iDiegoP
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Hiya!
I am Diego a prospective economics student at the University of Amsterdam. Today, I was critically evaluating whether Economics at university is the right fit for me.

I personally LOVED everything about IB economics (HL), IB economics was fun, interactive, with a strong link to the real world and discussions which made the subject really enjoyable for me.
In IB economics I especially loved macroeconomics, I have been researching non-stop about macro since I first learned about it.

Now that I was looking at the curriculum overview of Economics at university, it seems that my idea of Economics will change 180° once I start studying Economics at university, because it seems that Economics is math based instead of essay writing, it is more of knowing how to apply formulas... I am not very strong in mathematics to be honest... IB Maths SL was quite challenging, and calculus was especially a pain.


Will I still keep my passion for economics if I decide to study econ at university?

Has anybody here taken IB economics and then later on studied economics? If so, how was the transition? Did it change a lot from IB economics to undergrad Economics?

Thank you in advance!
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NiceEconTeacher
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(Original post by iDiegoP)
Hiya!
I am Diego a prospective economics student at the University of Amsterdam. Today, I was critically evaluating whether Economics at university is the right fit for me.

I personally LOVED everything about IB economics (HL), IB economics was fun, interactive, with a strong link to the real world and discussions which made the subject really enjoyable for me.
In IB economics I especially loved macroeconomics, I have been researching non-stop about macro since I first learned about it.

Now that I was looking at the curriculum overview of Economics at university, it seems that my idea of Economics will change 180° once I start studying Economics at university, because it seems that Economics is math based instead of essay writing, it is more of knowing how to apply formulas... I am not very strong in mathematics to be honest... IB Maths SL was quite challenging, and calculus was especially a pain.


Will I still keep my passion for economics if I decide to study econ at university?

Has anybody here taken IB economics and then later on studied economics? If so, how was the transition? Did it change a lot from IB economics to undergrad Economics?

Thank you in advance!
Hey Diego, I have tutored IB Economics before and studied Economics at LSE. As I haven't studied outside the UK it will be hard for me to comment on the course. Unfortunately, most Economics courses at university are more focused on mathematical models, which has become the general direction that the academic subject is heading at more rigorous levels. There will be harder levels of statistics and calculus involved than IB SL Math, and potentially more. You will need to assess how mathematical the course is - are there a lot of mathematical modules? Does the entry requirements specify a certain grade for math or do they advocate applicants having studied IB HL Maths? If you find Maths a bitter pill to swallow I would suggest applying for a mix of subjects - eg . Economics and Government, PPE, Economics and History etc.

I've been on that route before and did not do very well in university level maths despite getting A* at A-Level. Are you studying IB Economics now? What year are you in?
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iDiegoP
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(Original post by NiceEconTeacher)
Hey Diego, I have tutored IB Economics before and studied Economics at LSE. As I haven't studied outside the UK it will be hard for me to comment on the course. Unfortunately, most Economics courses at university are more focused on mathematical models, which has become the general direction that the academic subject is heading at more rigorous levels. There will be harder levels of statistics and calculus involved than IB SL Math, and potentially more. You will need to assess how mathematical the course is - are there a lot of mathematical modules? Does the entry requirements specify a certain grade for math or do they advocate applicants having studied IB HL Maths? If you find Maths a bitter pill to swallow I would suggest applying for a mix of subjects - eg . Economics and Government, PPE, Economics and History etc.

I've been on that route before and did not do very well in university level maths despite getting A* at A-Level. Are you studying IB Economics now? What year are you in?
Hi NiceEconTeacher,

Thank you for your answer. Very much appreciated!

In fact because I was not sure of my maths skills, I decided to apply to multidisciplinary degrees. The degree that I am planning to take would be PPLE (politics, psychology, law and economics). Within that degree I would have to choose a major, in which I was thinking of majoring in economics because I loved IB Economics and also because I think that a degree in economics is more valuable and better seen by employers. A major in law, psychology or politics would be a no-go for me, however, I find valuable the knowledge that I would gain from politics, law and psychology to broaden my horizons.

The Economics modules that I would have to take are the following:
Finance, Accounting, Mathematics, intermediate Micro/Macro, econometric analysis, marketing management, economics of money and banking and economics, markets and organizations. The maths entry requirements included a minimum of a 5 in mathematics SL (currently my grade) and also to take a maths proficiency test in the 1st semester of university. I personally really enjoy statistics and probability, but calculus is PAINFUL.

Regarding the very last two questions. Yes, I studied IB Economics in HL and I absolutely loved it. Currently, I am a 12th grader (IB DP Y2).

Therefore, from the information that I have given you. Would you say that studying economics in university would be suicidal? Would Economics at uni be completely different to what I know as economics from the IB? Could it be considered a continuation of IB economics?

I must emphasize that my favorite area of Economics in the IB was macroeconomics BY FAR, during my free time I keep myself updated with any macro news and I like to make arguments pro and against Keynesian and Austrian economics. I am a macro nerd.
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NiceEconTeacher
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(Original post by iDiegoP)
Hi NiceEconTeacher,

Thank you for your answer. Very much appreciated!

In fact because I was not sure of my maths skills, I decided to apply to multidisciplinary degrees. The degree that I am planning to take would be PPLE (politics, psychology, law and economics). Within that degree I would have to choose a major, in which I was thinking of majoring in economics because I loved IB Economics and also because I think that a degree in economics is more valuable and better seen by employers. A major in law, psychology or politics would be a no-go for me, however, I find valuable the knowledge that I would gain from politics, law and psychology to broaden my horizons.

The Economics modules that I would have to take are the following:
Finance, Accounting, Mathematics, intermediate Micro/Macro, econometric analysis, marketing management, economics of money and banking and economics, markets and organizations. The maths entry requirements included a minimum of a 5 in mathematics SL (currently my grade) and also to take a maths proficiency test in the 1st semester of university. I personally really enjoy statistics and probability, but calculus is PAINFUL.

Regarding the very last two questions. Yes, I studied IB Economics in HL and I absolutely loved it. Currently, I am a 12th grader (IB DP Y2).

Therefore, from the information that I have given you. Would you say that studying economics in university would be suicidal? Would Economics at uni be completely different to what I know as economics from the IB? Could it be considered a continuation of IB economics?

I must emphasize that my favorite area of Economics in the IB was macroeconomics BY FAR, during my free time I keep myself updated with any macro news and I like to make arguments pro and against Keynesian and Austrian economics. I am a macro nerd.
That sounds like a great combination. In my degree I studied some commercial law, political theory and philosophy of Economics which I really enjoyed as well. I do like the major/minor aspects of non-UK universities it gives the students more flexibility to explore themselves and their interests. Econometrics, Economics of Money, Mathematics and Finance can be quite mathematical. I suggest searching up the module code eg. EC124 sth like that to have more of an idea. But I guess you can switch courses if things don't work out? Both statistics and calculus will get harder. If you are really interested and determined enough to study the subject you should be able to overcome calculus. I do think at high school level hard work matters more than ability. Maybe my friend can give you some tuition lessons on the maths at university, and seeking help when you're studying is another option as well.

Its not suicidal but depending on the course it can be very different to IB Economics and what you expect. Also it is likely that you need to double your efforts in the maths area. Why don't you read some university level Economics textbook or some slides to get an idea? Look at the academic-based Economics books on this page. In a more traditional university level Economics course, it is more about using Mathematics and Statistics to express and explain Economic phenomenon rather than just using words, as it is more scientific.
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CSBirb
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Even macroeconomics at undergrad level is much much more mathematical than IB HL. (Source: I did Econ HL + got a 7 in Math SL + am now studying PPE). Also, there is a fair bit of calculus, especially in micro. Stats (i.e. econometrics) is also really useful overall as you will almost definitely need it for your dissertation (if it's in econ). However, the only purely mathematical modules you'd have to take are in first year as you do need a basic foundation (calc, linear algebra, prob, stats). In second and third year, you can always opt for the more qualitative modules.
Last edited by CSBirb; 1 year ago
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harrysbar
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(Original post by iDiegoP)
Hi NiceEconTeacher,

Thank you for your answer. Very much appreciated!

In fact because I was not sure of my maths skills, I decided to apply to multidisciplinary degrees. The degree that I am planning to take would be PPLE (politics, psychology, law and economics). Within that degree I would have to choose a major, in which I was thinking of majoring in economics because I loved IB Economics and also because I think that a degree in economics is more valuable and better seen by employers. A major in law, psychology or politics would be a no-go for me, however, I find valuable the knowledge that I would gain from politics, law and psychology to broaden my horizons.

The Economics modules that I would have to take are the following:
Finance, Accounting, Mathematics, intermediate Micro/Macro, econometric analysis, marketing management, economics of money and banking and economics, markets and organizations. The maths entry requirements included a minimum of a 5 in mathematics SL (currently my grade) and also to take a maths proficiency test in the 1st semester of university. I personally really enjoy statistics and probability, but calculus is PAINFUL.

Regarding the very last two questions. Yes, I studied IB Economics in HL and I absolutely loved it. Currently, I am a 12th grader (IB DP Y2).

Therefore, from the information that I have given you. Would you say that studying economics in university would be suicidal? Would Economics at uni be completely different to what I know as economics from the IB? Could it be considered a continuation of IB economics?

I must emphasize that my favorite area of Economics in the IB was macroeconomics BY FAR, during my free time I keep myself updated with any macro news and I like to make arguments pro and against Keynesian and Austrian economics. I am a macro nerd.
I can't comment on the IB but I know that A level Economics students in the UK are often shocked by how much more mathematical the subject is at degree level. That is the reason you generally need Maths A levels to do Economics degrees rather than Economics A level, and some particularly mathematical courses (like at LSE for example) also want applicants to have Further Maths at A or at least A/S level.

So I think it's sensible that you have decided to apply for multidisciplinary degrees
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NiceEconTeacher
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(Original post by harrysbar)
I can't comment on the IB but I know that A level Economics students in the UK are often shocked by how much more mathematical the subject is at degree level. That is the reason you generally need Maths A levels to do Economics degrees rather than Economics A level, and some particularly mathematical courses (like at LSE for example) also want applicants to have Further Maths at A or at least A/S level.

So I think it's sensible that you have decided to apply for multidisciplinary degrees
Completely agree here. I would really suggest brushing up on your SL Maths and conquering it, even consider taking IB HL Math. SL IB Math shares similarities to UK A Level Math.
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