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Tsubaki

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Tsubaki last won the day on July 2 2010

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    May 2010
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    Canada
  1. When I went through, I was taking non-IB courses that hadn't ended by the time IB exams started, and though I was expected to go to these classes by some teachers (mostly the ones who weren't familiar with IB and the fact that IB students can pretty much do whatever they want at my school) I just... didn't. (and as a result had some 50 absences from Physics) Nobody ever said anything to me, so I guess it wasn't a big deal. IB teachers knew better than to expect that we come in for classes during exams, and so all those classes were cancelled.
  2. I too took both at HL, and I was in exactly the same situation you are, actually (I assume you're taking the French B SL exam in 11th grade, so you'll only have 5 exams in your final year?) With your subject combination (which is ALSO exactly the same as mine... Are you sure you're not secretly me? ) I would have to say that there is no easy choice between History HL and Biology HL. They're both very study-intensive and content-heavy; you'll need to study a lot for whichever one of them you take. I found Biology to be the easier of the two (and yet it was my lowest grade...) but the Biology exam was a lot harder than the History exam. The History IA was probably the easiest IA I had to do in all of IB (the outline is so strict it's almost impossible to do a bad job if you just stick to it) but the exam format is absolutely horrific (Paper 1 cannot be done inside of an hour, Paper 2 is fairly doable, Paper 3 gave me horrible hand cramps/spasms) while it's quite the opposite for Biology; components of labs are marked out of 2, so if a lab isn't immaculate you can expect to get 50% on certain portions; the exam, however, has multiple choice and short-answer questions, which make it quite relaxed compared to history. If I were to go back in time and choose to just do one of them, I think I would pick history, simply because I found it more interesting than I did Biology (even though I am a self-professed science person). History Paper 3 can seem intimidating, but other than that the assessments are pretty good, and there is a great deal of flexibility in what topics you can study, so if you aren't interested in something, there is likely something you can study in its place and still do fine. Biology, on the other hand, is very strict in what you have to learn, and while it does have some of the EASIEST options in all of IB (Option D - Evolution and Option G - Ecology and Conservation were the two I did) the internal assessments are very difficult and the course content just... isn't that interesting (at least, not to me). So I guess my recommendation to you is to do History.
  3. IB was certainly worth it for me; I got credit for the equivalent of 9 university courses (two Chemistry, two Biology, two English, two History, and one French) for my subjects, and this allowed me to skip the breadth requirements for my degree; it pretty much allows me to take whatever courses I want while earning the math credits I need to actually start my math major. Also, the increased workload from doing an IB Diploma and 2 AP courses prepared me really well for the workload in university--to be honest, my first semester was a complete joke compared to the amount of work I had to do in high school. I also believe that it was because of IB that I got the scholarship that allows me to attend my university for free, and I am VERY glad of that. I honestly see no reason why I would not recommend IB to someone capable. It was a great experience, and it has only made my life better. Completely worth it.
  4. I chose IB primarily because it seemed more challenging, interesting, and engaging than the normal high school program, and I figured I was smart enough and hard enough a worker to be successful. I also figured it would probably help me to obtain scholarships to pay for post-secondary education. It had the very happy side effects of allowing me to go to a better school than the one I was supposed to go to (there are a few high schools in my city, and I was slated to go to two of the worse ones [they're technically two separate schools, but they're within quick walking distance so they've kinda merged into one]), allowing me to meet a lot of great people, and allowing me to take courses that aren't often offered (such as AP Physics, which has been offered only once in the past 10 years in my province, and AP Psychology, which has consistently failed to be offered at the school(s) I was supposed to go to). I also believe it is because of IB that I ended up with the second highest university entrance average in the province, and thus received a free ride to my university. I suppose I could have just taken the easy way out and done joke courses during high school like a lot of people do and gotten out of it with a respectable average. That said, given the chance, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm really glad I did it. It was hard, but I enjoyed it, and it really benefited me in the long run.
  5. In the past, I probably would have said history, but looking back on it that class at least kept my attention; the only reason I didn't like it at the time was because my teacher graded rather hard and I was honestly expecting a 5 or even a 4 in History HL, and thus I thought the course was a lot harder than it actually was. Thinking about it now, I'd have to say Biology. To be perfectly honest, it just bored me, and I found it very difficult to pay attention because I really, really didn't care. Which is probably why I didn't do all that great, in retrospect.
  6. I would be inclined to say that Chemistry HL is the hardest IB science, followed closely by Physics HL, the Physics SL, Biology HL, Chemistry SL, Biology SL, and Environmental Systems and Societies SL, in that order. Of course, of those, I've only taken Chemistry and Biology HL, so it's not as though I have experience with the others (except that those classes were joint HL and SL, so I have some idea of the SL versions of those courses); this is just based on what I've heard about them.
  7. I don't know why anyone would give you the idea that taking two sciences at HL is crazy or impossible; a great deal of people do it, and a good number of those people do rather well. It's entirely possible to do Chemistry and Biology at HL and even then do AP Physics or Environmental Science if you were so inclined, for example. As for what a "soft" subject or subject combination is, most people agree that Maths Studies, Environmental Systems and Societies, Business and Management, Computer Science, and certain Group 6 subjects can be called "softer" subjects. Economics and Ab Initio languages are sometimes also seen as "softer," but I wouldn't be inclined to say that myself. That's not to say that they're not perfectly valid subjects to take (IB wouldn't offer them if they weren't) but universities don't always look favourably on them (for example, Maths Studies can't be used as a university entrance-level math course at my university). That said, taking one or two "soft" courses won't be the end of the world, especially if you're genuinely interested in that subject area or if you really don't think you could handle a more difficult course in the same group. I mean, if you were to take, for example, English A1 HL, French A2 HL, Business and Management SL, Chemistry HL, Biology HL, and Maths Studies SL, you'd still be taking a rather difficult set of courses, and as long as you did well in those courses no one could say you took the easy way out.
  8. As far as I know, Chemistry HL is regarded as one of, if not THE hardest IB course offered. (Up there with Maths HL and Physics HL). The first question on both the HL and SL paper two is always a question on stoichiometry (or very nearly always, from what I've seen) that is a little bit different from the standard question in some way. (employing odd tables, asking you to calculate things that you wouldn't normally calculate, stuff like that) Sadly, stoichiometry is usually considered one of the easier topics in Chemistry HL, because it's mostly just plugging numbers into a couple of formulas; things get much harder when you get to periodicity, electrochemistry, and organic chemistry. Of course, I did Chemistry HL, and did rather well, so I can tell you it's certainly possible to get a good mark in the course. The last thing I would ever want to do is discourage anyone from taking it; in fact, I often suggest it to people. It's a great course, and is fantastic preparation for university-level Chemistry. If you can handle it, I really suggest you do it. If you don't think you can, I suggest you take it at SL, at least. A lot of the hardest parts are gutted from the course when you move down to SL, while still keeping the majority of the important things intact. I strongly recommend it if you would rather not do HL. Oh, and don't worry about one quiz grade. Almost everyone does poorly on early quiz marks, especially if your teacher is giving you questions out of old IB exams right away; they are very difficult. Don't be discouraged, just keep trying and you'll do fine in Chemistry HL.
  9. It's really not a matter of which options are easiest as which to avoid: namely, Analytical Chemistry and Further Organic Chemistry. Stay away from those and you should be fine. I personally did Environmental Chemistry and Medicines and Drugs, and they were a breeze. I studied a little Food Chemistry as well, and that was rather easy too. Any two of those three should give you an easy time.
  10. My class went from around 50 pre-IB students in grade 10 to around 20 diploma students at the beginning of 11th grade to 10 diploma students at the end of grade 12. My French SL class only had 4 students from my year in it, so we ended up combining with the 5 French SL students who were a year ahead of us to make an integrated French SL class, which worked out well for us because we got to anticipate the French exam instead of having to do all 6 subjects in our final year. The smallest actual class ended up being Chemistry; 3 HL and 4 SL students, also combined into one class.
  11. With IB, it is very difficult to make a "poor" choice of courses, short of picking HLs that you hate and subjects that you're terrible at, or something. As long as you're doing the diploma program, you'll probably have made a good choice of courses. That said, Business and Management is not a well-respected course in my experience. You might be better served by switching it out for Chemistry HL or Biology HL. You might also consider switching Maths to HL if you think you can handle it, and then switching out Business and Management for Chemistry or Biology at either HL or SL, depending on whether or not you want to put in the work for 4 HLs. That would certainly look more impressive than Business and Management HL, if that's what you're worried about.
  12. Group 1: English A1 HL. Group 2: French B HL (For immersion students), Italian Ab Initio. We used to offer French B SL, but that was discontinued. Group 3: History (Europe) HL. Group 4: Biology SL (though in practice, the whole Biology class generally takes HL), Biology HL, Chemistry SL, Chemistry HL. Group 5: Maths SL Group 6: Music SL. Music HL is offered when an exceptionally able student wants to take it. This has happened twice so far, to my knowledge. Oh, I believe Theatre Arts SL was offered for one year, but the one who taught that vowed never to teach it again because of the paperwork. My school has kind of biased their courses toward students who prefer the humanities and social sciences more than sciences, which really bothered me because I should not have been taking History HL, and I had wanted to take Physics HL instead of Biology, and Maths HL instead of SL. But, I had to live with what was offered, and my school's AP courses almost made up for the lack of IB choices (although I couldn't get into Calculus AB, so I have no math credits going into university.)
  13. Well, it was very useful for me, because I had no idea that the GCSE worked that way. In that case, I'd like to revise my advice: just take Biology SL. You're clearly good at it, and it's the one that involves the most (though very little) ethics. It's also probably the easiest, and I'm sure you'd get a good mark.
  14. If you're interested in ethics, I suppose Biology SL would be the science for you, as it really is the only IB science course (in my experience) that even touches on ethics. That said, you've done better in Chemistry and Physics than you have in Biology so far, so you may want to give Chemistry SL a try. (I would not recommend Physics SL; I haven't done it, but I'd wager it's a far amount harder than Chemistry SL, and if you're not planning on continuing with science after IB, the easier the course is for you, the better.) Really, it's up to you between Chemistry and Biology SL, in terms of what I would recommend. Biology SL contains the most ethics (though still hardly any at all) but you've done far better in Chemistry than in Biology. I would not recommend Physics, simply because it's probably more difficult that you really need it to be, and probably less interesting for you than Biology.
  15. People always tell my I'm boring and/or lame for wanting to do what I want to do, (my ToK teacher especially used to make fun of me, actually) but I really want to be a lawyer specializing in tax law. Yesterday I had a crisis and HAD to decide what I was going to do with my life (I'm doing a B.Sc. with Honours in Pure Math, maybe joint honours with statistics or a minor in economics; I realised yesterday that I really don't think I'm cut out to be an academic, so I got a little worried). As it turns out, an honours degree in math is suitable for entry into an MA program in Economics, which I can take concurrently with a JD in just 3 years. Then, if I want, I can get my LL.M. and specialize in tax law, which is my eventual goal. My backup plan is to complete the actuarial science requirements at my university, and then try to become a practicing actuary. If I get into the job and end up hating it (I can't see that happening) I can still go to law school if I want to. It seems like a fairly safe thing to do, especially considering I would have completed most of the actuarial science courses that I need to do anyway for my Math degree and potential economics minor anyway.
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