Dilemma: Study Economics or History?

When it comes to deciding which subjects you want to study during the IB, choosing the ‘right’ subjects is difficult and demands a lot of thinking and reflection. I would like to explain how I, as a Year 12 IB student, came to the decision of studying Economics instead of History. 


Firstly, Economics is often considered an easier subject than History to many people. In terms of statistics, the final average grade obtained by candidates who took IB economics is slightly higher than the ones who took IB History as a subject. Context wise, History requires memorisation, analysis and writing essays while Economics involves some memorisation, understanding and analysing graphs, and relating scenarios to the real world. Economics also involves mathematics, especially for HL, which is an extension to the SL course with more calculations. In addition, in my opinion, Economics SL and HL have approximately the same level of difficulty. However, many History HL students have said that the HL course is harder than the SL one as it covers much more content. I really enjoy studying Economics as it opens our eyes to what is going on in the world today and helps us understand the way the world functions. It is a new subject that is introduced in Year 12 and is therefore an interesting subject to try out. 


However, when choosing between those two subjects, it is important to also consider other factors. Your final decision should be based on the grade you obtained in any previous history assessments you have taken such as your IGCSE grades in History. If you have never studied history in recent years, it is highly unrecommended to take IB History as it requires prior understanding and skills. Furthermore, your choice should also depend on the subject you enjoy the most as your motivation and passion for the subject will most likely impact how much work and effort you put into it. Attending a few classes or any introductions to both courses will help you with your decision. Another relevant factor to consider, is which course will fit better with your other subjects. For example, taking Economics with Mathematics seems to be a good combination. Lastly, think about which subject would help you the most in the future. 

Remember, you will have the opportunity to try both courses in the beginning of the year and so your choice will not be definite. The best method to decide between Economics and History is to experience both courses.