional counterparts: 37.99 points against 28.52 and 33.89, respectively.

Students from seven schools - including Anglo-Chinese School (Independent), Hwa Chong International School, School of the Arts (Sota) and St Joseph's Institution (SJI) - received their results yesterday.

All 456 students in ACS (I) - the first Singapore school to offer the IB diploma since it was accredited in 2005 - passed the IB exam. Their average score was 41 points, with 349 of them obtaining 40 points and above.

The ACS (I) cohort was its largest in five years. The school did not release the number of those who achieved the perfect score of 45.

All 143 Sota students who sat the examinations last year passed.

They included 15 students who did the IB career-related programme, which requires students to take four core subjects, two diploma ones, and a career-related study. For the 128 who did the diploma programme, the average score was 38.5. About half scored 39 points and above.

Among them was 18-year-old Farrah Adystyaning Dewanti, who scored 41 points. Music has been her main passion since she began playing the violin at the age of six.

But she said she developed an interest in chemistry at Sota after conducting experiments as part of the IB internal assessments.


"One of the experiments was on how temperature affects the salinity of sea water, and it made me realise that science is actually very interesting," she said.

"I started thinking about how I could combine music and science, and since then, I've been looking into music therapy."

Farrah, who is Indonesian, intends to live and work in Singapore. She plans to read medicine through the Yale-NUS and Duke-NUS liberal arts and medicine pathway.

At SJI, 99.64 per cent of its 280 students passed the exams, with 59 per cent of the cohort achieving at least 40 points.

At Hwa Chong International School, 99 per cent of its 152-strong cohort passed, with a quarter attaining 40 points and above. Two students achieved the perfect score, while five others scored 44.

Globally, over 18,700 students took the exams last November and more than 86,000 exam papers were processed in 14 languages.

Dr Siva Kumari, IB director-general based in the Netherlands, said in a congratulatory note to graduates: "Research suggests that an IB education provides skills that both universities and employers value, with independent, critical thinking and the ability to work flexibly and cooperatively.

"I am confident that you've been exceptionally well prepared... I wish you all the best in whichever direction you choose to follow."

Dr Kumari sets the strategic direction of the IB. She assumed the post in 2014.

The IB Diploma Programme is a two-year programme conducted at 27 institutions in total in Singapore.

IB qualifications are recognised by universities across the globe.

Students from most of the other 20 schools sat the first round of exams in May last year, and received their results last July.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 04, 2020, with the headline 'S'pore IB students make up half of world's perfect scorers'. Subscribe