If you’re reading this you’re probably starting the IB next year and facing the extremely hard step of choosing your IB subjects. It’s difficult to know what subjects to take if you don’t have much information on them! Our elite graduates at Lanterna have thought about how to choose your IB subjects and these are the 3 main tips that they agree upon. Follow these 3 tips and you’re on the path to picking the right IB subjects for you!

Tip #1: Think Ahead

The biggest mistake that a student can make when choosing their courses is being unaware of how their IB subjects may affect their future opportunities. Typically, universities will not only require you to get a certain number of points in the IB diploma in order to be accepted, but they also have requirements on which courses you’ve taken – especially if you’re going into a specialized field such as medicine, mathematics, economics, or engineering. The best thing you can do is go to the website of certain universities that you might consider applying to and checking if they have particular entry requirements for the courses you find appealing. If you’re applying to the UK this is made even easier by UCAS! This will give you all the information you need about the entry requirements for each university, so you don’t end up closing any doors before you’ve started the IB. 

Even if you are not 100% sure what you’d like to do post-IB (none of us really were either), try having a browse of some of the courses you could potentially be interested in. It would be such a shame if you can’t go to your dream school or dream course because you didn’t do your research before starting the IB! Don’t be that person! 

Tip #2: How to choose your HL’s and SL’s

The difference between higher level and standard level courses in the IB are quite stark. HL’s are significantly more difficult and you’ll be spending much more time on them in order to get high grades. As such, you need to ENJOY the higher level courses you select. Don’t blindly choose higher levels based on what you think is most ‘prestigious’, as this will no doubt lead you down a path you don’t want to go down. There is no way you’ll get anywhere close to a 7 in a subject that you don’t have any passion for. So, while considering future options for university is key, you need to make sure that you’re choosing HL courses that you’ll be fine with spending A LOT of time on. 

If you feel like you’re being pressured by parents, teachers, or peers to take a particular course because it’s a ‘good’ course to take, make sure that if you select it you’re doing it for the right reason. After all, you’re the one who’ll be spending 2 years studying that subject so don’t choose HL Maths or HL Physics just because mom and dad say so, ensure that it’s something that YOU want to do.

Tip #3: Check out the Syllabi!

But what if you want to be extra sure that the subjects you’re thinking of choosing are actually up your street? In that case, check out the syllabi! A syllabus is basically a road map that the IB provides their students. It tells us the content we will be asked to cover and understand over the diploma program. These are free to access and are easily findable online. Download them and have a flick through. This process will help you identify whether the concepts are going to interest you and thus whether choosing that subject is for you. Looking at these is also a cheeky way of getting a head-start…why not check out some of those concepts that you’ll be exploring over the next two years!

Want to find out how to get even further ahead? Click here to download our starting DP1 guide!

So there we have it, three top tips for how to choose your IB subjects. Need some more advice before you start? We’ve got lots of super useful free guides you can download here. Moreover, if you’re an IGCSE student needing some support, click here to find out more about the online tuition we offer!

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