Everything In Store: Insight on Courses From Students and Teachers

Written by: Sara

Edited by: Ines 

Visuals by: Kahyun 

ATTENTION FRESHMEN AND SOPHOMORES: Course selection is approaching! As many of you already know, after Monday’s advisory on February 13th, you will have completed a form that will dictate your schedule for the upcoming year or years. 

If you’re a freshman, the boxes you tick this year will determine your science, social study, language, PE, and elective; In other words, all subjects besides math and english. If you’re a sophomore, the courses you choose will determine each individual class that will populate your schedule for the next two years. 

When stated plainly, the course selection process can seem quite intimidating, daunting even. Luckily for you, BT has put together a comprehensive collection of insights from students and teachers of the 14 most popular courses ISM has to offer.


“What I like about the course is that the range of topics are appropriate for general knowledge about biology but they also are good foundations for those continuing on to IB Biology. Since the G10 Biology class concludes with an inquiry experiment and lab paper (instead of a traditional exam or final), these students will find the process of the IA easier no matter if they take IB Bio, Chem or Physics.” – Mr Roth-Vinson, Grade 10 Biology Teacher

“Biology in the Higher Level is a challenging course as it revolves around difficult biology concepts and tests your memorization skills. A great conceptual understanding is imperative, while also studying new terminology. It may overlap with biology topics from the year before, but in HL, it delves much deeper in the intricacies in topics.– Asato, Grade 11 IB Biology HL student.


Ms Vinter, one of our Chemistry teachers, has kindly given us a summary of what the course outline is like for G10 Chemistry and for IB SL Chemistry.

G10 Chemistry

“You should take this course if you enjoyed the challenge of G9 Chemistry, first and foremost! It’s all about problem solving and pattern finding, and there are a LOT of experiments to help with the learning. It’s a practical course that is certainly challenging, but also fun! G10 Chemistry gives you a good foundation of Chemistry knowledge that makes your transition to IB Chemistry much easier. If you are considering HL Chemistry then you would certainly want to have completed the G10 Chemistry year.”

G11/12 SL Chemistry

“This course is for students who perhaps enjoyed chemistry at G9 or 10 and want to continue their understanding of the subject. You might have done G10 Chem and simply want to continue furthering your knowledge. Perhaps you need some Chemistry background for the University course you are considering but don’t want the heavier load of HL Chemistry. SL Chemistry caters to a range of abilities and interests and is taught at a more manageable pace when compared to HL Chemistry.”


“Physics is the most fundamental science.” said Mr. Onur, one of ISM’s IB Physics Teachers, “HL Physics students also have the privilege of exploring mind-blowing ideas like quantum tunneling, which makes touch-screen technology on our phones and tablets possible. You will definitely become a strong analytical thinker with careful eyes not only in the field of science but in any situation that requires analysis. I have former students who got jobs in the finance sector along with others who have become scientists and engineers after studying Physics related courses at university, because they have the ability to analyze any system!” 

“Physics is a great subject to take if you plan to do physics in IB or any related stem field in the future. It trains your problem solving skills and leaves little room for elaborate or non concise answers, something a lot of people will appreciate– Mika, Grade 10 Physics Student

“If you have any sort of interest whatsoever in going into STEM in the future, physics would be really useful. It’s also pretty accessible, and it’s not necessary to be in HL math or anything. The course does have a lot of theory involved, so by the end of it you’ll have a solid theoretical knowledge of how the world works, but there’s also a fair amount of experimental work that’ll help you build practical experience!”- Kushaal, Grade 12 IB Physics Student

Sports Science:

Mr Pearce, our one and only Sports Science teacher has given us a brief explanation of what is expected in Sports Science and what kind of students might want to join this course. He says “Sports Science is for students who have an extended interest towards Sports Science, wants to learn more about health to have a healthier lifestyle and for those who have to take a science for the full IB, but are not too interested in taking other science courses.” 

“If you love sports in general or don’t know which science course to take. I think IB Sports Science enables students to open up an eye on how sports actually work rather than superficially watching or playing sports as crucial principles from biology and physics and how they account for the motions in sports are taught.” – Soomin, Grade 11 Sports Science Student 

Environmental Systems and Societies:

“I’m taking this course so that I could have a lot of social science courses which are useful for my university major that I plan to apply for. This is a great course for people who prefer not to take conventional science, are particularly interested in social sciences, or are passionate about the environment. In this course, we cover a lot about how the world’s ecosystems and biospheres work, as well as steps that can be taken to prevent, assess, and manage damage to it.– Alex, Grade 11 IB Environmental Systems and Societies Student

AP US History (APUSH):

“APUSH is a really content heavy subject and requires a lot of memorization and application. You are expected to be able to write an essay about events in a certain time frame and their significance to many aspects of the country like economic, cultural and political. I recommend it if you’re really passionate about history and want a little bit of background on how the American economy developed.– Sofi, Grade 10 APUSH Student

Business Management:

Mr Kramer, one of the Business Management (BM) teachers, commented that “Whether you want to be an activist, politician, engineer or doctor, you will be part of an organization at some point (or you’ll be an entrepreneur and start your own organization) BM is all about how organizations make decisions, which are influenced by internal and external factors, and how these decisions impact a range of stakeholders. In other words, this course is extremely practical and easy to apply to the real world. The outcome of the course is to produce critical thinkers who are able to evaluate how business decisions affect a range of stakeholders to foster an informed understanding of ethical and sustainable business practices and finally, to develop confident, creative and compassionate business leaders, entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs as change agents in society.”

“This course sets you up very nicely for a career in business if you wish to pursue one. You gain very important skills needed, and the critical thinking and case study analysis skills that you develop from the IB curriculum gives you a head-start if you want to major in Business at university.– Teo, Grade 12 Business Management student


Mr Winters, one of the Economics Teachers, shared that “Economics is looked at by many universities to be one of the best social studies courses to take in high school. Economics helps you learn critical thinking and a logical way to be successful in other academic courses, the business world, and life.” 

“I feel the skills taught in Economics are very practical and beneficial in the future as it allows us to understand the economic markets around the world. We experience the topics taught to us in Economics in our day to day lives without realizing and I feel the more knowledge of how it works and why it works grants us the ability to take advantage and be successful in the future. Additionally, many careers and job opportunities require knowledge about Economics so starting this course as early as highschool helpful.” – Luca, Grade 11 Economics Student 


“Geography has been one of my favorite classes. The course does not move too fast nor too slow and the content is very interesting. I always feel like I have come out of them having learnt at least one new piece of information. There are many reasons to choose IB Geography but I really think that it opens up your mind to the world and that you will learn a lot of valuable information about the world which you can take on to many jobs in the future.” – Fallon, Grade 11 Geography Student

Global Politics:

Mr Hefte, one of the Global Politics teachers, explains that “Students should take this course if they are interested in what is happening around the world today and more specifically, why it is happening.  There are four units taught, Power and Sovereignty, Peace and Conflict, Development, and Human Rights. More specifically, each one of those units will describe how states and non-state actors factor those ideas into their decision-making process.”

 “Global politics has allowed me to explore these world events with an intellectual perspective. I think it’s important to not only know what is going on in the world, but to also understand why these things happen and the patterns that world events follow. The outcomes are that you should end up being more prepared to analyze different world events and understand the perspectives and background differences of other cultures. You also will come out with greater world knowledge in general which can help you in everyday life.”- Connor, Grade 11 Global Politics Student 


“History, so far, has been a fun class with a great teacher. Throughout all my years at ISM, we’ve only studied a limited range of topics in past history classes – typically World War one and two with a focus on the European theater. Taking IB History allowed us students to study an alternate perspective: the Pacific theater. We’ve studied the Sino-Japanese wars, Japanese militarism and expansionism, the invasion of Manchuria, and political instability in China amongst other topics. Taking IB History is a great way to learn about this other side of history that we’ve never really been able to learn about in class.– Bea, Grade 11 History Student

Another History course offered at ISM for Sophomores is Philippine History. Mr. Rey, ISM’s favorite Philippine History Teacher, says, “It’s fun! You get to better understand the history, culture, and tradition of the host country. Meaning, why do Filipinos think and act the way they do? The exciting part about the course is you will not just know the history of the host country, but you will also know your one family history, side by side with what’s going on in the country!” 


“ Psychology for me is a great course because it bridges the gap between science and conceptual understanding. I took mostly stem courses, it has been really great to be able to learn about the intricate details (biology of the brain) and then branch out to see the big picture.– Denise, Grade 11 Student

Design Technology:

“Overworking is required to get a high grade. You will most likely never finish your work within class time, but it is enjoyable and fun to create objects such as chairs, desktop organizers, magnets, tables (basically anything you want to make!) that can be used in our daily lives using technology” – Miyu, Grade 10 Design Technology Student


“The reason I love film class so much is that it’s the only class that I do the work in but I don’t feel like I’m doing it for a grade. We learn a lot about how to create films and the different aspects of how one is made, but we also learn about how to discuss films and how to work with people, and to be able to give good feedback and to work well with other people.-  Samuel, Grade 10 Film Student

Mr Paulson, a Grade 9/10 counselor, recommends students to choose courses based on their interests, what they are good at, and their hopes and plans for the future. He also mentioned that it is best to use the resources that are surrounding you. “Go talk to your teacher as they are experts on their subjects, counselors, and discuss your plans with family.” 

Though these are decisions that must be made with your careful consideration as they route your forthcoming years of high school, do not feel as though the choices you make in two weeks are set in stone; They are not. 

For more information, reach out to your homeroom advisor, guidance counselor, or any one of the all-knowing members of HS Counseling.

Eric Swan, Program Leader: swane@ismanila.org 

Rebecca Mayo, Grade 11/12: mayor@ismanila.org 

Trevor Sturgeon, Grade 11/12: sturgeont@ismanila.org

Cerise Roth-Vinson, Grade 11/12: rothvinsonc@ismanila.org

Jessica Lee, Grade 11/12: leesooh@ismanila.org 

Alexandra Berry, Grade 9/10: berryal@ismanila.org

Ben Paulson, Grade 9/10: paulsonb@ismanila.org

Patrick Hillman, IB/AP Coordinator: hillmanp@ismanila.org