It is extremely important to make the right decision of HL versus SL for your IB studies. This is because this will affect what universities and courses you will be able to study. For example, HL Chemistry is compulsory for Medicine courses. Not doing HL Chemistry will make one unable to apply for Medicine.

Allow QE to help you understand more.

You are allowed to pick six IB subjects, of which 3-4 subjects can be HL (Higher Level) and the others are SL (Standard Level). Higher Levels are more difficult with more modules and topics to study. More time will need to be spent on HL subjects. This is the first choice: the number of HL subjects. We recommend that you base the decision on 1.what you wish to pursue in university and 2. The amount of time and confidence you have in pursuing your HLs.

This is because if you spend too much time taking an extra HL such that you neglect your other subjects because you have less time; you would end up with a lower final score than another student who took mainly SLs.

To be honest, if you are motivated to study and handle the additional workload, it is not too difficult. Bear in mind, there are many applicants to all the top universities who normally take 4 HLs with perfect 45 scores. It is a very competitive world!

So which subjects should you choose as HL and which as SL? You should consider based on

1. Interests and Strengths

One should mainly choose HL for the subjects that they are interested in pursuing. This is because you have to spend significant time and effort. You would not do well in something you dislike or have no interest in.

2. Time Management

If you have extra-academic commitments and may be worried about whether you have enough time for your HL subjects in areas such as IA and EE, you should examine whether to pursue HL or SL. If you have poor time management, you can end up lagging behind for the more advanced HL classes. QE can help with our IB tutoring services.

3. University Requirements

As mentioned, many universities courses will ask for 7 7 7 in 3 HL subjects, of which one must be relevant to the course. Medicine is an example where Chemistry is compulsory. Hence it is absolutely crucial to examine what university subjects you will be interested in and check on their requirements before deciding your HL/SL subject combination. QE can help with this. Simply email us at