The Relativization of CAS


Considering that a standard level course consists of 150 teaching hours, completing your 150 hours for CAS appears to be almost as time consuming as an extra class. This is often a cause for distress among students, as homework and assessments from their other seven subjects (including TOK) usually produce enough obligations for the week. This gets even worse when the extended essay appears on the to-do list. Don’t panic though, because it really isn’t all that bad:

  • In your 2 years of IB, you will have approximately 1.5 years in which you can devote some time of your week to CAS. This adds up to roughly 78 weeks, meaning that only a little less than two CAS hours per week is required on average.
  • That is 150 of 13,104 available hours, only a little more than 1% of your time.
  • The 150 teaching hours for a SL course refer only to the time spent in class. Everything you do outside the classroom is not included (even the time you revise for the IB exam of only one SL course, will most likely end up being around 150 hours). 

Visibly, in relation, 150 hours is a more than acceptable scope of time for CAS. Furthermore, the range of accepted possibilities for each of the categories is also very generous. Thus, many students will already earn a considerable amount of hours through activities they already do:

  • Your weekly piano lessons will most likely be sufficient to complete the 50 hours you need for Creativity.
  • Any sports you decide to learn or already regularly practice will be credited for Action.
  • Many countries demand a CPR/First Aid certificate to issue a driver’s license. You can use the invested hours for Service. 

As you can see, you’re really not being asked for something life-changing, but simply to have an active mind, body, and heart for 150 hours in 1.5 years. This really shouldn’t be a big deal - get going and aim for more, if you can!


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