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Course Selection Dilemma...

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I go to an IB school in Toronto (Canada), in grade 10 pre-IB at the moment, and I'm having some difficulties deciding what HL courses to take for next year. Since it's different for all the schools, I'll just outline how it works for mine.

It's actually really simple, HL History vs HL Math and HL Economics vs HL Chemistry (HL English is mandatory). My main problem is between HL History and HL Math. The thing is if you take HL History, you'll lose one of your sciences (SL bio/physics) in grade 12, but if you take HL Math, you get ZERO history.

Pros (HL History):

- Though people argue that it's not useful (since I want to go into the sciences), I think it'll really improve my writing skills (something I lack).

- This might be shallow, but the HL History teacher in my school teaches extremely well; I can probably write an essay on him... For someone who had horrible teachers that made grade 9 hell for me, I find this important.

- My own interest. The teacher I mentioned above made the subject extremely interesting for me this year, and I have complete confidence in his ability to do so in my future IB years. There was not a second in his class that I thought was boring. In fact he made things stand out so well during his lessons that I didn't even need to study the knowledge sections for my tests.

- I won't have to take HL Math, a course many claims to be hell...

Cons (HL History):

- I'll lose my grade 12 Bio, and also some math that could be essential to my future academic career path.

- I'm actually not good at writing, but it's one of the reasons that I want to take HL History: to improve my writing. This means that math could (?) be easier for me.

- Truth is, I probably won't need history at all in university

- The pressure from my friends who are all taking HL Math. (80% of my classmates are taking HL Math)

(Also, if its important at all, I already decided to take HL Chem)

That's basically my dilemma ><...

I talked to my IB coordinator, and my friends, but I didn't find them useful at all. All they told me was to take the one that I'm getting a better grade in. That in itself is kinda stupid since I have no idea how hard each course will be next year. Plus, I don't want my decision to be solely based on how well I perform in a specific subject. Since IB is really just another learning experience, shouldn't preference and the actual knowledge you'll gain be counted besides what mark you'll get? Therefore I really hope someone can help me out with this decision...

Some questions I have:

If I take SL Math (and therefore Ontario grade 12 Bio), would I be able to get into life science programs in universities in Canada?

Just how difficult is HL Math exactly? My history teacher made a point in telling us EVERYTHING about HL History while my math teacher didn't even say a word.

For those who are in University (or have extensive knowledge bout uni), how exactly did HL Math/HL History benefit you? Any regrets? What was more useful?

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Take HL Economics no matter what along with your chem if you can (instead of the history if you have to). I took HL Math and just finished second year uni, and it helped me through all of my first and second year math courses (a lot!). Technically, you can get into any program in Ontario with just SL Math, but HL really does help for math related courses in the future. However, it is one of the hardest courses offered by IB. I used to hate it while I was in it - but it made me really learn to like math in the end. For life science SL Math is more than enough, but Bio is something that would be required.

From my school's experience, History was one of the courses that resulted in the least number of level 7s (the highest level in the IB marking scale - if you didn't already know). So, if you are not already good with your writing skills (and don't plan to need it in Uni), I would not recommend it.

Let me know if you want more specifics on HL Math.

Edited by master135

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You should choose Maths HL, it's a demon, yeah, but if you are not that familiar with writing, History can be an ACTUAL problem..

But, HL History is not that different from SL History, the difference is not that great.. On the other hand, if HL History isn't going to be that useful at university, then you shouldn't take it.

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What other subjects are you definitely taking? It would be nice if you told us what they are :P

You have HL English already; I think that will already improve your writing by a lot. Don't feel pressured by your friends who will take HL math. The truth is, at least some of them will probably drop to SL math next year.

Grade 12 bio or the IB biology course is something that you'll need for a life sci university course. So if you take HL history and lose out on biology altogether, then I don't think it's worth it. Even if you take grade 11 bio you'll still need grade 12 bio after that since biology is uaually a prerequisite. Even if it is not a prerequisite it would be good to know biology well since your classmates will very likely have taken grade 12 bio.

Your other option is to take HL history and take grade 12 bio in summer school/night school (with summer school being the better option since you probably won't have time for night school).

Yes you can get into life science programs with SL math.

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