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IB exams canceled due to COVID-19

On March 23rd, the International Baccalaureate announced that this year’s IB exams, which were supposed to be given from April 30th to May 22nd, will be canceled due to COVID-19. The IB made this decision based on worldwide school closures and the need to maintain a single grading scale for the 200,000 students in IB courses all over the world. The IB’s statement details how schools should handle the semester’s remaining coursework, which may include projects and oral examinations (for language classes). 

IB exams are normally a key part in determining which students are awarded IB Diplomas or IB Course Certificates. This year, however, students will receive their diplomas or certificates based on their course performance only, rather than on exam scores. These diplomas and certificates are still awarded by the IB, but they’ve extended the deadline for schools to send in their students’ coursework and final grades.

IB exam scores also play a role in college credit. Just like AP exams, IB exams are standardized, so colleges often reward high scores in certain IB exams with course credit in the same areas. 

How will colleges assess course credit for students in IB courses with no exams? The IB’s statement did not provide a definite answer to that question, but stated that its members have “consulted with universities and in order to support students [the IB] will continue to work closely with universities and colleges as they receive results.” Students may choose to defer their exam sitting to November, rather than forgoing the exams entirely, but that would require current seniors to defer their college admission if they need those particular grades to enter into their college in the fall. 

In cancelling its exams, the IB is following the lead of the College Board and ACT, Inc, both of whom have also cancelled their spring exams. For those tests, however, students can test in June. The AP program has moved its exams online (with details pending).  

Every week, COVID-19 alters the landscape of college admissions and testing, and we’ll keep you updated of the changes as they happen. If you have questions about your student’s coursework or college readiness, please reach out to us at or by calling us at 866-789-7737; we’re here to help.

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