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A question for those who are knowledgeable on IB Math and Physics

  1. Dec 26, 2009 #1
    At the current moment, I am taking HL Math and Physics.
    However, is it important to take HL Math in order to apply for engineering courses or physics courses?
    Can I just take SL Math and HL Physics?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 26, 2009 #2
    Formally, it depends on where you apply. In Norway, Mathematics HL is not a requirement, as Mathematics SL is considered equivalent to the highest level of high school math in the Norwegian system.

    In Canada, Mathematics SL is accepted. I'm sure having Mathematics HL would be an advantage, though.

    In the UK, Mathematics HL is a requirement for all engineering degrees I've seen, and for math, physics and economics degrees.

    I'd reckon this is partly because Bachelor's degrees in Canada/US last 4 years, whilst in the UK they only last 3.

    However, I know Norwegian students with R2 (the highest level of math in the Norwegian system) who have gotten into Engineering in the UK, which I cannot get into (due to having Math SL. Even though we learn the same as R2-kids), and they have done fine. So while it's definitely an advantage, I would reckon a better grade and more time for other tedious subjects is more valuable.

    That said, I love Math, and had Mathematics HL for the first six months of IB, until my school decided to drop it because Mathematics SL gets us into everything here in Norway. A ridiculous decision, which means I now have to go to Canada to study, rather than the UK.

    Hope I helped.
  4. Dec 26, 2009 #3
    So does this mean the top schools in canada such as mcgill and toronto accept math SL?
    How about America? know anything about their system and whether they'll accept math SL. Heard everything was based on calculus.
  5. Dec 26, 2009 #4
    Most American universities don't require anything higher than pre-calculus when it comes to math preparation for engineering. The typical freshman year is spend doing Calculus I and II and calculus based mechanics and E&M so you would learn the information in college.

    However anything higher that pre-calculus is encouraged if possible. Universities like students who are advanced in subjects.

    I should add that a lot of the topics learned in HL/SL IB programs is just sort of picked up along the way for engineers in the US and you're right there is an emphasis on calculus because it's probably the most needed area of math for the theoretical development.
  6. Dec 26, 2009 #5
    From what I've gathered, yes, they accept Math SL. Whether or not you get transfer credit for it (and thus get to skip a first year course with a similar curriculum) depends entirely on the university. I know the best ranked universities in Maclean's "Primarily Undergraduate" category (liberal arts colleges) generally give IB students 30 credits (= one year of study), provided you get good results. I believe I read that McGill does this as well, while UToronto gives a maximum of 18 credits, if I recall correctly.

    So to summarize my ranting.. From what I have seen, no universities have issues with you having only mathematics SL. It might mean that you have to take more first year math than you would with Mathematics HL, though.

    I don't know much about the US, unfortunately, as I have never considered studying there (Norwegian government doesn't provide support for the first year of undergrad in the US).

    I'd still contact the universities you're considering before dropping Math HL to be sure, though.
  7. Dec 26, 2009 #6
    thanks a lot for the pointers.
    i'm only considering US, Canada and Japan.
    Seems like i've got to email them...
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