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Help w/ subject choices

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So I can't really decide which subjects to take and was wondering if you guys could help me out with this.

I plan on either studying Computer Science or Medicine in the future.

Option 1:
HL = Chem, Bio, Math
SL = French A, Eng Lit, History

Option 2:
HL = Math, Bio, Geo
SL = French A, History, Eng Lit

Option 3:
HL = Math, Eng Lit, Bio
SL = French A, History, Geo

Option 4:
HL = Math, Bio, Eng Lit
SL = French A, History, Chem

Option 5:
HL = Eng Lit, Bio, Chem
SL = French A, History, Math

I wanted to take Math HL for computer science, and the teacher teaching that class is really great, it's also one of my favourite subjects. I think English Lit would be really beneficial since it would strengthen my writing skills and analytical skills (which would help for the SAT essay, History, EE (planning on doing it on English), and the TOK essay). Bio HL is one I'm definitely taking :). I was considering Geo HL since it's really easy for me, giving me more time to spend on my harder classes. The most useful classes for Comp Sci or Medicine would be math, bio and chem HL but i'm worried that that would be too much work...so any suggestions?



Edited by Titanium
Added more reasons for taking Eng Lit HL

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I'd recommend looking at the required courses for the programs you're interested in. This will offer some direction.

For pre-med programs, Bio and Chem HL are generally needed. For computer science, Math HL is probably required. This matches Option 1.

However, Math and Chem HL are 2 of the hardest HL courses. Bio HL also isn't easy. You have to ask yourself if you want to push yourself.

I don't see the point of taking Geo HL. You probably won't apply a geo/enviro based university program so it's not needed. However, if you really like it and you have high marks, take the SL version

Another option is to narrow down your ideal career choice so you can focus on either medicine or computer science. It is very hard to get into med school, but it's rewarding, and computer science has high job prospects. Most of the options you listed above only work with 1 career choice.

Option 1 - med and comp sci
Option 2 - comp sci
Option 3 - comp sci
Option 4 - med and comp sci
Option 5 - med (and a little bit of comp sci)

Think about it a bit. There's no 'bad' choice here.

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If you're looking for "easy," option 4 looks the "easiest." If you're looking for a challenging, rigorous, and rewarding DP "Experience" I would suggest Options 1 or 2. 

There really are no bad choices, all of these options are great plans.

Best of luck with whatever you choose!

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So there are two ways to really approach this: 

(1) If you're unsure about your career path then I would suggest going for a combination that allows you to leave your options open. With that being said, I think option 1 is the best because HL Bio and HL Chem is almost always required for medicine while HL math will probably be very beneficial for computer science. The second-best choice would probably be option 5 -- again, HL Bio & HL Chem is needed for medicine and if you get a good grade in SL math (like a solid 6 maybe), I think you should be fine in regards to computer science.

(2) On the other hand, if you're doubting your will/how much work you'll be able to do, thats fairly normal but it may also be a problem later on if you choose particularly difficult classes. If you don't think you'll be able to keep up with everything and that it'll be too stressful (which is completely understandable especially with a subject combination such as option 1) then I suggest you take more time to really think about which career path you want. That way, you don't have to take extra subjects ("extra" meaning that they are not required/directly related to the career you're pursuing) that will just add to your stress levels and possibly impend you from doing your best and getting the best overall /45 score possible. Although I think it's good to push yourself, sometimes its better to do a little less/make choices that are easier rather than trying to do it all and not scoring as high as you could have. 

  • Example in regards to medicine: whats required is HL Bio and HL Chem, so don't go for HL Math which is challenging -- choose a third subject that you think will be easier/that you will probably do better in
  • Example in regards to computer science: as far as I know, the best/smartest move would be to do HL Math (I'm not aware of any other subjects that would be as useful unless your school offers actual computer science class like my school does -- but that would be an obvious choice) therefore, choose two other HL that are easier to balance it out.

With that being said, you're not doomed if you choose one approach/strategy over the other. Its fairly hard to make a "bad" choice. Do what you are most comfortable with and keep in mind that when applying to universities both independent subject scores (e.g. "a required minimum of 6 in Bio") and your overall IB score (e.g. "a required minimum of 40 points") are often taken into consideration. 

Best of luck!

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I am going to be honest. The subject combination that you should choose depends on several variables: the effort you are willing to put, your tastes and appetences and your future career path.

It seems to me you have a lot of time to decide, so do not make any hasty decisions. Also, even though they are both careers that are based in a lot of "lab work" and ability to focus in a determined problem and investigate it deeply, they are too different. You have to think about would you rather investigate diseases and cures and put a lot of effort to save people or to lead mankind in medical progressions or would you rather investigate on a network and dig in deep in, grasping how a network or web works and how it could be improved to ease up investigation? The world of technology and web is a very intricate one, understanding it and making it simpler would be also a major landmark. This is a very simplistic view as I am not an expert in this area, quite the contrary. But think about these issues.

Furthermore, I don't see why you don't take Computer Science as an ib subject... I mean it would force you to leave either Chemistry or Biology (which could be bad if you wanted medicine), but still, if you do, then I would advise you the following:

HL: Mathematics, Biology and Eng Lit.

SL: History, French B and Computer Science.

If you were to choose CS, then I would advise you to SL it, generally speaking. You don't need to have it at a Higher Level, while Maths and Biology are very important for either the career paths. As to Eng Lit, I would advise you to HL it as it is an easy and important subject. It gives you analytical skills and knowledge on Literature, which is very important. I am being impartial on this maybe, because Literature is one of my main interests and I was planning to pursue a career as a writer. But like I said writing skills are important and if you are one of those guys that, even though they are more inclined to sciences and maths, Lit kinda interests you then I steeply advise you to go for it. So, no matter what, we have reached a conclusion: no matter what you choose to do, there are subjects that in your specific case must be HL, as it is with Maths, Eng Lit. Believe me, colleges appreciate versatile and multivalent people, a doctor or a computer science who is good at writing and understands Lit is indeed very peculiar, but appreciated.

If you do not want CS or your school doesnt have it, then a new subjects "sketch" must be designed:

HL: Mathematics, Eng. Literature and Biology.

SL: History, French B and Chemistry.

Between Geography and History, personally, I would go for History. I love History and like I said a professional within the sciences who has knowledge on History is very valuable. History also gives you very good analytical skills. I am attending History HL and I confirm it is true. As to Geography, universities don't particularly appreciate it and it seems to me as an easy and simple IB subject. I see no point on taking Geography. However, it would probably give you better grades with scarce effort, while History would require more effort, but it is still doable and very enriching. I have a fellow in my class who wants medicine and he turned down all the other social sciences, so that he could have History. He got a very rigorous schedule and subjects combination, but he still claims it is worth it. In your case, I believe it is either. But I understand you d go for Geography, but that is up to you and it wouldn't make a difference on the subjects combination as they are both SL.

Biology is very important for Medicine, so HL required. Although, for a future in CS, maybe Chemistry would be more adequate but I would go for Bio HL as it is adequate for both cases.

I hope I helped, at least a bit :)

If you could answer a few questions I have it would be awesome, some are really driving me crazy.

Cheers pal,


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