Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

HL chem or HL bio?

Recommended Posts

OK so my school is currently doing subject selection and i'm a sophomore so I'm about to choose all my IB classes, and its a tad overwhelming but i've narrowed my science choices to HL bio or HL chem

without telling what I'm good at or more interested in, (esp. since i don't really know...;/ ) which is easier?

HL BIO or HL CHEM?

i know bio is more memorizing and chem has more applied math and concepts, but say, for someone who has no science background or has no specialties, etc. what should they take out of these 2?

and for considering someone on their strengths and weaknesses the only thing i really learned in biology in like 8th grade was evolution and ecology. i loved it and there are a few other topics that i could be better at but i'm not really into complicated science-y stuff like genetics, even though i guess i could master it. but based off this, what is the composition of these topics in HL bio? like is there more focus on things like ecology more than genetics?

as for chem, i have a pretty good base because i had a GREAT teacher last year. anyways, science has never been my strength, esp. things like chem and even though my teacher did an awesome job last year, i've forgot a lot and need some retouching but i know hl chem is supposed to be very complicated and long wordy explanations, and i dont like things with too many words....

sorry it's so long but thanks so much for taking time out of your hectic IB lives to help me out if you can! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well maybe try to match your science course with the skills you'll be learning and enhancing in other courses you plan on taking. 

What other courses are you planning on taking?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A lot of the things you did in science have nothing to do with IB chem. Pretty much everything you learned is a lie. For deciding which one to choose, play on your strengths. I feel like IB bio HL isn't too hard (make it less stressful by studying a little bit everyday if you can). I'm in chem SL and I still find bio easier. Chem was kind of a jump for me because in pre-IB, I had 99 in the chem unit and it all went downhill once I hit IB chem. Also, think about what you want to go into in uni. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you have no particular background in Science, I'd recommend going for the way you're able to learn, because, as you said, Chemistry is more about concepts, whereas Biology is more memorisation. If you're someone who can memorise easily, take Biology, if you're more of a 'learn a concept and understand it' person, then go for Chemistry. Maybe think about other subjects at the same time? If you're good at History, which is highly memorisation based, then Biology may be for you, and if you're more of a mathematical person, go for Chemistry?

 

And, as ShootingStar said, it's very important to take into consideration what you want to do later. For some things, it doesn't matter, but in other cases it does. 

 

Also, maybe look at the syllabus/guide? Sometimes it's just a matter of what seems more interesting/appealing to you.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love Bio and it is so much fun. But I would recommend chem. Doing Bio is not as useful as Chem,  the entry requirement for science in most universities is Chem but not bio. In other words, chem is the foundation of most science and it will let your options open when choosing your bachelor degree. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly I take Chem at HL and Bio at SL and from what my teacher says every lesson Bio SL is easier than Bio HL especially since we are the first year with the new syllabus. Chem HL is literally like my GCSE teacher said a new solar system because it defies almost everything you learnt in GCSE (okay a bit exaggeration but it does!). Just like the other people said above, it's very subjective. One of my friends have taken both at HL and she is often like what did i just learn in class!? Anyways not to scare but it really narrows down to what kind of a learner you are at this point. I had an amazing chem teacher for GCSE but for IB the teacher I have isn't able to interest me in the course so I really find it difficult in concentrating in class which is seriously a terrible thing to do in IB!! 

 

just to narrow it down perhaps 

take bio if and only if, you have a good memory. Bio is all about memorisation and remembering the terminology 

take chem is and only if, you have a strong foundation for maths and are someone who is good at understanding and implementing. Because chem topics are interlinked. Meanwhile bio topics are more often than not good to be one off. 

 

Also IB choices really depend on your career pathway. So any medicine related career would require both at HL or at least chemistry at HL. I took a varied choice to keep my options open however I knew that science would be the path I would be merging into. Just dig around google a bit and I hope you get a good idea on your choices! 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel as though BIO HL might be easier than chemistry HL, since its just memorising. The CHem HL curriculum is also known for having ALOT of difficult material. Then again it depends on what you plan to do in college and your overall interests in the subject.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I recommend Biology HL in this case. The curriculum for it might be huge but it's varied and most of it is quite interesting. Contrary to what some people say, chemistry also has an array of things you've got to memorize (molecular geometries, org chem....) besides understanding,though it does require more application.

 

In general, pick Bio HL for an easier time, or pick Chem for acquiring a more solid scientific base and a wider variety of options. In the end, it depends on what you want to do!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well maybe try to match your science course with the skills you'll be learning and enhancing in other courses you plan on taking. 

What other courses are you planning on taking?

I'm taking

HL History

HL English

HL Bio/ Chem?

SL Math (pre-cal and calculus not math studies route)

SL ITGS (Technology elective)

SL Spanish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say go with Chem HL. It's honestly tough at the start of each topic, but with a bit of work it becomes very easy. You find that things you learned in previous units help out and though it's tough at first things eventually start to synthesize and become fairly simple (though practicing past paper questions is needed). 

Bio HL I'm given to understand is just a lot of memorization and apparently what I described for Chem (everything eventually coming together and making sense) doesn't happen in Bio (according to the kids taking both at HL). Also, with Chem, there's scope for error; if you don't remember a concept its always possible to work out what you have to. In bio, however, if you forget one fact and you're asked about that particular fact, you're screwed. (not my personal experience, this is again what I've gotten from kids with both at HL) 

 

I'm assuming you're applying to colleges in the US mainly, so just go through the syllabus and see which resonates with you more; it's not like US colleges have strict subject requirements like the UK or some other places. 

 

You can't really go wrong with either but Chem is awesome <3 so I recommend Chem HL. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Benefits of Chem HL -

1) basic requirement for most/every science related university course

2) makes sense and you can eventually figure everything out without memorising if you have the concept in your head.

3) less memorisation more calculation (not sure if it's an advantage to you)

4) you have studied chem in grade 9 with an excellent teacher. The teacher can always help you remember and give you a crash course or something?

Benefits of Bio HL -

1) you seem more interested in bio over chem.

2) more memorisation less calculation (not sure if it's an advantage to you)

Disadvantages of Chem HL -

1) it's good to have a strong background (overcome this disadvantage by studying during summer)

Disadvantages of Bio HL-

1) you don't know much about genetics.

2) you haven't take it for 2 years.

3) may not make sense.

I suggest you take Chem HL.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I'm taking

HL History

HL English

HL Bio/ Chem?

SL Math (pre-cal and calculus not math studies route)

SL ITGS (Technology elective)

SL Spanish

 

 

I would definitely recommend HL Bio then. I have HL History and English as well and feel like Biology fits in VERY well with it.

But again, it depends on the type of person you are. Based on your courses, I assume you like reading and writing. Biology has that. 

However, if you want to learn new skills, then I would suggest you take HL Chemistry. The way you learn, the science you learn, the labs you write, the calculations you...well calculate, are a new skill in on itself. Of course, biology has it's own skills as well but they are more similar to History and English than Chemistry is to the two. 

 

Also, looking over the topics/units covered in each course wouldn't hurt. A light overview of what you're signing up for might help you choose which subject you're willing to dedicate yourself to for 15 months.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the amazing tips and advice! Those of you who mentioned that it would depend on my career goals and guessed I might want to get into medical, you guessed right!

Hehe, Thanks so much, based off this information I think my best bet is on Bio HL and if I don't get my 1st or 2nd choice electives, I will have an HL elective instead of the first 2 SL so I'll put Chem as an SL for my backup if it gets to that point. Thanks again!!!! ;D

And I hope this group post can help anyone in the future that may have this issue when choosing their IB course path!

Edited by salk0715

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm taking

HL History

HL English

HL Bio/ Chem?

SL Math (pre-cal and calculus not math studies route)

SL ITGS (Technology elective)

SL Spanish

 

I would definitely recommend HL Bio then. I have HL History and English as well and feel like Biology fits in VERY well with it.

But again, it depends on the type of person you are. Based on your courses, I assume you like reading and writing. Biology has that. 

However, if you want to learn new skills, then I would suggest you take HL Chemistry. The way you learn, the science you learn, the labs you write, the calculations you...well calculate, are a new skill in on itself. Of course, biology has it's own skills as well but they are more similar to History and English than Chemistry is to the two. 

 

Also, looking over the topics/units covered in each course wouldn't hurt. A light overview of what you're signing up for might help you choose which subject you're willing to dedicate yourself to for 15 months.

Thanks so much for your input, I actually don't like reading or writing as much as it may seem from my schedule, my school just requires I take history and english at HL...but it seems like Bio would be a great fit for me, as you said. My friends in Chem HL seem to be dying ;( and my friends in Bio HL don't seem to be complaining as much.

Plus, I'm already taking the hard route of Math SL with pre-calculus and calculus and it's quite the struggle so I don't want to strain my self too much with an extra rigorous class like Chem HL when I could be in Bio HL.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.