Article by: Emmy Nam

IB course selection can be stressful. It is the pivotal moment in one’s high school life that can mold future life decisions. Deciding to take the full IB diploma and what specific courses to take influences what majors students pursue in the future and what colleges they apply to. Now, as students are going through this selection process, it is evident that some courses are notoriously known to be more difficult and time consuming than others.

The most infamously dreaded IB course is HL Mathematics. Many people who take this course must have a focused mindset and truly love the abstractness of math. HL Math is a demanding course that tests one’s academic skills and sanity. According to HL Math student Steve Nam, he “sees more letters and words in the test questions than numbers.” This rumor has caused many sophomores to rethink their choice of taking this course. Mark Winhoffer expressed that he was tremendously scared about taking HL Math, but think it is worth trying. He hears that “HL Math is the Goliath of all IB selection courses” and is a course many people drop out of, “which [he] will probably do.” However, he’s ready to accept the challenge and prove the large crowd of people who have doubts about his mathematical capabilities wrong.

Other subjects that are known to be extremely difficult are HL Physics and HL Chem. Now, if you take all 3 courses, HL Chem, Physics, Math… goodbye social life! Senior Jin Sun Lee believes that HL Physics is a course that if a student is willing to put time and effort in, the enjoyment of learning will be worth the difficulty and time. She states her favorite part of the course is that “HL Physics explores the really big, the really small, and everything in between.” Sophomore Dale Yim shows an interest in taking both HL Physics and HL Chem for future IB courses, so look out for later scientific discoveries by Dale Yim! Not only is he passionate about these sciences, but he also feels that “they will open many doors in the future” for him. However, like any other student, he has his concerns about the workload and confusion between the two sciences.

Some tips gathered from seniors and juniors who take these mentally and emotionally stressful courses are managing time and seeking help from teachers. All these courses become manageable if a student is willing to do a little everyday such as watching video tutorials, solving problems, and looking over the textbook. Over time, many topics will overlap and the connection between everything the student has learned will be clearer. The overarching advice given was to select courses that most interest you, because “you shouldn’t base your life decisions on the advice of people who don’t have to live with the result.”

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