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Will the entrance exam [Vestibular] come to an end? Understand what the International Baccalaureate is and how it works

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Called IB, learn more about the great potential of this diploma to be the future of universities admission.

The entrance exam [vestibular] time can be a painful period for adolescents and an unfair process because it depends on several factors besides theoretical knowledge. Therefore, the Diploma program offered by the International Baccalaureate (IB) has great potential to be the future of entry into universities, as some of the largest in São Paulo, such as ESPM, Insper, FGV, and FAAP, already use this alternative. 

For example, ESPM was one of the first higher education institutions to accept the IB diploma in 2016. “We analyzed the number of talents we were losing to international colleges and perceived the quality of this program in terms of training, transformation, and people development, so we decided to accept the diploma as an alternative to the traditional entrance exam. We understand that the IB is a complete method, and we realized the student is differentiated through resourcefulness and participation in classes”, says Jane Mundel, Master in Communication and Consumer Practices at ESPM.

The IB is a foundation based in Geneva, Switzerland, which has four educational programs: primary years (ages 3 to 12), intermediate years (ages 11 to 16), careers (ages 16 to 19), and the Diploma program (ages 16 to 19), which prepares students for higher education. In 2000 this program was implemented in the Pinheiros unit when St. Nicholas adopted it, and in 2018, in Alphaville. It develops inquisitive, informed, and thoughtful young people. 

At St. Nicholas, all students go through the Diploma program, which is precisely what results in obtaining this certificate to enter universities. The school is also proud to offer 22 subjects with a minimum of 2 levels each, standard and advanced, as the minimum required by the IB is 6 subjects, 3 High Level and 3 Standard Level. Another difference is the 6 options that students have in languages: Portuguese, English, Spanish, Japanese, Korean, and French.

The proposal is offering an internationally recognized qualification to enter a university that accepts the program. To do so, students must attend an IB School and complete assessments in six subjects in the field of mother tongue, foreign language, humanities, science, mathematics, and/or arts. Each one is assessed by external and internal professionals through exams and works that span multiple-choice and essay tests and assignments. 

The program also requires students to complete three activities: an epistemology course; a 4,000-word monograph; projects involving social work, physical and creative activity. To be approved, the student must have at least 24 points out of a total of 45. And competitive universities require a score much higher than the minimum of 24 points. The highest score ever achieved by a student at St. Nicholas was 44.

The “IB” is characterized by the way it encourages students to think independently and become more aware of the world that is increasingly globalized and, therefore, has a strong tendency to be increasingly accepted by Brazilian universities very shortly.


  • Ai-Lien Vasconcelos

    Ai-Lien built St Nicholas School's University and Careers Counseling program and has been the university advisor for the past 7 years. She is a Smith College (Massachusetts) alumna who majored in English Language and Literature and Portuguese-Brazilian Studies. She secretly hopes that one day, a graduate will choose to study at her alma mater.