Welcome to the third post in our series on IB grade boundaries! Please read the first post for an introduction to IB grade boundaries. This post is on Group 3 subjects: humanities at SL and HL.
Little Geniuses have compiled data from May 2014 to Nov 2016 to analyse trends in grade boundaries for the wide range of group 3 subjects available.
This graph illustrates the average cut-off for a band 7 in a variety of commonly-taken humanities subjects: geography, history, business and management, economics, philosophy and psychology. Humanities subjects tend to have lower cut-off marks than group 1 and 2 subjects due to their complexity, and the difficulty in predicting the kind of question that will be asked.
The cut-off is highest for philosophy over the two-year period, at 80 for HL and 78 for SL. The cut-off is lowest for R1 and R2 of history. Aside from HL philosophy, all cut-offs are below 80. Moreover, the average cut-off in these group 3 (humanities) subjects is much lower: 71.6 instead of 82.9, for the group 2 (languages) subjects.
Despite the low cut-off, it is not easy to achieve a band 7 in history R1 and R2. It is hard to do well in these history subjects due to the high volume of material and the difficulty in predicting the essay question, which together make it hard to study efficiently. However, history is a rewarding subject that instils excellent research and writing skills, and so this should not deter dedicated students
The graph above displays the trends in the band 7 cut-off mark over time. There don’t appear to any long term trends, however, it is interesting to note which subjects tend to fluctuate and which tend to be stable. For example, philosophy SL remains at 78 for the 3-year period, whereas economics SL fluctuates between 70 and 78 and economics HL fluctuates but 73 and 81. So, if you’re wondering which band you would have achieved in any economics past paper, be sure to check out the grade boundaries for that particular session! Business and Management SL also fluctuates between 74 and 68 over the 3-year period.
Overall, we can observe a lot more variation in the cut-off for a band 7 in group 3 (humanities) subjects. This becomes particularly apparent when compared to the cut-offs for group 1 (English) and group 2 (Languages) subjects – please see the previous posts in our series.
Please contact Little Geniuses if you need help choosing the group 3 subject that is ideal for you.