What is the hardest topic in IB Biology?

18 September, 2021
What is the hardest topic in IB Biology

giasuib.com – IB Biology is considered as one of the subjects with the heaviest theoretical knowledge in the IB program. So what is the hardest topic in IB Biology?


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What makes IB Biology difficult?

Before knowing what is the hardest topic in IB Biology, students must understand what makes IB Biology difficult. While Chemistry and Physics are based on understanding concepts and performing calculations, Biology is different in that it is based solely on memorizing information and writing it down as proof of your knowledge. The concepts in IB Biology are convoluted and lengthy making this subject much more of a challenge for many students.

Another problem students must face is that within the massive content of IB Biology, there is a huge amount of specialized vocabulary being used. In addition to the large amount of information, IB Biology students also need to memorize a large amount of specialized biology vocabulary . This is a very difficult process that requires a lot of time and effort to be able to complete well.

When learning IB Biology, students must see the general picture and understand the structure of Biology behind it. This forces IB Biology students to study many fields and topics, unlike IB Chemistry or IB Physics which focuses on knowledge of only one area of science.

For more: Study IB Biology in HCMC

What is the hardest topic in IB Biology?

IB Biology is divided into two levels: Higher Level (HL) and Standard Level (SL). Both IB Biology SL and HL have 6 main topics (95 hours):

  • Topic 1: Cell Biology (15 hours).
  • Topic 2: Molecular Biology (21 hours).
  • Topic 3: Genetics (15 hours).
  • Topic 4: Ecology (12 hours).
  • Topic 5: Evolution and Biodiversity (12 hours).
  • Topic 6: Human Physiology (20 hours).

Only in IB Biology HL, students will learn the following topics (60 hours):

  • Topic 7: Nucleic Acids (9 hours).
  • Topic 8: Metabolism, Cell Respiration, and Photosynthesis (14 hours).
  • Topic 9: Plant Biology (13 hours).
  • Topic 10: Genetics and Evolution (8 hours).
  • Topic 11: Animal Physiology (16 hours).

In addition, students must choose to learn more options, in which SL will complete 3-4 topics (15 hours) and HL will complete 2-3 topics (25 hours).

  • Option A: Neurobiology and Behavior – SL (15 hours) and HL (35 hours).
  • Option B: Biotechnology and Bioinformatics – SL (15 hours) and HL (25 hours).
  • Option C: Ecology and Conservation – SL (15 hours) and HL (25 hours).
  • Option D: Human Physiology – SL (15 hours) and HL (25 hours).

For more: Where to study Biology in English?

So which of the topics above answer the question “what is the hardest topic in IB Biology?” 

According to the experience of many former IB students and of many Biology teachers, the topic that causes difficulty in IB Biology is Topic 3: Generics. Why is this topic difficult? Because this is a confusing topic. Unlike other topics, when students enter the topic Genetics, they will be bombarded with dry and tedious wave after wave of theory and learn-by-heart content without any illustrations to help students visualize the concepts they have just studied, especially in the chapter Inheritance.

While there are still some animations and videos to help students visualize the concepts of Genetics, this field of Biology is still something that humans cannot perceive with the naked eye, which limits the student’s understanding of the full spectrum of Genetics and Biology as a whole.

For more: How to study IB Biology SL?


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