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Biology or ESS?

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I am now vacillating between Biology SL and Environmental Systems & Societies SL! I don't think if I'll be doing anything medical related like becoming a doctor or a pharmacist, so I don't know if I should take Biology. I just find it interesting and I'd feel weird not learning it in highschool. What exactly do you learn in ESS?

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Short answer? About the environment!

Long answer? Everything from food chains and webs to energy sources that humans use to biogeochemical cycles, and everything in between. I haven't taken Biology SL (I'm in HL), but I just got done with ESS SL. It's not too terribly hard, but some of the IB questions require a little bit of a... logical leap. But that's not really any different from any other IB class, at least in my experience. It was certainly interesting, and I'd probably take it again if I had to do it over again. They're both quite a bit of memorization, but ESS is a lot more application than Biolgy, in my opinion.

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ESS is basically an amalgamation of Geography and Biology. I did both Geo + Bio and there was HUGE overlaps in the syllabi. I imagine that ESS is that overlap fleshed out. If I were you, I'd do Bio, as it's a lot more respected than ESS.

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I know that some people kind of look down on ESS compared to the other science courses. I plan to either take the business or law route but I also want to study Biology because I think it's interesting. I'm already taking Economic HL anyway. Do you think universities will mind either one? Also, how related is ESS to Business or Law? Thanks guys!

Edited by RachelIB

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I take both Bio SL and ESS (as a group 3). In my school, they like to call ESS "the science for non-scientist", because it talks about the science itself in a different concept (systems and models) which dont go into the comprehension as deeply as the other sciences. From my experience up to now, it is a very interesting subject that involves a lot of logical thinking and a little of memorizing as well (for important concepts). You will definitely enjoy it if you like the environment and understanding how the relations between living things work. I've heard that the complicated part of this course is the essay-like responses in the exam, which make it different from the other science courses. If you are good at essays, though, you will probably have no problem. (or that's what my teacher told me)

On the other hand, Bio SL is pretty great. It is definitely one of my favorite classes. The thing about it is that it has a lot of memorizing and talks about the concepts of the cells, DNA structure, organs and I think it broadens more with the Options. If you think this stuff is boring I would probably recommend you to go for ESS, as it goes more into human populations. Furthermore, Biology SL is pretty easy compared to the other sciences or Bio HL.

I dont know! At the start I had chosen Bio over ESS, because, in my opinion, it is more interesting and 'exciting' (to the point you can call it that, obviously...). I substituted Business and Management for ESS, and I dont regret it!

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Hello! There are several students in my school that do both ESS and Bio just to fill up their credentials :eek:

If you're not going to pursue a Science course in Uni/not interested in Science then I would choose ESS. ESS is more interactive and hold alot of disussions concerning rhino horn trafficking for example. :clap:

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I would definitely go with bio. I think it's more respected with unis, and at standard level it really isn't that difficult - mainly memorisation!

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I am now vacillating between Biology SL and Environmental Systems & Societies SL! I don't think if I'll be doing anything medical related like becoming a doctor or a pharmacist, so I don't know if I should take Biology. I just find it interesting and I'd feel weird not learning it in highschool. What exactly do you learn in ESS?

hey, i was in the same situation after my IGCSE's!! bio was one of my favorites, but i knew i wouldn't do medicine.. then i figured i'd pick my IBDP subjects sensibly, having backup plans for the future.. i dropped bio and IT from the IGCSEs and opted for B&M..

do you think you would study anything related to geography or bio or anything like that? ESS is pretty much the same thing as geog..if you're good at something else which may be useful for you later, i recommend you go for that..

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I would also go with Bio. I took SL Bio this past year, and found it really interesting! Also, with the options that my class did, we ended up learning a lot of material that overlapped with the SL ESS class. There are so many interesting overlaps with other subjects that I discovered in bio, and I think that there are sometimes less in ESS.

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Honestly, it just depends on what you are more interested in! I am now doing ESS and it suits me. I find it really interested because i am more of a humanities kind of a person!

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