Victoria International School of Sharjah (VISS) is a premium provider of international education and a not-for-profit IB World school in Sharjah. VISS is a learning community that supports the attainment of excellence.

We offer the IB Diploma Programme as our flagship exit programme. An alternative pathway is available generally for our Grade 10 students called the Global Citizen Diploma Programme. This programme is based on a credit points system and allows our students to develop on a continuum from Grade 10.

Grade 11 and 12 are the most crucial and demanding years in a student’s academic life. We aim to prepare students who are critical thinkers, confident, reflective and responsible global citizens, capable of facing the future with resilience and optimism.

The skills gained during their education in the VISS exit programmes will serve students exceptionally well throughout their further education.

VISS staff are highly motivated, appropriately qualified and internationally minded experienced teachers. Exceptional quality support is offered at a structural and individual level for our students in order to create a highly conducive environment for learning and teaching. VISS has a fully resourced learning centre that boasts hundreds of academic calibre titles, e-resources, and a wide range of subject specific resources suitable for courses of study offered at our school.

Our school is designed for 21st century education - using flexible learning spaces, the latest in technology and most outstanding facilities conducive to both independent and collaborative learning specifically designated for senior students. 

Senior school team works together to ensure that students’ well-being is our top priority and offers support and guidance through the two year programme.  We believe in maintaining open communication and a strong partnership between home, school and the student in order to provide the best support we can for our students. VISS has a dedicated Careers Counsellor, CAS Coordinator, Extended Essay Coordinator and a Student Counsellor to guide and advise students through their journey in the exit programmes. 

If you would like to find out more about VISS exit programmes, please contact [email protected].

Sarah Santrampurwala 
(Assistant Head Senior School Curriculum – IB Diploma Coordinator)

The IB Diploma Curriculum

IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) is a comprehensive two year pre-university course of study that aims to prepare students for the rigours of university but also to be caring, compassionate, global citizens with an appreciation of lifelong learning.

Subject Choices

Students must do a range of subjects, one taken from each of the six groups:

Group 1 - Studies in Language and Literature      

  • English Literature HL/SL
  • English Language & Literature HL/SL

Group 2 - Language Acquisition (a second language)

  • French B HL/SL 
  • Arabic B HL/SL
  • French Ab Initio SL

Group 3 - Individuals and Society

  • History HL/ SL
  • Business and Management HL/ SL
  • Global Politics HL/SL

Group 4 - Experimental Sciences

  • Biology  HL/ SL
  • Chemistry HL/ SL
  • Physics  HL/ SL
  • Design & Technology HL/SL
  • Environmental Systems and Society (Group 3 and 4) SL only

Group 5 - Mathematics

  • Mathematics Analysis and Approaches SL
  • Mathematics Application and Interpretation SL and HL 

Group 6 - The Arts and Electives

  • Visual Arts HL/SL
  • Free Elective ( another subject from Groups 3 or 4)

Note: Students must one subject each from Groups 1 to 5. Group 6 is optional meaning students can select their sixth subject from either Group 3 or 4 (e.g. take Chemistry and Biology or Business Management and History etc.

Additional Requirements:

Students are required to do three subjects at Higher Level (HL) and three at Standard Level (SL) over two years, as well as compulsory studies in Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity Service and Action (CAS), and a 4000 word Extended Essay (EE).

Standard Level and Higher Level: Standard level subjects contain 150 hours of teaching time over the two years, whilst higher level subjects have 240 hours of teaching time. Higher-level is differentiated from Standard Level by the depth and breadth of work studied as opposed to the difficulty per se. Some Standard and Higher level classes may be taught jointly at VISS.

*Group 2 subjects offer an Ab Initio (Beginners) course in French. This is an entry-level course intended for students with no or limited prior second language knowledge. The course carries the same grading and weighting as the other language courses, however.

***Environmental Systems and Societies is only offered at Standard Level and counts as both a Group 3 and Group 4 subject thus allowing students who select this course to double up on any of the other group subjects.

The Core Programme

The feature that sets the IB Diploma programme apart from other pre-university programmes is its core programme. These aim to encourage not only a love of learning and a desire to question but also to develop the fundamental life skills that students will need to become ethical leaders of the global society in which we live.

All students who are taking the IB Diploma must undertake the Core. 

The Diploma Core consists of:

  • Extended Essay (EE)
  • Theory of Knowledge (ToK)
  • Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

Extended Essay

This course aims to provide students with the opportunity to: 

  • pursue independent research on a focused topic
  • develop research and communication skills
  • develop the skills of creative and critical thinking
  • engage in a systematic process of research appropriate to the subject
  • experience the excitement of intellectual discovery

Students are expected to write a 4000 word essay with the support of a designated supervisor at school. This is a predominantly independent piece of work that emulates the experience of writing a dissertation at university. This assessment is graded on a scale of A to E. Passing this components enables the students gain additional points. 

Theory of Knowledge 

This course aims to: 

  • develop a fascination with the richness of knowledge as a human endeavour, and an understanding of the empowerment that follows from reflecting upon it
  • develop an awareness of how knowledge is constructed, critically examined, evaluated and renewed, by communities and individuals
  • encourage students to reflect on their experiences as learners, in everyday life and in the Diploma Programme, and to make connections between academic disciplines and between thoughts, feelings and actions
  • encourage an interest in the diversity of ways of thinking and ways of living of individuals and communities, and an awareness of personal and ideological assumptions, including participants’ own
  • encourage consideration of the responsibilities originating from the relationship between knowledge, the community and the individual as citizen of the world

Students are expected to write a 1500 word essay on a prescribed title and do a 10 minute presentation on a topic of their choice. ToK is graded on a scale of A to E. Students have designated lessons for ToK in their timetable. Passing this components enables the students gain additional points.

Creativity, Action, Service (CAS)

This course aims to develop students who are: 

  • reflective thinkers – they understand their own strengths and limitations, identify goals and devise strategies for personal growth
  • willing to accept new challenges and new roles
  • aware of themselves as members of communities with responsibilities towards each other and the environment
  • active participants in sustained, collaborative projects
  • balanced – they enjoy and find significance in a range of activities involving intellectual, physical, creative and emotional experiences

CAS is a compulsory completion requirement (no grades) based on set outcomes that students are required to achieve through a variety of activities. This is an integral and significant experiential learning component of the IBDP. VISS has a designated CAS Coordinator and CAS Advisors who guide students through the 18 months in the programme to identify activities and complete the requirements.

Enrolment and Entry Requirements

Application Process 

All applications to VISS must be completed online via our website along with a registration fee of AED 500. Please refer to further details in our ‘Enrolment Section’. 

Entry Requirements

General Expectations

Applicants should be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Full commitment to their studies
  • Excellent record of behaviour and attitude to studies
  • High levels of attendance during the academic year
  • Willingness to take responsibility for their own learning
  • Ability to act as a positive role model to the rest of the school
  • Ability to embrace all opportunities afforded them
  • Willingness to get involved in many areas of school life
  • Willingness to undertake positions of leadership

Entrance Criteria - IB Diploma Programme (IBDP) - for VISS & external students

  • An average of B (70%) or above across all areas of study at Year 10.  
  • Advanced level of competency is crucial for entry into the IB Programme 
  • External students will be required to take an entrance exam for English and Mathematics. Evidence in those exams should indicate that the applicant has advance English and Mathematics skills. 
  • Students must have the academic ability to cope with the rigour of the IBDP.
IB Coursework, Exams & Grading

Grading Scales

All IB Diploma Programmes require students to complete mandatory and varied internal assessment (coursework) alongside formal examinations at the end of their second year. The IB who awards the final grades by assessing both the internal assessments and final exams.

A student's examination performance in individual subjects is scored on a scale of 1–7 points with a further 3 points available based on a matrix of performance in the Theory of Knowledge and Extended Essay components. Students who display satisfactory levels of performance across all subject areas and achieve a minimum of 24 points (out of a possible 45) are awarded the IB diploma. Subjects are marked according to the following scale.

Grading Scales
6Very Good
1Very Poor
NNo Grade
The TOK course and the extended essay are graded according to the following scale
NNo Grade

How does assessment work? 

The maximum total marks available for an IBDP student are 45. Each of the six subjects are given a final mark out of 7 meaning that a total of 42 is available for subjects areas, whilst a total of 3 marks is given for the EE and TOK assessments combined. Each subject area has between 20-35% coursework that is internally marked and externally moderated. The remainders of the marks, constituting the final examinations, are externally marked.

Generally, a student needs to achieve a minimum of 24 marks to receive their Diploma and must successfully complete all three elements of the core. 

The following conditions constitute an automatic failure to achieve the full IB Diploma:

  1. CAS requirements have not been met. 
  2. Candidate’s total points are fewer than 24. 
  3. An N has been given for theory of knowledge, extended essay or for a contributing subject (usually as a result of academic malpractice or failure to submit work). 
  4. A grade E has been awarded for one or both of theory of knowledge and the extended essay. 
  5. There is a grade 1 awarded in a subject/level. 
  6. Grade 2 has been awarded three or more times (HL or SL). 
  7. Grade 3 or below has been awarded four or more times (HL or SL). 
  8. Candidate has gained fewer than 12 points on HL subjects (for candidates who register for four HL subjects, the three highest grades count). 
  9. Candidate has gained fewer than 9 points on SL subjects (candidates who register for two SL subjects must gain at least 5 points at SL). 

A maximum of three examination sessions is allowed in which to satisfy the requirements for the award of the IB Diploma.

IB Diploma Results
IP Diploma Results
Number of Diploma Candidates Registered in the Session142720283233
Number of Candidates to Pass the Diploma82420262728
Diploma Pass Rate57%81.4%100%93%84.3%85%
Average Points Obtained by Students Who Passed303031333033
Average Points Obtained by all Students Registered for Diploma26.628.431322932
World Averages303030303030
Highest Points Awarded343841414141
Average Subject Grade Obtained by all Who Passed the Diploma4.654.724.95.174.785.26
Average Subject Grade Obtained by all Registered for Diploma4.
Average Core Points Obtained by Candidates1.
Students Scoring 30+14.2%33%40%41%51.8%33%
Students Scoring 35+0%11.1%15%26%11.1%18%
Students Scoring 40+0%0%5%4%4%12%
Mean ATAR Score79%82.4%85.48%88%84.6%87%