What is IBDP CAS? Guide to Creativity, Action, Service

CAS is at the heart of the Diploma Programme. With its holistic approach, CAS is designed to strengthen and extend students’ personal and interpersonal learning.

  • Creativity—exploring and extending ideas leading to an original or interpretive product or performance.
  • Activity—physical exertion contributing to a healthy lifestyle.
  • Service—collaborative and reciprocal engagement with the community in response to an authentic need.

Through CAS, students continue to strengthen the approaches to learning they encounter and develop in the PYP and MYP. In approaches to learning, students are encouraged to grow both personally and socially, developing skills such as cooperation, problem-solving, conflict resolution and creative and critical thinking, as well as developing their own identities.

CAS continues to develop students’ ability to engage in critical reflection, offering increasingly sophisticated opportunities for students to analyse their own thinking, effort and performance. Students also learn how to set challenging goals and develop the commitment and perseverance to achieve them.

Required To Receive IB Diploma

Students who fail to satisfy the CAS requirement will not be awarded the IB diploma even if all other diploma conditions have been satisfactorily fulfilled.


  1. 18 months of continuous creativity, activity, and service experiences
  2. Completion Documentaton (CAS iBooklet)
  3. Achievement of the 7 Learning Outcomes.
  4. Involvment in all three CAS Strands. A CAS experience can be a single event or may be an extended series of events.

7 Learning Outcomes

There are seven learning outcomes that you need to meet.

  1. Strength & Growth: Identify own strengths and develop areas for growth.
  2. Challenge & Skills: Demonstrate that challenges have been undertaken, developing new skills in the process.
  3. Initiative & Planning: Demonstrate how to initiate and plan a CAS experience.
  4. Commitment & Perseverance: Show commitment to and perseverance in CAS experiences.
  5. Collaborative Skills: Demonstrate skills and recognize the benefits of working collaboratively.
  6. Global Engagement: Demonstrate engagement with issues of global significance.
  7. Ethics of Choice & Actions: Recognize and consider the ethics of choices and actions.

CAS Step-by-Step Guide

You undertake experiences continuously for at least 18 months of your IB Diploma programme.

All schools run their CAS programmes differently but during the 2 years of the programme you should expect to have three CAS interviews with your CAS Advisor.

When you have have completed your programme, this will be evidenced through your reflections, which demonstrate that you have met all of the Learning Outcomes for CAS.

  1. Diploma Student adds a new experience, e.g. Design Club
  2. IB CAS Coordinator is notified via the CAS Daily Digest email
  3. IB CAS Coordinator approves the experience on ManageBac
  4. Diploma Student is notified of the approval via email
  5. Diploma Student completes the experience and adds reflections
  6. Activity Supervisor receives the experience supervisor email
  7. Activity Supervisor completes the supervisor review form
  8. IB CAS Coordinator reviews Diploma Student's reflections and marks the experience complete

Who is Involved in CAS?

CAS Coordinator

This is the teacher in charge of your school's CAS programme. They will help you to find suitable CAS experiences within your school or community, and are responsible for the overall organisation of the programme. They also decide;

  • If your proposal is a suitable CAS experience or project.
  • If you have met the requirements of CAS to gain your IB Diploma.

CAS Advisor

In some schools, especially those with lots of students, the CAS Coordinator is assisted by a team of CAS Advisors. These members of staff support, monitor and advise students on their CAS portfolio.

CAS Supervisor

This is a person who supervises a CAS experience or a project for a student. This may be a coach, a teacher or another adult. You may not require a CAS Supervisor if you are initiating your own activities. These adults are useful to guide you in a specific experience and to help you set goals and comment on your progress.

General Timeline

First Term - Introduction to CAS. Start undertaking CAS Experiences within your school and community. Plan and initiate at least one CAS project using the CAS Stages framework. Collect evidence and undertake meaningful reflection. Meet with your CAS Advisor or Coordinator to consider the balance of activities you have chosen and ask any questions you might have about CAS.

Second term - Review your balance in terms of studying commitments, academic progress and CAS experiences. Consider whether your experiences are providing you with the opportunity to work on all the Learning Outcomes and cover the three strands of Creativity, Activity and Service. If you have any gaps, make a plan to adapt your programme by adjusting your current experiences or becoming involved with new experiences.

Summer holiday - Use this time to make sure you are all up to date with your portfolio of evidence and reflections. Reflect on your experiences so far; do you want to continue with all your activities from last academic year? Perhaps you would like to take on a different role, or stop an activity altogether and start something different?

Third Term - By now you should have met all of the CAS Learning Outcomes at least once. This is a busy time in the IB Diploma, so consider how you are managing university applications and academic commitments alongside CAS. Are you getting everything you can or want out of your CAS experiences? Is there anything you want or need to change about your CAS programme? You should by now have met with your CAS Advisor or Coordinator a second time.

Fourth Term - At this point, you should have completed your CAS Project and be thinking about how you will reduce your CAS commitment to focus on exams. Consider how you want to finish an activity, experience or project: Who do you have to thank? Are you passing on to someone else to finish your project? Is this an experience you will continue after your exams, perhaps at university or college? . Complete all your evidence and reflections ahead of your final meeting with your CAS Advisor or Coordinator

Frequestly Asked Questions (FAQ)

What makes a suitable CAS experience?

Check the Ideas for CAS Experiences section. If you are not sure about a particular experience, this indicates your proposal may need extending or reconsidering. Use this graphic to help you and talk to your CAS Coordinator or Advisor.

Can I have a CAS experience that is connected to my academic subjects?

Yes, as long as it is not actual work for your subject or an internal assessment. If you specifically want to do this and need ideas - perhaps to help develop your career aspiration - check out these ideas.

Can I continue doing activities already do for CAS?

Absolutely. If you use the CAS Stages framework you may get better at it. Remember, you must develop yourself during your CAS experiences: you can’t just do the same thing again and again. So, for example just going to the gym is not great CAS but going to the gym and working towards goals would be!

How much reflection do I need to do?

It is more important that the reflection is meaningful than voluminous. If you undertook a one-off experience then one short reflection may be enough. If you played in a netball team 5 hours a week for 2 years, you should take the opportunity to reflect on the experience more often and deeply. However, this doesn’t mean reflect after every training session - that would be overdoing it and pointless.

Do I need to do CAS for the whole two years of the IB Diploma?

You should be undertaking CAS continuously for 18 months. This means you can finish your CAS Experiences before your exams start if you have met the requirements.

What if I'm struggling to manage my time?

This is a common problem that all busy people face. However, even if you are struggling academically, taking a break from your books and laptop will aid you in the long term. Getting into the gym, expressing your creative side or helping others will get you out of your study bubble and give you a sense of perspective. Just make sure you have not taken on too many CAS experiences at one time. Sometimes you may come to the realisation that you have to give something up because you don’t have the time. Just make sure you are using your time constructively and are not procrastinating!

My parents don't understand why I have to do so many activities after school instead of studying, how can I explain CAS to them?

This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate some IB Learner Profile attributes! Show you are caring by empathising with their worries. Be open-minded to their point of view. Be a knowledgeable communicator by explaining clearly to them the requirements of the IB Diploma. Reflect on what you have already gained from CAS and consider how you may continue to benefit from participation in your chosen experiences. Emphasise how important it is to have balance in your life. Some of the following points might also help you in your discussion:

  • It is said that 50% of jobs of the future don’t exist yet and the creative industry is the fastest growing. Learning to be creative is vital.
  • Heart disease and obesity are considered epidemics in the western world and habits laid down in adolescence are essential to a long and healthy life.
  • Learning to appreciate what you have and what you can contribute makes you more empathetic and strengthens your, and their, community.
  • Some activities support your academics, for example tutoring younger students in a subject that you are good at. Teaching something is a great way of checking you understand it.

I have fallen behind with my reflections, what should I do?

Don’t panic! Remember it is quality not quantity that counts when it comes to reflections. Set a target to undertake one detailed reflection about each experience. You could do it orally if that is easier for you, then upload a sound file to your CAS portfolio.

I’m in a team but have no control over what we do, how can I make this CAS?

Although you may not choose the training drills and fixtures you do have control over yourself. Begin by thinking about what your individual strengths and weaknesses are in a sport. Undertake an audit, then consider how you can improve. What are your barriers to success? How can you address them? Can you share this analysis with your coach, team members or captain and get support to help you improve?

Remind me again, how much reflection is enough?

This is an impossible question to answer, but it is definitely a case of quality over quantity. Instead of trying to log something every day, which may be quite meaningless, set aside some time to think deeply about an experience. Start with what happened, then consider why, how it made you feel and what you would do differently next time. Keep those sorts of questions in your head. If something notable happens, then these should trigger your thoughts. If it is just a normal day working towards a distant goal you may not have anything to reflect upon, and that is fine.

How many experiences do I have to do?

Again, this is not an easy question to answer. There are many different approaches that students can take to developing their CAS portfolios. Some have a low number of high quality and long-lasting experiences and projects. Others have a high number of many different experiences. It depends on the person, their local context, and their school culture and expectations. Ultimately, you must meet the CAS learning outcomes - but how this is achieved will be different for every IB Diploma student!