Can I change subjects in the IB program?

24 July, 2021
Can I change subjects in the IB program? – The IB program allows students to choose subjects depending on their favorite and capability. However, many students still wonder if having any subject is not suitable for them: Can I change subjects in the IB program?

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What are the advantages of the IB program?

The IB (International Baccalaureate) program provides a diverse curriculum, integrating various forms of exchange and knowledge enhancement for students such as enhancing discussions and exchanging ideas in the classroom, doing experiments, developing critical thinking through oral exams or essays, training necessary creativity to help perfect study and research skills in many aspects.

In addition to the 6 subjects from 6 subject groups, students also have to complete an “Extended Essay” (EE), a course “Theory of Knowledge” (TOK) and a portfolio with Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) portfolio to help students have a clearer and more appropriate orientation for their future careers. The skills and knowledge learned in the IB program make an important contribution to students going to university and college later. Therefore, it can be seen that choosing the right subject that suits your interests and abilities right from the 10th grade is very important for IB students, but many students still cannot avoid the case of learning a time and is no longer suitable or deviated from the future career orientation, so can I change the subjects in the IB program?

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Can I change the subjects in the IB program?

IB is divided into 2 levels: Higher Level (HL) and SL (Standard Level). Each student must choose at least 3 subjects and a maximum of 4 subjects at the HL level. The HL class is different from the SL class because of the longer duration of studying and the deeper focus on specific areas. At the SL level, students will have to spend about 150 hours and the HL level is 240 hours. IB allows students to change levels or even subjects during their studies if they can’t keep up with the lesson, their future orientation changes, they feel they are not suitable, etc. but you should consider changing time.

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Although in theory, students are allowed to change subjects, you should consult the regulations of the IB school you are attending. Some schools allow students to change subjects in the first month of enrollment in grade 11 or even after students finish the first year, after this time you are not allowed to change subjects anymore unless it is reasonable and you will have to pay fees if you decide to change subjects. Another note for you is that when changing subjects, make sure you maintain the number of SL or HL subjects in the IB program, otherwise, your decision will be confusing and worse. Therefore, you should ask yourself the following questions: Why do you want to switch from one subject to another? Why didn’t you switch subjects earlier? Switching to another subject will definitely leave you with no regrets? Think and consider carefully the above questions before deciding to change another subject!


To avoid the case that changing IB subjects costs you time and affects your scores, consider the following criteria to choose the right subject:

  • Know the information about the subject you will choose: Each student has one to many subjects that you find interesting or consider themselves good at. Prioritize choosing these subjects to the list of HL level because you know, HL subjects will be extremely intensive and cause many difficulties if you are not initially interested in that subject. This will help you to reduce the transition significantly.
  • Consult with a teacher or tutor: Teachers or tutors often have a lot of experience to be able to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses and from there they often know and advise IB courses in their respective areas to be able to get you on the right track.
  • Do your best in learning: Study discouragement can happen to anyone, even the best students. Therefore, do not rush into changing subjects just because of a few difficult exercises or complicated knowledge, use your best ability to challenge yourself whether to overcome difficulties to achieve success.
For more: How to get a 7 in IB English A Language and Literature? – A place to share experiences of learning international programs such as IB, AP, A-level, IGCSE, GED… If you have any questions, please contact us directly by email or hotline for free advice.

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