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Importance of Choosing the Right Curriculum and Subjects in Grades 9 – 12

– English – 4 Years

– Math – 3 Years

– Science (with Lab) – 2 Years

– Second Language – 2 Years

– Social Sciences – 2 Years

– Arts or Performing Arts – 1 Year

Keep in mind that this is the minimum. A student would be expected to take more as related to preparation for a specific major.

2. Challenging Yourself: I am often asked whether it would be better to get a “B” in a higher level class or an “A” in a lower level class. Of course my glib response is that it would be better to get an “A” in the higher level class, but then I answer that it would actually be better to get the “B” in the higher level class. This is because the admission person wants to see that you challenge yourself. Furthermore, they are looking at all of the resources the school has and then noting how much the student has taken advantage of these resources. This is important information because while high school is quite “prescribed”, college is quite independent. Colleges have amazing resources and facilities, but students need to take the initiative to utilize these. So they are looking for your abilities and desire to seek out the resources around you. Have you taken the assistance of a teacher to pursue one of your interests? Have you started some club at school? In what ways have you been able to benefit from the resources and people at your school?


Briefly on Two Popular Curriculum Options

International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program – 11th and 12th  www.ibo.org:  

The IB program is popular because it follows pretty closely the breadth and depth philosophy described above. Students must take one course in all of those areas, and can choose Higher Level courses for three of their subjects and Standard Level courses for other three subjects, allowing for the “depth” aspect of preparation. The IB also has a requirement of an Extended Essay, an independent 40-page research project that the student completes in 12th grade. I have students who have gone into the IB DP from a variety of backgrounds, CBSE, ICSE, IGCSE, etc and done fine. However, if English is not your favorite subject and you come from an Indian curriculum, it would be wise to do some extra preparation on English prior to joining the IBDP. I would suggest doing an online course in English (for Example English 1 – 10th Grade US High School English) over the summer before joining the IB. Keystone Online School (www.keystoneschoolonline.com) provides a good option for this.


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Prab Singh heads CollegeSource (http://thecollegesource.net/), an organisation that provides life coaching to adolescents and support to their family through the process of deciding their higher education and career goals.

2 thoughts on “Importance of Choosing the Right Curriculum and Subjects in Grades 9 – 12

  1. Angel Doss

    To the best of my knowledge, the IGCSE Curriculum is offered by both Cambridge as well as by Edexcel. I understand CIE is the more popular option. But is there a specific reason, IGCSE is being referred to as CIE IGCSE in this article. Are there known negatives in the Edexcel IGCSE?

  2. Prab Singh

    Hi Angel, no reason at all. As you say, only because CIE is the more popular. I have not heard of any negatives of Edexcel.


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