IB, IBT, SciTech and I-STEM: Which One is Best for Your Child?


Schools are essential in providing the basic foundations of education for your child – however, you may feel as though your child’s learning potential may be restricted by the limited options their school provides. What if they are more interested in math, science, business, or learning about the world around them, but are unable to pursue those interests at school? Learn more about IB iBT SciTech and I-STEM programs.

The solution lies in specialized programs that certain schools offer. Great examples of innovative, specialized programs that Ontario schools offer are the IB iBT SciTech and I-STEM. These are (International Baccalaureate (IB) program, The International, Business and Technology (IBT) program, SciTech program, and the I-STEM program). However, out of the thousands of applications that are received, only a select number of students are able to get in. Due to the competitive nature of these programs, parents must start exploring and preparing in advance.

Why consider these specialized programs over regular public school education?

These programs bring students a wider variety of options towards pursuing personal interests through dynamic scholastic activities, which are traditionally not achievable during regular education. 

Through studying in these programs, students are given opportunities that broaden their personal growth and academic ventures. For example, a 2013-2015 study on IB graduates in the US observed that 76% of students enrolled immediately in university after secondary school, with the national average (2014) being 68% from all high school graduates. In addition, 89% of graduates were able to continue into their second year of university compared to the national average of 72% from all high school graduates.

Students also find themselves enjoying these specialized programs. Ava, a Grade 8 IBT student, states: 

“The program has really challenged me, yet I feel that I have accomplished a lot because of the high expectations that have been set. The skills I have learned will support me as I transition to Secondary School and beyond!”

When asked the question, “What’s your favourite thing about the I-STEM program?”, Grade 10 I-STEM student, Hudson, said:

“I get to try and solve real problems, whether that be economic, social, or environmental problems!”

The popularity of these specialized programs increase each year as well, as principal of Macville Public School, Kelly Kawabe, comments on the interest in their school’s SciTech program:

“The phone’s been ringing off the hook […] The parents are really, really keen. There’s definitely a high demand.”

As you can see, specialized programs are much coveted by parents, students, and schools as well, which is why each specialized program requires admission through entrance exams. To understand which entrance exams your child should prepare for, read below to see which specialized program best fits their education and learning interests:


International Option

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The IB program focuses on preparing students with a challenging curriculum that expands their cultural perspective on an international level. Studied in over 150 countries across the globe, the program motivates their students to become independent, compassionate, and active learners who are able to engage with others on a respectful level. The program aims to enrich their learning journeys and perspectives, which ultimately can contribute to bettering an ever-evolving world. 

Having an IB diploma allows graduates to enroll in universities around the world, which also increases their chances of acceptance into internationally recognized post-secondary institutions. The rigorous curriculum encourages students to develop a second language, heightening their cultural awareness.

IB Exam: Grade level requirements vary from school to school. However, admission to the IB program is generally based on:

    • An online application which includes:
      • Extracurricular activities
      • Language assessments
      • Recommendations from two teachers
    • Previous academic performance results
    • Written response test 
  • Deadline: Depending on the school, parents should start looking into the deadline for the IB exam in early January. For more information on the Peel region schools, click here.


Peel Region Options

International Business and Technology (IBT) Program

IBT aims to enrich their students’ education with the integration of International Business and Technology, engaging them in project-based, cross-curricular learning that utilizes technology and business models. The program is designed to have students build a solid understanding of International Studies, Business, and Technology, to which they may choose to specialize in during their last years of high school. In focusing on 21st century skill development, the program strives to foster their students’ entrepreneurial interests, collaboration, and drive to learn and problem solve.

Through engaging students in activities like specialized field trips, interacting with guest speakers, and post-secondary tours, students are able to strengthen their critical thinking in business, current global issues, future goals, and prospective careers. 

IBT Exam: Offered to students in Grade 6 or Grade 9 in select schools, entrance to the IBT program requires:

    • Online application
    • Previous academic performance results
    • IBT assessment test
  • Deadline: February 8, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. For more information, click here.


SciTech is designed to broaden curricula through a learning environment that amplifies students’ engagement in math, science and technology. With an academic philosophy of a “hands-on, minds-on” basis, students are provided interactive learning experiences that cultivate a critical investigation of today’s societies (ethics, social justice, etc.). This approach to learning allows students to prepare for the modern world, which is further enhanced through excursions, clubs, and competitions. 

SciTech also enables students to pursue their interests in STEM by providing paths towards colleges, universities, and apprenticeship programs. Throughout all parts of the curriculum, students can apply their creativity in problem-solving through various technological means, encouraging the development of inquisitiveness and drive.

SciTech Exam:  The SciTech program is available to Grade 6 and Grade 9 students, in which its admission process involves:

    • Online application including:
      • Math and Language
    • Previous academic performance results
    • Student’s performance during SciTech Screening Day, which incorporates:
      • Group simulation
      • Written assessment
  • Deadline: February 8th 2021 at 3:00 PM. For more information, click here


Halton Region Option


For those specifically located in the Halton region, the I-STEM program presents an immersive opportunity for students to challenge themselves and develop critical skills towards solving social, economic, and environmental issues through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). During this 4-year program, students will get the chance to focus on experiential learning and mentorship in surrounding communities and workplaces, demonstrating knowledge needed in engineering, entrepreneurship, and global innovation. 

When studying under this program, students are able to explore their creativity and analytical skills to design products through the use of technology, to which they can present as a solution to a social, economic, or environmental issue impacting the world. For example, students have worked with the City of Burlington to investigate erosion occurring at the local ravine. Using their geographic knowledge, technology skills, and innovative mindsets, students developed a system that could alleviate the problem and stop the erosion. 

I-STEM Exam: Available to students in Grade 8, the admission requirements are as follows:

    • Online application through Halton District Board
    • Grade 7 Report Card
    • Grade 8 Progress Report
    • No application fee
  • Deadline: In December for the upcoming school year

As prime examples of specialized programs, IB, IBT, SciTech and I-STEM all provide unique opportunities for your child to thrive in their interests and academic journeys. As the entrance exams for these specialized programs are becoming more and more competitive, preparation is key towards increasing the chances of acceptance. 

MathProject’s curriculum has helped numerous children prepare for IB, IBT, SciTech and I-STEM admission tests, equipping them with the right knowledge and attitude for excellence when taking the math component of the exam. Contact us today at 1-844-628-4243 to book a free assessment. For more information on our math tutoring programs in Mississauga, Brampton and Oakville, you can click here to know more about stem program Mississauga. 

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IB IBT SciTech PREPARATION – megamindlearning.com
What is an IB education? –ibo.org
Application Information – schools.peelschools.org
Application – ugdsb.ca
International Business and Technology Regional Program – schools.peelschools.org
Elementary Regional Learning Choices Program – peelschools.org
APPLYING TO SCITECH – schools.peelschools.org
Specialized Programs – tdsb.on.ca
Global key findings of International Baccalaureate programme – ibo.org
SciTech program coming to Macville – caledoncitizen.com
I-STEM Brochure – hdsb.ca
I-STEM Virtual Open House – Thursday, Nov. 12 (7 p.m.) – youtube.com