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Staying Away from English A1 HL

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Every year, I keep on getting the same phrase: don't take English A1 HL! It's too hard! You'll never get a 7 (or a 6 for that matter)! So my question is basically why? Is it truly that hard to get even a 6? Last year, there was only one or two 6's--no 7's. All the Arabic A1 people (since there are only two A1 and A2 languages offered in our school) keep telling me that English A2 is extremely easy, as it doesn't require as much analysis of the books and the syllabus is very flexible.

But really, I don't find English that hard. It's not an easy subject, that's for sure. Really, all we do in class is answer a question he writes on the board. We're having our class presentation soon, which I think will be the most challenging.

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Why do so many arabs take English A1 as supposed to their actual mother tongue. Surely if you'd taken Arabic A1 you would have been just as able or possibly more since you live there.

Arabic A1 would have been easier to get a higher grade due to the fact fewer people take it, looking at the statistics and also due to the fact it's not an IB official language.

Here in England English A1 is seen as an easy HL don't ask me why. A lot of people in my school get 6s and a few 7s but that's also because the people are actually english.

Edited by Bishup

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Well, to answer why so many Arabs choose English A1...They are either:

1- Terrible in Arabic (that's the case with me) because of the lack of basic Arabic education my school provided

2- They will not study in the Bahrain or the Middle East and wish to go abroad (US, UK)

3- Their parents want them to do it (haha, again my case)

But seriously, Arabic is a very diffucult subject for me. I know it doesn't make sense that I know my second language (English) more than my first language (Arabic), but I guess that's what my parents wanted when they put me in an American school (though, some American schools give a good education of both; mine, though, doesn't). Also, Arabic A1 is not neccessarily easier for everyone; some, who have learned the basics of Arabic grammar and rules (which are BTW extremely complex - again to me) in elementary or middle school, are doing pretty good now but the majority of our class is doing terrible.

Even though I'm doing Arabic A2, I still find it diffucult. Now, we're being taught Arabic grammar and literary features that we should have covered in elementary.

Edited by Dreamer94

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I think six is still relatively easy from English A1 HL, but I would have to agree with a 7 being a near impossibility. I say go for it if you love English lit and don't mind having a 6 from one of your HLs.

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At my school we actually had 2 people getting 5s (in SL only) and then a few 6s but mostly 7s. Maybe it's taught really well round here or something, but if you wanted an easy 7 in an HL, most people took English. Obviously everybody took English anyway (on account of having to!) but even then mostly got 7s. I don't know quite why this phenomenon exists, but in England most people I know find it really easy to score highly in the English exams (and, unlike in many other countries, that it's IMPOSSIBLE to score highly on the SL Maths exams without being genuinely good at Maths -- probably because we're not at all prepared for it).

I think it's just a case of getting the technique right. IB English isn't really much different at all from GCSE English Literature (which you take aged 14-16 here). Actually it's exactly the same thing applied again, more or less. I wouldn't even say it's a step up from GCSE. If you get taught how to write a good essay, it's kinda a doss after that. I loved it as an option, even though the lessons were unbearably boring. It's so brilliant to have a subject you don't have to revise for!

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Having never actually had anyone in my school go through IB before, I can't really say I know what it takes to get a 7 in HL English, but my teacher thinks I can get a 7, and there are some others in my class too, so it doesn't seem like it would be that difficult. Having said that, I think why so few people manage to get 7 is because of the nature of the assessments; your IOP (not that hard to get a good mark in) mark is moderated based on your IOC (which to me seems very very difficult and impossible to get full marks in), and marking exams and world lit's is quite subjective, so in the end it becomes somewhat of a luck thing, differentiating 6 and 7 students.

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The marking is really subjective. I was predicted 6 in English A1 HL (along with 3 other students, nobody was predicted a 7 in my year) but pretty much everyone ended up getting a 5. It was the one exam that I was actually disappointed with because I felt pretty good after the exam and I had thought I'd gotten a 6.

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At my school we actually had 2 people getting 5s and then a few 6s but mostly 7s. Maybe it's taught really well round here or something, but if you wanted an easy 7 in an HL, most people took English. Obviously everybody took English anyway (on account of having to!) but even then mostly got 7s. I don't know quite why this phenomenon exists, but in England most people I know find it really easy to score highly in the English exams (and, unlike in many other countries, that it's IMPOSSIBLE to score highly on the SL Maths exams without being genuinely good at Maths -- probably because we're not at all prepared for it).

See that's the thing - having a solid foundation in a subject is probably the best way to score highly in it! The same goes for maths -- our teacher pretty much told us in class that we're the worst Math SL she had in all her years teaching our school -- and it's really because we, according to her, 'were never taught to think'. Ironically, in the same day, the Arabic teacher told us that we are the worst A2 batch in the history of the school (basically blaming us for our lack of a basic Arabic education).

Similarly, English and History, which we have a pretty strong (but not the best) foundation in, are the subjects which our teachers seem pleased with us.

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See that's the thing - having a solid foundation in a subject is probably the best way to score highly in it! The same goes for maths -- our teacher pretty much told us in class that we're the worst Math SL she had in all her years teaching our school -- and it's really because we, according to her, 'were never taught to think'. Ironically, in the same day, the Arabic teacher told us that we are the worst A2 batch in the history of the school (basically blaming us for our lack of a basic Arabic education).

Similarly, English and History, which we have a pretty strong (but not the best) foundation in, are the subjects which our teachers seem pleased with us.

Yes, that's the main difference between basic Maths and advanced Maths - the thinking. It's no use memorising formulae and spitting them out during exams any more, because so much thinking is required. People who are genuinely good at it don't have to revise at all and still get pretty high marks. However, this is not possible with subjects like History or Biology.

Tbh I think the Maths curriculum should be revised. People are having everything simplified for them right now PLUS they're not learning to think. So what we end up with is a batch of hopeless mental maths students who can't apply any logic to anything.

Then again there are exceptions, but that is generally the case from what I have seen.

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See that's the thing - having a solid foundation in a subject is probably the best way to score highly in it! The same goes for maths -- our teacher pretty much told us in class that we're the worst Math SL she had in all her years teaching our school -- and it's really because we, according to her, 'were never taught to think'. Ironically, in the same day, the Arabic teacher told us that we are the worst A2 batch in the history of the school (basically blaming us for our lack of a basic Arabic education).

Similarly, English and History, which we have a pretty strong (but not the best) foundation in, are the subjects which our teachers seem pleased with us.

Yes, that's the main difference between basic Maths and advanced Maths - the thinking. It's no use memorising formulae and spitting them out during exams any more, because so much thinking is required. People who are genuinely good at it don't have to revise at all and still get pretty high marks. However, this is not possible with subjects like History or Biology.

Tbh I think the Maths curriculum should be revised. People are having everything simplified for them right now PLUS they're not learning to think. So what we end up with is a batch of hopeless mental maths students who can't apply any logic to anything.

Then again there are exceptions, but that is generally the case from what I have seen.

Not to divert away from the topic, but I know! Logic math is extremely difficult to me, whereas, give me a formula and I'll apply it straight away and boom - full mark! LOL

With History, I realized it's mostly 'read and regurgitate', especially Paper 1 where you have different sources and questions which test your understanding of them (basically just paraphrasing them)!

Edited by Dreamer94

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I do not know why the people at your school consider English A1 HL difficult. It really is not. The only thing that differs English A1 SL to HL is that in HL the students need to be more focused on the importance of little features (such as alliteration, similies) and their effect towards revealing the greater impact on bigger features (such as themes) and they have to read one more work. I do not find it that much more difficult. Although I am not in English A1 HL, I think I should have taken it since the difference between SL and HL is not that great.

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Even though we are in Canada, in all the years we've had IB, I think only around 4-5 people ever got a 7 in English A1 HL. Our teachers are very good, but I think its rather difficult to score high, maybe because we know the content but it is challenging to write good essays on the spot. It might also be because teachers in our other courses are comparatively tougher than our English teachers, so we've diverted our focus to the sciences and maths and English ends up suffering. Everyone so far has basically gotten a 5, with some 6s.

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Heyy!

At my school too, we hardly get any 7s. Its mostly 5s and 6s (sometimes even 4s). That being said, I still feel that the subject in particular is 'not difficult'. Its challenging and depends on the way you look at it. I have always gotten either a 5 or 6 (mostly a higher 5 always) and I'm hoping to get a 6 in my finals.

Also, if you've done well in your World Lits and IOCs (put in your best effort :)! ) and are usually getting a grade 5 in your exams, then you are most likely to touch a 6 in the finals.

Good luck!

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Every year, I keep on getting the same phrase: don't take English A1 HL! It's too hard! You'll never get a 7 (or a 6 for that matter)! So my question is basically why? Is it truly that hard to get even a 6? Last year, there was only one or two 6's--no 7's. All the Arabic A1 people (since there are only two A1 and A2 languages offered in our school) keep telling me that English A2 is extremely easy, as it doesn't require as much analysis of the books and the syllabus is very flexible.

But really, I don't find English that hard. It's not an easy subject, that's for sure. Really, all we do in class is answer a question he writes on the board. We're having our class presentation soon, which I think will be the most challenging.

I take english A1 HL and its not the only language I speak but I consider it my first language.Its tough.Getting a 6 is possible if you work hard and learn skills relatively quickly.Getting a 7 is for the lucky.

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Guest Red XII

I'm in the US, and our school pretty much encourages everyone to take English A1 HL. Students generally score fairly high. I guess it depends on the school and whether you're a native speaker (although grammar, spelling, and vocabulary don't matter all that much unless they're seriously deficient or you have trouble understanding the texts). I think the biggest factor in whether you'll be able to get a 6 or 7 on English A1 HL is whether your school does a good job teaching literary analysis and academic writing.

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At my school, if you wanna do IB you have to do English A1 HL. If not, drop out.

There've been students at my school who got 7s in every single class! To their credit, I think the IB teachers in my school are pretty awesome teachers.

But seriously, the IOC scares me. I did my IOP already, it was probably horrible, but I don't know what I got. Also I hate the new curriculum, I wanted to study 1984 :(

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