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Advice on subject choice for Physics Degree (plan on applying to US universities)

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Hi to anyone reading this! :nicole:

I'm contemplating my subject choices as I will be starting the IB this September. I mainly plan to apply to US universities such as Harvard and MIT, but I'll also apply to UK universities (Cambridge) just in case. :D I am aware that in order to gain entry into these prestigious universities (US), one has to have an amazing extra-curricular background and other activities outside of school, that is why I opted for Music in Group 6 rather than another science subject; plus, I love music. ^_^ 

The subjects in bold are the ones that I need to pick my last HL in. And for Group 3, I'm still not sure if I wanna take up History or Economics. 

For my academic background, I got 7A+ and 3 A's for my SPM last year (the Malaysian National Examination, similar in level to the IGCSE's) so I think I will be able to handle the IB *hopefully XD I have been reading a lot on the workload of the IB, so I've been preparing myself for it :P

Intended field of study : Physics, Environmental Science, Mathematics (listed in descending order of interest, with Physics being the one I'm most passionate about)

Group 1 : English - Language A: Literature

Group 3 : History / Economics 

Group 6 : Music

 

SL Group 2 : Mandarin ab initio

HL Group 4 : Physics

HL Group 5 : Mathematics 

My questions are :

1. Which subject should I do my last HL in?

2. Would History or Economics be more useful?

Thank you so much for reading this and helping me out, it means a lot!! :rolleyes:

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Not taking music shouldn't prevent you from joining band or orchestra. You should look at the best possible selection of courses that can secure the highest score out of 45 for you. ESS and Geography may also be good choices for environmental science but doesn't look like your school offers them. I think most useful would be HL Chemistry, but HL Economics is probably your easiest third HL. HL Literature, HL HIstory, and HL Chemistry are all very challenging to score 6s/7s. Neither history or economics is more useful. HL Literature may be useful only if you can get a really good grade in it. 

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20 hours ago, kw0573 said:

Not taking music shouldn't prevent you from joining band or orchestra. You should look at the best possible selection of courses that can secure the highest score out of 45 for you. ESS and Geography may also be good choices for environmental science but doesn't look like your school offers them. I think most useful would be HL Chemistry, but HL Economics is probably your easiest third HL. HL Literature, HL HIstory, and HL Chemistry are all very challenging to score 6s/7s. Neither history or economics is more useful. HL Literature may be useful only if you can get a really good grade in it. 

Actually, my school does offer Geography. Based on your recommendations and after much thorough thought, this will be my subject selections:

English SL

Mandarin SL

Geography SL

Physics HL

Mathematics HL

Chemistry HL

 

May I ask your opinion on how hard is this course?

And do you have any tips on how to study for these subjects? (as I can see that your subject choices are very similar to mine :D)

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On 7 May 2016 at 9:30 AM, Daryl Ryan said:

Actually, my school does offer Geography. Based on your recommendations and after much thorough thought, this will be my subject selections:

English SL

Mandarin SL

Geography SL

Physics HL

Mathematics HL

Chemistry HL

 

May I ask your opinion on how hard is this course?

And do you have any tips on how to study for these subjects? (as I can see that your subject choices are very similar to mine :D)

For a physics degree you wouldn't need Chemistry HL. Physics HL, Chemistry HL and Maths HL are quite demanding courses you have to be very dedicated towards them all not to mention the rest of your SLs. Like you need to REALLY want to do this combination. I really wouldn't advise you take them as an afterthought. 

Since Maths HL and Physics HL basically meets the subject requirements for Physics it would be best you choose extra subjects that you enjoy and/ or are easy. You know in order to maximise your final IB score. Once you meet the subject requirements your score is what universities care about. 

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On 5/29/2016 at 11:28 PM, ChocolateDrop said:

For a physics degree you wouldn't need Chemistry HL. Physics HL, Chemistry HL and Maths HL are quite demanding courses you have to be very dedicated towards them all not to mention the rest of your SLs. Like you need to REALLY want to do this combination. I really wouldn't advise you take them as an afterthought. 

Actually, I do like all the subjects that I picked and I don't really have a problem with science subjects, I always do well in them. I'm pretty sure I can get a good score for all three of my HLs. Only my other subjects would need extra effort in order for me to secure a 7 in them.

But anyways, when I met my school's university/career counsellor to determine my subjects, I didn't pick Chemistry HL as my sixth subject, I chose Music HL instead. Because before the meeting, I realised that I would learn so much more if I took music over chemistry as I have previously studied chemistry during my SPM (Malaysian National Examination) and as I looked through the syllabuses of the IB sciences, it looked like I was familiar with around 50% of it. The SPM has covered quite a bit of the syllabus of the IB sciences so I personally believed it would benefit me more if I took Music HL. 

With that said, my school is a newly built school and I will be one of its pioneer IB students. So, the subject choices available will depend on the number of students interested in that particular subject. And therefore, I'll only definitively know what subjects are available when the school term starts in September.

Thanks for your advice :) 

 

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