rnibu
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Hi,

I'm planning to start the IB later this year, and I hope to do medicine in the UK too. I want to do the IB because I enjoy doing a variety of subjects and so I'm drawn towards the breadth of subjects it offers. I also believe the skills I'll gain from the IB will really aid me in medical school (analytical skills, essay-writing, maths, science etc.). I've applied for HL biology, chemistry, psychology and SL maths, English and ab initio Italian.

However... I've heard A-levels would be a better option for medicine since I can just focus on the subjects required by unis, and have less workload. Despite knowing this, I'm still keen on doing the iB; would anyone be able to give some advice? Also, over the years is the IB becoming more recognised by UK unis and how is the situation looking this year? Anything would be much appreciated
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a-fLaw-student
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Do not take the IB. Trust me, as a current IB2 student.
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rnibu
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Why would you say this? Just want to get people's views
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VanillaCream
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(Original post by rnibu)
Hi,

I'm planning to start the IB later this year, and I hope to do medicine in the UK too. I want to do the IB because I enjoy doing a variety of subjects and so I'm drawn towards the breadth of subjects it offers. I also believe the skills I'll gain from the IB will really aid me in medical school (analytical skills, essay-writing, maths, science etc.). I've applied for HL biology, chemistry, psychology and SL maths, English and ab initio Italian.

However... I've heard A-levels would be a better option for medicine since I can just focus on the subjects required by unis, and have less workload. Despite knowing this, I'm still keen on doing the iB; would anyone be able to give some advice? Also, over the years is the IB becoming more recognised by UK unis and how is the situation looking this year? Anything would be much appreciated
imho if what you're saying is really true, do the IB if you want to, make sure you know everything about the components and subjects you're taking, like IAs, EE and everything, so that you know what it's going to be like and if you still decide you like it, then do it

as for unis requirements, I'd say IB requirements are a bit higher than the A levels since in A levels you need e.g. A*AA (while studying only those 3 subjects) while in the IB you'll need 766 as the parallel requirement and e.g. 39 overall, so on top of those 3 subjects (required also when it comes to A levels), you have to work on your SL subjects as well, but honestly, imo, if you work hard, it should be fine and achievable to get such a score
IB is recognised by UK unis (and many other unis if you decide to apply abroad), so don't worry about this, what do you mean by 'how is situation is looking this year'? when it comes to exam canxellation, I'm pretty sure exams will be cancelled in the UK (IB chose the dual route as in case of November 2020 session, so that means some countries that are able to will sit the actual exams and the others which aren't won't and will have their grades calculated based on IAs and predicted grades giving by teachers)

just so you know, I'm also IBY2 and I'm doing HL Biology, Chemistry and English B (I'm not a native English speaker and not live in the UK so that's why ahah) and SL Geography, Maths AA and Polish A, so if you have any more questions about any of these subjects or IB in general, I'll be more than happy to answer
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rnibu
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(Original post by VanillaCream)
imho if what you're saying is really true, do the IB if you want to, make sure you know everything about the components and subjects you're taking, like IAs, EE and everything, so that you know what it's going to be like and if you still decide you like it, then do it

as for unis requirements, I'd say IB requirements are a bit higher than the A levels since in A levels you need e.g. A*AA (while studying only those 3 subjects) while in the IB you'll need 766 as the parallel requirement and e.g. 39 overall, so on top of those 3 subjects (required also when it comes to A levels), you have to work on your SL subjects as well, but honestly, imo, if you work hard, it should be fine and achievable to get such a score
IB is recognised by UK unis (and many other unis if you decide to apply abroad), so don't worry about this, what do you mean by 'how is situation is looking this year'? when it comes to exam canxellation, I'm pretty sure exams will be cancelled in the UK (IB chose the dual route as in case of November 2020 session, so that means some countries that are able to will sit the actual exams and the others which aren't won't and will have their grades calculated based on IAs and predicted grades giving by teachers)

just so you know, I'm also IBY2 and I'm doing HL Biology, Chemistry and English B (I'm not a native English speaker and not live in the UK so that's why ahah) and SL Geography, Maths AA and Polish A, so if you have any more questions about any of these subjects or IB in general, I'll be more than happy to answer
Thankyou so much for taking your time to send this, it's really helpful!!

I've done research into the syllabus of most of the subjects I'm taking aswell as what the IAs, EE etc. are, and I'm still pretty keen on doing the IB. Yes, it will be challenging, especially since I'm planning to apply for medicine aswell, but I'm willing to work really hard for the next two years. I'm sure the IB will prove to be rewarding! Most people say that the IB has a much greater workload compared to A-levels, and whilst that may be true, I see them both as challenging courses and either way you're going to be working super hard for the next two years.

In general, how have you found the IB in your two years studying it? What do you think of your subjects (in particular HL biology and chemistry since I'm doing those)? I'm kind of worried about HL Chemistry and Biology because I've heard it's tricky and a lot of hard work, and the bridge between GCSE chem/bio to IB HL chem/bio is huge - would you have any tips on these?

Also what are you planning to study after the IB? Your English is great btw, despite not being a native English speaker!
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Serea
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(Original post by a-fLaw-student)
Do not take the IB. Trust me, as a current IB2 student.
I second that!
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molloy150
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hey, i just finished doing ib (uk student, graduated in may 2020) and now i’m studying medicine at birmingham university - i would honestly recommend ib! i did a month of a levels before swapping, and i found a levels a bit boring and i really enjoyed the ib subjects. it is definitely a lot of work and a lot of coursework, but if you’re confident you can do it then it’s actually not too bad (so long as you stay on top). i think that doing ib gave me a lot of stuff to speak about in interviews as well, as i could talk about science IAs as further interests and you do a lot of group work so that shows leadership/teamwork. uk unis definitely recognise ib! from my research, they don’t have a preference, they normally ask for at least all 6s in your HLs and a varied number of points overall. i’m really glad i swapped to do ib, i think it’s helped me a lot with my medicine degree now as well (with my work ethic) and you will definitely not be at a disadvantage, as long as your school teaches ib well. if you’ve got any questions - i’m happy to answer them
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molloy150
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also something else, ib2 students will always say don’t do ib because that’s when all the deadlines are due in, and i said the same last year - but coming out of it i would definitely recommend it!!
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IB is perfectly recognised for medicine so as long as you’ve looked at uni requirements and checked you can meet them, there’s no disadvantage to doing IB. The project work and community involvement aspects may even be helpful at interview.

The most important thing for medicine is getting the grades (GCSE and A level/IB) as well as getting the best UCAT and/or BMAT score you can. There’s no reason you can’t do that with IB but if you feel you’re more likely to with A levels, that’s a compelling reason to do A levels.
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VanillaCream
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(Original post by rnibu)
Thankyou so much for taking your time to send this, it's really helpful!!

I've done research into the syllabus of most of the subjects I'm taking aswell as what the IAs, EE etc. are, and I'm still pretty keen on doing the IB. Yes, it will be challenging, especially since I'm planning to apply for medicine aswell, but I'm willing to work really hard for the next two years. I'm sure the IB will prove to be rewarding! Most people say that the IB has a much greater workload compared to A-levels, and whilst that may be true, I see them both as challenging courses and either way you're going to be working super hard for the next two years.

In general, how have you found the IB in your two years studying it? What do you think of your subjects (in particular HL biology and chemistry since I'm doing those)? I'm kind of worried about HL Chemistry and Biology because I've heard it's tricky and a lot of hard work, and the bridge between GCSE chem/bio to IB HL chem/bio is huge - would you have any tips on these?

Also what are you planning to study after the IB? Your English is great btw, despite not being a native English speaker!
thank you! hah

well, I think it was quite tough, definitely more than my local programme where people are actually starting to work hard in the 3-4 last months before final exams, while we had to work hard throughout the 2 years, but I'd say it was worth it honestly, I'm glad I chose to do the IB although there were (and still are) times I cried, wanted to give up and hated myself for choosing this hahah but I really liked the programme, especially that it's in English (which is surely not a thing if you're choosing between A levels and IB) because I always wanted to study abroad at uni and thought it'd be a good preparation to study in English in high school, but apart from that, I think the curriculum is much more interesting and I really liked the fact that you could study different subjects (like Biology and Geo or something), cause in our local programme there are only strict combinations of subjects and you can't really mix them, and finally I actually really liked my IAs and EE, found the whole process very interesting, although ofc again I was (and still am haha) complaining while finishing them, but it was nice in the process I guess

when it comes to Biology and Chemistry, they're definitely manageable, from what I know of GCSE curriculum (and I studied from GCSE resources for BMAT this year), they aren't that harder in my opinion, ofc much extended and there are probably some topics that you haven't studied at GCSE, but, well, I don't think they are particularly high - ofc it also depends on person really cause when I started revision now, I realised I don't remember some things from the earlier Chemistry and Bio topics, but again, it's quite natural I guess, since it's a lot of content and revising it isn't that hard in terms of content, more maybe because there are many subjects, so again that depends what your goal would be, I'd say cause there are some people in my class who want to study in Poland at uni where only some subjects are taken into account - so e.g. if they're going to medicine, then they focus on Bio and Chem, a bit on Maths, Polish and English (since they also count towards the 'score' for the uni, but to a smaller extent) and kinda ignore their group 3 subject because it doesn't really matter for them (apart from passing ofc haha)
as for the tips, I'd say actually study throughout these 2 years because honestly I kinda ignored Chemistry and even more Biology in the first year and first term this year, kind of because of the pandemic and how it looked like and also because I focused on Maths as I was struggling with that, and although I did have good grades in both, I have to spend more time on reivision now cause, as I said, I don't remember some of the things/topics.concepts etc. on top of that, try to choose an interesting (or at least easy) topic for your IAs (and that goes for all subjects tbh) so that you'll find it more interesting to write them haha and if you can try to at least start working on them in summer between Y1 and Y2, I did my experiments for Biology and Chemistry IAs in summer and calculated a huge amount of my Maths IA and this was a really good decision (in fact, looking in retrospect, I should have done even more during summer holidays, but yeah)

as for the last question, I was planning to study medicine, I even have two interviews in the following weeks (in the UK), but due to brexit, even if I get in, I probably won't be able to go there (due to the higher fees), I just wanted to challenge myself and not regret not applying later on and I also applied to the Netherlands for medicine (cause as I said, apart from the fact that Polish unis aren't of the best quality, I really just wanted to study abroad for the experience I guess) and I'm also applying to some liberal arts and sciences programmes in the Netherlands where, if I don't go to the medicine programme (or don't get in), I will be able to do a pre-med (and then Master's in medicine) and something else alongside this (or only something else if that's what I decide) as I'm now not that sure if I wanna be a doctor in the end.. but yeah, the main and initial idea was medicine

hope it helps! if you have any more questions, let me know

EDIT: I just read what becausethenight said above and I think I kinda agree with this - UCAT and BMAT are a lot of work imo and even though I managed to get quite a good UCAT score (2750 B2) which was enough for an interview at Glasgow and Barts (and I'm international so the cutoffs and everything are higher than for UK students) and I don't think IB impacted UCAT at all as I took it at the very beginning of IBY2 (literally the first day ahah) so the last 2-3 weeks of August, I could focus on this only BUT
I got a very low score in BMAT (at least for what I was hoping for) and I think it was partially because I took this in November and had many IAs and EE deadlines in this time so I feel like I couldn't revise enough, but then I applied to Imperial and Oxford (ahahah) so, at least for Oxford, I would still have a very low chance of getting an interview even if my score was like 3-4 points higher since it's soo hard for internationals to get there, so it's not like I regret it in any way or anything (especially since I would probably still not get the required score, at least for Oxford, as an international even if I didn't have the deadlines and stuff), but yeah, you might consider that as well while choosing
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rnibu
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(Original post by molloy150)
hey, i just finished doing ib (uk student, graduated in may 2020) and now i’m studying medicine at birmingham university - i would honestly recommend ib! i did a month of a levels before swapping, and i found a levels a bit boring and i really enjoyed the ib subjects. it is definitely a lot of work and a lot of coursework, but if you’re confident you can do it then it’s actually not too bad (so long as you stay on top). i think that doing ib gave me a lot of stuff to speak about in interviews as well, as i could talk about science IAs as further interests and you do a lot of group work so that shows leadership/teamwork. uk unis definitely recognise ib! from my research, they don’t have a preference, they normally ask for at least all 6s in your HLs and a varied number of points overall. i’m really glad i swapped to do ib, i think it’s helped me a lot with my medicine degree now as well (with my work ethic) and you will definitely not be at a disadvantage, as long as your school teaches ib well. if you’ve got any questions - i’m happy to answer them
That's really reassuring, thanks for sending this! Yeah I think the the skills the IB will provide will be really helpful in interviews as you said!

What IB subjects did you take and how did you find them? Do you have any tips for specific subjects or anything in general?
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rnibu
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(Original post by molloy150)
also something else, ib2 students will always say don’t do ib because that’s when all the deadlines are due in, and i said the same last year - but coming out of it i would definitely recommend it!!
haha yeah that's true! I have heard things get really chaotic around November/December time in the second year, especially for medicine since that's when BMAT and UCAT exams take place
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rnibu
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(Original post by becausethenight)
IB is perfectly recognised for medicine so as long as you’ve looked at uni requirements and checked you can meet them, there’s no disadvantage to doing IB. The project work and community involvement aspects may even be helpful at interview.

The most important thing for medicine is getting the grades (GCSE and A level/IB) as well as getting the best UCAT and/or BMAT score you can. There’s no reason you can’t do that with IB but if you feel you’re more likely to with A levels, that’s a compelling reason to do A levels.
Thankyou for this! Yeah I've looked at most unis and seen their IB grade/subject requirements, and chosen my subjects based on those.
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rnibu
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(Original post by VanillaCream)
thank you! hah

well, I think it was quite tough, definitely more than my local programme where people are actually starting to work hard in the 3-4 last months before final exams, while we had to work hard throughout the 2 years, but I'd say it was worth it honestly, I'm glad I chose to do the IB although there were (and still are) times I cried, wanted to give up and hated myself for choosing this hahah but I really liked the programme, especially that it's in English (which is surely not a thing if you're choosing between A levels and IB) because I always wanted to study abroad at uni and thought it'd be a good preparation to study in English in high school, but apart from that, I think the curriculum is much more interesting and I really liked the fact that you could study different subjects (like Biology and Geo or something), cause in our local programme there are only strict combinations of subjects and you can't really mix them, and finally I actually really liked my IAs and EE, found the whole process very interesting, although ofc again I was (and still am haha) complaining while finishing them, but it was nice in the process I guess

when it comes to Biology and Chemistry, they're definitely manageable, from what I know of GCSE curriculum (and I studied from GCSE resources for BMAT this year), they aren't that harder in my opinion, ofc much extended and there are probably some topics that you haven't studied at GCSE, but, well, I don't think they are particularly high - ofc it also depends on person really cause when I started revision now, I realised I don't remember some things from the earlier Chemistry and Bio topics, but again, it's quite natural I guess, since it's a lot of content and revising it isn't that hard in terms of content, more maybe because there are many subjects, so again that depends what your goal would be, I'd say cause there are some people in my class who want to study in Poland at uni where only some subjects are taken into account - so e.g. if they're going to medicine, then they focus on Bio and Chem, a bit on Maths, Polish and English (since they also count towards the 'score' for the uni, but to a smaller extent) and kinda ignore their group 3 subject because it doesn't really matter for them (apart from passing ofc haha)
as for the tips, I'd say actually study throughout these 2 years because honestly I kinda ignored Chemistry and even more Biology in the first year and first term this year, kind of because of the pandemic and how it looked like and also because I focused on Maths as I was struggling with that, and although I did have good grades in both, I have to spend more time on reivision now cause, as I said, I don't remember some of the things/topics.concepts etc. on top of that, try to choose an interesting (or at least easy) topic for your IAs (and that goes for all subjects tbh) so that you'll find it more interesting to write them haha and if you can try to at least start working on them in summer between Y1 and Y2, I did my experiments for Biology and Chemistry IAs in summer and calculated a huge amount of my Maths IA and this was a really good decision (in fact, looking in retrospect, I should have done even more during summer holidays, but yeah)

as for the last question, I was planning to study medicine, I even have two interviews in the following weeks (in the UK), but due to brexit, even if I get in, I probably won't be able to go there (due to the higher fees), I just wanted to challenge myself and not regret not applying later on and I also applied to the Netherlands for medicine (cause as I said, apart from the fact that Polish unis aren't of the best quality, I really just wanted to study abroad for the experience I guess) and I'm also applying to some liberal arts and sciences programmes in the Netherlands where, if I don't go to the medicine programme (or don't get in), I will be able to do a pre-med (and then Master's in medicine) and something else alongside this (or only something else if that's what I decide) as I'm now not that sure if I wanna be a doctor in the end.. but yeah, the main and initial idea was medicine

hope it helps! if you have any more questions, let me know

EDIT: I just read what becausethenight said above and I think I kinda agree with this - UCAT and BMAT are a lot of work imo and even though I managed to get quite a good UCAT score (2750 B2) which was enough for an interview at Glasgow and Barts (and I'm international so the cutoffs and everything are higher than for UK students) and I don't think IB impacted UCAT at all as I took it at the very beginning of IBY2 (literally the first day ahah) so the last 2-3 weeks of August, I could focus on this only BUT
I got a very low score in BMAT (at least for what I was hoping for) and I think it was partially because I took this in November and had many IAs and EE deadlines in this time so I feel like I couldn't revise enough, but then I applied to Imperial and Oxford (ahahah) so, at least for Oxford, I would still have a very low chance of getting an interview even if my score was like 3-4 points higher since it's soo hard for internationals to get there, so it's not like I regret it in any way or anything (especially since I would probably still not get the required score, at least for Oxford, as an international even if I didn't have the deadlines and stuff), but yeah, you might consider that as well while choosing
You've honestly been so helpful, thankyou!!

Yeah I will try and stay consistent in my subjects and keep up with revision as I go through the two years (I say all of this now but I hope I'll actually stick to it haha)

I hope you get all your offers and able to study what you want to + where you want to, you sound really hardworking so you deserve it!

Will let you know if I have any other questions
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molloy150
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(Original post by rnibu)
That's really reassuring, thanks for sending this! Yeah I think the the skills the IB will provide will be really helpful in interviews as you said!

What IB subjects did you take and how did you find them? Do you have any tips for specific subjects or anything in general?
i took bio, chem and geography HL and maths, english and french SL - bio wasn’t too bad it was just a lot of content and i probably found chemistry the hardest out of my HLs (i was never very good at english or french so i didn’t do too well on them) but just keeping on top of the workload and doing your coursework earlier is your best bet
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VanillaCream
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(Original post by molloy150)
i took bio, chem and geography HL and maths, english and french SL - bio wasn’t too bad it was just a lot of content and i probably found chemistry the hardest out of my HLs (i was never very good at english or french so i didn’t do too well on them) but just keeping on top of the workload and doing your coursework earlier is your best bet
hey, if you don't mind me asking what score did you get in the end and do you have any tips for studying for chemistry, especially revising for exams? it's laso my hardest subject and don't know what to do ://
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(Original post by VanillaCream)
hey, if you don't mind me asking what score did you get in the end and do you have any tips for studying for chemistry, especially revising for exams? it's laso my hardest subject and don't know what to do ://
so i got 37 points overall, 7 in bio, 7 in geo and 6 in chem and honestly with chemistry the study guides were really useful for me, the small oxford ones and from that I made flashcards of key things (different types of bonding, organic structures etc) and they helped me to learn them - I didnt actually do the exams though but they helped me to get a 7 in my mock so thats what i used - good luck!
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VanillaCream
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(Original post by molloy150)
so i got 37 points overall, 7 in bio, 7 in geo and 6 in chem and honestly with chemistry the study guides were really useful for me, the small oxford ones and from that I made flashcards of key things (different types of bonding, organic structures etc) and they helped me to learn them - I didnt actually do the exams though but they helped me to get a 7 in my mock so thats what i used - good luck!
thank you! that's a great score, btw, congrats
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rnibu
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(Original post by molloy150)
i took bio, chem and geography HL and maths, english and french SL - bio wasn’t too bad it was just a lot of content and i probably found chemistry the hardest out of my HLs (i was never very good at english or french so i didn’t do too well on them) but just keeping on top of the workload and doing your coursework earlier is your best bet
Thanks for letting me know and well done for your results!

I'm kind of worried about chemistry and biology because I need to back on GCSE topics that I struggled with and make sure I'm completely confident with everything before I start the IB. Other than that, I'm pretty excited
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