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Is it worth taking 4 HL courses?

nervousfreshienervousfreshie 2 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
I need help D:

We are going to get our official schedules for the 2013/2014 school year, but I still have problems with my IB courses. I am currently signed up to take HL Math, English and History, and SL Bio and French. I need one more course because I wanted to do the diploma program, but the admin can't fit it in for me unless I take a HL science. I signed up for SL Chem originally, but it could not fit into my schedule. I was wondering if it would be extremely difficult to do HL chem or HL bio, along with my other HL courses?

Please share your thoughts :)
3 replies
Post edited by nervousfreshie on
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Replies to: Is it worth taking 4 HL courses?

  • SoWestSoWest 1 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    My son is a junior in an IB program. He's taking HL math, HL physics, HL History, HL English, SL Spanish, and SL econ. It's a boatload of homework, but he's maintaining all A's and still doing some extracurriculars. All his IB friends joke about how sleep is overrated. In my son's school, the diploma program students seem to stick together and help each other when they need it. Next year he'll have SL psych instead of econ. It's doable.
    edited May 2013
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  • wholockwholock 1 replies1 discussions Forum Champion
    I am a current senior IB student (taking my exams right now). What do you mean by, 'worth it'? If you're pursuing an **** interest in all of your four highers, then it will be worth it no matter what. If, on the other hand, you just want to "stand out" for uni adcoms, then my answer is no! It isn't worth it at all because getting a "7" for an IB subject is HARD and most unis would prefer you get 3 "7"s over 4 "5"s. (Obviously if you get "7777" or even a "7766" that would be MOST impressive but that's a huge chance you're betting on. :P )

    Honestly, you will most likely regret doing HL English, HL Maths, HL History and HL Chem unless you're super gifted for a particular subject and won't need to study for it at all to get a 7. This is because Maths requires a lot of practice; History requires a lot of revision and memory; and Chem needs both practice and memory (lots of it). Then you have your internal assessments for each subject to consider (worth 50% for English!). Finally, you have to take into account your EE, TOK and CAS - which are (put together) at least another 300 hours.

    Simply put, IB is freaking stressful and time-consuming enough with 3 highers. Generally, adcoms know that IB is rigorous. You do not NEED another HL for them to get the "rigorous" message. Rather than spend those extra 100 hours on studying for an HL vs SL (class time and personal study time combined), you would probably benefit more with that time from writing a better personal essay or delving into an extracurricular passion with more depth.

    (Also, if you're applying to American unis - you'll also have to make time for SATs or ACTs.)

    Plus, if you take 4 HLs, your exams are going to be insanely full of HL clashes. Take it from someone who had 2 HLs clash this week - you DO NOT want to finish up 2 HLs or even 3 HLs in 2 days, because it will burn you out. I'm pretty sure universities don't even care much if you do 4 HLs (one of my friends did 4 HLs and received identical offers to classmates with 3 HLs).

    Tl;dr - "worth it" if you love the subjects and just wanna do them cause you love them. NOT "worth it" if you're expecting unis to look upon you more favorably just because you did 4 HLs.
    edited May 2013
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  • NLtoTXNLtoTX 2 replies0 discussions Forum Champion
    I am a current IB student taking 4 Hl (Math, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics) and to be honest it all depends on how easy you find the subjects. IB will be time consuming no matter what subjects you take, but if you are not quick at picking up certain material you should just not do Hl in that subject. From the subjects you have so far Math, English and History, I would suggest you take Bio Hl and leave Chemistry as Sl. The difference between Chemistry Sl and Hl is 'understanding' you must have a more thourough understanding of the processes, while the difference between Bio Sl and Hl is 'memorizaiton' you just have to know a lot more things but nothing that requires immense understand/explaining.
    edited May 2013
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