nat1432
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This has been in my head for the last couple of weeks as I just finished my GCSE's and am about to start the IB course in September.

My problem is, it's really hard for me to decide if I should do French HL or Spanish SL (Ab initio) as I will need to focus on that one language for the next 2 years of my life. For my GCSE's I have done French and since I've been learning it for at least 5 years now, I'm pretty sure I will get the grades to do it for HL. However, I have always wanted to learn Spanish too and that choice was taken away from me as I couldn't do 2 languages at the same time. Now, I have to choose to either carry on with French or start a new language, Spanish.

My subjects are: HL- Biology, Chemistry and either French or Geography and SL- Geography or Spanish, English and Maths. I want to study Marine Biology in the future and from my research, I have heard if I want to work in another country (like I have always wanted) e.g. the US, Spanish would be ideal, as well as in Australia.

Now here it's really hard for me to choose between these two languages as French is a language I have always studied and know a lot of it right now whereas Spanish is something that I've always wanted to learn and dreamed of learning. However, recently I've been very interested in carrying on to learn French and right now I have started learning more phrases etc. by myself to get better in it throughout the summer.

But I always wanted to do Geography HL too as it relates to Biology and maybe will help me more because I want to do Marine Biology, so it's a hard choice for me.

Also, I was given advice that if I choose to study French HL I will hopefully learn the whole language by the end of the IB and can then simply start Spanish on my own, which will be easier learning after French.

It would mean a lot if anyone could help and give me advice about these choices, thanks.
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pbunny
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(Original post by nat1432)
This has been in my head for the last couple of weeks as I just finished my GCSE's and am about to start the IB course in September.

My problem is, it's really hard for me to decide if I should do French HL or Spanish SL (Ab initio) as I will need to focus on that one language for the next 2 years of my life. For my GCSE's I have done French and since I've been learning it for at least 5 years now, I'm pretty sure I will get the grades to do it for HL. However, I have always wanted to learn Spanish too and that choice was taken away from me as I couldn't do 2 languages at the same time. Now, I have to choose to either carry on with French or start a new language, Spanish.

My subjects are: HL- Biology, Chemistry and either French or Geography and SL- Geography or Spanish, English and Maths. I want to study Marine Biology in the future and from my research, I have heard if I want to work in another country (like I have always wanted) e.g. the US, Spanish would be ideal, as well as in Australia.

Now here it's really hard for me to choose between these two languages as French is a language I have always studied and know a lot of it right now whereas Spanish is something that I've always wanted to learn and dreamed of learning. However, recently I've been very interested in carrying on to learn French and right now I have started learning more phrases etc. by myself to get better in it throughout the summer.

But I always wanted to do Geography HL too as it relates to Biology and maybe will help me more because I want to do Marine Biology, so it's a hard choice for me.

Also, I was given advice that if I choose to study French HL I will hopefully learn the whole language by the end of the IB and can then simply start Spanish on my own, which will be easier learning after French.

It would mean a lot if anyone could help and give me advice about these choices, thanks.
Do you want to take the easy way out or are you more interested in learning and care less about the grade? If the former, you should do spanish ab initio as it's a quite easy language especially if you know a similar language (French, Italian etc). However, French B HL is very challenging as there is a literature component to it and I'd advise you don't take it unless your predicted an A/A* at GCSE as the jump from GCSE to IB is really big. A lot of people at my school who've gotten A/A*'s at IGCSE are struggling a lot with SL French so it's not as easy as it might seem! However, depending on how easily you pick up new languages continuing on with french may be easier if you aren't very good at languages.
You seem like you are really interested in learning Spanish but according to my school's IBC you don't actually learn much in the ab initio class that would be of practical use and people tend to forget everything they've learn't once the course is over unless they continue learning Spanish.

TL;DR Take SL French so that you can take HL geography or if you want to lessen your workload take Spanish ab initio instead of french.
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shopoholic
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Like the user above said, there's a big jump from IGCSE French to IB French. I got A* for both Spanish and French IGCSE, did Spanish B HL and although it wasn't too difficult for me, I could see why someone who wasn't living in Spain would have trouble with it. My friend who did Spanish ab initio didn't have much trouble with it, considering he had never studied Spanish before and barely ever paid attention in class.

If I were you, I would choose Spanish ab initio since you are planning to do HL bio and chem which are very difficult! Are you going to study maths SL or maths studies SL? Maths SL requires a lot of time and effort unless you're extremely good at the subject. The jump from IGCSE maths to IB maths is also pretty big so definitely keep that in mind as well.
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nat1432
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(Original post by pbunny)
Do you want to take the easy way out or are you more interested in learning and care less about the grade? If the former, you should do spanish ab initio as it's a quite easy language especially if you know a similar language (French, Italian etc). However, French B HL is very challenging as there is a literature component to it and I'd advise you don't take it unless your predicted an A/A* at GCSE as the jump from GCSE to IB is really big. A lot of people at my school who've gotten A/A*'s at IGCSE are struggling a lot with SL French so it's not as easy as it might seem! However, depending on how easily you pick up new languages continuing on with french may be easier if you aren't very good at languages.
You seem like you are really interested in learning Spanish but according to my school's IBC you don't actually learn much in the ab initio class that would be of practical use and people tend to forget everything they've learn't once the course is over unless they continue learning Spanish.

TL;DR Take SL French so that you can take HL geography or if you want to lessen your workload take Spanish ab initio instead of french.
Thanks for your quick reply I agree with you, I have heard French HL is a lot of work but I also think if I will do French HL after all. at the end of the 2 years I should learn it and then I could start Spanish by myself.

At GCSE I was predicted an A but hopefully I will end up with an A*/A overall. And yes, I think I pick up languages quickly so I hope if I put a lof of effort into French HL it won't be extremely bad. Apart from that, I'm always up for challenges and will do my absolute best if taking French.

I think if I end up taking Spanish Ab Initio after the 2 years I just won't be bothered to start French by myself because I'm more interested in Spanish so maybe it would be a good choice to do French instead of Spanish.

This is such a hard choice for me (even though I'm almost certain I might take French HL) especially because I'm worried about the workload too...
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nat1432
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(Original post by shopoholic)
Like the user above said, there's a big jump from IGCSE French to IB French. I got A* for both Spanish and French IGCSE, did Spanish B HL and although it wasn't too difficult for me, I could see why someone who wasn't living in Spain would have trouble with it. My friend who did Spanish ab initio didn't have much trouble with it, considering he had never studied Spanish before and barely ever paid attention in class.

If I were you, I would choose Spanish ab initio since you are planning to do HL bio and chem which are very difficult! Are you going to study maths SL or maths studies SL? Maths SL requires a lot of time and effort unless you're extremely good at the subject. The jump from IGCSE maths to IB maths is also pretty big so definitely keep that in mind as well.
Thanks so much for your reply! Yes, I'm still close to picking Spanish but what I'm worried about is that if I do that, I'll never go back to French again as it is a difficult language. Therefore, those 5 years of high school will be for nothing... But I always wanted to learn Spanish too so I think even if I take French HL I'll definitely start learning it after the IB.

Also, I've heard that there isn't too much difference between Geography HL and SL... Hopefully, it wouldn't cause any consequences for me at university if I don't choose to do Geography HL.

And yep, I'm doing Maths SL, not Maths Studies. Is it really that hard? :O I mean I was suspecting that since Maths Studies is just statistics, I think, and Maths standard is a lot of hard work because of the variety of topics.
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pbunny
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(Original post by nat1432)
Thanks for your quick reply I agree with you, I have heard French HL is a lot of work but I also think if I will do French HL after all. at the end of the 2 years I should learn it and then I could start Spanish by myself.

At GCSE I was predicted an A but hopefully I will end up with an A*/A overall. And yes, I think I pick up languages quickly so I hope if I put a lof of effort into French HL it won't be extremely bad. Apart from that, I'm always up for challenges and will do my absolute best if taking French.

I think if I end up taking Spanish Ab Initio after the 2 years I just won't be bothered to start French by myself because I'm more interested in Spanish so maybe it would be a good choice to do French instead of Spanish.

This is such a hard choice for me (even though I'm almost certain I might take French HL) especially because I'm worried about the workload too...
No problem! I advise you to take French HL because you seem to REALLY want to continue on with french so your effort throughout the past 5 years doesn't go to waste which is a very reasonable excuse. I'm sure if you put your all into it that you'll get the score that you are aiming for! Plus, if you are feeling really enthusiastic about learning Spanish you may be able to do it as part of CAS so consider that too.
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shopoholic
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(Original post by nat1432)
Thanks so much for your reply! Yes, I'm still close to picking Spanish but what I'm worried about is that if I do that, I'll never go back to French again as it is a difficult language. Therefore, those 5 years of high school will be for nothing... But I always wanted to learn Spanish too so I think even if I take French HL I'll definitely start learning it after the IB.

Also, I've heard that there isn't too much difference between Geography HL and SL... Hopefully, it wouldn't cause any consequences for me at university if I don't choose to do Geography HL.

And yep, I'm doing Maths SL, not Maths Studies. Is it really that hard? :O I mean I was suspecting that since Maths Studies is just statistics, I think, and Maths standard is a lot of hard work because of the variety of topics.
I can see where you're coming from, I also did French for 5 years and was pretty good at it but I couldn't handle the workload of French B with all the other subjects so I just took Spanish B which is way easier for me Though if I had the chance now, I'd definitely continue with French because I do like the language.

Yeah, there isn't much difference between Geo SL and HL. You only have to do like 5 extension chapters for HL if I remember right but they are pretty short If you want to know more about the difference, google the Geography IB guide But make sure you download the right one because they might have changed the syllabus this year! To tell you the truth, I did history in the first year, didn't like it so switched to geography in my second year. But my geography teacher was pretty useless so we almost never did anything productive in class and I only studied for about 5 hours for the final exam and got a level 5.

I found Maths SL very difficult. Everyone in my class got level 4, only one girl got level 5. The IA can really help though, I got level 6 in my IA so if you do really well on that then you can relax a bit during the exam time. It also depends on your teacher, some of the teachers in my school are pretty inexperienced and so all their marked IAs were marked down quite a bit by IB moderators.
Maths studies isn't just statistics, they do cover other topics as well but they don't go into depth like Maths SL students do.
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tim_72
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(Original post by pbunny)
No problem! I advise you to take French HL because you seem to REALLY want to continue on with french so your effort throughout the past 5 years doesn't go to waste which is a very reasonable excuse. I'm sure if you put your all into it that you'll get the score that you are aiming for! Plus, if you are feeling really enthusiastic about learning Spanish you may be able to do it as part of CAS so consider that too.
Can you do an extra language on your own as part of CAS??
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