The Friends' School

TCE Comparison

“The IB Diploma is not just a qualification that gets you into university, but one that also prepares you to flourish there and beyond.”

As Friends’ School students consider their options for Years 11 and 12, one of the first and most important decisions they will need to make is whether to study for the International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB) or for the Tasmanian Certificate of Education (TCE). Either is suitable for entry to a University in Tasmania, on the mainland, or overseas.

Each of these programs has its own particular features and strengths. Students will need to weigh up these relative strengths, particularly in relation to their own abilities, interests and aspirations for the future. The school’s goal is to ensure each student selects a Pathway that fully engages them and aligns with their ambitions. Only after considering what seems to be best for them should they make their choice and they can only do this if they are fully informed.

We therefore advise that students should not just think about this choice on their own, but should take advantage of the School’s Course Booklets, Information Evenings, and information sessions in Gathering. In the case of the IB Diploma especially, meet with Andrew Gibson, the IB Diploma Coordinator, who will be able to provide the student with a clear understanding of the Diploma and its role in their selection. They should also talk to their parents and relations, subject teachers, their tutor, senior staff at the school, friends, students already undertaking the Pathways, university counsellors, or anyone else who might be able to give them sound advice and help them determine the best possible pathway.”

For students undecided between the IB and the TCE, it is now possible to keep their options open by completing courses in Year 11 that will lead to either IB or TCE qualifications in Year 12.

One of the most important differences to note is that, while the IB is primarily a university entrance qualification, the TCE is appropriate both for university entrance and for many other purposes. An IB Diploma will satisfy university entrance requirements (although getting into a specific course may require gaining a certain overall score, and/or gaining particular scores in specified subjects). It is possible to not qualify for the Diploma: in this case an IB Certificate will be issued showing what scores were gained in which subjects. It is still possible to get a place in university, depending on the details of those scores and subjects.

Having a TCE does not mean one has met university entrance requirements. All students who study any TCE subjects gain a TCE. For university entrance, the universities require passes in certain types of TCE subjects, and specific university courses have further requirements.

Students who are not particularly interested in going to a university or other tertiary institution most likely ought to do the TCE (there are a few exceptions), and consider including a Vocational Education and Training (VET) course.

For university entrance, students can choose to do either the TCE or the IB. The table below compares and contrasts the two programs as university entrance qualifications. More details are available on the IB curriculum and IB/TCE Preparatory Pathway pages.

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