Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    Hi everyone,

    I'm considering doing the IB next year and I'm very undecided about my HL options. Here's what I put down on my application form:

    HL German, English, Physics
    SL Maths, Chemistry, History

    I'd like to do Physics at HL, but I'm a bit worried about doing HL Maths so I have put it down as SL and put English at HL. The problem is, if I don't do Maths at HL, I can't do anything with Physics later on - is it a dead end?

    And then if I changed Maths to HL, I'd have to do SL English (the HL German is a definite), and I'm not sure about that... :confused: Also, HL Maths and Physics have a reputation for being the hardest subjects to take at HL - is it therefore a mistake to take them both? The problem is, I'm not sure what I want to do at uni - I'm just trying to keep my doors open as Physics is a possibilty.

    I'm just really muddled at the moment, so any advice would be great!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I did it last year...it is fine! HL Physics is far from the challenge of Maths HL. Maths SL is the way to go...you don't have to spend TOO much time with either subject, and both kind of enhance each other.
    Keep Physics as an option. HL Physics is an incredible course and you can reach a nice grade if you have a good textbook, a great teacher and a comprehensive IB questionbank.

    Textbook: Tsokos
    Teacher: good
    IB Questionbank V2

    Paper one and paper two require a lot of studying for! But paper three is very repetitive and an easy 7.
    IAs are extremely easy. Just look at the "Clarification of IA Criteria" or whatever it is called in the syllabus and make sure you meet every point there with your labs. Even word it to fit.

    I got a 6 last year in both Maths SL and Physics HL. You don't need HL Maths!!! You could even take the course with Maths Studies!
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks for your response and for the tips about Physics.

    I would really like to study Physics at HL, but I was under the impression that if you wanted to carry on with Physics at uni, you would need HL Maths? :confused:

    Are you at uni this year? What are you studying?

    Also, how did you find SL Maths? Was it challenging or not too bad overall? The problem is, I'm quite good at Maths at the moment but I don't think I am an extremely Maths-y person (if you know what I mean). I don't find it boring or too difficult, I just don't particularly enjoy it - unless that is only because my teacher at the moment for GCSE is annoying... :rolleyes:

    I think SL Maths would be a better idea than HL, thanks. So then, do you think my HL combination of German, English and Physics 'makes sense'?
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    Most top universities would require HL maths if you wanted to study to Physics, so I guess it is a dead-end in that respect. Look around university websites and look at their A-level requirements which normally represent HL subjects in IB (where 6 = A). Most courses that would specify physics as a requirement would normally specify at least one more science (or math) at higher level. However Physics is well-respected and a 'traditional' subject so would be well received for degrees which don't really have specific requirements (e.g. law).

    But if you a really considering physics at university you should take HL Math, or if you're looking into a different science degree you should have two higher levels sciences.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    maybe you can do 4 HLs if your school allows, i know many people who do that and take an extra HL for language. Right now im doing both HL physics and maths, and i think maths is slightly harder to score a 7, while physics is more about understanding concepts, however if you are good at math and manipulating numbers and formulas, you will be fine
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    i see your point, and as you don' t know where and what you want to do in future you are confused with your subjects choice.

    If you want to do an engineering in future and apply to top universities then you need HL Maths. But there is big BUT, IB HL maths is quite hard compared to other subject. I personally do HL Physics, Chemistry and Maths.

    Prior to IB I had to choose my Maths as SL, as my teachers recommended to, they have told me that my subject choices were very challenging. But my IB coordinator told me something useful - on your schools first half term you can try IB HL Maths and see how it goes, so you will be doing SL English.

    IF you find it very hard, which I think you would not as most of the topics in HL are in SL as well at the beginning, you can change your IB HL maths to SL and your English HL.

    REMEMBER it is easier to start from top and then go down, cause if you regret that you chose SL Maths and you want to change it to HL maths, lets say on your first term of school, then it will be pretty hard !

    My friend who was doing IB HL Maths with me dropped it to SL and he told me that it was very easy compared to HL, And he chose HL English and ended up reading one more novel !

    Be confident and most importantly be realistic, think yourself "Will I be able to this subject, will i get enough grades" !

    One question :
    What course did you do before choosing to do IB ?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    I started off taking 4 HL subjects. I only took HL maths because the teachers encouraged me to because I did so well at GCSE, but honestly, I found it impossible and dropped it after a few weeks. I don't think anyone got higher than a level 4 in HL maths - though there were only a few people in the class.

    If you will only be capable of achieving 4 at the most in HL maths it would probably look worse overall than a 7 in SL maths.. but definitely check uni requirements.

    Also, after dropping maths I picked up english HL (having started at SL) but the different classes were studying different things, so I had to do a bit of catching up - so check whether reading lists for HL and SL english in your school are the same before presuming it will be easy to switch levels.

    and I really wasn't aware physics was one of the harder subjects..? I absolutely loved physics, I really miss it actually! But I think having a good teacher really helped - not sure I would have achieved a high level otherwise...

    best of luck with the decision making! (IB is tough but amazing)
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks everyone, you have all been really helpful.

    francescafrancesca - Thank you for the confirmation that I'd have to do HL Maths to do Physics at university, but also thanks for letting me know that HL Physics is regarded as an 'academic' subject for other courses because it now doesn't seem so pointless to do it without Maths.

    Andre09 - Unfortunately I have already asked the college whether it would be possible to take four HLs, or at least start with four and drop down after a term or so, but they said "Absolutely not!" I think it's mainly because of timetable-ing issues and partly because they think the work load will be too much.

    Cesium - That's exactly my problem - I'm not sure what I want to do in the future. Thanks for letting me know about starting HL then dropping and picking up English, I will definitely ask if that is a possibility. In answer to your question, I am currently doing my GCSEs.

    -mai- - Thank you for your advice, I will ask if I could start with HL Maths and switch if it's too hard, and I will check if the SL and HL English classes are similar. I would really love to do Physics at HL! I haven't met the teacher yet, so I hope they are good - hopefully that would help me get a good grade.

    Thanks again everyone!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Do NOT listen to some of the advice you have been given. While many top universities require HL Maths, there are certainly other schools that don't need it. In Canada, for example, it is not required whatsoever. I'm sure there are some schools closer to you that don't require HL Maths.
    But yes...I would go with the solution and take HL Maths initially to see if it suits you. It is harder than taking HL English (except in English it is really hard to get a 7), so take that into consideration. Your original combination DOES make sense to me, though! I took something very similar. But I would ask the schools you are interested in for advice if possible so you can gauge whether you NEED Maths HL!

    I'm currently taking the Foundation Year Programme at University of King's College in Halifax, but I am switching into Physics and Early Modern Studies next year.

    Maths SL is VERY easy. Get used to the question types and learn the material properly and you are all good. Most of your equations are GIVEN (almost like Physics Paper 3)...and you don't have to be exceptional at math! You just need to know what the questions are asking you, and this is easy to gain over the two years of IB. Not to mention... the IAs are farily straightforward so long as you go into enough depth with the report (aka 15 pages at least).
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by The Man of the Hour)
    Do NOT listen to some of the advice you have been given. While many top universities require HL Maths, there are certainly other schools that don't need it. In Canada, for example, it is not required whatsoever. I'm sure there are some schools closer to you that don't require HL Maths.
    Whose advice are you referring to?

    And whoever gave the neg rep want to explain why?
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by francescafrancesca)
    Whose advice are you referring to?

    And whoever gave the neg rep want to explain why?
    I was referring to the advice that you NEED to do it with HL Maths. You can still find a great university that will accept you with Maths SL, but in the UK, this will likely not be one of the top universities. If the OP wants a top university, she should check the requirements to see if one needs HL Maths, however. I still recommend the course selection the OP has originally recommended: it is far easier to do well in both subjects and universities hardly treated me any differently. And 4 HLs...just don't matter. 3 HL + 3 SL is all you need.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    to be honest, I'm not quite sure why you would want to take HL physics but not HL math. HL physics is probably one of the most (if not the most) difficult course of IB. are you planning on studying physics in uni? then, you would definitely need math HL and possibly another science at HL/SL.

    this is just my opinion of course, but why put yourself through the trouble of HL physics if you're not going to be studying it later on?

    if you're going into humanities in uni, I would suggest German, English and History HL. If you're going into sciences, then definitely Physics, German and Math HL.

    I'm currently taking both math and physics SL
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by The Man of the Hour)
    I was referring to the advice that you NEED to do it with HL Maths. You can still find a great university that will accept you with Maths SL, but in the UK, this will likely not be one of the top universities. If the OP wants a top university, she should check the requirements to see if one needs HL Maths, however. I still recommend the course selection the OP has originally recommended: it is far easier to do well in both subjects and universities hardly treated me any differently. And 4 HLs...just don't matter. 3 HL + 3 SL is all you need.
    Well this is a UK forum so most people presume you're talking about UK universities unless you state otherwise. Anyway I guess you weren't referring to my advice since I never said that you need it.

    But actually looking around UCAS I can't find one university that doesn't stress maths at higher level.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Wish I heard about the reputation for Physics HL being one of the most difficult :s
    I did exactly this, HL Physics and SL Maths, find both quite challenging (it used to be Physics was my worse, but now looking at past papers for Maths my confidence is dropping). I guess if you want to do Physics at uni you'd have to research whether you needed the higher Maths. I know one guy wanted to do engineering and he realised too late that he needed HL Physics and HL Maths, but not sure if its different for Maths.
    So you can do HL Physics without HL Maths, to answer your question. Just depends if you're up to the challenge
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    6
    ReputationRep:
    Thanks to everyone who has answered - you all make valid points which I will take into consideration when deciding. I guess I just have to decide what I want to do in future before I can make the right subject choices... :rolleyes:

    Thanks again!
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by The Man of the Hour)
    I did it last year...it is fine! HL Physics is far from the challenge of Maths HL. Maths SL is the way to go...you don't have to spend TOO much time with either subject, and both kind of enhance each other.
    Keep Physics as an option. HL Physics is an incredible course and you can reach a nice grade if you have a good textbook, a great teacher and a comprehensive IB questionbank.

    Textbook: Tsokos
    Teacher: good
    IB Questionbank V2

    Paper one and paper two require a lot of studying for! But paper three is very repetitive and an easy 7.
    IAs are extremely easy. Just look at the "Clarification of IA Criteria" or whatever it is called in the syllabus and make sure you meet every point there with your labs. Even word it to fit.

    I got a 6 last year in both Maths SL and Physics HL. You don't need HL Maths!!! You could even take the course with Maths Studies!
    Well, you know. Relatively.

    Also, they designed the physics course specifically to be done with no calculus/hard maths, to be more 'accessible'. I personally disagree with this (i'll now have to learn it all at uni) but it means it IS possible.

    _Kar.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Kareir)
    Well, you know. Relatively.

    Also, they designed the physics course specifically to be done with no calculus/hard maths, to be more 'accessible'. I personally disagree with this (i'll now have to learn it all at uni) but it means it IS possible.

    _Kar.
    What I mean for paper three is that if you learn it well in advance, do a lot of practice questions from the questionbank...the IB aren't going to surprise you. They are relatively the same kind of questions, and hence an easy 7 if you know the material right. I can attest to that one-- perhaps what increased my mark to a 6 in HL Physics.
    IB Physics is not intended to be a university course. It is meant to be something accessable for students who are interested in the course. Not everyone is going to study physics in university...so is it fair to offer Physics HL for students who JUST want to do physics later? I don't think so.
    Math SL + Physics HL= optimal choices for high interest in mathematics, modest workload. Both will help each other...If in UK, which is likely, you'll need to make sure you are fitting uni requirements, however.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by The Man of the Hour)
    What I mean for paper three is that if you learn it well in advance, do a lot of practice questions from the questionbank...the IB aren't going to surprise you. They are relatively the same kind of questions, and hence an easy 7 if you know the material right. I can attest to that one-- perhaps what increased my mark to a 6 in HL Physics.
    IB Physics is not intended to be a university course. It is meant to be something accessable for students who are interested in the course. Not everyone is going to study physics in university...so is it fair to offer Physics HL for students who JUST want to do physics later? I don't think so.
    Math SL + Physics HL= optimal choices for high interest in mathematics, modest workload. Both will help each other...If in UK, which is likely, you'll need to make sure you are fitting uni requirements, however.

    Very true. But there are definitely people in my year that won't find paper 3 anywhere near easy, not matter how hard they study. I do agree that the questions seem kinda predictable though, I still need to do more papers however.

    And yes, that's what I said. Physics should be accesible, I just would have liked a little more advanced stuff from the HL course (Maths SL could definitely cover calculus).

    Finally, I agree with your last point that if you're going for Maths SL, Physics HL, you NEED to check the university requirements. But of course, assuming you're not applying for physics/engineering, you can say something along the lines of 'physics allows me to interpret a situation etc etc etc' and not have to justify the maths part.

    _Kar.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    If you want to do Physics at University, most universities will ask for HL Maths. But if not, stick to what you have.

    Talking from experience, HL Maths is a massive leap from GCSE Maths (even if you're a top dog right now). This is because in comparison to other countries around the world, the English Education system is a bit behind with its maths, and the IB is international, so it doesn't take that into account. Countries such as Spain, Greece and China tackle GCSE-level Maths at a much earlier stage of their education.

    On the other hand SL Maths is a bit more manageable. Also, for HL Physics, you won't need anything more than the SL Maths ability. In terms of mathematical problems, they're much less challenging than HL Maths.

    If you're looking at it from a 'which one can I get more out of' perspective, then I think you'd benefit much more from, say, a 7 in SL Maths, than a 3 in HL Maths

    Also, the difference between HL English and SL English is not as significant. There is more content and one more essay assignment, but you don't really feel the leap from HL to SL as much. And personally, I'm a big fan of English HL, so I would recommend it! However, I think that you'll be getting the new syllabus, which is quite different, so not sure whether maybe the new syllabus will make a bigger significance between SL and HL English.

    While on the topic of syllabus changes, the French B syllabus is changing for your year-group too, which makes me assume that that will also change for German. And it's going to become incredibly challenging, especially at HL. Lots of literature-based assessment, and generally of a much higher level than A-level German.

    Thought I'd add that in, in case it prompts you to consider taking German down to SL and Maths up to HL (if you want to do Physics at uni or something). Although you said you'd rather not do that, if you end up in a school with a bad German teacher, as well as a new, more challenging syllabus, you might find that to be the recipe for a fail. Whereas with English it's a bit easier to excel independently, through reading critical essays etc.

    Anyway, good luck! I'm sorry to say that you're about to embark on a horrible 2 years, which will make you wish you'd just stuck to a-levels. Prepare to have to say a lot of 'no's to 18th birthday invitations. I had to miss two of my best friends' 18ths because I had my Italian Final Oral the following day of one, and my EE deadline the following day of the other.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by francescafrancesca)
    Well this is a UK forum so most people presume you're talking about UK universities unless you state otherwise. Anyway I guess you weren't referring to my advice since I never said that you need it.

    But actually looking around UCAS I can't find one university that doesn't stress maths at higher level.
    Yeah, I agree with you, I have been looking for good universities for aeronautical engineering and all of them require HL Maths. EVEN some unis require just Maths, so I am guessing for engineering Maths is even more required than a Science subject !
 
 
 
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • Poll
    Brexit voters: Do you stand by your vote?
    Applying to university
  • See more of what you like on The Student Room

    You can personalise what you see on TSR. Tell us a little about yourself to get started.

  • The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

    Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

    Write a reply...
    Reply
    Hide
    Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.