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Prepare for IB?

Updated on June 28, 2013

Prepare for IB

Why did I create this blog in the first place? The very simple reason is that I have gone through 2 amazing years of my life trying to overcome the obstacles placed by IB. I would like to say that it's very easy if you work hard but that’s not going to help anyone. Experience talking, it didn't help me either. And if you are here, that means you are already or soon to embark on a long journey of IB. Check for updates on this blog, it will have tips and suggestions, which might help you work better not harder.

When I completed the IGCSE and MYP program in grade 10, I was faced by one of the biggest questions I had to answer. There were only two options. Do I take IB? or Do I not? But after looking at the question carefully, it is not that tough after all. If you are willing to work more than you did before (I think most people are). If you think you can produce better work than Grade 10 and below and if you think, you can meet up the deadlines (Sometimes, there are more than you think). You should defiantly choose to take IB. I say this because, Ib will teach you things you might not know before. The curriculum has been designed in such a way that it incorporates every aspect of being an above average student. It doesn’t focus on academics only. Although that's the biggest chunk of IB but if you don’t have CAS or Extended Essay completed; you don’t get the diploma. I will explain CAS and Extended Essay in the upcoming blogs.

But don’t let this scare you. You won’t be alone. When your schoolmates are going through the same condition, there will be a feeling of unity. Everyone will curse IB at the same time. Everyone will have something to complain about, whether it’s about not getting enough sleep or too much work to complete, the list never ends. But what you can do is prepare yourself for the worst and hope for the best.

Now that you are convinced that you will take IB, the next biggest or probably THE BIGGEST question you will have to answer is, which subjects to choose? You will have to choose 6 subjects. 3 subjects from higher level and 3 subjects from standard level. On top of that, two subjects are mandatory, TOK (Theory of Knowledge) and PE.

How to choose subjects?

There are 6 ‘groups’ of subjects you can choose from.

Group 1: English

Group 2: Second Language

Group 3: Individuals and Societies (Humanities)

Group 4: Experimental Sciences

Group 5: Math and Computer Sciences

Group 6: The arts

Ib students are expected to take one subject from each group but if they choose not to take arts, they can choose two subjects from either Humanities or Sciences. Sometimes, your school may allow you to take two second languages and it will depend on your school if you have the option to choose these subjects. I will go in detail in my upcoming blogs but for now, all you need to know about the groups is…


i) Literature

ii) Language and Literature (New Course)

Second Language:

i) French

ii) German

iii) Chinese

iv) Japanese

v) Spanish

vi) Korean

vii) Dutch

viii) Self Taught (You can choose any language but you will have to study on your own, that is if your school allows you to do so)

Individual and Societies:

i) Geography

ii) Economics

iii) Business

iv) History

v) Politics

vi) Civics

vii) Sociology

viii) Anthropology

ix) Psychology

Experimental Science

i) Physics

ii) Chemistry

iii) Biology

iv) EVS (Environmental Studies)

Math and Computer Sciences

NOTE* Although these are different levels not subjects, but the gap between them is so huge that it is worth mentioning as different subjects.

i) Mathematics Core

ii) Standard Mathematics

iii) Higher Level Mathematics

iv) Extended/Further Mathematics (Most of the school don’t offer this)

v) Information technology in a Global Society (ITGS)


i) Dance

ii) Music

iii) Theater

So these are the options you have and now you have to decide, which ones to take as higher level and which ones to take as standard level. Best advice I can give you is choose the one you score highly on as higher level and rest as standard level. From an academic adviser’s perspective, that's not how you should go about it. But from a student’s perspective, this is exactly how we should go about it. It is very logical that if you are scoring high on a subject, that means you do like that subject and you are taking trouble to study and getting good grades. But there is a catch. If you are scoring well in Music and you choose Music as a higher level subject but you want to be an Economist and you don’t choose Economics as a higher level subject, there is a miss match. You should choose what you like and the subjects that you think you will take in University as well. That's right, you will have to start planning that early. I will try to go in further depth in the upcoming blogs on how to chose the level of the subject.

Now that you have chose your subjects you are ready to begin a two year journey with lots of twists and turns. This might sound very cliché but once you are done, you will feel the same. This whole blog is about how to prepare yourself and get your diploma by working in a smart way. As for me, IB results are going to be available in 8 days. Fingers crossed.


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