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A Guide to Selecting IB Subjects

As the Falcons approach the subject selection period for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year, it’s crucial for IB students to keep an eye out for the best academic combinations given the numerous options available. With so many options to choose from, selecting classes may be overwhelming. Subject selection opened for submissions on February 21st and will close on March 1st.

International Baccalaureate students are expected to undergo a more academically rigorous program. Thus, students must review all potential subject combinations and plan them out with their counselor to ensure that their choices align with the student’s future academic and career aspirations. Not everyone can handle the intensity of Advanced Placement (AP) classes, and some may not require them for their college major. Time management and other individual skills also come into play when selecting a student’s lineup of classes for the next year to ensure emotional well-being and mental stability.

The IB program provides a standardized curriculum in core subjects, which the organization divides into six subject groups: Studies in language and literature, language acquisition, individuals and societies, sciences, mathematics, and arts.

The majority of classes offered by the IB are available in two levels: standard and high. Standard Level (SL) classes cover the entirety of the standard curriculum without extending to additional content. On the other hand, High Level (HL) classes delve deeper into the curriculum, exploring additional content.

Ferguson students must take at least 3 SL and 3 HL classes. This requirement allows students to leverage their knowledge in the subjects offered to enhance their learning process. Most importantly, many colleges recognize IB classes, often awarding credits that allow students to bypass courses they’ve already covered in the IB program, saving both time and tuition costs. Students can find the amount of credits they can receive for their effort by looking up their desired college’s credit policy online.

The availability of classes for IB students is highly dependent on the courses they are currently taking. This is because certain courses may discuss concepts that are also covered in other advanced subjects. For example, scientific notation, which plays an important role in Chemistry, may not be properly understood if not studied alongside Algebra II. Thus, students may be unable to take a specific class unless they fulfill the prerequisite courses.

Starting this year, there is a new option available for native Spanish speakers in the Studies in Language and Literature subject group. Spanish A will allow Spanish speakers to treat their native language as the primary language for analysis, similar to English A, where only English is used. This addition comes after English A had been the only option since the implementation of the IB program at Ferguson.

Students who want to study a secondary language such as Spanish B, Italian B, or French B are required to complete previous levels of the language they wish to study before enrolling in an IB class. It’s important to note that once students have enrolled in a particular language course, they cannot switch to a different one.Students who want to study a secondary language such as Spanish B, Italian B, or French B are required to complete previous levels of the language they wish to study before enrolling in an IB class. It’s important to note that once students have enrolled in a particular language course, they cannot switch to a different one.

Math is officially part of the IB curriculum during a student’s Junior or Senior year. Before that, students must pass classes required by Miami-Dade County such as Geometry and both Algebra levels. IB offers math courses in two categories: Analysis and Applications. Ms. Graham, Ferguson’s IB coordinator, ensures that these courses cover very similar content. As a result, students can only choose one math course from these options.

The science subject group has a complex progression layout. This is because 9th-grade students currently taking Chemistry, due to their advanced progression, find themselves with drastically different options compared to their peers. Option limitations for students currently taking environmental science alongside Geometry also exist. Overall, prerequisites for subjects in this group are far too complex and must reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Social studies are part of the Individuals and Societies subject group. At Ferguson, it is available through Advanced Placement classes, starting with AP Human Geography during freshman year, continuing with AP World History in sophomore year, and concluding with either Business Management, psychology, or World Religions as a choice for juniors and seniors.

Electives are also an offering by the IB and include arts such as dance, film, and theatre. However, students who are not interested in partaking in any of the fields mentioned above can also supplement that slot in their subject selection with an additional Language acquisition class or another elective subject to approval such as the newly introduced IB Business Management class.

However, to complete the IB program at Ferguson, additional requirements must be met. This includes the creativity, activity, and service project – also known as CAS, the extended essay (EE), and the mandatory Theory of Knowledge (TOK) elective.

Overall, IB students have to meticulously think about their choices, as they will play an important role in their academic future later on. It is heavily encouraged that students reach out to their counselor and their teachers to further discuss what would work for them best based on their performance, and interpersonal skills. For any questions or doubts, please reach out to your subject teachers, IB Coordinator Ms. Graham, or IB Counselor Ms. Enriquez.

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