What is IB?

IB stands for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, offered by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), based in Geneva, Switzerland. It is a rigorous, two year pre-university course of study that meets the needs of highly motivated secondary school students, who have successfully completed the lower secondary school.

Programme for Pre-IB classes

Students finishing year 10 at our school go directly into our year 11 pre-IB programme. Very strong students may apply to skip year 11. This is done by requesting to do so in writing to the year 10 class teacher. Year 10 teachers discuss and decide whether students may skip year 11 during the grading conference at the end of year 10.

Outside applicants, who must be highly mobile, will be placed in year 11. If they show very strong academic achievement on past reports and on the admission test, then they may be placed in grade 12 (IB1) if space is available.

Students have German, English, Global Learning, Lab Skills and Maths for the entire year. The other courses are taught on a semester basis. This will strengthen skills necessary for the IB programme, close the gap between the lower and upper secondary and allow students to make informed decisions about choosing their Higher and Standard level courses for the Diploma Programme.

The students have 32 hours of lessons per week.

These lesson are taught on a semester basis:
Semester 1Semester 2Student hours
Economics/Geography Geography/Economics 4
History/Biology Biology/History 4
Chemistry/Physics Physics/Chemistry 4
Art/Theater Theater/Art 4
These lesson are taught year round:
SubjectStudent hours
Maths 4
English 4
German 4
Global Learning 2
Lab Skills 2

Our IB

The programme is made up of the core area and subjects taken from six content areas.

  • Core area – Extended Essay, Theory of Knowledge and Creativity, Action and Service (CAS)
  • Area 1 – Language and Literature A – English or German
  • Area 2 – Foreign Language B and ab initio (beginner) SL
  • Area 3 – History, Geography, Economics
  • Area 4 – Biology, Physics, Chemistry
  • Area 5 – Mathematics HL, Mathematics SL, Maths Studies SL
  • Area 6 – Visual Arts, Theatre SL, or second course from Area 1, 2, 3 or 4

SL = Standard Level, HL = Higher Level
A or B for languages: A = native speaker level, B = intermediate/advanced level
Langauges A and B can be HL or SL
Languages ab initio are SL

All students must complete the requirements in the core area. Students also choose three of the above subjects at Higher Level and three at Standard Level. One course must be chosen from each area. Students usually get their first choice for their schedules, but course and level offered may be determined by the amount of demand and course size.

Students may, after approval by the IB Coordinator (Mr. Spiller), take one of the following courses online through Pamoja Education:

  • Business and Management HL or SL
  • French ab initio SL only
  • Mandarin ab initio SL only
  • Spanish ab inito SL only
  • Spanish B SL
  • Psychology HL or SL
  • Philosophy SL
  • Film SL

Cost for the online courses are approximately $1400 per year.

IB Course Outlines

NMS IB Statistics

Creativity, Action, Service

CAS (Creativity, Action, Service) is an integral part of the IB at our school. Students must take part in activities in each of these areas. This gets them involved in extra-curricular projects and life outside of school. A few examples of these activities are: Model United Nations, Amnesty International, Prefects, athletic clubs and various community services projects.


Students are required to pay 1500.00 EUR for their exam fees. Parents are expected to join the Friends of Nelson Mandela (our Parent/Student/Teacher organization). Membership signup and details are here. Thank you.

German university requirements

Be careful in making your schedule if you want to study in Germany! Students must have one language at A (native speaker) level and one at B Higher Level. Students can also have two languages at level A. They must also have either Maths or Science at Higher Level.
Due to the fact that IB is something relatively new to the German system, well-above-average marks, in general, are necessary to be admitted to a German university.

Who is IB?

Our student body truly emphasizes the International in IB. In the classes that we have had in our programme since 2005, our students have come from all corners of the globe.

  • Europe: Bulgaria, France, Finland, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK, Ukraine
  • Americas: Bolivia, Canada, Guatemala, USA
  • Africa: Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Uganda
  • Asia/Australia: Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Korea, Philippines, Pakistan, Japan

Our faculty is international as well  – coming from Canada, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, South Africa, the UK and the USA – with experience teaching in even more countries.

This is one of the things that make the IB experience very special. Where else are you going to experience classrooms like this? Considering the future of Europe, which continues to grow, and in view of globalisation, our IB Programme offers students and families the opportunity to work within a multi-cultural context. This, of course, is a benefit to our IB students by getting them to interact with different views and cultures. The IB Programme does not stop there. It also benefits our school and local community through the CAS activities.

Student Performance

The IB Diploma is one in which exams play a major role. Approximately two-thirds of each mark on the diploma is made up from the students’ grades on the exams. This does not mean, however, that the performance in the classroom is not important. Students receive report cards each semester. The marks on the report cards and the predicted grades from the teachers do not vary significantly from the final marks after the exams. The percentage of students passing the exams is 80% worldwide. We are proud to say that students at the Nelson Mandela School, after completing the total programme, have a passing rate of around 95%!

This allows our students to study at universities all over Europe and the world. Our graduates are pursuing their studies in the following locations just to name a few:

  • United Kingdom: Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, London, Manchester, Sheffield, Oxford
  • Netherlands: Maastricht, Rotterdam, Tilburg
  • Germany: Berlin, Heidelberg, Munich, Potsdam
  • Portugal: Lisbon
  • USA: Massachusetts
  • Israel: Haifa
  • China: Beijing
  • Others: Austria. India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Norway, Poland and more.

Download important documents 

The Future

We are always working to develop our programme to meet the needs of our international student body. Due to the fact that we are a state school, this work, of course, depends on funding from Berlin. We are grateful for their support and look forward to continuing the relationship for many years to come.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Mr. Spiller at the following email address:
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