IB Subject Stereotypes

Article by Richa Shah

The IB is an academically challenging program offered to over a million high school students across the world. The program provides students with course options from six different groups, each consisting of at least four to five subjects with varying intensity levels. The downside to this, however, is the fact that students encounter numerous stereotypes no matter what the subject is. Furthermore, underclassmen also get to hear about these cliches during their IB course selection period, which does not only intimidate them but also affects their course choices. Therefore, in order to crush some of these clichés, a few IB students were asked about some of their classes and the stereotypes that they have come across.

Junior David Z., shared his thoughts on his HL subjects, saying “my HLs are Math, Physics, Chemistry, and Economics, and people still tell me that 4 HLs is ‘death,’. But it’s only been a month since we started IB, so I really hope that everything works out well.” When questioned about the clichés associated with his selected subjects, he admitted that he considered them at first but, fortunately, did not let them get in his way. “I valued learning more so I decided to go for it,” he says.

Similar to David, senior Pranay S. is an HL Physics and Chemistry student, and he thinks that the stereotype of Higher Level Chemistry being the most difficult subject in the science department holds no truth. “HL Chemistry is all about understanding. I feel like you’ll be able to understand the topics if you remain focused,” he says.

Junior Alex L. spoke highly about the Fine Arts subjects that fall under Group 6. “What drove me to take Film as one of my HLs was my experience in film class last year. I found it quite challenging because it required a lot of creative thinking, but that is also why I enjoyed it,” she says. Luckily, the increasing value of Fine Arts at ISM is impacting more and more course decisions throughout high school.

Miyalin S., a junior taking IB Math Studies, talked about the benefits of the course despite its reputation of being the most ‘chill’ math subject in the department. “I decided to do Studies because it is fit for me, and it is the type of math that I like.” When asked about how other people view the course, she said that they tend to underestimate it a lot. “People think that you can easily get good grades in Studies, but actually it is a class where you’re given enough time to progress as a learner,” Miyalin explains.

With all these stereotypes floating around, it is important to prioritize your skill set and interests. The IB is a rigorous two-year program, so be sure to select the courses that you are truly passionate about and that will make the last two years of high school more enjoyable and memorable!