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Choosing IB classes, but not sure about university major yet.

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So I want to study either medicine or engineering in university, but the problem is I can't decide. When I start IB I have to choose my classes, so if I choose Medicine, I would take Chem and Bio HL, If I want to study in England at least, and I don't want to study in the US because the med programs there are post-graduate. (I could possibly study in Australia though, but I'm not sure about what the pre requisites and entry requirements are.) If I later during the IB course decided that I wanted to become an engineer instead.(Or vice versa) I would be screwed?? (Things can change in two years you know) Because I wouldn't have the right pre requisites, and most universities wouldn't consider me?

What possibilities would I have in that case? Are there any introductory courses to Physics that I could take in University before applying to an engineering program (Or intro to Biology courses for med school)?

 

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Few Medicine courses ask for Biology to the best of my knowledge, the most common pre-requisite is generally Chemistry HL. Sandwich is a current med-student in the UK and she can probably shed a lot more light on this. I suggest you PM her, she's awesome!

 

My suggestion though is to take Chemistry, Physics and Maths HL - that should keep Medicine and Engineering open.

Edited by Arrowhead
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Hello!

I was in that same position as you're in right now and I know how it feels. I didn't know what I wanted to pursue in my education life because I as split in the middle of 2 completely different subjects. So what I did was that I grabbed a coffee and went to the quietest place I knew, which is the library. I went there with a notebook and just thought about it really, really hard. I wanted to make sure that I knew and was 100% fully decided on what I wanted to to with my education life. The thought of me not knowing what I later wanted to do after IB was not sitting with me alright. Maybe that works for some people and I'm not saying it's wrong but it was not something I wanted to put my self though. So I really suggest you to do so too. Just sit at a quiet place and think. Picture your self as a engineer or a doctor and see what job would make you feel happiest. I choose to study medicine at the end and I'm really happy now. So to sum this upp , instead of you choosing the "wrong" subjects in IB and having the 50/50 % chance of you changing your mind in the middle or at the end of IB please think about it really hard. Just make sure that you go into the IB program knowing what your goals are. That is how you will succeed, with goals. Set goals in life and reach them. Simple as that.

I hope this helped.

Edited by Aishalol
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I'd recommend taking Chemistry HL and Math HL for sure. Those courses will be helpful regardless of which field you want to go in. This will also keep your options opened if you want to go to university in the US for engineering. But follow your guts on Biology or Physics. Whichever one you think you'll like more because after all you'll need to like what you study in university! 

 

I go to university in the US and am studying Biology. 

 

May 2012

HL: Biology, Chemistry, Spanish B

SL: Environmental Systems and Societies, English A1, Math

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I'd go with Chemistry and Physics HL. You won't get into a decent engineering program without physics. Don't take my word for it, but I think you'll fare fine without biology when going for medicine. Seeing as you're from Norway, it may be interesting for you to know that you need chemistry and physics for medicine in Norway, while biology isn't required.

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Historically they did only want Chemistry from you, but nowadays quite a lot of medical schools in the UK are asking for Biology as well. I don't know which ones do and which don't off the top of my head, but I know Imperial, Birmingham and UCL now want Biology. On the other hand I googled Manchester and they don't mind if you don't have Biology, provided you have some kind of Maths or Physics. 

 

So it wouldn't exclude you from applying to everywhere if you didn't have HL Biology, but it's something you'd need to research yourself and figure whether it's worth it. Google "undergraduate requirements medicine ____" and just fill in ___ with whichever Uni you're interested in, they all advertise their IB requirements on their websites. I don't know exactly how many places now need Biology, it's quite a new thing. It makes a lot of sense, of course! Biology is the closest to Medicine by a country mile, Physics, Maths and Chemistry aren't really useful preparation.

 

If you wanted to apply to the UK you would need a formal qualification in Biology or Physics for the respective programmes you're interested in. Doing an introductory course wouldn't be sufficient. The only thing I know which is available is that you can apply for a 'Foundation' course into Medicine, but they're mostly aimed at people who didn't take any sciences and it's essentially like repeating the last year of IB but focussing mostly on Biology & Chemistry. So it would be a bit of a waste of your time in terms of a viable strategy, you'd lose a year. 

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In terms of admission to Australian undergraduate medicine courses, subject pre-requisites tend to be quite loose. A number of universities, at least in the state I live in (NSW), will take you with pretty much any subject combination - there are no pre-requisites, meaning you actually needn't have done any maths or science in your final 2 years of high school (though even if you weren't aiming for the IB Diploma that would still be a pretty spectacularly bad idea if you were interested in medicine). However, there are also a number of universities in other states who require chemistry and some mathematics, though the level isn't really clearly stated (you probably could get away with SL). Biology doesn't tend to come up at all. I was going to try and link a document discussing prerequisites but that sort of failed, but you can try googling "Australian Undergraduate Medicine Course Prerequisites" to find it. 

 

The minimum scores required for entry vary depending on each university, but you'd have to be looking at a minimum of 37, though likely you would need a higher score to be competitive. Also, you may have to do a standardised test like UMAT/ISAT and most likely an interview. Medicine is definitely a very competitive course in Australia, but it actually becomes somewhat less competitive if you're an international student as there is less competition - however, that is outweighed by the much higher fees (the figures I hear are something like AUD$30000+/year, though it seems it's quite hard to find simple and transparent disclosure of this online) charged upfront and the general dearth of scholarship money! 

 

That's probably everything that you ever needed or wanted to know about studying undergraduate medicine in Australia, hope it was useful! Although I don't have very much knowledge of it, I do relish any opportunity to share the little that I do know. :)

 

Linking that back to the question of what IB classes you should choose, given that you seem mostly interested in studying in the UK, I would definitely agree that Chemistry, Physics and Maths HL are wise choices for keeping your options wide open. Of course, that is dependent on whether you think you can manage those three pretty tough HL subjects, but with hard work it should be possible - don't let the scary reputations of those subjects scare you too much! :)

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