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IB subjects-what to choose.

newtoibnewtoib Registered Users Posts: 9 Harvard Champion
edited May 2013 in India
I'm switching from the central board(cbse) to ib.
I'm planning to take HL Bio and Chem
And for the third HL subject, I'm debating between English and Math. Which one is easier? I want to keep me GPA up.
My english is very good for a cbse student but i don't know what to expect when I switch.
Which is the easiest language to take (SL)?
I know very VERY basic french. But I might look into spanish.

Any help would be appreciated. Thankyou.
Post edited by newtoib on

Replies to: IB subjects-what to choose.

  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013
    IB Quotes - The Nerd Archive

    Before I give you an opinion, here is something to enjoy. Welcome to IB.

    SparkLife » You Know You're an IB Student When...

    "Student: "This work is too hard for me, you are killing me."

    Teacher: "You say that in every class but you're still here so obviously I'm not doing something right."
  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013

    It seems to me you want to for Engineering/Medical in College. Because IB Sciences are very different from CBSE, in terms of teaching style and lab work. My D had taken Bio SL as Science requirement. I very distinctly remember the lab work being very tedious and demanding, very different in approach and assessment from CBSE. One had to literally, to some extent, create one's original research work. Not a standard, here is the practical File, these are the standard tests, and this is how you write. No spoon-feeding or fudging. I remember getting in debate with my D and she would tell me, it is nothing like the lab work she did in CBSE. She switched to IBDP in 11th.

    If you have done French earlier go with Spanish. It is scoring, written like English and easy to comprehendo.

    English is different again, reading novels, watching movies. No standard question answers. If you do the reading and participate and follow the format, should be doable. No rote at all. But you do have to have some degree of writing skills.

    Between English and Math HL, definitely, from my point of view go for English.
  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013
    My D had taken Math HL. It has three sections. She is good wth numbers. Had done fairly well all along. First year, it was good, second year first semester was ok and by the time they got to the third section, too little time, too tough and not enough practice. I guess it also has to do with the quality of teaching. I hade to hire a tutor for her. But in the end it did affect her GPA, but thankfully that happened after she got in to ED. Interestingly, the HL started with 40+ students in the beginning of 11th Class and dropped to 10-15 in Class 12th. I was told it has been the trend in that school.

    But if you do have a great teacher, it can be wonderful.

    So for all subjects, you must ask around, talk to people, seniors, counsellor, parents. Check what has been the school's stats been in last 5 years. All that information is available and accessible for each subject..
  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013
    Yup regarding Spanish, if this is your first attempt at Spanish then you will be placed in Ab-Initio level. An easy 7.

    Between English HL and Math HL, I would definitely recommend English.

    And if you are not going for Engineering/Medical degree, my suggestion, just take 1 Science.
  • newtoibnewtoib Registered Users Posts: 9 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Thankyou very much :) I think I'll go with English. I'm doing a creative writing summer course at Columbia so that should help.

    Which one of these is the best as in easiest to score?
    History (SL) , Economics (SL), Business and Management (SL), Environmental systems and societies(SL)

    I'm really ok with any of them but I'm concerned about keeping my GPA up
  • newtoibnewtoib Registered Users Posts: 9 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    I need to take 2 sciences at least. Will HL math help me later if I choose medicine?
  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013
    Just checked with my D and she said, "ESS is supposed to be super easy
    Every thing else is work". So go for Environmental Systems and Societies.
  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013
    Also for Mth SL, Ds opinion again,

    "Actually maybe it is. Because medicine means lots of chemistry and biology. And you don't need high level calculus for that. Yeah at a school level it shouldn't matter I think. He can always take calc 2 and 3 in college if required. They teach you everything again once you get to college anyway. And math SL has a decent amount of calculus."
  • newtoibnewtoib Registered Users Posts: 9 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Thankyou for going out of your way to ask your D. That really helped :)
  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013
    No problems. Glad to help.
  • Trix19Trix19 Registered Users Posts: 5 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    @anialways is correct in most stances with which is the easiest but come on...IB sciences are super easy compared to some other standardized exams. Additionally, the entire conversation about whether you want to go for engineering/medicine is ludicrous, unless that is your goal in India. Please become more informed about how difficult it is to obtain admission into med school in foreign countries. Just because someone got into undergrad abroad does not mean that your chances are high for med school in that country. If you plan to do research, then that would be fruitful and a different topic entirely to discuss about; otherwise, engineering would be a much better field.
    Additionally, spanish is a language that is similar to french but if you have never done conjugation, past/imperfect/present/blah blah blah, you will have to self teach yourself (which is hard to do in a matter or months).
    In SL spanish, you have to write an entire essay at the end. Do you think you can do that if you knew that that essay was based on a paragraph you read in spanish?
    My point is that no language is really easy if you're not going to respect that it has obstacles and needs planning. I took spanish my entire life and I felt that IB was easy then. However, having just moved over to spanish in a matter of one or two years is quite difficult if on top of that you will have to study the sciences and math. I would recommend that you review french and look over its course content. French and spanish are similar in written and it is incorrect to say that spanish is easier than French because it is written in english. If you have had interface with french, it is better to comprehend that language because you have the base for it. I am pretty sure that anialways did not do either language and is simply basing off his facts from his child's performance (which is fact is arbitrary since that child may have had good language skills). Additionally, spanish is not just "comprehendo"...there are many false cognitives in the language that can screw up a person in the actual exam. For example, what do you think "el campo" is? It is not a camp but a field (used primarily to describe agriculture). Ultimately, you should compare the two languages and see what I am talking about.
    All IB exams are not difficult; rather they need practice and good understanding. I felt that the IB HL exam was only hard because calculus info was included and some material was even beyond Calc II.
    Overall, I think your IB program needs more planning than just jumping on it in Junior year. I am sort of appalled by the program at your school for even letting students participate when in fact you should have been in language your freshman year. That is the norm at my school and students are required to be enrolled in it at the beginning of either freshman or sophomore year.
    Just choosing the easiest courses will not help you if at the end of the day you will not have anything to do with the field. The whole point of taking these IB courses is so you can skip intro classes in college and go to advanced courses for your major (in case we are talking about a foreign university that accepts those credits). If in fact that is not what you plan, then do not do IB. I have seen so many people do it for the prestige and practice of applying things outside of the box but it is not some child's play to jump into these things when you do not know exactly what you will be doing in college. It is well worth your while to rather do some other standardized course that is not a program per se. As anialways has reported, his daughter was pressed her senior year because of the load. It is true and it is one that I find happens because of the IB extended essay and in-course assignments. Labs are not difficult honestly, they just have to be done. Your work in high school though will have no real transfer to actual college course labs. I have done labs for 2 years now in a top school with one of the hardest graduate programs and let me tell you, they really grill you on the material. It is refreshing and at the same time stressful. On the other hand, you may have the upper hand if you go to super easy uni where they practically hand an A to 100% class. Either way, no matter where you go, your lab practice will be different than your high school. You will have to think out of the box, but IB can only help if you have the time for it and it is minimally help you still.
    Lastly, if in case you are serious about the program, enviro is ok (I personally did not take it), but I know from friends who scored 6-7 that psychology is exceptionally good and a good morale booster your junior year.
  • anialwaysanialways Registered Users Posts: 21
    edited May 2013
    My D challenged herself with regards to the courses offered, took 4 HL - Math, Pschology, English and business Studies, that was the upper limit, and she took 1 SL and Spanish AbInitio, because her IB school did not offer German which she had done for 6 years prior to joining the IBDP. In india, one does not have to go the pre-IB route, we still have the flexibility to enrol in the IB program in Class 11 directly.

    The suggestion for easy to pick from the options available, was given because it was asked for, specifically in context of GPA. Nobody ever said IB is easy. Bit it is not for everybody. You have to be an inquisitive learner and a thinker who does out of the box crical thinking to enjoy IB. For my D it turned out to be the best thing that happened to her. That is the learning style that she enjoyed the most. And it worked for her also for the reason that while she was very clear that she did not want to be an engineer or a doctor, she wanted to explore more before she decided to enrol for a Business degree in college. And IB definitely helped her by allowing to take a combination of subjects which CBSE did not cater too.
  • Trix19Trix19 Registered Users Posts: 5 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    That is good to hear and if I was intended towards the business route, I would have taken all the courses that your daughter took as well. IB is flexible at my school as well, but it is just that a language requirement is placed due to comprehension issues. I am just putting forth that Spanish will only be easy if you are familiar with conjugation. French can be easy as well since it is quiet similar in written English (the only difference is the inclusion of accent marks like Spanish). Perhaps it is better for the OP to decide since different kids have different learning skills and preferences.
    On another note, if the OP wants to do the sciences, he/she should be careful about what courses will be chosen and transferred if in case the score received is superb.
    Ultimately, I want the OP to know that IB courses are all easy but demand time and practice. You should not be scared and take easy courses if they will not be beneficial to you in the end. If you keep an agenda for each day's work, that is really helpful for the program since a lot of deadlines can head your way spring senior year. But of course, that term is also one of the best and most fulfilling of terms in IB.
  • newtoibnewtoib Registered Users Posts: 9 Harvard Champion
    edited May 2013
    Well thank you :)
    I know how competitive it is. Up till now, my second language has been tamil which isn't an option at my new school. They also do not allow students to take a language they have previously studied. (Unless you take HL)
    I wasn't particular about what social science I wanted to study so I wanted other opinions on what would be easiest.
    Anyways thanks for the info. Everyone starts the IB program in grade 11 here.
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