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I know that passion and interest is a factor in choosing IB courses. However, I love(d) Biology and was a high achiever in it but when it came to this year, the intricate details accompanied by the wide scope was overwhelming. I liked the topic, I just didn't have the time to memorize every single system and function :P . I like all three sciences but I want to know the courseload so I can make the right choice (I'm taking 2 sciences next year by the way).

So I ask:

1. Out of the three sciences (IB Biology, IB Chemistry and IB Physics) which do you think is the most rigorous in terms of courseload? Which did you score higher on?

2. Are there any programs that require Biology? Most universities ask for 2 sciences out of the three, but if you were to go into a program like Biochemistry, wouldn't they want a Biology and a Chemistry course?

Thanks :P

Edited by Feist

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1) In my opinion IB biology and Ib physics have the most courseload. I have not taken physics but it is based on the grades that people get in my school (physics is usually the science in which people do the worst).

2) Many programs "recommend biology" such as pre-med programs, biochemistry etc. There is usually more of a choice between physics and chem.

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I took Bio HL and Phys SL last year. I finished Phys with a 5. I'll be finishing Bio in the upcoming year [obviously haha].

I love both sciences. Bio is a lot of details, so if you're feeling overwhelmed, I don't know that it's a good idea to take it. However, I hear all the time how amazing the bio syllabus is--the IB Bio exam strictly sticks to the syllabus, and people are really happy with that.

With physics... I am in love with the subject. My deal was that the teacher taught us to prepare us for the AP exam [got a 5/5 on that, so he did a good job] rather than the IB exam.

I think that if you don't understand how to do physics problems, you get discouraged easily. Especially with topics like induction! I'd say bio is easier to learn than physics. If you're a strong math person, phys may come naturally to you.

Edit: If you want to go to school in the US, here, unis don't care which of the sciences you take. I have to say that the SAT2 Chem test is easy! Take IB Chem and you'll do well. I took AP chem [like I learned AP Phys rather than IB phys] and IB Chem HL is WAY harder! I hope that helps somewhat hahaha

Edited by sweetnsimple786

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I think chem and physics are more rigorous in terms of courseload. With bio, you can always just memorize, but with chem and physics, you need to know applications and not just theory. So you actually need to understand everything. I got 7's in both my sciences (bio and chem), but I've always done slightly better in bio.

If you go into engineering, then they'll ask for chem and physics. But for medicine/biochem/science in general, they'll ask for bio and chem probably.

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Biochemistry isn't necessarily a concoct of the bio + chem information. It involves more chemistry, I think, because it focuses on that part of biology where chemistry is present not so much in calculations but more so in principles.

Success in Chemistry and Physics is an interest thing. Some people study none, and others do lots. Now, there is a good range eh :P?

I find that with biology I memorize it all and eat it up with no problem, hence why I will be a bio major for pre-med track. Chemistry for me isn't so easy, and I have to spend some time not memorizing but actively searching problems and their solutions. I would say that I put more work into chemistry than biology by a long shot, and I score higher in biology still.

Physics and chemistry will have you believing its math, so you learn the principles and you are done. no! there are applications which you must cover and go over, look at things from that perspective they want you to be in. Biology I find really easy, you learn it and in all Ib sciences always try to understand it.

If you are exceptional in math, like super amazing, I would just say go for physics and chemistry. Biology is something you should for sure have under your belt if you plan o going into a pre-med track. Embryology, parasitology, zoology and bacteriology are all extensions and detailed investigations of the very general aspects you skim across in Ib HL Biology.

Also, Organic chem is a thing of its own. Those using the following argument (including my stupid guidance councilor): "but you have 2 years of chemistry at least, so take HL chem over biology if you want to be a doctor". This is highly invalid. Biology is the course you want to take for HL if you are going into medical field, or anything under science. Biology will be the most frequent class type you visit under this job desire.

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I did Biology and Chem and my best friend did Physics and I have to say relative to each other they all have roughly the same amount of work across the two years, if that's what you mean by courseloads.

I scored higher in Biology than Chemistry, but only because Biology is easy (ahah) because it's just... memorising things. There's not much understanding or application which isn't also obvious. Chemistry requires a lot more understanding in terms of application, and in IB they ask questions which are quite testing and challenging for Chem, whereas for Bio the questions are quite straight forward. If you revised it, you can answer it sort of thing. With Chem you can have revised it but still have NO clue what is going on at all!! :P It's insane. Depends what your strengths are, but I don't know anybody who did two sciences at HL, one of which being Chemistry, who didn't say Chem was hardest. Order of difficulty from hardest to easiest (of all the people I know, anyway) is Chem, Physics, Biology.

Not many programmes require Biology alone (except for perhaps Biology!), but in the United Kingdom, at least, you HAVE to take Chemistry if you want to do anything like Biochemistry, Biomedical sciences or Medicine. That's the one you can't get away without :) Two reasons, I guess. Firstly Chem underpins everything else to a very major degree, and secondly it's something which some people genuinely can't do very well at all aaaand it's usually hardest. Besides if you choose to do Medicine, the Bio part of it you can learn/recap and end up redoing some of it, whereas with Chem you can't learn/recap it in quite the same way! Hence why Biology is considered optional, although presumably preferable to Physics in that it does teach a few basic principles. Thing is they're basic enough to be picked up wherever. If you can achieve in Chemistry, you'll probably be able to handle the academic side of any course, whereas getting a 7 in Bio doesn't carry quite the same weight for this sort of thing. It's still hard to do, don't get me wrong! It's just Chem is harder still :P

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I did Biology and Chem and my best friend did Physics and I have to say relative to each other they all have roughly the same amount of work across the two years, if that's what you mean by courseloads.

I scored higher in Biology than Chemistry, but only because Biology is easy (ahah) because it's just... memorising things. There's not much understanding or application which isn't also obvious. Chemistry requires a lot more understanding in terms of application, and in IB they ask questions which are quite testing and challenging for Chem, whereas for Bio the questions are quite straight forward. If you revised it, you can answer it sort of thing. With Chem you can have revised it but still have NO clue what is going on at all!! :) It's insane. Depends what your strengths are, but I don't know anybody who did two sciences at HL, one of which being Chemistry, who didn't say Chem was hardest. Order of difficulty from hardest to easiest (of all the people I know, anyway) is Chem, Physics, Biology.

Not many programmes require Biology alone (except for perhaps Biology!), but in the United Kingdom, at least, you HAVE to take Chemistry if you want to do anything like Biochemistry, Biomedical sciences or Medicine. That's the one you can't get away without :) Two reasons, I guess. Firstly Chem underpins everything else to a very major degree, and secondly it's something which some people genuinely can't do very well at all aaaand it's usually hardest. Besides if you choose to do Medicine, the Bio part of it you can learn/recap and end up redoing some of it, whereas with Chem you can't learn/recap it in quite the same way! Hence why Biology is considered optional, although presumably preferable to Physics in that it does teach a few basic principles. Thing is they're basic enough to be picked up wherever. If you can achieve in Chemistry, you'll probably be able to handle the academic side of any course, whereas getting a 7 in Bio doesn't carry quite the same weight for this sort of thing. It's still hard to do, don't get me wrong! It's just Chem is harder still :D

Cool, that's quite interesting... :)

I'm hoping that the unis here will allow me to do medicine with my subjects, if I suddenly decide to in the end... Fingers crossed :)

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