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Need some serious help with choosing classes for my IBDP...

Hey everyone! I've recently discovered this site and turned to it after weeks of indecisiveness. There are just so many factors that have made my decision difficult. I've changed plenty of times, actually, and I'm probably going to do it once more, because I still don't think I'm completely satisfied. This is pretty long because of these reasons, so, sorry about that. I can't find a way to shorten it without leaving out key details.

So, first thing's first. I'm taking the IBDP for the knowledge and preparation. The college I'm planning to go to cares about nothing else but high grades, so requirements for entry or "soft classes" aren't an issue. Essentially, I need easy classes (but that I'm still interested in). As for my career, it really doesn't matter.

There are 4 classes I'm certain of:

English Lang & Lit (HL)
Spanish Lang & Lit (SL)
History (HL)
Math (SL)

And 2 I'm not:

Physics (SL) or Biology (SL)
ITGS (HL) or Social and Cultural Anthropology (HL)

I'm not really interested in any others, and all of the 4 do interest me.

I really do enjoy Physics, but I've only taken the very basics, so obviously IB will be tougher. I've heard it's very, very tough in comparison to Biology, which is said to be easy. Result reports do report Physics grades to be higher than Biology though, which is contradicting.

As for ITGS… I'm interested in the impacts of technology and the info about the different types of technology that are developed around the world. Yet, I've read it's hard to do well in even if the subject matter is easy. And I've read you don’t actually learn much.


Anthropology… Well other than the minimal talk I've heard about it being boring, I’m worried it'll be too big of a workload since I'm also taking History, and both involve heavy writing. The teacher is great though, and she's knowledgeable.


With all the background info, I guess these would be my main questions:

  • How challenging is the Physics subject matter? Are the problems really hard to figure out? Would I have a tough time getting a 6 or 7 at SL?
  • Is the grading and subject matter of Biology really that much easier as people make it out to be?
  • Is ITGS tough to get high grades in? Do you even learn big amounts of useful things?
  • Is Anthropology somewhat exhausting or repetitive? Would also taking History be an overkill in workload?


Once again, I really don't know how much of all this is or isn’t true. Perhaps you can help me figure out what is best under these conditions, because I'm completely lost. Thank you so much for reading and helping me out, with as many questions as you can.

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Well... History HL is a lot of work, I know because I take History SL and it still is one of the subjects where I work the most.

What happens with biology is that usually people that are not that good in sciences in general tend to take it as it is seemingly easier, and therefore the grades for biology seem lower on average, but it really depends on what you like. Physics involves a great deal of maths, so you need to decide if that's what you're more comfortable with, otherwise bio is more about remembering facts and concepts of how stuff work. 

I have no clue what your other two subjects are though, I didn't even know there was such a course as anthropology...

My thoughts on that though is that, in the same way as psychology, it is very narrow and, unless that's what you want to do at uni, it will not help you very much...

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Okay this is going to be long so bear with me! :)


Biology SL is fairly easier than Physics SL and don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.


All you need to do in Biology is memorize and undertand a few concepts and Biology SL is especially easy. Meanwhile, the concepts in physics are also quite understandable if you have a good teacher and good basics in physics. Nevertheless, the exam style questions on physics are pretty hard and tricky, they're solvable but they're hard; they require a lot of knowledge and deep understanding of all of the topics that you have studied throughout the two years in the IBDP physics course. For instance, one question may require the use of information from all of the topics you have studied and connceting them all together to formulate a proper way to solve the question, which could be pretty hard especially under stress in an exam.


Biology SL exam style questions on the other hand aren't that hard and tricky and if you have studied well enough you can answer most, if not all of them quite easily and without any struggle.


My school offers IB preparation courses in tenth grade, and I have taken the physics HL preparation course; understanding the concepts was a breeze since I had a great teacher but the exams were the struggle. All the questions that came were real IB past paper questions and I found them quite tricky.


To conclude, it's easier to get a 7 in Biology SL than in Physics SL.


My advice would be before choosing any course you have to consider the following points:

1. How good is your teacher and how experienced is he/she with the subject. (trust me on this: although one could self-study, but the teacher plays a big role in your chance to excel in the subject)

2. How much you enjoy the subject to the extent that you're willing to sacrifice a lot of time and energy to excel in it.


All in all, all of the courses that the IB offers are challenging and require a ton amount of time and work, but one should choose cleverly according to his/her priorities. For instance, your priority is high grades then you should choose classes that you can garauntee yourself 7s or 6s in. I would advise you to research each subject you're thinking of taking: search for past papers online, watch youtube videos regarding the subject and maybe even speak to the subject teacher at your school. 


for more info on physics SL search " chris doner IB physics" on youtube.


I wish you the best of luck :) 


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