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How difficult is it to get a 7 in Biology HL?

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#1
tjlarson

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At my school, it's never been done, but the course is also condensed into one year and by no means it is an "IB School" (meaning, IB is definitely not the program our school revolves around). So, I continue to wonder, do I attribute this apparent difficulty in earning a 7 to the test itself or to the students taking it (or, of course, both...)? Any opinions from people who have taken the test?

Also, our coordinator also said something about blaming Group 4 for her lack of 7s. Does anyone know what she might mean by this?

#2
Matthew Sinclair

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Maybe at your school there hasn't been a good history with the results of group four subjects? Hence she finds them annoying hahah :P But it could just be that group 4 has some of the hardest subjects, especially at HL.

Your question is hard to answer, because the difficulty in getting a 7 in any subject is highly relative to the individual. I personally think it's hard to get a 7 in HL, it's definitely possible though! We had about 25 students do HL biology in my cohort and I think it was only myself and one other who got 7s and we both worked our asses off and loved the subject to bits. I think it's the IAs that bring you down, so make sure you submit your final IA mark as close to 48/48 as possible! (that includes the group four project! get a 6/6 or aim for one hah).

To get a 7 in HL bio, you need to study study study! and love you the subject! And study!

And also there's a thread with hints and tips for bio SL/HL in the bio forum :) It's got some great advice.

Good luck and if you work for it, you can get it! :)

#3
Proletariat

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Bio is one of the hardest to get a 7 precisely because it is the easiest science. My school isn't very serious with IB either, so I can't say whether the following is true, but my Bio teacher told our class that the cutoff for a 7 was 1.6%, which would be even slimmer than English is.

Of course, the lack of 7s for your school could also be due to the teaching quality at your school. No one in my Math SL class is entertaining the notion of 7s, or even 6s, since our teacher never actually taught us Vectors.

#4
Matthew Sinclair

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What do you mean the cut off was 1.6%? It's the same cut-off for everyone if you're talking about the grade boundaries??

I think Bio HL doesn't get too many 7s because people underestimate how much they actually do need to study for it and how much there is to memorise. The difference between SL and HL is insane in my opinion.

#5
Proletariat

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What do you mean the cut off was 1.6%? It's the same cut-off for everyone if you're talking about the grade boundaries??

I think Bio HL doesn't get too many 7s because people underestimate how much they actually do need to study for it and how much there is to memorise. The difference between SL and HL is insane in my opinion.


Yes. According to my Bio teacher, 7s went to the top 1.6% of HL Bio exams. Our school hasn't seen a 7 for the past few years in Bio.

IB Bio doesn't require that much memorization. There is more of that in the AP curriculum, and from what I've heard, in the other IB Sciences. To be honest, I think Bio SL is way too easy; it is several magnitudes below my regular provincial curriculum. In fact, some of the stuff for the provincial curriculum is harder than IB even (components of the brain, endocrine system, heredity, are a few examples.)

#6
tjlarson

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Maybe at your school there hasn't been a good history with the results of group four subjects? Hence she finds them annoying hahah :P But it could just be that group 4 has some of the hardest subjects, especially at HL.

Your question is hard to answer, because the difficulty in getting a 7 in any subject is highly relative to the individual. I personally think it's hard to get a 7 in HL, it's definitely possible though! We had about 25 students do HL biology in my cohort and I think it was only myself and one other who got 7s and we both worked our asses off and loved the subject to bits. I think it's the IAs that bring you down, so make sure you submit your final IA mark as close to 48/48 as possible! (that includes the group four project! get a 6/6 or aim for one hah).

To get a 7 in HL bio, you need to study study study! and love you the subject! And study!

And also there's a thread with hints and tips for bio SL/HL in the bio forum :) It's got some great advice.

Good luck and if you work for it, you can get it! :)


I took Paper 3 today, and I sure did study, study, study. Although I scored high on the IAs, I recently found out from my coordinator (who is also my IB Biology teacher) that it is the IAs that bring everyone down. I thought that our teachers gave us our final grade, but apparently they are also externally assessed by IB?

#7
Matthew Sinclair

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What do you mean the cut off was 1.6%? It's the same cut-off for everyone if you're talking about the grade boundaries??

I think Bio HL doesn't get too many 7s because people underestimate how much they actually do need to study for it and how much there is to memorise. The difference between SL and HL is insane in my opinion.


Yes. According to my Bio teacher, 7s went to the top 1.6% of HL Bio exams. Our school hasn't seen a 7 for the past few years in Bio.

IB Bio doesn't require that much memorization. There is more of that in the AP curriculum, and from what I've heard, in the other IB Sciences. To be honest, I think Bio SL is way too easy; it is several magnitudes below my regular provincial curriculum. In fact, some of the stuff for the provincial curriculum is harder than IB even (components of the brain, endocrine system, heredity, are a few examples.)


Your teacher is either misinformed or is trying to scare you. Type in "IB Biology 2009 (or 2010 if available) grade boundaries". There's a document somewhere. For biology HL it's like 80% or above or something I can't remember.

Although I suppose what she could be talking about is the top 1.6% of the students who take the exams?? although that seems very low :S

#8
ocfx

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EDIT: Grade boundaries aside, in terms of actual sevens:

It's definitely not 1.6% or wasn't so last year you should check the IBO statistical bulletin http://ibo.org/facts...calbulletin.pdf

The mean grade in 2010 for Biology HL was 4.19 or the lowest for the HL group 4 subjects (SL chem is even lower at 3.92). Although it's not very accurate on the percentage and they have been roughly rounded, it states that 4% of candidates got a seven in Bio HL. :read:

Edited by ocfx, May 20, 2011 - 06:34.


#9
sarahlouise

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What do you mean the cut off was 1.6%? It's the same cut-off for everyone if you're talking about the grade boundaries??

I think Bio HL doesn't get too many 7s because people underestimate how much they actually do need to study for it and how much there is to memorise. The difference between SL and HL is insane in my opinion.


Yes. According to my Bio teacher, 7s went to the top 1.6% of HL Bio exams. Our school hasn't seen a 7 for the past few years in Bio.

IB Bio doesn't require that much memorization. There is more of that in the AP curriculum, and from what I've heard, in the other IB Sciences. To be honest, I think Bio SL is way too easy; it is several magnitudes below my regular provincial curriculum. In fact, some of the stuff for the provincial curriculum is harder than IB even (components of the brain, endocrine system, heredity, are a few examples.)


Your teacher is either misinformed or is trying to scare you. Type in "IB Biology 2009 (or 2010 if available) grade boundaries". There's a document somewhere. For biology HL it's like 80% or above or something I can't remember.

Although I suppose what she could be talking about is the top 1.6% of the students who take the exams?? although that seems very low :S


I think what Proletariat means is that while you must score above 80% on the exams, only the top 1.6% of students who take the course receive a 7.

#10
Sandwich

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I think that getting a 7 in HL Bio isn't too hard if you prepare for it with the requisite level of effort and put the effort into your IAs. It's not really a conceptual subject, it's mostly just a giant memory test. If you can push your mind through said giant memory test and know every aspect of the syllabus, Bio will never spring any nasty surprises on you. They expect you to repeat what you have learned and apply it to a very small extent. Even the IAs are really formulaic - do as they say and you'll be fine.

So yeah. To be honest I think the reason it's so difficult to get a 7 is kinda 2-fold between the fact that people don't realise how much work they need to allocate to memorising it and also the fact that people who are bad at science pick it as their science of choice. Kinda like how I couldn't really be bothered to work on my B language all that much, so people who are doing Bio just because they have to do a science are unlikely to put in that much effort! So the marks will look kinda poor because of that, too - because unlike B languages, success can never follow from slacking!

That last bit is just my opinion, however :P I have no evidence for this. Overall I think that a 7 in HL Bio is very possible with a serious commitment to memorising it. Biology was probably the majority of all my revision for the IB final exams, it just eats up your time like nothing else - but it's also the one where I felt like once I'd done the work, I could feel pretty safe about a 7. Unlike HL Chem where I was having kittens over it non-stop! If you want an unpredictable and evil exam that flings poo in your face, pick HL Chem.

#11
Ilkana

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I think that getting a 7 in HL Bio isn't too hard if you prepare for it with the requisite level of effort and put the effort into your IAs. It's not really a conceptual subject, it's mostly just a giant memory test. If you can push your mind through said giant memory test and know every aspect of the syllabus, Bio will never spring any nasty surprises on you. They expect you to repeat what you have learned and apply it to a very small extent. Even the IAs are really formulaic - do as they say and you'll be fine.

So yeah. To be honest I think the reason it's so difficult to get a 7 is kinda 2-fold between the fact that people don't realise how much work they need to allocate to memorising it and also the fact that people who are bad at science pick it as their science of choice. Kinda like how I couldn't really be bothered to work on my B language all that much, so people who are doing Bio just because they have to do a science are unlikely to put in that much effort! So the marks will look kinda poor because of that, too - because unlike B languages, success can never follow from slacking!

That last bit is just my opinion, however :P I have no evidence for this. Overall I think that a 7 in HL Bio is very possible with a serious commitment to memorising it. Biology was probably the majority of all my revision for the IB final exams, it just eats up your time like nothing else - but it's also the one where I felt like once I'd done the work, I could feel pretty safe about a 7. Unlike HL Chem where I was having kittens over it non-stop! If you want an unpredictable and evil exam that flings poo in your face, pick HL Chem.



Ahh, I'm doing HL Bio AND HL Chem.
I know I can do it. HL Eco is probably my weakest subject. I seriously would prefer to do SL Physics if I could in replace of it (obviously I can't). I think I'm rather scientific minded..understanding the concepts isn't too hard for me, it's just being able to respond in adequate depth!
I seriously hope HL Chem doesn't 'fling poo' back in my face XDDD

#12
ecieee

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In our school almost everybody does bio HL (everybody does IB in our school) and we think it is the easiest science by far.
I also think getting a 7 is quite easy. Last year about 20 students got 7s in Bio HL (our school only offers bio in HL).
I think it's just the matter of perspective and what type of person you are. If rote memorising is your thing, then bio HL is yours.