IB Theatre or IB Chemistry

Next year, I’ll be in the IB Program, and I can’t decide whether I should take theatre or chemistry. For some context, I am currently in AP Chemistry (and doing well), and the major I am interested in is related to science. Along with science, I am also passionate about the arts, and play the flute outside of school. I took a drama class last year, and I really had fun. I am also top in my class, and will take 4 HLs if that helps.

My pros for IB Chem are that I’d get more experience in the sciences, particularly with labs, research, and reports, to prepare me for college, I do enjoy chemistry, and it would make my interest for science (my main passion) more apparent to colleges. The cons are that I already took IB Chem last year, so I would already have the credit and would know a lot of the information already, I would most likely have less time for extracurriculars that I care about, and I would have no “fun” courses, since all of my classes would be from main subjects.

The pros for IB Theatre are that I would most likely have more fun, would get a break from my other classes, improve my acting skills, most likely have more time for extracurriculars, would be able to continue to pursue my passion for the performing arts during the school day next year, and could potentially continue to act during college. The downsides are that I would have less time for science classes, and my transcript could seem less rigorous or less impressive.

Two things I’d like to add at the end are that I have already taken 4 science classes in total, 2 were APs, and I will be taking IB Bio next year and the year after for sure. Also, I will be taking the full IB program + 1 AP next year. My last concern is that I will not have enough core classes my senior year. During my senior year, if I take theatre, I will be taking only 4 “main” classes (5 if you count TOK), and 3 classes from other subjects. In particular, these classes are AP Psych, AP Art, and IB Theatre. Will this look bad to prestigious universities like the ivys or UCs?

If anyone has information about either of these classes, or knows more about the view that prestigious universities have on classes, the arts, or anything else related to this thread, please let me know.

I know that this decision ultimately needs to be mine, but I am very conflicted and looking for feedback to help me decide this. Thank you.

You only need one IB science. If you are taking bio, it is fine not to take Chem. And it is a waste of a class period to take IB Chem after AP Chem

As an IB student, taking both IB Bio and Chem is a lot of work (and if you take both at HL, it’s worse), I don’t take either science but I have a lot of classmates who do, and they often complain about the stress and workload that comes alongside it. I love the IB Theatre program (I may be biased because I’m an HL Theatre student planning to major in theatre) and would be happy to provide more information on the program if you would like!

If you will already have completed AP chemistry, there is not much reason to take IB chemistry, since even HL is unlikely to give more advanced placement in college than AP chemistry (though you can check various colleges’ AP and IB credit listings to see). At worst, it may look to college admission readers like you are repeating the same chemistry material (grade grubbing).

For any science major in college, it is best to have physics in high school (does not have to be AP or IB level) at least as a preview of topics you will seen in required college physics courses.

My son took IB Theatre HL as part of the IB Diploma program. He enjoyed it and learned a lot, but it was by no means an easy course, so make sure you understand what’s in the curriculum before deciding. I don’t think taking Theatre hurt my son in any way in the college admissions process. He actually submitted a tape of some of the work he did with his class as supplementary material.

Thank you. I just have a couple of questions. Firstly, at my school, IB Theatre is considered an English course, even though it is technically an art course, and is considered one by IB. I’ve also heard that there is a lot of writing involved. Would you say that the class feels like another English course? Also, how difficult is this course compared to other IB courses?

Do not underestimate the workload; it is intense. How intense will depend in part on the student and the teachers. They operative part of IB Theatre Arts is IB, so don’t expect it to be a piece of cake.

There is research and writing involved, which count more in the assessment than the performance. The writing won’t be as heavy as English, but still substantial.

No AO who knows IB will view IB Theatre Arts as an lightweight course, if that’s your concern

Since you mention UCs, you can check what it is considered for UC purposes at University of California A-G Course List . But it is very likely that colleges generally will consider it a “visual or performing arts” course rather than an English course.

Be sure that you have what is actually considered an English course if you need one to fulfill the typically-expected-by-colleges “four years of high school English”.

In terms of workload, IB courses are generally considered a lot of work.

That’s so interesting that your school regards theatre as an english course - there is definitely a large amount of writing, as for 3 of the 4 assessment tasks you would need to create a written portfolio alongside the performance aspect. I personally don’t find that it feels like an english course, because the style of writing is so different, and students are heavily encourages to include a lot of images / charts / diagrams / drawings of staging ideas within the portfolio, so I would say that it feels more like writing an IA for a math / science / humanities class rather than writing an english essay.

In my opinion, I find it easier than my other IB subjects just because you don’t have the element of learning content and then outpouring it in test conditions. For me, I find test-taking quite difficult so I really enjoy being in an environment where I don’t need to do that, and can really spend the time crafting each of the assessment tasks before submitting them. Although I find it an easier course in comparison, that DOES NOT mean it is less work. You will still have to be very engaged and work hard in the course, there is a large element of research and planning that goes into creating these assessment tasks.

Not sure how much you know about the course so just a short breakdown of the assessment tasks:

  • Research Presentation (Present on an aspect one of the world theatre traditions, as a part of the presentation students will have to perform a short section of the tradition)
  • Collaborative Project (Students work in groups to devise and perform an original piece + written portfolio outlining the process)
  • Director’s Notebook (Students choose a play create a written portfolio discussing the process of how they would direct moments from said play)
  • Solo Theatre Piece (just HL) (Student’s pick a theatre theory and performs an individual piece outlining said theory + written portfolio outlining the process)

I hope that this information helps you make the best decision for you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any more questions!