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A DP1 Certified Guide on IB subjects

By Sophia Cintra & the class of 2024



Disclaimer: This is a study based on very shallow and number-based opinions given by students in a general sense. This article aims only to give a general overview of what you may face when starting any of these subjects, something that DP1 students of the class of 2024 would have liked back when we were choosing our paths. Please do not think this article sums up each subject as it shows less than half of what you can expect from each course.


For MYP5 students (Class of 2025) you will be given an opportunity to engage in a one-to-one talk with current DP1 students on May 17th, 2023. I suggest you make the most out of this experience as it will certainly give you more of a personal and true insight into each subject and will help you make the best choices possible for your future courses.


As all St. Francis College students know, as you approach your final two years of school you start the IB diploma. By the end of MYP 5, you are asked to choose 6 subjects, each belonging to a different group, which you will take alongside the three mandatory IB sources: Theory of knowledge, Extended Essay, and CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service). For those of you who are not familiar with the 6 subject groups here is very a brief introduction:



Group 1 & Group 2: Studies in Language and Literature & Language Acquisition

Language or Literature or Literature.

If you choose to do English Lit you automatically choose to do Portuguese Lang & Lit. Essentially, one is more focused on literary pieces while the other also includes an analysis of non-literary text pieces.


Group 3: Individuals and Societies

Business Management, History, Geography, Economics, or Brazilian Social Studies.


Group 4: The Sciences

Biology or Physics

.

Group 5: Mathematics

Mathematics Analysis and Approaches: focus more on the conceptual understanding of Mathematics with a "theoretical-based" approach.

or

Mathematics Applications and Interpretations: focuses more on implementation and "real life" aspects of maths.

The complexity of both courses goes much beyond that so please ask teachers or do further research on each.


Group 6: The Arts + additional subjects

Visual Arts, Music or Theatre

This group also includes Chemistry, French B, and Spanish B, and additional subjects based on the needs of students in a certain year group.


Now that we have a basic understanding of what subjects are available we should know what are the factors that contribute to the decision that one takes when formulating their IB course.

The IB considers three key elements when choosing a subject:

University requirements: Depending on your degree universities are not only expecting you to have taken specific IB subjects but also to have received a minimum grade.

University Recommendations & preferred subjects: Some universities will recommend subjects that will help your future studies or will have subjects that will give you a preference over other candidates.


However, we believe that other factors should be considered:

Subject enjoyability: you are very lucky if you choose to take only the subjects which you really like but certainly this is a factor which will make your days in the IB more enjoyable. Even if it is an important aspect your choices should not be made on this.

Previous performance in this subject: If you are between two subjects that do not impact your entry to university, we suggest you choose the one with a teaching style or structure which you are more familiar with. This will certainly make your life easier.

Tip: Take a look at past papers and the core structure of the course (normally available in the IB official website)


The study:

I've asked the DP1 class of 2024 students to evaluate their opinions on each subject and how hard they believe it to be. This is supposed to only give a brief insight into each course in a more personal approach. Keep in mind that these statistics are based on our year groups and will vary according to other year groups and specifically from student to student. Also, this study does not relate to differences between HL and SL classes and focuses more on the core topics and the essence of each course.


Group 1 English:

English Literature & English Language and Literature

Q1. How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to grade achievement (one being very easy and 5 being very hard)

A1. Both English classes were rated the same, with the majority of students rating the difficulty a ⅘


Q2 . How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to class comprehensibility

A1. Both classes were practically the same but English Language and Literature has more students rating it a higher difficulty: ⅗


Q3. From 1-5 rate, how much effort do you have to put into this class

A3. 50% of students taking English Language and Literature rated their effort a ⅘ compared to the 33% of students in English Literature who gave the question the same score.


Q4. How many weekly hours on average do you spend studying, revising or doing homework

A4. The majority of students from both classes spend 0-2 hours weekly


Q5. What are the best resources for this subject? The ones you spend more time with when studying.

A5. Both subjects collected the same data:

Most used: Class Time

Second place: Revising notes

Third place: Past papers

Key Takeaways:

  1. Disconsidering HL and SL differences, Both subjects are very similar in relation to difficulty and time consumption. However, HL will read more literary or non-literary texts and will have more texts to analyse in one exam.

  2. It truly depends on what types of texts you enjoy reading and analysing in English rather than in Portuguese.


Group 2 Portuguese:

Q1. How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to grade achievement (one being very easy and 5 being very hard)

A1. The majority of students in both classes rated the difficulty in relation to grades a ⅘


Q2 . How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to class comprehensibility

A2. A good portion of students in both classes rated this a ⅗ . However, many students in Portuguese Literature also rated this question a 5/5


Q3. From 1-5 rate how much effort you have to put into this class

A3. An equal amount of students in both courses dated the amount of effort 3+ with scores ranging from ⅗ to 5/5


Q4. How many weekly hours on average do you spend studying, revising or doing homework

A4. The majority of students in both subjects said they spend 2-4 hours weekly


Q5. What are the best resources for this subject? The ones you spend more time with when studying.

A5. Both subjects collected the same data:

Most used: Class Time

Second place: Revising notes

Third place: Past papers


Group 3 Individuals and Societies


Q1. How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to grade achievement (one being very easy and 5 being very hard)

A1. History was rated the most difficult subject in relation to grades with 100% rating it a 5/5 followed by Geography with a majority rating of ⅘ . Next came Economics and Business Management.


Q2 . How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to class comprehensibility

A2. History was rated the most difficult in relation to comprehensibility with 100% of students rating it a ⅘ followed by Geography where an equal amount of students rates difficulty between a 2-5/5. Economics and Business Management came tied for third place.


Q3. From 1-5 rate how much effort you have to put into this class

A3. 67% of Geography students said they need to put in 5/5 effort into this subject. Next came History with 50% of students saying they need to put in 5/5 effort for this class. Third came Business and lastly Economics.



Q4. How many weekly hours on average do you spend studying, revising, or doing homework

A4. In History, Most students spend 0-2 hours per week studying this subject. However, a good portion also said they spend 4-6 hours weekly. Geography's majority of students (67%) said they spend 2-4 hours weekly. For business, 57% said they spend 0-2 hours weekly. Lastly, for Economics a tie between students who spend 0-2 hours and 2-4 hours.


Q5. What are the best resources for this subject? The ones you spend more time with when studying.

A5:

Business Management: 1st: Kognity reading, 2nd: Revising notes, 3rd: Class time

Economics: 1st: Revising notes, 2nd: Kognity reading, 3rd: Kognity questions

History: 1st: Revising notes, 2nd: Kognity reading, 3rd: Class time

Geography: 1st: Class time, 2nd:Revising notes, 3rd: Past Papers


Group 4 Science


Q1. How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to grade achievement (one being very easy and 5 being very hard)

A1. The majority of students who take physics rate these classes in difficulty in relation to grades a 5/5. The majority of students in biology tied in ratings of ⅖ and 5/5


Q2 . How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to class comprehensibility

A2. The majority of students in Physics (43%) answered a ⅘, while the majority in Biology (40%) answered ⅗


Q3. From 1-5 rate how much effort you have to put into this class

A3. Both classes had a rating of 5/5 for this question with 57% of physics students and 53% of Biology students giving this rating.


Q4. How many weekly hours on average do you spend studying, revising or doing homework

A4. The majority of students in physics said they spend 4-6 hours per week studying this subject. However, 14% also said they spend more than 6 hours. In biology, 53% of students said they spend 2-4 hours weekly and 7% said they spend more than 6 hours.


Q5. What are the best resources for this subject? The ones you spend more time with when studying.

A5:

Biology: 1st: Kognity reading, 2nd Kognity questions, 3rd Revising notes

Physics: 1st: tied at Kognity reading and questions, 2nd Past papers, 3rd ECA or extra tutoring


Group 5 Mathematics

Q1. How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to grade achievement (one being very easy and 5 being very hard)

A1. Half of the students taking Mathematics Analysis and Approaches believe this class to be a ⅗ in difficulties relating to the grade scale. In maths Applications and Interpretations, the most popular rating was a ⅘ with a 33% of students voting.


Q2 . How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to class comprehensibility

A2. 63% of students taking Maths AA rated this class for this category a ⅘ while the majority of students in Maths AI (29%) rated it a ⅗ .


Q3. From 1-5 rate how much effort you have to put into this class

A3. Both classes had similar results. In Maths AA and Maths AI a tie occurred between ratings of ⅘ and 5/5.


Q4. How many weekly hours on average do you spend studying, revising or doing homework

A4. The majority of students in both classes believe they spend 0-2 hours per week studying these subjects. In Maths AA the highest number of hours was 6+, with 12,5% students. In Maths AI the highest was 4-6 hours


Q5. What are the best resources for this subject? The ones you spend more time with when studying.

A5:

Maths AA: 1st place: past papers, 2nd: Kognity questions, 3rd: Revising notes

Maths AI: 1st place: Revising notes, 2nd: Past papers, 3rd: Kognity questions


Group 6 The Arts, Chemistry, Languages B

*No students in the class of 2024 takes theatre

This group contains several subjects across different areas, therefore we should look into each subject individually and in less of a comparative view.


Q1. How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to grade achievement (one being very easy and 5 being very hard)

A1. For Chemistry, the majority vote was 55% of students rating this class a ⅘ in difficulty relating to grade achievement. In Visual Arts, 50% of students rated a 5/5. A tie occurred in music with 50% rating the class difficulty a ⅘ and 50% rating it a ⅗ . For the languages, French B had a majority vote of 60% rating it a ⅗ while in Spanish B 50% of students believe it to be a ⅕ .


Q2 . How hard do you believe this class to be on a scale from 1-5 in relation to class comprehensibility

A2. A tie occurred in Chemistry where 33% of students rated this class's difficulty a ⅗ and a ⅘ . Also, In Visual Arts, another tie was seen as the class was divided between a ⅕ rating and a ⅗ rating. In music, 100% of students believe it to be a ⅗ in difficulty level. The majority vote in French B was a ⅗ and in Spanish B a ⅕ .


Q3. From 1-5 rate how much effort you have to put into this class

A3. In Chemistry, 55% of students rated their efforts a 5/5. In Visual Arts a tie between ⅗ and ⅘ while in Music a tie between ⅗ and 5/5. In the languages, French B also yielded a tie between ⅘ and 5/5 ratings while the majority vote for Spanish was a ⅖ with 75% of student's votes.


Q4. How many weekly hours on average do you spend studying, revising, or doing homework

A4. The majority of Chemistry students, 55%, believe that they spend 2-4 hours per week. In Visual Arts, 50% believe they also spend 2-4 hours weekly. Music is tied between 2-4 hours and 4-6 hours. In French B 100% believe they spend 0-2 hours, whilst in Spanish B 75% believe they spend 2-4 hours as well.


Q5. What are the best resources for this subject? The ones you spend more time with when studying.

A5:

Chemistry: 1st: Revising notes, 2nd: Kognity reading, 3rd: Korginity questions and past papers

Visual Arts: Class time.

Music: Class time and further researching

French: 1st: revising notes, 2nd: Class time, 3rd: Past papers

Spanish: Revising notes and Past papers


These are a lot of basic statistics taken by questionnaires sent to DP1 students. Again, it is essential for you to look into course components and not base your choices on what you believe to be the easiest. However, having prior knowledge of what you may face can be very helpful and something we wish we knew. Moreover, please also consider differences between HL and SL in each subject as different subjects will have different variability between both levels. This goes specifically for subjects in groups 3, 4, 5, and Chemistry although it is an important factor around the entire course.


Once again, students in MYP 5, on the 17th of May you will have a great opportunity to talk to DP1 students face to face. Make the most out of this opportunity. If you have any questions about this event you can contact beatriz.Saliba.2024@pupil.stfrancis.com.br.


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