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    May 2016
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  1. That depends on your natural abilities. I don’t believe it makes much difference whether you take History or Chemistry if you’re going to study Economics (or related courses) so I think it’s not going to either help you or harm you. On the other hand, it can make some difference if you eventually choose a Biology-related course (especially Biochemistry) so, considering your plans, it is best to keep your options open and thus study Chemistry. Also, you need to remember that History is a lot of essay writing and plenty of additional reading. So if that’s not something you enjoy, it will be torture for you. And I suppose you’re not going to have trouble with Chemistry (or any sciences), seeing that you would take Maths HL if it was possible.
  2. I know nothing about American universities so I cannot advise on this part but there is nothing to fear when it comes to the IB. Sure, it is challenging as hell, we’re not going to lie about that, but preparation honestly doesn’t help much. At my school (+/-15 years an IB school) the pre-IB class was a survival camp, not theoretical preparation we expected it to be. Whoever was tough enough to go through this and not get smashed by the amount of homework, tests, additional activities, studying and teachers’ expectations, and at the same time able to pass school’s internally established grade thresholds, would make it into the IB. And then, in IB1, we were properly taught all we had to know about it — and made it through the programme, most of us incredibly well So don’t worry that you’ve had no ‘experience’ with the IB yet. If it’s the only thing that concerns you, go for it, and you will certainly be challenged enough!
  3. First of all, relax. Second of all, you’re not going to start IB yet (you’re taking your exams in three years). And if it’s pre-IB, then there is nothing to worry about because you still have a year left till you really start your IB Diploma, and that’s a year that will give you some introduction to what you will be facing for the next two years. If you want to know more about the logistics of the system (groups, subjects, combinations, CAS, TOK, EE), simply google it. Surprisingly, Wikipedia is a good read for a beginner, and the IB site of course. It’s good to know what you’re going to do but it’s no use worrying about it now. You’ve got your teachers so that they can help you with everything and teach you about the programme, not only their specific subjects. Finally, yes, the Diploma is hard, especially if you’re taking science-related subjects or History HL (based on my experience), but we were all there — and scared — and most of us are doing/did just fine. It’s a matter of organisation and industriousness. Do not freak out!
  4. I’m afraid teachers have no better access to those papers than we do — they cannot download them as long as they’re not available in the store. If the school does not take part in the May session, they probably won’t have them either.
  5. Definitely Oxford for Biology. I tried Oxford, Cambridge and Pearson, and with the new syllabus for Biology I really felt like only Oxford fulfilled the requirements and could prepare me for the exams.
  6. November 2015 papers were released only in March/April 2016 so I wouldn’t expect it to be sooner than September.
  7. @goingtoib I've already replied to your question in “English B or A2?” topic so you might want to have a look at my response — and in case you have some more questions than what I wrote there, ask away. Yes, English is my second language. When I started Lang & Lit, I was at C1 level (according to CEFR).
  8. I agree that it looks balanced and subjects are connected to each other but note that this is not a possible subject combination: you cannot take two subjects from one group twice — so it’s either Biology and Physics or English A and Swedish A. As I responded earlier, I’d recommend English B (especially now that I see all of your choices). Biology HL and Economics HL do have large syllabi and although I didn’t take Physics, I hear that it is not a piece of cake either, even when it’s SL, so it will be good to go for less work in the area that doesn’t hold your interest all that much. Also, A1 and A2 no longer exist. Now A1 is A Literature and A2 is A Language and Literature, both of them in Group 1 (along with Literature and Performance, only available in English), while B can be HL, SL or Ab Initio, all in Group 2. I did my EE in English Lang & Lit, it was a comparison of works by Oscar Wilde and Alfred Douglas, and their approach to the subject of Greek love.
  9. Having finished my Lang and Lit course in English, I can tell that if you don’t like reading and aren’t interested in textual analysis and interpretation, you’re probably not going to like the “literature” part. I am not saying that it is beyond your abilities, because SL most certainly isn’t, but it is still four books to read and discuss, creative written tasks to do, and Paper 2 strictly concerning literature to write (questions are the same for both SL and HL). The “language” component is no less important, i.e. you speak much more about context, history and media than in a typical Lit course, but you’re not going to be able to escape literature. I do not know about English B in details but in general it is more “typical” language acquisition — learning idioms and vocabulary, reading short texts (and one novel if I’m not mistaken), discussing topics relevant for contemporary society. Text types are also more specific and technical than English A essays, e.g. diary entry or review. So English B is perfect for improving your language abilities in terms of grammar and vocab, while English A is more about putting into use abilities you have already acquired — that’s also why English B now belongs to Group 2 and English A to Group 1. Ah, finishing two Lang and Lit courses will also give you a bilingual diploma but I don’t think it is extremely relevant unless you’re going to study languages at university. So if you feel like one Lang and Lit already demands a lot from you (I know some people at my school with subjects similar to yours thought so), then I’d recommend English B — and if you choose English and Swedish A, I wouldn’t go for both of them HLs.
  10. Honestly, if you don't like English, don't go for EE in English. 4000 words can be easy to write but surprisingly it is not all that easy to get an A for them. Also, it is much easier to organise the structure of your EE when writing in Biology or History -- I know how artificially I broke down my English EE into sections at a very clear demand from my supervisor. Besides, it can be just lots of interpretation and textual analysis and few facts so if you prefer to stick to facts, swap it for something else.
  11. We would be fools not to worry about our future -- but we're also fools to worry too much because it brings us down and can't stop tomorrow from coming either way. Sure, the university applications, mocks, and tests like SAT can give piles of stress to anyone, especially if the person is anxious to do his/her best for one reason or another. And sure, it is amazing that you are so motivated to use the opportunities your parents have given you but demands great self-discipline. And no one has ever said the IB was going to be easy, or at least they never tried to lie to us about it. So all in all, it's a lot for one student even without going into details such as interviews, language proficiency tests and IAs. What follows is that it's no surprise for me to hear that you're basically terrified you're not gonna handle the upcoming year. But you're not the only one who is/was terrified. The trick is to manage this fear and use it as propelling force. Right now it is going to keep you down because it is draining your most important resources, physically (lack of sleep/rest) and mentally (lack of positive motivation), which might affect your performance in this most important year. Short-term stress is good because it makes sure your body devotes all energy to the single cause you're concerned with. Long-term stress kills off your abilities, which I assume deserve to be properly put into use. In short, freaking out won't help even if there is a lot to freak out about. My suggestion (apart from the suggestions given by the previous contributor, which I wholeheartedly support) is that you do not try to encompass everything happening around you in the next few months but rather break it down into small tasks which you carry out one by one. Moreover, if not working on IAs makes you feel bad, why not work? I don't mean sitting whole day trying to figure it out but give them a touch. A draft of one section or skimming through a book. This will calm you down and make your job easier later on. Finally, do not think so much about your family's expectations. I know I did in the first year, and I lost out on many remarkable moments of the IB because initially I didn't see it as an opportunity or adventure but a tool to achieve my superior divine aim. That's a mishap. That's going through two years of your life without really experiencing them since you mark them as temporary already at the beginning. Also, focusing on your self-development and not on what someone else wants you to be or the final results will take the pressure off. The greatest minds were successful because they enjoyed and exploited the path all along (and learned from mistakes), not because they predetermined its end.
  12. Hi guys, I wanted to ask what are the possible ideas for Biology group for G4P if the main topic is fast food? I know that's a pretty vast one and it seems that Biology can do fairly anything with it but we cannot, e.g. measure the abundance of certain nutrients and we're looking for something a bit more innovative, like examining the cleanness of tables at McDonald's or KFC. What do you think it might be? Thanks in advance for your ideas!
  13. Thank you all for your posts and concern, now I feel much better and, more importantly, much securer. I think tomorrow I’m going to change Economics for what I’m really going to enjoy
  14. Thank you both for your answers! And what do you think about having four HLs? I could change my Economics HL for Polish HL and upgrade my Biology from SL to HL… Only I don’t know if it’s actually manageable.
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