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IB Subjects to Study Medicine

To study medicine, in the 11th and 12th grades, a learner must opt for science subjects. In IB, the equivalent of high school is the IB Diploma Programme (IBDP), which is a two-year pre-university course. For learners who are keen on pursuing a career in medicine, IBDP has subjects that will fulfil the admission requirements and prepare them for the programme. At the time of admission, if the learner discusses their aspirations with their guidance counsellor, they will give them the best advice on choosing courses and preparing for the medical college entrance exams where they plan to apply.

Subject Combination to Meet Medicine Admission Criteria

IBDP has six subject groups, and IBDP learners must choose six subjects from all these subject groups. Furthermore, they must choose at least 3 subjects at a Higher Level (HL) and the remaining at a Standard Level (SL). IB subject groups to study medicine are-

  • Science subject group
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Sports, exercise and Health Science
    • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
    • Analysis and approaches
    • Applications and interpretation
  • Studies in Language and Literature
    • Language A: literature
    • Language A: language and literature
    • Literature and performance*
  • Language Acquisition
    • Classical languages
    • Language Ab initio
    • Language B
  • Individuals and Societies
    • Business Management
    • Economics
    • Social and Cultural Anthropology
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
  • Arts
    • Dance
    • Film
    • Music
    • Theatre
    • Visual arts

For medical studies, Chemistry and Biology are compulsory subjects, and Medical study candidates must take them at HL. Mathematics is a compulsory subject and depending on their aptitude the learner can choose the HL or SL alternative. IBDP learners study two languages, English is compulsory, and they can choose the HL or SL alternative. Their choice of second language will depend on which language the school offers.

Subjects You Must Consider for Studying Medicine

Medical study leads to many different career paths. One can become a Medical Researcher, Doctor, Surgeon, Policymaker, Medical Sales Representative, Nutritionist and more. One can work for hospitals, medical research centres, universities, non-government organisations such as WHO or UNICEF, or sports centres. You can also set up your practice. Taking non-science courses such as Business Management or Economics will sharpen one’s understanding of money management, negotiation and entrepreneurship. Courses such as Sports, exercise and Health Science and Psychology will contribute towards making you a specialist in many fields.

Considering courses in the Arts subject group will add value in showing the learners other interests.

IBDP Core Component

The IBDP core component consists of Theory of Knowledge (ToK), Extended Essay (EE), and Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS). For an Extended Essay, the learner must write one independent, self-directed paper of 4000 words. Learners can choose to explore topics related to the medical field. In CAS, they can volunteer in blood collection drives, old age homes, or medical centres. These can become discussion points in personal statements to colleges that show one’s interest in the field.

Guided applications

IBDP creates many opportunities for learners to explore their interests and build a strong background for applying to the top medical colleges internationally. The best international schools that offer IBDP have academic and university guidance counsellors. They help learners choose the academic path that will make them strong candidates for the medical profession. Many schools support learners with preparing for medical entrance exams such as SAT, NEET, and TOEFL. Learners can seek help in choosing activities, project topics, lab experiment ideas, and EE topics that will contribute towards building their application.

The IBDP course takes an immersive learning approach and learners are trained to acquire essential skills for college such as independent research, time management, and organisation. International schools that offer IBDP courses have state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms where learners are taught to examine the theories and design and conduct experiments. Through independent examinations and research, learners are prepared for the rigours of medical college and the study of medicine.

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