IB, or A-levels after GCSEs?

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ReluctantWriter
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#1
Report Thread starter 7 years ago
#1
Open evenings are beginning for Sixth-form, but I'm not sure what to do.

I'm interested in too many subjects to take them all (ranging from sciences to Latin and art) as A-levels, but I'm also worried that some of the SL courses may not be satisfying enough to take/they're going to be too similar to GCSE.

I'm thinking of (for IB):

HL:
English Lit
Biology
Chemistry
F Maths

SL:
Latin
History

My school only lets us take four a-levels (five, if you're willing to do free-period sessions and essentially teach it to yourself), so they would be:

Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Maths
Further maths (I'd get out of general studies/study skills this way, too!)

But I don't like how concentrated a-levels are. I'm fairly sure I want to be a doctor, but it could change, swinging to the arts, so it's a bit up in the air.

Any help would be appreciated.

(I got nearly straight A*s, except an A in P.E)
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Crystalz
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#2
Report 7 years ago
#2
For doctors A-Levels are better due to the concentrated topic content.
IB is better for arts subjects I thin
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pbunny
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#3
Report 7 years ago
#3
(Original post by ReluctantWriter)
Open evenings are beginning for Sixth-form, but I'm not sure what to do.

I'm interested in too many subjects to take them all (ranging from sciences to Latin and art) as A-levels, but I'm also worried that some of the SL courses may not be satisfying enough to take/they're going to be too similar to GCSE.

I'm thinking of (for IB):

HL:
English Lit
Biology
Chemistry
F Maths

SL:
Latin
History

My school only lets us take four a-levels (five, if you're willing to do free-period sessions and essentially teach it to yourself), so they would be:

Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Maths
Further maths (I'd get out of general studies/study skills this way, too!)

But I don't like how concentrated a-levels are. I'm fairly sure I want to be a doctor, but it could change, swinging to the arts, so it's a bit up in the air.

Any help would be appreciated.

(I got nearly straight A*s, except an A in P.E)
I honestly think you should do a levels if you're looking at applying to British universities. The IB requirements are very high and since you'll be applying for medicine its very competitive, it'd be all the more difficult to do as well as you probably would have had you taken a levels. Plus, IB is much more time consuming then a levels in that they are many extra requirements (CAS, EE, TOK) that take up a lot of your time, they might seem like nothing but trust me they are time consuming and totally annoying in the case of CAS reflections and whatnot. If I had the option of a going to a school that offered a levels and had good teacher, I would have gone there within a heart beat, no doubt.

I still think you can fulfill the medicine subject requirements and be able to take one or two subjects that interest you (art, latin). Just do maths, biology, chemistry, art and Latin. There is absolutely no need to take physics or further maths. In my opinion, doing a levels is the best option.

However, if you're not convinced that a levels are the right thing for you then do IB. I must point out that your subject combination is absurd and EXTREMELY hard. Firstly, higher level FURTHER MATHS? Seriously, that is absolutely insane. higher level maths is the equivalent of a level further maths and it is deemed to be the HARDEST IB subject out there. Higher level further maths is on another level of difficulty and should only be taken if you're planning on going into maths or are exceptionally gifted in maths. Definitely reconsider taking it. Secondly, why have you chosen 4 HL subjects? Universities don't give extra credit for 4 HL's and could honestly care less and therefore, the traditional combo of 3 HL/SL is the way to go (it's hard enough as is!). I suggest you drop literature to standard level as it is in now way a requirement for medicine. You've filled the medicine subject requirement by taking higher level chemistry and biology (note: higher level maths is NOT a requirement).

I can 100% assure you that your SL subjects are going to be satisfying and more difficult than GCSE. Standard level subjects are typically the equivalent of AS levels. History for one is a very hard IB subject and I guarantee that it will be challenging.

If you decide to do IB, go with this combo (highly discourage taking the one you laid out above):

Chemistry HL
English Lit/Maths HL
Biology HL

History SL
English Lit/Maths SL
Latin SL

I personally discourage you from taking higher level maths, but if you're very confident in your mathematical ability then go ahead and do it. However, I suggest you take standard level maths to boost your overall score which is very important in your case as medicine is v. competitive - the higher your overall score, the more competitive applicant you are (of course, other factors such as personal statement play into factor here, but I'm sure you get what I mean).
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Skye25
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#4
Report 7 years ago
#4
In addition to the excellent advice above, bear in mind it is not possible to take Further Maths by itself, you have to take it together with HL Maths.
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The reason for this is that FM is actually quite a weird course, as its syllabus "only" has the 4 HL option topics and two extra topics. And out of the 4 options it is assumed you will learn one in your HL Maths class, otherwise it would not be possible to cover the entire syllabus in the 240 hours the IB recommends for HL subjects. And in the exams they assume you know the core HL Maths syllabus. So really, FM is intended as an extension to HL Maths.
And as you are applying for medicine, you should be taking two sciences, not two maths subjects!

HL Maths would be more than enough, but only if you are sure you can get a good grade. If not, SL Maths is perfectly fine, but do try to get a 7 there.
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506rl
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#5
Report 7 years ago
#5
Are you sure your school lets you study four subjects at higher level? Usually that doesn't happen, and unless you're going to study maths at uni it's usually useless (especially since HL maths on its own is usually the equivalent of Maths A level plus a bit of Further Maths).

If you want to be a doctor, it's best to take specialised subjects so you can focus your efforts, but at my school there were still quite a few who applied for medicine despite doing the IB. And trust me, SL isn't the same as GCSE. It's basically the equivalent of taking an AS level. (e.g. SL Maths would be studying the core of A Level Maths).

Only you can decide, but it all depends on what you think will be better for your future. On one hand, taking the IB and applying to medicine may be good because it gives you more to talk about in terms of personal statements/interviews. But on the other hand although it does teach you much of the same subject matter as A level subjects, it will be harder for you to focus your studies as you will have to deal with SL subjects/ToK/EE/CAS/etc as well as your HL subjects.

Personally, if you're ready to work hard and focus on all your subjects then I would say take the IB
Also maybe you should do HL Chemistry, Biology and Maths and SL Latin, History and another subject of your choice (since you said you might decide to do something to do with the arts, why not Art SL or Film SL, etc?)
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