Switch or Stay?

The decision between Swedish gymnasium and the SIS diploma.


Tess L., Reporter

Every year students in ninth and tenth grade have to make a decision whether to stay in SIS and continue with the ib curriculum for the remainder of their high school years, or to switch over to a Swedish gymnasium that follows the curriculum used by all other public schools in Sweden. It is difficult for students to know what path is right for them and what things to take into consideration whilst making this big decision. 

In Stockholm there are over 90 possible gymnasiums to pick from, some of the popular ones include Östra Real (located in Östermalm), Kungsholmen (located on the island of Kungsholmen), and Manilla (located in Djurgården). 

The Swedish curriculum has some major differences with the IBDP system that students in SIS follow from grade 11-12. One major difference regards the subjects students take in each curriculum. At SIS students are required to choose 6 different subjects from 6 different groups. The combination of subjects within these groups are totally up to the individual student to decide and is usually constructed to fit what the students want to study at university and what career they want to pursue. 

The groups include: 

Group 1: Studies in language and literature (English Language and Literature A, English Literature A, Swedish Language and Literature A, Self taught language A)

Group 2: Language Acquisition (English B, Swedish B, French B, Spanish B, French Ab initio, Spanish Ab initio.) 

Group 3: Individuals and Societies (Economics, History or Psychology) 

Group 4: Sciences (Biology, Physics or ESS (Environmental Systems and Societies))

Group 5: Mathematics (Math AA HL, Math AA SL, Math AI HL or Math AI SL)

Group 6: The Arts or one of the other subjects from another group (Chemistry, Visual arts, Film, Geography or Online course) 

This differs from Swedish gymnasiums where students pick a “linje” or a “line.” It consists of a set combination of subjects that students study. In Swedish schools the number of subjects is much larger than the number at SIS, however the subjects do not go into the same level of depth and difficulty. Some examples of lines are the economy line (where students have multiple subjects regarding economics and its theory), nature line (which goes into depth on multiple sciences such as biology, chemistry and physics), SAM line (which is focused on individuals and societies and has very general subjects that can be useful for multiple career options). 

Different students would have different experiences if they were to switch to a Swedish gymnasium and it is important to keep in mind that Stockholm International School is only one of your options. We asked one of our students who chose to switch to a Swedish gymnasium but later, after a couple of months, chose to switch back to SIS, some questions regarding their experience and how they managed to integrate into both systems. 

Why did you decide to switch to a Swedish gymnasium?

“I decided to switch to a gymnasium because I wanted to try something new and different from what I was used to.” 


How is Swedish gymnasium different from SIS? 

“Gymnasium focuses more on the course you are taking, and the other subjects kind of circulate around what you mainly study (could be economics or societies), meanwhile at SIS subjects play a significant role and support one another. In my opinion, you get a better chance and foundation of studying outside of Sweden when you study at SIS. And SIS genuinely prepares you a lot better for future international studies at a higher level. The teachers at SIS are incredible compared to the ones at my Swedish gymnasium. It really feels like teachers at SIS aim to prepare you for the future and to provide help if you need it.”


What made you switch back to SIS? 

“I missed the learning and the teacher’s way of teaching. At gymnasium, the teachers I had were not able to make the lessons fun and interesting, whilst also teaching what had to be taught. I started to realize how much I missed the way lessons were planned as well as the teachers’ effort and enthusiasm. I feel like the IB will give me the best foundation for my future studies and studies abroad. As well as making me comfortable and confident in achieving the best results I am capable of.”


What was the biggest challenge switching back? 

“I was not at SIS in 10th grade, so I missed a really important year. So when I decided to switch back again, the academic level was really high for me. Also, I am fully Swedish so I also noticed some lack of English vocabulary. Other than that I would say the switch overall was not that complicated, and as time goes on you become more comfortable with the international system again.”