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How is Bio HL? How difficult is it?

In my humble opinion it is really lame. I regret taking it because of how easy it is. It seriously is a joke lol. Don't worry, there's nothing difficult/complex to understand. It's all about the memorizing.

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I don't think it's really easy. I guess it depends on how much exposure you've had to biology before you started IB. I took a biology course two years before starting IB because that's what my school required. I was really interested in it and picked up on it fairly well. So when I started IB Bio, I'd pay attention in class, take notes from the lecture, read the text the day before/day of the test, and skim through the objectives [because he didn't always teach the objectives. He covered many of them, but he expected us to do the rest, and if we had any questions, we could ask him. Of course no one looked at the objectives (aka the relevant parts of the syllabus) until the night before the test]. Sometimes the material is harder and sometimes it's simpler. I agree with masochist in that it's really a lot of memorization, but it's also comprehension. It's taking these concrete facts and putting them together to understand the big picture for one unit and then building on it and building on it and applying it to other units. It can be really fascinating at times.

I personally disagree with

there's nothing difficult/complex to understand.

DNA replication took a lot of effort on my part, with the 5' to 3' thing. And I just don't like ecology or evolution because I have a hard time learning it for some reason. I just don't think about them correctly? Guess what one of my options is? Yes, ecology! :)

Haha anyways, I love biology. It's not depressing because I don't find it really hard, so I have a reachable goal--if I put effort in, I can get good grades.

I also don't think that this course is a joke because of the IAs. They're so annoying. Writing EE length lab reports is not a hobby of mine.

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What I found was that I would need to know all the material we were taught in class quite well for the tests, because the class unit exams (which are all written, with maybe 10 multiple choice) assume that you have all the classroom knowledge and then are tests of your applications of that knowledge. Also, you have to be comfortable with reading graphs, some of which may be extremely annoying to decipher. The useful thing about the tests, though, is that you can write down as much as you want for a question, and as long as one of the correct points is there, provided it does not contradict something else in your answer, you can get the marks. So if you have time, write as much as you can think of to answer the question. If it asks for two examples, heck, write down ten if you can think of them (provided you have the time).

I agree with sweetnsimple786 about the labs. Understanding how to analyze your labs may not necessarily be difficult, but they do take a long time to write out, so you need decent time management skills so that you're not doing it all in one night.

Test-writing and lab-writing skills are things you'll really develop in HL Bio. And also, don't worry if your marks, especially regarding labs, aren't where they should be in the beginning. It's normal for marks to take a bit of a drop because it's a whole new level. Once you get more comfortable with the guidelines for writing labs and understanding what IB expects on exams, everything will come back up.

Edited by Sonneteer_Trombonist

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How do you think I should prepare myself before taking HL bio (i am going there next year)? My current science teacher rarely gives us multiple choice, so I am used to that. Stupid question, but what is an IA?

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Mm I say don't worry about preparing yourself so much. There are IAs [internal assessments] for each course. For biology, we have to write lab reports [also called practicals] on experiments we perform. We also design experiments and there are some parts of the IA assessing that. It's pretty much a bunch of lab write-ups. So if you're doing that in your science class right now, learn how to do it nicely. Don't go out of your way, but don't slack off because this will be useful for IB. The format of the biology exam is Paper 1 is all multiple choice. Paper two is analyzing graphs and charts and letting the nice IB graders know that 1) you can read the graphs and 2) you can apply what you've learned about some topic with the data presented on the graph and infer/explain/etc. Also on Paper 2 is structured recall. They ask a question, and you answer it. Sometimes it'll require two lines. Sometimes it'll require five. So you're basically explaining something that requires specific information that is on the syllabus. Paper 3 is about the 2 options that you choose to do. I know for physics, Paper3 looked like Paper2. I assume it's same with biology.

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I think the best thing you can do to prepare for Biology HL is to look at the syllabus ahead of time and start looking over the topics.

I used the Hienemann Higher Level Biology textbook, and I really enjoyed it. It was full color, very specific, and it was organized according to the syllabus.

Just so you guys know, I'm going to go ahead and move this topic to the Experimental Sciences forum.

Good luck! I hope you're able to enjoy Biology as much as I did. :)

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It depends on what sort of a person you are as to whether Biology HL is hard or easy. Personally I think it's the easiest science by far, and as a subject would be very easy (in terms of comprehension) were it not for the sheer volume of Bio HL which makes it time-consuming. It's got a brilliant syllabus in that they're extremely clear about the objectives and some very good textbooks.

I would recommend the Course Companion for Biology as well as the accompanying Revision Guide (also by Allot & Allot) as superb textbooks. Unlike the other Bio textbooks I used they stuck to the brief and explained only what you needed to know. IMO this is a very good thing, I hate learning more than I have to!! :P

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I think it depends on your teacher. I love bio, it's one of my favorite subjects, but my teacher bores me to sleep the way she teaches. I've learned pretty much everything just by doing syllabus on my own time, teaching myself. (so obviously it's not TOO hard :))

I personally think HL bio is better than SL, because you get to learn about more interesting topics in the HL classes. Also, it isn't necessarily more complex/more difficult to understand than SL. Both HL and SL have their challenging bits and their boringly easy bits. And it is a lot of memory work, so be prepared for that.

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There are more things to learn in HL than SL (almost twice as much) and many topics are studied in greater depth and details, but then that happens in most HL subjects anyway. So I guess if you are trying to decide your higher levels, choose the ones that you are more interested in / doing better in.

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I am just so worried about choosing the wrong classes and regretting it! But I could probably switch the first few days if I really hate it! But I typically love learning about cells, and the body.

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Well, in my opinion, Bio HL is much easier than for example Psychology Essay. You basically just need to revise, know the facts and then, in the exam, write them down. In Psychology on the other hand you have to know everything and then construct an essay which has to make sense... so basically, if you want to do Bio HL you need to be good in memorising stuff (off by heart if you don't "get" it)... :D

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Actually, in some ways Bio HL is easier than SL, since you will go deeper into the subject in HL.

In SL there are a lot of things you must know the name and sort of whereabouts of, but you will not learn why they are really there, what they do, where they come from and that kind of stuff making it easier to understand and by that remember.

I'd say that it is easier to understand HL than SL just because of this, since you will almost always learn things in their entire (compared to in SL anyways) context and not just in small pieces.

Go for HL if you like Bio and think it is interesting, and if you don't have huge problems with memorizing detailed stuff. : )

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Honestly, if you really think biology HL is entirely about memorizing, then you know nothing about biology and you found it easy just because you memorized the syllabus and that got you the grade you want. Biology is a lot about the Human body, so if you are a fan of these things, then no matter how hard it seems, you would love it. By a fan, I mean intending to follow some medical/biological career path, otherwise do not think about taking it at HL.

I love medicine, so I found biology extrememly fun to study. :)

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I think I am good at memorization, but I dont want that to be Bio. I personally love learning about the human body and stuff, so thanks Mahuta, you are the only one who says it is not about memorizing! So what is it like? Anyone?

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