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Biology HL vs Physics HL

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Hello everybody!

I have recently been facing a difficult choice in my IB subjects. This choice is between Physics HL and Biology HL. I am still not completely sure where I want to end up at university but the two different ends I can end up with with these subjects is engineering and medicine (or anything healthcare related). Considering that I already plan on taking Chemistry HL and Math HL which one would be a better choice. 

In other words, will I have a better chance of getting into engineering without physics or will I have a better chance of getting into medicine without Biology? And also, which subject choice gives me more options, that is, other than medicine and engineering.

Thank you so much in advance!

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Well uh, generally I would advise against this sort of intense HL selection. Humanities and Literature tend to be more manageable at the Higher Level. I'm of the camp that thinks you should select a subject based on its jump from SL to HL. Maths, Chemistry and Physics/Biology are possible some of the biggest jumps you could select in the gamut of IB subjects. However, two gents at my school last year scored 7s in all three of Maths HL, Physics HL and Chemistry HL, and ended up scoring 44 points. Its definitely possible and if you have the gift and more importantly the desire: go for it. 

I would like to dispell your idea that these subjects would lead you into only engineering and medicine. The actuality is that a selection of Maths, Physics and Chemistry HL would be an ideal pre-cursor to undergraduate study in engineering if you so desired. A selection of Maths HL, Chemistry HL and Biology HL would be a great pre-cursor to eventual studies in Medicine, again, if you so desired. However, consider that these subjects could lead you into the massive array of scientific research in any field. These subjects combined with Economics or Business could be great pre-cursors to scientific enterpreneurship. With these subjects you could head anywhere in the massive growing field of sciences. 

As to your question of Physics versus Biology, I'll try to answer it holistically.

In the sense of university, it really does depend. Neither is likely to hinder your chances. Taking Physics will be helpful in a host of Mathematical subjects e.g engineering. Biology will be more useful in terms of things like Medicine and research. But, if you are undecided, I really wouldn't make your decision on this.

In the sense of your overall programme, Biology is very intense in terms of learning the content. There is a lot to memorise and a lot to understand. The mark boundary tends to be around 80/100 for a 7. It will help in ways with Chemistry, as both will reinforce concepts in the other. In Physics, understanding then mathematics comes first. Theory isn't as important or as intensive in scoring well and it tends to focus on the practical implementations of what you are studying, much like your Maths. Another thing to note is how much Maths HL will help out, and conversely how much time you'll spend doing practice questions if you take both. The mark boundary tends to sit at the 70/100 for a 7. 

In the sense of the jump from SL to HL, well then Physics tends to be your guy. Yes, Physics is a tough HL. However consider also that it is probably the hardest SL science. The jump to HL is less than in Biology. The reason this is important as you might want to drop a science to SL later on in your program. Biology SL is very manageable. Physics SL tends to be yet, still tough. If you are set on two HL sciences, I would really say Physics as it tends to to be less intensive than Biology. If you are open to dropping a science to SL later on, Biology could be a better option. 

What is important is personal preference. Choosing one over the other based on this is how I would cut it. If you are going for the goal of a career in physics/engineering then well of course go with Physics. If you are open to research, health etc, then of course go with Biology. However, maybe and this might not be speaking to you, but, consider doing an Art subject. Film Studies, Music, Visual Art, even Theatre. They take the edge off your final exams in May 2018. They tend to be relaxing and fun. I suggest you tackle this from a very holistic standpoint. Evaluate what your goals are, because, us as people from the internet can't decide that for you. 

Is it getting a 7? Is it getting into a specific course? Is it having fun and enjoying the content? 
The answers change dependent on the answers to those questions. Start with those questions and work towards an answer.

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