IB subjects and grades to get accepted

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by WK738, Jan 10, 2013.

  1. WK738

    WK738 New Member

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    I'm in a full IB school and in 10th grade. If I do Math SL, will I get accepted if I get a 6 or 7, or am I required to do Math HL? Are there also any suggestions for what subjects I should take for IB? So far I have made the decision to do English lang lit for SL, Dutch for SL, ITGS HL and Physics HL. I left out 1 SL and 1 HL subject depending on if I will do Math HL or SL and then I will add another subject. However, if anyone has better suggestions for me, please do inform me! Thanks in advance!

    P.S. If I take Math HL, I will probably take Chemistry SL. If I take Math SL, I have no clue what I will do for the extra HL, but I'll figure it out.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2013
  2. billyb

    billyb Member

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    I would take either Math or Chemistry HL (or both HL if you can). Been a long time since I was in IB, but those are 2 of the most demanding "general" courses at an academy. The more proficient you are in them before you get there the better off you will be.
     
  3. WK738

    WK738 New Member

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    But are there minimum requirements? Will I not be considered if I take Math SL? Thanks for answering btw.
     
  4. USCGA2017hopeful

    USCGA2017hopeful Member

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    Many Academy admissions officers have cringed at my response to the math courses I am taking in IB. They like to see candidates taking calculus, or at least pre-calc, and either physics, chemistry, or both. My friend even believes she got wait listed at CGA because she is in Math Studies SL with only a "Intro to Calculus" course.

    I recommend taking the courses you are comfortable in making a good grade in. If you take HL math and you fail it, it can be worse than taking Math Studies or SL in the beginning. My personal recommendation, as an IB senior, is to take math SL, unless you are really good at math and you know you can handle HL math.

    If you really wanted to prepare for the academies fully, you could do a double science and replace your HL ITGS elective. This would give you a more science/math based transcript. The golden rule in selecting your classes is to make sure that you can keep up with the course curriculum and work load. Challenge yourself, but be realistic in what you can accomplish. Even though you can drop down a level and shift your classes later, it is better to select them and stick with them through the program.

    I don't believe the academies take IB and AP credits, so there are no "minimum requirements". At least that's how it is at CGA. IB ensures you meet the minimum reqs for graduation and college preparation. I may be wrong, but I think this is how it is.

    Additionally, some basic IB class advice, I recommend taking HL english. There is very little difference in SL and HL in the requirements and the pass rate is VERY high(98.9% at my school).
     
  5. WK738

    WK738 New Member

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    Ok thank you for the advice. I am still going to think about it and see what I will choose when the time comes.
     
  6. billyb

    billyb Member

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    If you can't handle IB HL math then you might really want to think if an academy is the right place for you. No matter what your major, the math is very hard. I opted for IB SL math and I am 100% confident that not taking HL math hurt me in my math and science courses at USMA.
     
  7. USCGA2017hopeful

    USCGA2017hopeful Member

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    That is false. I had extremely horrible math teachers for the first 2 1/2 years of high school. Though I could get by in the class, I felt I was behind in learning material necessary for math HL. Now, I have a better teacher and things are better, but I wasn't prepared for it at that time. Though the academies have rigorous courses, I do not believe you HAVE to take HL math to be prepared for an academy. Out of over 100 people in my IB class, 12 are in HL. That is a very small amount. I think everyone else will be fine. Especially those in SL going to Ivy Leagues next fall.
     
  8. Dad

    Dad Member

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    12% in HL sounds about right. Remember that USAFA is known as "the little engineering school in the Rockies". You want to take the toughest classes, especially math (as everyone takes Calculus), you can take and still perform well. If you are saying that you are not in the top 12% of your class, then I hope your school is ranked very high nationally. You may be hurting yourself by not going for the HL. The admissions board considers what courses you have taken compared to what is offered. Can a cadet from Math SL make the Dean's List at the Academy? For sure. Is taking Math HL a guarantee of an Appointment. Certainly not.

    The advice offered to you is not to condemn you, but to offer you insight that you may have not considered. The people on these forums are here to encourage and educate those new to the process. billyb was simply suggesting that you re-think your position on Math SL vs. Math HL. He offered his firsthand observation. You might want to actually listen to the voice of someone who has "been there, done that" at an intense school like USMA instead of dismissing them with a "That is false." statement. Just saying.

    Best wishes for your success which ever math you take. :thumb:
     
  9. USCGA2017hopeful

    USCGA2017hopeful Member

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    I was simply stating that the statement saying "If you are not in HL Math, you will not survive at an academy" was generalized and could be taken as a discouragement to apply or attend an academy. Plenty of people who didn't take Math HL are extremely well off at academies. Are HL Math students better prepared? Of course. I am just saying that just because you don't take HL, it doesn't mean you won't survive the rigorous academics at an academy.

    What I am trying to say is it is always good to challenge yourself, but if you choose a class that is too difficult for you and you receive poor grades in it, then it will most likely hurt you more than if you took a lower level class(SL or Studs) that you can succeed in.

    Also, yes my school is extremely competitive, as are most IB schools, and I am in the top 12%. It all depends on what your strengths are and what classes you take. Even if you want to take HL Math, that is one less HL that you can have. Now you have only two spots to choose, one, likely going to a science. Picking your classes is extremely important as you are required to get at least a 4 on all HL classes and score at least 12 points total. Otherwise, you will need to receive a total of 28 points, instead of 24 to get the IB Diploma. That is why I always recommend you take the classes you are most confident in. In IB, it's all about the end result of that diploma. I didn't mean for the post to come off brash, but I only post my true recommended advice to other users, and I usually do not post without true knowledge or experience.
     
  10. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Just a reminder, the IB PROGRAM as well as AP classes, are looked upon very favorably by the academies. Matter of fact, they are looked upon quite favorably by most colleges/universities. I know MANY big name prestigious schools, that in the application, right after your name and personal information, the first 3 questions are:

    1. Were IB and/or AP classes available to you at your school?
    2. If available, did you take IB and/or AP classes?
    3. If available, and you did not take them, why?

    Of course, some take individual IB classes, just like some take individual AP classes. That's up to your school on whether it's allowed or not. But those who are actually in the "IB PROGRAM" definitely have an edge. Basically, all classes in the IB PROGRAM are at a higher level than the school's mandatory minimum classes. And AP classes are individual, so some classes on your schedule are higher (AP), while some are the traditional school classes. The academies, and higher end prestigious universities, want to see you taking the most challenging classes available to you. Obviously, if you're in the IB program, you are taking about the most challenging curriculum that you can. Matter of fact; except for the average of 2 electives that you can have, unless you took AP classes as your electives, you couldn't get much more challenging. The IB program is already laid out on which classes you'll take as a minimum.

    Now; will math studies suffice for the academy. It can. It's obviously not as good as HL IB Math. But it depends on what the rest of your classes and grades look like. Some take the IB program, but they aren't trying to get the IB diploma. That's where some kids screw up. In order to get the diploma, you must take and pass, along with tests, a certain level of HL. Some schools actually run an IB program intent on getting an IB diploma; while some others offer the IB Classes and program for kids to take more like AP classes. But the truth is, a 3.75 GPA in the IB PROGRAM is better than a 4.0gpa in school district minimum required courses.

    This is why the school profile is requested by the academy. They want to know if the 4.0gpa minimum standard class kid is getting a class rank of #1 or Tied for #1 with the kid who has a 4.0gpa in the IB PROGRAM or who has ALL AP classes.

    And remember too; the GREAT EQUALIZER!!! Because only a small percentage of high schools offer the IB program; and not all schools offer ALL possible AP classes; the great equalizer are your ACT and SAT scores. "Please, don't talk about not being a good standardized test taker". That's a different subject and something you have to deal with. But those ACT and/or SAT scores carry more weight academically than most everything else. Even with knowing the school profile, it's hard for the academy to tell if your 3.9-4.0gpa is because your school is "EASY" or because you're uber smart. But if they see you have a 3.9-4.0gpa in IB or all AP classes, and your composite ACT score is 31+ or SAT total is 2100+, then they are pretty confident that you're going to do quite well academically.

    In a nut shell, I've seen 3.6gpa students with a 31+ACT/2000+SAT stand a better chance of an appointment than a 3.8gpa with 25-26ACT / 1800 SAT. So, if you're concerned because you took math studies instead of HL IB Math; then relax. All you have to do is make up for it with your ACT and/or SAT scores. Now; if you're going to have a 25 ACT composite and think you're in good shape because you've met the "Minimum Standards" for the academy, you've got another thing coming. Not that you can't get an appointment with a 25-26ACT. You can. But most of the applicants in the country are going to do better than that. The AVERAGE ACT composite when combining ALL cadets at the academy, is a 29 ACT. The average GPA of ALL the cadets when they came from high school is 3.86. So forget about "Minimum Standards". The only time minimum standards mean anything or apply is when you walk on water in ALL other areas, and the "Minimum Standard" is in 1 area. Then you can get away with having the minimum standard in something. But for the 1000-1200 average cadets entering the academy, "Minimum Standards" is a moot point.

    Here are the REAL AVERAGES of those entering the air force academy.
    CFA: (MEN) AVERAGE:
    Basketball throw: 67 feet
    Pullups: 11
    Shuttle Run: 8.9 sec
    Situps: 80
    Push ups: 60
    1 mile run: 6:40

    Academics:
    ACT English: 30
    ACT Reading: 30
    ACT Math: 30
    ACT Science/Reasoning: 29
    SAT Verbal: 639
    SAT Math: 664

    And while we're at it, 83% of all cadets were varsity letter athletes. 15% were class officers in high school. 12% were at Boy/Girl State/Nation. 65% were in the National Honor Society. etc.... So, as you can see, minimum standards aren't really a consideration. The majority of appointees exceed the minimum standards by a lot.

    So don't worry about 1 class. The academy cares about the "WHOLE PERSON". A traditional college, you basically just need to meet THEIR MINIMUM STANDARDS, and have the money to pay for it. There are obviously a limit to how many can be accepted. But generally, if you have the grades and the money, you can get in. The academies on the other hand, you are 100% COMPETING for a slot. You can have a 3.9gpa and 31ACT and still not get in, because those you are competing against have BETTER scores or BETTER leadership experiences. Again; don't worry about 1 class. Worry about your ENTIRE RESUME. Best of luck. Mike....
     
  11. USCGA2017hopeful

    USCGA2017hopeful Member

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    WOW. Christcorp, thank you for posting that. I believe that entire post is VERY useful information to calm the nerves of some IB students. Being a senior now and applying to colleges, I sometimes get frustrated that some kids who barely have to do any work in their classes, even AP classes, have a higher UW GPA and "look better" to colleges, civilian or service academies. I always knew colleges were fond of IB students, but my paranoid college applicant self was unsure of how much higher IB students are held. Anyways, though my UW GPA is lower than most "upper level" traditional students, my weighted GPA FAR outweighs theirs. The information you provided, though I speculated was the case, was extremely helpful in calming my own nerves while I wait for notifications.

    I am just unsure if people understand the vast amounts of EXTRA work we have to complete on top of the regular IB curriculum. Currently, we are learning new material in almost all of my classes, while we have to complete 4-5 IAs, all due during the same week. When this happens, students tend to prioritize and the regular schoolwork falls behind to focus of the IAs to achieve as high of a score as possible. After all, that little ugly piece of paper that says IB diploma on it is the end goal!
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    And a lot of people don't understand what is entailed with CAS hours and TOK. There's a lot more to the IB program than just taking higher level classes.
     
  13. WK738

    WK738 New Member

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    OK thank you. That's a lot of info. I just want to clarify that I'm not doing Math Studies no matter what. I'm doing SL, Standard Level, maybe Higher level. But I really do not want to do Studies. I do love math, but since I came from a school that didn't teach math very well, I was kind of behind in my current school. I caught up now, but I might want to try Math HL. I'll see what my teacher suggest, although, she doesn't seem so confident about me making that step, and I understand that. Even with my organization skills, I will be up late at night. I would rather have a high grade in SL than a low grade in HL. Thanks for all the info. Very helpful!
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    I knew you weren't taking math studies. When I reply, I usually reply to posts not tje individual. For each person who asks a question in a post, there are probably 10 more readers who wanted to ask a similar question but was too shy to ask. I was replying a little more generally. But you're fine with your choices. Good luck.
     
  15. WK738

    WK738 New Member

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    Great! Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it
     

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