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    Hi, I am currently taking my IGCSE exams and I will be moving to a new country shortly after I complete them. I have the oppurtunity to decide between IB and A levels and was looking for some opinions on the matter. My sister completed the IB and scored a 39, I am actually quite interested in the IB course but I heard that A-Levels is much better for Medical School.

    IB Subject Choices - HL Chem, Bio, Psychology. SL Maths, English Lit, Spanish Ab

    A-Level Choices - Physics Bio Chem English Maths.

    Thanks
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    (Original post by RandomStudent66)
    Hi, I am currently taking my IGCSE exams and I will be moving to a new country shortly after I complete them. I have the oppurtunity to decide between IB and A levels and was looking for some opinions on the matter. My sister completed the IB and scored a 39, I am actually quite interested in the IB course but I heard that A-Levels is much better for Medical School.

    IB Subject Choices - HL Chem, Bio, Psychology. SL Maths, English Lit, Spanish Ab

    A-Level Choices - Physics Bio Chem English Maths.

    Thanks
    A levels would probably give you a clearer indication of which grades you might need but I'm not really knowledged about the IB so....
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    the IB is more respected from universities because its a more challenging program
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    I also did IGCSE and GCSEs like you, got 5A* 4A 3B 1C. I've completed my IB this year and was looking at Medicine in the beginning. I also had the same issue as you - didn't know whether to take IB or A levels. IB was hard for me since I didn't manage to perform well and even though I received a predicted of 39 points, it wasn't enough for universities. Especially due to the fact that I applied to the UK as an international student and that I did Maths Studies instead of Maths SL or Hl (HL is definitely preferred). However, I pushed through even though I was also struggling in HL Chem and Bio.. BUUT, when I applied to Singapore (my home country), I applied for courses like Business, Law, Architecture, Accountacy (mainly those whose entry requirement didn't require Maths much or at all - TAKE SL MATHS or HL but maths studies seriously restricts your options...) at prestigious universities like top 15 in the world and I GOT SHORTLISTED for Law and Architecture which was so surprising!!!! This would be one of the benefits of the IB, to be able to branch out if a certain course doesn't work in your favor I guess Plus, tbh, if you reallly study during the two years, it's not that hard and can be pretty fun too! SO, that;s my story.

    Personally, I would say take the IB if your grades are pretty strong at GCSEs and if you are able to cope with the languages and maths bit. I would say that languages and maths and are the toughest in the IB course. Then comes both CHemistry and Physics and then that's it. Take ab initio languages if you're able to - it will be a lifesaver, believe me. Stick with that ab initio Spanish! If it helps, I also took the exact same subjects as you chose but Spanish B (it's not even a "B" language, you practically have to be fluent in it to get higher than 5 hahhaha - I'm so nervous for results day) and Maths studies. It was my first time taking psychology and even at HL, it was pretty okay and easy to understand

    A levels wise.... I guess you do have less of a workload but if you don't get your grades, that's it. You can't apply for other courses. AND A Levels are ONLY beneficial for Medicine IF you're applying to UK... If you're looking at university courses all over the world, the IB is definiteeelyy better - unis prefer this. For NZ and Australia applications, you just need to pass the IB diploma (mostly) and then do one year of Health Science and then take the UMAT for Medicine.

    Definitely do a looot of research into the unis that you want to get into because certain unis are in favour of either A levels or IB. But yeah, uni research can be really tedious too. Email them if you're not sure. I think Bath in UK really understands how hard the IB can be and also favours IB students more due to the skills learnt in the long run. For UK, there's also a new uni for Medicine called "UCLAN" and entry requirements is 34/35 points I think? It's a separate application from UCAS meaning that you can apply to those 4 unis in UCAS and then also apply to UCLAN meaning that you actually apply to 5 Medicine courses! Ha!

    So, if you do need any more tips or help or questions, just hmu . Hope this was helpful!!!
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    (Original post by IBonfire)
    I also did IGCSE and GCSEs like you, got 5A* 4A 3B 1C. I've completed my IB this year and was looking at Medicine in the beginning. I also had the same issue as you - didn't know whether to take IB or A levels. IB was hard for me since I didn't manage to perform well and even though I received a predicted of 39 points, it wasn't enough for universities. Especially due to the fact that I applied to the UK as an international student and that I did Maths Studies instead of Maths SL or Hl (HL is definitely preferred). However, I pushed through even though I was also struggling in HL Chem and Bio.. BUUT, when I applied to Singapore (my home country), I applied for courses like Business, Law, Architecture, Accountacy (mainly those whose entry requirement didn't require Maths much or at all - TAKE SL MATHS or HL but maths studies seriously restricts your options...) at prestigious universities like top 15 in the world and I GOT SHORTLISTED for Law and Architecture which was so surprising!!!! This would be one of the benefits of the IB, to be able to branch out if a certain course doesn't work in your favor I guess Plus, tbh, if you reallly study during the two years, it's not that hard and can be pretty fun too! SO, that;s my story.

    Personally, I would say take the IB if your grades are pretty strong at GCSEs and if you are able to cope with the languages and maths bit. I would say that languages and maths and are the toughest in the IB course. Then comes both CHemistry and Physics and then that's it. Take ab initio languages if you're able to - it will be a lifesaver, believe me. Stick with that ab initio Spanish! If it helps, I also took the exact same subjects as you chose but Spanish B (it's not even a "B" language, you practically have to be fluent in it to get higher than 5 hahhaha - I'm so nervous for results day) and Maths studies. It was my first time taking psychology and even at HL, it was pretty okay and easy to understand

    A levels wise.... I guess you do have less of a workload but if you don't get your grades, that's it. You can't apply for other courses. AND A Levels are ONLY beneficial for Medicine IF you're applying to UK... If you're looking at university courses all over the world, the IB is definiteeelyy better - unis prefer this. For NZ and Australia applications, you just need to pass the IB diploma (mostly) and then do one year of Health Science and then take the UMAT for Medicine.

    Definitely do a looot of research into the unis that you want to get into because certain unis are in favour of either A levels or IB. But yeah, uni research can be really tedious too. Email them if you're not sure. I think Bath in UK really understands how hard the IB can be and also favours IB students more due to the skills learnt in the long run. For UK, there's also a new uni for Medicine called "UCLAN" and entry requirements is 34/35 points I think? It's a separate application from UCAS meaning that you can apply to those 4 unis in UCAS and then also apply to UCLAN meaning that you actually apply to 5 Medicine courses! Ha!

    So, if you do need any more tips or help or questions, just hmu . Hope this was helpful!!!
    Wow thanks, i'm looking at applying to the US so I feel like IB is the better choice. I am a US citizen so it should be a bit easier for me to get in rather than being a foreign student. Thanks for the advice. At the moment i'm leaning more towards IB.
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    Hello!

    I just finished my IB exams with a predicted of 44 and I have a conditional offer to study medicine in Scotland. I'd definitely recommend the IB simply because I feel the course is more fun and more internationally recognised. It is hard, but not as hard as people make it out to be. I had 6 A* and 4 As at IGCSE level and I didn't find this too hard (plus I've done lost of sport and art outside of the course). Like was said above I would definitely have at least SL math and HL chemistry. Those are the two subjects that unis want at those levels (I thought it would be HL bio but nope). I also took four higher levels to give an indication that I was more interested in medicine to the unis. HL Chem, bio, psychology and math. HL math was rough, I took additional mathematics so it was okay (if you had Add-Math the SL course is actually a little easier in my opinion than add-math).

    Still with all that I was only accepted to ONE uni. And that's because of the UKCAT. If you're thinking of apply to the UK you need to be ready for that. I don't think the IB limits you in any way, but if you're not ready for the UKCAT then you're grades (if not really good) may not save you. Some unis also care a lot more about you're grades at GCSE level so id say just do your research into the unis you've thought would be nice to go to if you've thought about that at all.

    For America, I'd definitely take an IB. They LOVE IB students. I had a friend who applied with a predicted of 39 and received and UNCONTIDTIONAL offer to study pre-med as well as several scholarships. Even if her exams go **** now she'll still be going to that uni as long as she passes (effectively gets 24 points). Also because they love IB students so much she is able to skip her freshmen year and use her IB exam grades as college credits.

    Also because in the UK you are going straight into medicine I feel that it's harder to get in (the UKCAT). Many people only get in on their second try because it throws so many people off their game. In the US you sit the MCAT/MKAT (I'm not entirely sure what it's called) to get into medical school after you've finished a pre-med degree.

    To a US citizen I would definitely recommend the IB. I have a friend who got A* A* A A in their A-level and went to study journalism and it didn't really help her other than her getting a place.

    Hope that helps!
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    (Original post by nzomvwa)
    Hello!

    I just finished my IB exams with a predicted of 44 and I have a conditional offer to study medicine in Scotland. I'd definitely recommend the IB simply because I feel the course is more fun and more internationally recognised. It is hard, but not as hard as people make it out to be. I had 6 A* and 4 As at IGCSE level and I didn't find this too hard (plus I've done lost of sport and art outside of the course). Like was said above I would definitely have at least SL math and HL chemistry. Those are the two subjects that unis want at those levels (I thought it would be HL bio but nope). I also took four higher levels to give an indication that I was more interested in medicine to the unis. HL Chem, bio, psychology and math. HL math was rough, I took additional mathematics so it was okay (if you had Add-Math the SL course is actually a little easier in my opinion than add-math).

    Still with all that I was only accepted to ONE uni. And that's because of the UKCAT. If you're thinking of apply to the UK you need to be ready for that. I don't think the IB limits you in any way, but if you're not ready for the UKCAT then you're grades (if not really good) may not save you. Some unis also care a lot more about you're grades at GCSE level so id say just do your research into the unis you've thought would be nice to go to if you've thought about that at all.

    For America, I'd definitely take an IB. They LOVE IB students. I had a friend who applied with a predicted of 39 and received and UNCONTIDTIONAL offer to study pre-med as well as several scholarships. Even if her exams go **** now she'll still be going to that uni as long as she passes (effectively gets 24 points). Also because they love IB students so much she is able to skip her freshmen year and use her IB exam grades as college credits.

    Also because in the UK you are going straight into medicine I feel that it's harder to get in (the UKCAT). Many people only get in on their second try because it throws so many people off their game. In the US you sit the MCAT/MKAT (I'm not entirely sure what it's called) to get into medical school after you've finished a pre-med degree.

    To a US citizen I would definitely recommend the IB. I have a friend who got A* A* A A in their A-level and went to study journalism and it didn't really help her other than her getting a place.

    Hope that helps!
    Wow 44 that's amazing. Thanks for the advice, i'm pretty sure I will be doing IB considering all of the advice I've gotten from people on TSR and friends and family. I appreciate the help. Thanks
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    I do IB myself and one of my friends wanted to go to University to do medicine but he did not get in because they wanted more specific subjects, but it's up to you!
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    (Original post by catrinthecat)
    I do IB myself and one of my friends wanted to go to University to do medicine but he did not get in because they wanted more specific subjects, but it's up to you!
    If I may ask which subjects did he take? Thanks.
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    Hi, I do the IB and have an offer to study medicine this year. If you're applying to the US then it sounds like you're sorted with the IB! However, if you change your mind and do decide to study in the UK, I would do A levels. They're easier to do well in and you'll have more time available for extracurriculars and work experience to boost your personal statement. Whilst I love the IB and many unis think it's great, many also do not understand it and so set unrealistically high expectations for grades, for example equating a level 7 with an A*. Although they didn't say it on their website/UCAS prior to application, to get an interview at Exeter this year you needed 42 points with 7's at higher level, or AAA at A level, which are clearly drastically different grades.
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    Hi, I'm an IB student who has a firm and insurance offer from medical schools. I also had interviews at each medical school I applied for. I am predicted 40 (results next week!) and study HL biology, chemistry and English. And SL maths, German and History.

    I applied to Oxford and one of the big disadvantages I had is that the interview questions were drawn heavily from the as/alevel syllabus. Similarly, they wanted to test my physics skills. In the IB, you cannot study all three sciences. With the BMAT, there's several questions on physics and getting higher points when you haven't studied physics for two years is difficult!

    I did have an advantage though - the IB has taught me more about working independently, coming up with new ideas. I wrote 4000 words on intraspecies competition between different weeds for my extended essay and many of the people who interviewed me were really excited by this. In many science degrees (I assume science is something you enjoy), a 4000 word research essay is what you write in your final year. You're definitely ahead in that aspect.

    I think many schools do devalue the IB. But that said. Some schools love it. Kings gave me an offer for 35 points - which is really low compared to my A-Level counterparts.

    If you're interested in continuing to study other non-science subjects, the IB is really good for this. You just need to know your limits - I changed HL maths for HL English at the end of year 12. Don't make it harder for yourself than needs to be because the IB is highly demanding.
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    (Original post by nourt)
    the IB is more respected from universities because its a more challenging program
    Don't think MedSchools really give 2 hoots. They have students with qualifications from all around the world so they'll value most qualifications equally. 90% of the cohort here did A levels and I don't think IB conferred any advantage in fact I'm certain of it.
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    I have just finished the first year of the IB program and I am applying for medicine. To be honest, the IB is very challenging and many of my classmates have complained over the year, saying that they should have done A-levels. However, I believe that the IB prepares you much better for uni and especially med school because you learn to deal with pressure and writing essays, as well as lab reports, really well because we get a lot of them. Also, a lot of unis like Cambridge and UCL have begun recognising that the IB is much harder than A-levels and it can give you an advantage in the selection process.
    The biggest difference between the IB and A-levels is that in the latter you have a smaller range of topics but you go in more depth whereas in the former you have more topics in less depth.
    In terms of medicine, I think the IB will help you more because we also do TOK which will aid in your interview and in the aptitude exams such as the UKCAT and BMAT.
    Hope that helps. Don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions.
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    IMO anybody who says IB has some special selection over A Levels in any way is talking rubbish.

    TOK will not help you with the UKCAT or BMAT, in fact I doubt it will ever help you with anything except TOK.
    The IB doesn't do things in greater detail than A Levels except one or two subjects like Maths that are irrelevant to Medicine.
    You may find Universities understand less about the IB.
    Doing A Levels will give you better work/life balance
    It will take the stress away from a single 2 weeks at the end of 2 years by spreading out exams
    It'll give you more time to do the CV tick boxes that really matter for medical applications

    Unless you have an overwhelming desire to do the IB specifically, just save yourself a lot of time and effort and do A Levels. And if you do have an overwhelming desire to do the IB specifically... why??


    EDIT: I hadn't realised you were planning on going to the US. If you are, I would still say, do A Levels because they're big on extra-curricular activities and you'll have more time to do them.
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    (Original post by RandomStudent66)
    Hi, I am currently taking my IGCSE exams and I will be moving to a new country shortly after I complete them. I have the oppurtunity to decide between IB and A levels and was looking for some opinions on the matter. My sister completed the IB and scored a 39, I am actually quite interested in the IB course but I heard that A-Levels is much better for Medical School.

    IB Subject Choices - HL Chem, Bio, Psychology. SL Maths, English Lit, Spanish Ab

    A-Level Choices - Physics Bio Chem English Maths.

    Thanks
    I just completed the IB. I got good grades to study anything I wanted. But if I am brutally honest A levels allow you to study what you want and give you more free time. In IB you are forced to take a bunch of courses that are not necessarily relevant to your degree choice. Secondly, the IB is very difficult therefore if you are not good at languages or humanities I would highly advise you to take A levels, as it allows you to focus relevant to your medicine degree. Thirdly, Universities prefer A levels over IB in the UK, you will have higher entry requirements if you do the IB than if you do a levels. For example a Law course at a respected uni might require ABB at a level and 36 for the IB. In terms of UCAS points there is about 200 points more required from the IB student. All in all the IB is more work with a higher risk of failure and no recognition. It is only useful if you want to study in other european countries that do not accept a levels.
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    (Original post by natalia.medicine)
    I have just finished the first year of the IB program and I am applying for medicine. To be honest, the IB is very challenging and many of my classmates have complained over the year, saying that they should have done A-levels. However, I believe that the IB prepares you much better for uni and especially med school because you learn to deal with pressure and writing essays, as well as lab reports, really well because we get a lot of them. Also, a lot of unis like Cambridge and UCL have begun recognising that the IB is much harder than A-levels and it can give you an advantage in the selection process.
    The biggest difference between the IB and A-levels is that in the latter you have a smaller range of topics but you go in more depth whereas in the former you have more topics in less depth.
    In terms of medicine, I think the IB will help you more because we also do TOK which will aid in your interview and in the aptitude exams such as the UKCAT and BMAT.
    Hope that helps. Don't hesitate to message me if you have any questions.
    Not true at my school people who got 45 and 44 were all rejected from Oxbridge. And the students who did A levels got in. They look at the entire package and do not prioritise one qualification over the other.
 
 
 
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