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    Hey you all,

    Our deadline for the IB subject choises is approaching :confused:
    The original plan was to take Biology SL, but just at the last minute I've been having second thoughts...about Biology HL. What are the major differences? How many optional topics can you take in SL/HL? And how much more difficult is HL, in the sense of both contents of the courses and the possibility to get good grades?

    I'm not that much of a Group 4 person but we're having an annoying teacher in SL Biology, so I've been considering HL. Anybody have any answers?
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    I don't do Biology, but I would not recommend doing HL just because you do not like your SL teacher. That's a bad reason. Look at your diploma holistically in terms of what you might want to do at university, and then decide whether switching is a viable option or not.
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    Naturally it's not only because of the teacher. I think Biology is an ok subject, and I've seen the curriculum of what they study in HL - it's quite interesting in fact. The main question here is the difference between the two levels as of experiences of students. If I take HL it won't ultimately be because of the teachers, but because it's more interesting.

    So I just want to know if it's worthwhile taking HL, or should I not consider it if I'm not too science-oriented.
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    HL sciences are far easier than SL. Just saying.
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    I was in Bio SL for the 1st year and then switched to HL in the 2nd year. Its just that you have more detailed study in specific areas and you will have a few topics that the SL people wont be doing. Its not that the course is going to be more difficult after the switch - its just that the time and quantity of study involved will be more.
    I hope I made sense there
    But Bio HL isn't too bad!
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    My school doesn't offer SL Biology, so I'm in HL, and it's really not all that bad. Much better than HL Chemistry, for sure. It's even better than SL Chemistry, for that matter.
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    There's quite a few non-science orientated people in our Bio HL, but tbh, it's a lot of memorising if you don't love biology... theres a lot of people with pretty poor grades because they're not that way inclined.. But if you think you'll enjoy it a bit/not dislike it, and are pretty good at memorising stuff then you should be fine.
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    I'm in Biology HL and yeah, of course it's harder than Bio SL. But it completely depends on what you want to do after IB. If you don't need Biology then why bother taking HL? SL is so much easier.

    I take Chemistry HL as well, and there's a greater difference between Chem SL and HL than there is between Biology SL and HL though.
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    Biology HL is not much harder, there's just lots more you need to know. It's actually all very interesting, so long as you like biology; if you don't care and just need to pad out your subjects, go for SL. As for the teacher: half of my HL class took HL because they didn't like the SL teacher. It... didn't exactly work out for them.
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    Bio HL is a LOT of facts, but extremely interesting and stimulating! Plus, with the syllabus and the course companion (AMAZON) it's sooo easy to find out all the facts and then it's just a matter of memorizing!

    best of luck!
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    Just to repeat what everyone above is saying. Bio is all about memorization or so I've heard. It's the easy "traditional" science in this respect. Memorization doesn't get you very far in Physics - my teachers all seem to be incredibly forgetful, but are brilliant at explaining things with equations! Sometimes I miss Bio, lots of interesting stuff that you can talk to people about.
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    (Original post by SilverSun)
    What are the major differences? How many optional topics can you take in SL/HL? And how much more difficult is HL, in the sense of both contents of the courses and the possibility to get good grades?
    The core syllabus for HL Biology is the SL core syllabus plus a lot of extension material which is slightly harder than SL stuff, but not much. Unless they've changed the syllabus since May 2009, there's also an additional topic (Plant Science) which is easy.

    As for option topics, there's three SL options you can't take at HL because they're either already part of the Additional HL extension or too easy, then there's four SL/HL options where the HL part is again just extension of the SL material, then the last option (Further Human Physio) is HL only. For both SL/HL, you pick two options out of the ones available.

    HL is really not difficult. You should be able to get a decent grade with good study technique - there's a lot of memorisation involved - and some natural ability, even if you get a really bad teacher (like I did :rolleyes:).
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    Thank you everyone You've been a huge help

    Based on everybody's comments, I've been seriously considering Biology HL. BUT in that case I'd have 4 HL subjects (I won't drop any original HL's). So some questions on Bio as a 4th HL subject...
    -Can I switch it back to SL if I want to? How early in the schoolyear does the switch have to be made?
    -How about vice versa? I mean from SL to HL?
    -Most universities set the entrance limits to minimum scores in HL subjects (such as 665 or 555 etc). If I have 4 HL's, do I choose the three best scores to represent my "official" HL scores (just guessing)? Does anyone know for sure the policy here?
    -Bottom line... Is it honestly speaking really demanding to have 4 HL's? Not in the sense that Biology itself would be demanding, but in general with any 4 HL combinations.
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    The school only gives information about its candidates to the IB at the beginning of the second year, so in theory you can change your subjects until then. Your school might not let you, though. I'm pretty sure you can switch in either direction, but obviously if you go from SL to HL you'll need to catch up.

    Both of my offers thus far have specified which HLs they want certain grades in (I have four). I'm fairly sure they usually do.

    I don't know how demanding four HLs are, because I've never had three, but I'm finding it bearable. My HLs are bio, chem, maths, and english, too, so I think I'd be hard-pressed to choose a harder combination. Though HL English is actually easier than SL.

    But I digress. It's really up to you; I wouldn't pay too much attention to whether you have three or four HLs, and choose based on what you think you'd prefer. You can probably switch at some point, too.
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    (Original post by SilverSun)
    -Can I switch it back to SL if I want to? How early in the schoolyear does the switch have to be made?
    -How about vice versa? I mean from SL to HL?
    It's considerably easier to switch from HL to SL than vice versa. Most IB HL syllabi, Biology included, include the SL syllabus plus extra/harder material, so the only disadvantage you'd have is learning stuff you don't need, and possibly having to switch teachers if there's different SL/HL classes. Unless your school's picky, you should be able to switch quite late - I dropped HL Maths to SL after a year.

    SL to HL is trickier because you've got all the AHL stuff you won't have covered at SL, and because the syllabus is smaller the SL class may not be working as fast as the HL class - so you'd have to do even more work to catch up. For this reason you'd probably not be allowed to switch after maybe a term, depending on your school.

    -Most universities set the entrance limits to minimum scores in HL subjects (such as 665 or 555 etc). If I have 4 HL's, do I choose the three best scores to represent my "official" HL scores (just guessing)? Does anyone know for sure the policy here?
    Generally yes, although they may specify which HLs they want you to get the grades in. If they only specify for one or two, then you're free to fill in the grades with the highest scores.

    -Bottom line... Is it honestly speaking really demanding to have 4 HL's? Not in the sense that Biology itself would be demanding, but in general with any 4 HL combinations.
    It really depends on the HLs. Some HL subjects aren't really that different to SL, whereas others (Maths is a perfect example) are so much more difficult/in-depth that SL looks like a joke beside the HL equivalent. When I did IB I started off with HL Bio/Chem/Maths/English, and found that literally half my time was spent doing Maths, so I didn't really have much time for my other subjects. I dropped Maths to SL at the end of IB1, got a 7 in the final, and had much more time for my other subjects. Everyone in my year that did 4 HLs eventually dropped one, except for one guy who missed the deadline for telling our IB coordinator :rolleyes: so by the time he'd decided he hated doing 4 HLs, he'd already been registered and it was too late.




    (Original post by opaltiger)
    HL English is actually easier than SL.
    How so? HL English has more coursework, more texts, and harder exam questions.

    (I'm not trying to attack you, just genuinely curious why you think so. )
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    (Original post by schnargle)
    How so? HL English has more coursework, more texts, and harder exam questions.

    (I'm not trying to attack you, just genuinely curious why you think so. )
    Two hour exams. Sure, you aren't expected to write as much at SL, but honestly, that extra half hour is worth it, at least in my opinion.

    And yeah, you get more texts, but to me that's a plus - if you absolutely hate one text, you've got more to choose from for paper 2 and the individual oral.

    Though you're right about the extra WL essay. Well, okay, it's more work, but if you mess up one it isn't as much of a big deal. I don't know, I think I just like having a lot of breathing room.
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    I've heard too that as for certain IB subjects, HL's are easier (in what way, I dunno). I'm not sure if it's the case for English, depends on the student really.

    Anyway, thanks alot schnarlge and everyone else too I still haven't decided which Biology to pick but I'm pretty sure that I might start with 4 HL's. And as for the subject I hope to study after IB, if I finished IB with 4 HL's, I think I could decide for myself which 3 I pick to represent my HL's (hope that sentence made any sense). Thanks again
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    (Original post by SilverSun)
    Thank you everyone You've been a huge help

    Based on everybody's comments, I've been seriously considering Biology HL. BUT in that case I'd have 4 HL subjects (I won't drop any original HL's). So some questions on Bio as a 4th HL subject....
    I'm in my second year of IB, and I just recently changed my SL Biology to HL. I also have four HLs now, so looks like we're on the same boat!

    -Can I switch it back to SL if I want to? How early in the schoolyear does the switch have to be made?
    Yeh I'm pretty sure you can switch back. It depends on how capable your teacher thinks you are, and what your IB co-ordinator says. You can even switch back in early IB2.


    -Most universities set the entrance limits to minimum scores in HL subjects (such as 665 or 555 etc). If I have 4 HL's, do I choose the three best scores to represent my "official" HL scores (just guessing)? Does anyone know for sure the policy here?
    Haha I honestly wish you could do that! No, the universities look at ALL your grades..

    -Bottom line... Is it honestly speaking really demanding to have 4 HL's? Not in the sense that Biology itself would be demanding, but in general with any 4 HL combinations.
    Like I said, I do 4 HLs, and if you're good academically, it's really not all that demanding. Some of my classes are mixed, so even in SL I do similar stuff to the HL students .. Just make sure you finish up the majority of the coursework in the first year, trust me it saves A LOT of stress in IB2!!
 
 
 
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