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Advice for Grade 12 Courses?

A photo of sepriv sepriv
Hello all. I am currently in grade 11 and my course selection for my grade 12 year must be submitted within the next few days. I'm already pretty sure which courses I want to take, but I'd like some advice/suggestions from all of you. Things like how you found those courses, if you think the workload is too much, etc. etc.

Anyway, I'm going to take:

MHF 4U (Advanced Functions)
MCV 4U (Calculus and Vectors)
SBI 4U (Biology -- I'm planning to take 3U in the summer as I didn't take it this year)
SCH 4U (Chemistry)
SPH 4U (Physics)
ENG 4U (English)
CLN 4U (Canadian and International Law)
AMI 4M (Music - Winds and Percussion)

Ideally, my plan is to go to UWO for Biological and Medical Sciences or U of T for sciences and then go into pharmacy. (Western is my first choice.)

Will this be a good grade 12 year? I'm going to need calculus, biology, chemistry, and English as pre-requisites for biomed at Western.

Any advice at all would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and effort. :cheers:
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A photo of brady23 brady23

@sepriv wrote
Hello all. I am currently in grade 11 and my course selection for my grade 12 year must be submitted within the next few days. I'm already pretty sure which courses I want to take, but I'd like some advice/suggestions from all of you. Things like how you found those courses, if you think the workload is too much, etc. etc.

Anyway, I'm going to take:

MHF 4U (Advanced Functions)
MCV 4U (Calculus and Vectors)
SBI 4U (Biology -- I'm planning to take 3U in the summer as I didn't take it this year)
SCH 4U (Chemistry)
SPH 4U (Physics)
ENG 4U (English)
CLN 4U (Canadian and International Law)
AMI 4M (Music - Winds and Percussion)

Ideally, my plan is to go to UWO for Biological and Medical Sciences or U of T for sciences and then go into pharmacy. (Western is my first choice.)

Will this be a good grade 12 year? I'm going to need calculus, biology, chemistry, and English as pre-requisites for biomed at Western.

Any advice at all would be appreciated. Thank you for your time and effort. :cheers:



Your courses are great, good on you for taking Physics. You have the 6 core courses - English, 2 Maths, 3 Sciences, so you can apply to basically any program. And you have your 2 electives - Law and Music. Just make sure that they are average boosters and that you can get a 90+ in each. Getting an 83 or 78 in an elective is such a waste and can be the difference between getting accepted and not when someone else has a 95 as their sixth course.

Advanced Functions - This course was pretty challenging, and a lot of people dropped it. I can't stress enough how important it is to do your homework, because you never know what you don't understand when you don't do the homework. Graphing is very important in this course - make sure you get all the rules down because they are always worth like 5 marks on tests. The first unit - Piecewise Functions and stuff is very easy, do the homework and you will be fine. The second unit - Rational Expressions and Factoring is also pretty easy, except a bit more challenging. You learn how to factor trinomials and graph cubic and other polynomial functions. The third unit - Rates of Change is the easiest, it's basically using the slope formula and calculating a slope at a specific point. Make sure you do good on the first 3 units, because the units after that are much harder. Rational Equations is the next unit, and it was pretty easy except the part about solving rational equations and word problems - this requires practice. Trig I - graphing trig graphs, expressing trig ratios and special triangles, was one of the hardest units. I recommend doing all your homework in this unit. Trig 2 is about trig identities and relationships, it was a little easier but you sitll need a bit of problem solving skills in this unit. Logs is pretty easy, except I kinda had a hard time with it, and I don't know why. But if you do your homework, you'll be fine, it's basically like the exponential unit in grade 11 reversed. Combining Functions is the last unit, and was pretty easy. This course really depends how hard your teacher makes it just like Calculus.

Calculus & Vectors - I'm taking this course right now and so far it seems easy, except Vectors is a killer. The beginning is a review of Advanced Functions, and then you learn some derivative rules which are pretty easy to follow. Again do all the homework, you need to encounter and expose yourself to as many questions as you can to be prepared for tests.

Biology - I'm taking it right now. Biology 12 is a lot harder than Biology 11 because the units have much more content in them and the application questions are so much harder. Biology 11 has easy units like Plants, Diversity, Evolution, where the level of application questions was pretty low and you could manage to study a few days before the test. You can't do that in Biology 12, and the level of application questions is 10x harder. Biochemistry is very chemistry based, you learn basic chemistry, organic chemistry - nomenclature and ester reactions, the macromolecules, types of transport, enzymes, etc. It is actually one of the hardest units in bio, after homeostasis. Metabolic Processes is about cellcular resipration, electron transportation chain, kreb's cycle, A LOT of memorization, like the little steps in each of these processes that annoyed everyone. Molecular Genetics is the fun unit. You learn about DNA, coding, and applications. It is a lot more content heavy than Grade 11 Genetics though, no Punnett Squares either. Then there's homeostasis which is similar to the animal systems unit. You learn about the endocrine system, nervous system, etc. The level of application questions is huge and can be quite difficult. Biology 12 is more about application than about knowledge. Being able to make connections and apply is the difference between an 85 student and a 95 student, memorizing can only get you an 80 max. But the hard part is that you can't practice making connections in Biology, you just have to know it, and this section separates the good student from the superior student.

Physics - I'm taking it right now, and I hate it. But everything is almost a continuation of Physics 11, you do kinematics except circular motion, and I don't know that much about the course. It's very boring.

Chemistry - Yeah, this was way more difficult in grade 11 than 12. You learn about atomic theory and chemical bonding (lewis, vsepr) which is grade 11 review. But then you learn about the Quantum Model which is hard to understand, drawing energy level diagrams, and electron configurations (easy stuff). You learn about a theory called hybridization theory which is pretty easy provided you practice and know the conditions. Then you learn about polarity, IMF forces (Gr 11 review), and characteristics of solids and classifying them. The first unit is the hardest because it is so theory-based. Energy Changes & Reaction Rates is a more easy unit. You learn about exothermic and endothermic reactions, calculating heat changes, mainpulating equations, and representing energy changes. Then you learn about calculating reaction rates, the factors, collision theory, explaining the factors, and the rate law. Do all your hw in this unit, it's important to understand the caluclations and the theory. In unit 3 you learn about equilibrium - very content-heavy. There's over 10 different types of calculations you need to know and there's 3 subunits in it - phase equilibrium, solubility equilibrium, and acid-base equilibrium. Phase Equilibrium is the easiest, with your basic equilibrium problems, le chatelier's principle is confusing at first, but after it all makes sense, and you learn about conditions of equilibrium. Solubility EQuilibrium is about predicitng spontaneous reactions, whether a precipitate will form, calcuating concentrations and equilibrium values, and learning about Gibb's Law and the Laws of Thermodynamics. Acid-Base is the bulk of the unit. You learn about calculaitng ph, concentrations of ions, acid-base theory, predicting the acidity/bascity of reactions and salts, titrations, drawing graphs and curves for titrations, equilibrium calculations, and buffers. Do all your hw in this unit and make sure you know how to solve all the problems. The fourth unit is organic chemistry. It's very tricky at first, but after you get the hang of it, it's easy. You learn about nomenclature and reactions, and properties of organic compounds. Get the nomenclature rules down, and practice early, because you can't get confused between the functional groups. The rules are way harder than the ones you learn for inorganic nomenclature. The last unit is Electrochemistry - balancing electron reactions. You learn to balance redox reactions, calculate oxidation numbers, batteries, galvanic cells, corrosion, electrolytic cells, faraday's law. There's a lot of math in it, but it is the easiest unit in Chemistry. Do all your homework for chemistry, ask questions, and practice!

English - very subjective to your teacher so I won't say much. If you get a hard teacher in grade 12, take it in summer school and see if you get an easy one.

I didn't take your other two courses, but they seem good to me, as long as you boost your average.

You won't be overloaded. Just make sure to have no more than two sciences per semester (it's very helpful if you have the Chemistry first than the Biology, because the advanced chem in chem will help you for the elementary chem in bio). Also, make sure advanced functions and calculus are separated, and hopefully law and music are in separate semesters as well. (This is only if you go to a semestered school).


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A photo of sepriv sepriv
@brady23 Thank you so much for your reply. It really helped me out. I am confident I'll be able to get at least 90% in both law and music. English won't be a problem for me, I'm fairly sure. Thanks again!
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A photo of jtseng jtseng
Sounds like you're in for a tough year, but you seem like a really grounded person. I'm sure you'll do fine!

Having been in similar shoes, it's good that you're already thinking ahead, as a Gr 11 student. The most important thing to do when you do get to Gr 12 is exactly what you're doing now; not procrastinating and planning in advance.

brady23 covered most of the essentials about each of the courses. I'll tell you now, Bio 12 can be crushing since there is a lot of content, so be sure to stay organised and find studying methods that suit you. Since it's so memorisation heavy, make sure you've figured out an efficient way to study, whether it's flash cards or flow charts.

Also, especially since you're taking a lot of sciences, don't be afraid to ask for help and look things up on the internet. KhanAcademy has saved me numerous times in almost every course. Sites like KhanAcademy and Wolfram Alpha are also great for checking answers and solidifying your knowledge. (:

Another thing; Gr 12 will definitely have a lot of work. Although I found it to be less hard coursework-wise, there's a lot of coursework to do and it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. That's why you need to make sure that, while you continue to work hard, you give yourself time to relax and play as well.

Finally, I'd say, my last tip is to get excited. Your last year of high school and the looming first year of university is something to get excited about! In turn, use that excitement as motivation and work hard.

I'm a firm believer in good results coming from hard work. I'm sure as long as you work hard and keep a positive attitude, you'll kill your courses!

Best of luck!
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