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please help me choose ib subjects

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I am not sure what IB subject's to choose and would really appreciate some help.

Since I'm Swedish I have to study Swedish as a subject. I'm not sure what I want to study in the future but I'm leaning towards Economics/Finance. Although, I am also interested in the environment and fashion heh. 

So this is the combination I am considering: 

English HL 

Swedish SL

Math HL

Economics HL

Biology SL / Physics SL


1: What science subject is easier; Biology / Physics SL? I am pretty good at memorisation but not analysing in biology. Are there many analyse questions with diagrams etc? I am good at writing lab reports. Physics sounds slightly more fun but it just seems so hard. What is easier to get a 7 in according to you? Any experiences? 

2: As I am aiming for top universities, Math HL seems to be required for an Economics degree. I am pretty decent at math but it's not my favourite subject. Is Math HL very hard? Does it involve long problem solving questions or more difficult but straight-forward questions like solving equations? Also, if I decide to do Physics SL + Math HL = will it be too much of a workload? (Perhaps it's a good combo though since they're quite similar)?

3: What's Visual Arts actually really about? I can actually enjoy art but if it's very restricted and hard to get a 7 in it doesn't seem to be worth it? Please share some experiences. As mentioned above Im planning on doing ESS instead but it kinda seems a little useless? (or am I wrong)

4: Is English HL very hard? What does it involve? I'm still planning on taking it although I might go easier on other subjects as I don't want a way too heavy workload?

So these were my questions (I know there's a lot) but I would really(!) appreciate some guidance since Im quite confused. Thank you!!




Edited by goingtoib

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Hi, I can't speak from personal experience, I'm entering the DP next year. However, I was divided between all three sciences, so I'll try to share some of the advice my IB coordinator gave me.

You're right, biology does involve quite a bit of memorising. You'll also be doing independent research (gathering data), and then coming up with scientific explanations to explain results. So there's the largest chunk of the analysing part. However, IB wants to test your critical thinking skills, so there may be varying degrees of analysing in all subjects.

It sounds like you're a bit more motivated for physics. Yes, it may seem hard but you say you're pretty good at math, so it shouldn't be impossible. Plus, you're more likely to get a 7 in what you are motivated about.

If you're having trouble deciding which one is easier. Think about this: Biology requires memorization of facts and concepts, applying those facts and concepts to the real world, and using them to explain scientific phenomena. Physics requires you to be good at manipulating numbers, applying formulas to solve various questions, etc.

See where your strengths lie.

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I can't answer all question but I'll answer a few.

Biology is mostly memorising and understanding systems whereas physics is more formulas and math. Physics complements HL Math quite well.

Visual Arts is a hard course but its quite 'free'. All my best friends took it and all got like 5s. It's very technical so just being good won't get you a high mark. However my friends loved how open the course was. They could do whatever they wanted and in different mediums and styles. If you want a high mark though, visual arts might not be a good idea.

HL English is kinda hard. There's a lot of analysing and you need to write really good essays. Hard work will definitely pay off though :)

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Regarding Maths HL:

The current curriculum has 2 out of 3 papers that weigh equal marks in two Parts, differing by number of marks and inter-topic relationships.In Part A, each question worth fewer marks and only tests a couple of closely related syllabus content. In Part B, each question emphasize application of different syllabus topics, and has more subquestions, which may appear as irrelevant parts or a series of prompts or both. If "straightforward questions" involve simply plugging in a formula, these appear in in both Part A and B, but the harder questions in each Part involve more problem solving to various extent.

As someone who has taken both Physics SL and Maths HL, I believe these are demanding courses but they are quite complementary. I had little introduction to physics before IB, so vectors and mechanics took a long while for me to grasp. As I have yet to see the first physics papers for the new syllabus (from May 2016), I can only say Physics SL is largely not a memorization class. The biggest challenge of Maths HL is completing questions within time constraint, although there may often be questions that I just sit there for 15-20 minutes, without progress. 

English Literature HL (Language and Literature is rumored to be bit easier), Physics SL, and Maths HL are not courses one can succeed in without determination and good working habits. 

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