For all Slovene students, Slovene is a compulsory subject at higher level.

The programme covers a broad range of literary texts, whereas linguistic knowledge is shown only through students’ written texts and oral assignments. The major difference with regard to how literature is taught in the national programme is that the focus is not on acquiring extensive knowledge of the history of literature, but on the accurate, in-depth study of a small number of selected literary works. The works, which are not prescribed in advance are selected by the teacher from a broader list of possible selections, which cover different literary periods, directions and types. The emphasis is on 20th-century literature. Over two years students will study 13 works in three subject areas: readers, writers and texts, time and space, and intertextuality. In addition to becoming acquainted with basic contemporary Slovene texts, the programme includes an examination of works in world literature, fostering insight into foreign cultural environments.

In the classroom, students primarily develop skills in understanding literary texts as well as their own spoken and written expression. They also demonstrate this in a multi-part exam consisting of various essay components and an oral defence.

For all foreign students whose first language is not Slovene, classes in their native tongue are conducted in small groups for 4 lessons per week, and occasionally online.  II. gimnazija Maribor offers literature courses in the following languages: Macedonian, Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian.

Some selected literary works for Slovene at higher level for the 2019/20 school year:

Readers, writers & texts: A Gentle Creature by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and other novels, Dark Matter by Mojca Kumerdej (short prose), Houses and other free writings by Jure Jakob (essays), selected poems by Dane Zajc.

Time and place: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Dreams of My Russian Summers by Andrei Makine, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, A Day in Spring by Ciril Kosmač and The Flake (novels).

Intertext: The King of Betajnova by Ivan Cankar, An Event in the Town of Goga by Slavko Grum, The Great Brilliant Waltz by Drago Jančar, A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams (drama).

English A: Language and Literature is an exciting course which caters to the linguistic needs of highly-proficient students, and enables them to critically evaluate and interpret various literary and non-literary texts. The course is divided into three areas of exploration (AoE), all of which enable students to learn and further consolidate their analytical skills. The literary works are carefully chosen, so as to offer students insight into different literary periods, genres and cultures around the world. This way, students develop their interpretive skills as well as  an appreciation for both literary and non-literary texts. At higher level, students study a minimum of 6 texts, and at standard level, a minimum of 4 literary works.

Some selected literary works for Language A: Language and Literature at higher level for the 2019/2020 school year:

Authors, readers, texts: selected poems by W. B. Yeats, The Physicists by Friedrich Dürrenmatt

Time and space: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Intertextuality: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, The Reader Bernhard Schlink


Language B (SL or HL) is for a language learner who has learned the target language for two or more years or has lived and been taught outside the country where the target language is spoken. This language course is offered in English, German, French and Spanish. While English is taken as a compulsory subject, German, Spanish and French are offered subject to demand (five or more students should opt to take one). It is to be noted that German, French and Spanish classes are very small in number (five or more pupils), thus catering to the needs of every individual student, each with a slightly different level of language competence. In this way the learning objectives can be reached easily on an individual basis (some students may have zero or very little knowledge of the language). What is more, students taking French are privileged to have sessions with a native speaker.

English B is a language acquisition course and a mandatory subject in the IB Diploma Programme curriculum. It is offered at standard and higher level. Both courses enable students to develop and consolidate their linguistic skills, and to expand their knowledge of the target culture. Further, students study a number of authentic literary and non-literary texts.

Prior to beginning the course, students sit a placement test. In placing a student in a SL or HL group, both their results on the placement test and an individual consultation are taken into account. In addition, students benefit from working in smaller groups, as a typical English B class has roughly 16 students.

English B is a well-balanced academic programme, which includes studying literary works originally written in English (a minimum of two works are studied at HL), understanding, analysing and producing a number of non-literary text types (e.g. essays, blog entries, reports etc.) and familiarising the students with the target culture.

A selection of the literary works studied in previous years (two of which are studied at HL) include: A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry; The Absolutely True Diary of a Part–time Indian by Sherman Alexie; The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini; Animal Farm by George Orwell; An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde; Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

Language B is a language acquisition course offered at both higher and standard level, and is aimed at students who have some existing knowledge of the language. Apart from learning the language, students also learn about the target culture of the countries where French or German are spoken.

Higher level differs from standard level as it is more detailed and comprehensive. HL students study two additional literary works originally written in French or German. The course is thematically divided into 5 areas of exploration (AoE): identities, human ingenuity, experiences, social organisation and sharing the planet. Both SL and HL courses are conceptually designed to cater to the needs of students. Also, students will benefit from working in small groups, typically ranging from 5 to 12 students.


Economics is a social science, and is essentially about the concept of scarcity and the problem of resource allocation. It is about the production and distribution of goods that are scarce. All students start the subject from scratch and there is no presumption of prior knowledge. Although the subject involves the formulation and understanding of theoretical concepts, the theories are applied to real-world examples to make it more practical.

The economics course covers microeconomics, and includes a consideration of basic concepts, such as scarcity, choice and the operation of simple markets, and how firms operate in markets that are either competitive or monopolistic. Macroeconomics covers economy-wide issues, such as economic growth, inflation, unemployment and the role of the government. Special emphasis is placed on international economics and the economies of developing countries, which is a strong point of the economics course in the IB. It is therefore important for students to take an active interest in current affairs by reading newspapers, magazines and journals, and making selective use of television and radio programmes that focus on economics. In the school library, The Economist and several Slovene magazines and newspapers are provided as well as free access to online databases. The assessment requires students to apply a broad range of ideas to a particular question. The subject has a Moodle classroom where students can find all PowerPoint presentations, worksheets and other different materials with which the course is made more friendly, engaging and relevant.

Students who choose the economics course will realise that economics is a useful science, while also fascinating, and as such, it is certainly a challenge for everyone. After all, economics is among the sciences that mankind rewards with the Nobel Prize.

Philosophy is the systematic examination of fundamental and thought-provoking questions about the human condition. We ask:

  • What is the essence of the human being?
  • What does it mean to be free? Are humans free at all?
  • What criteria are used for assessing the adequacy of moral judgments? Are there any such criteria?
  • How do we scientifically explain phenomena? What is the difference between scientific and philosophical explanations?
  • What are the essential properties of a work of art?
  • How should a society distribute wealth so that the distribution is just?

These are not abstract, ivory tower questions. Their origin is grounded in the core of human experience, being ceaselessly woven into our lives and existence. However, despite their day-to-day emergence, the answers to them are not so straightforward. In the search of explication we have to make use of appropriate philosophical methods. We need to employ critical and methodical thinking and careful analysis. All in all, we must search for convincing arguments. This way we can clarify our understanding of the philosophical aspects of human existence as much as it is humanly possible.

This examination gives us a more thorough theoretical self-understanding, but at the same time, it helps to develop the mastery of a number of practical skills, which are applicable in various fields of human activity. Among these crafts are the ability to form clear and concise argumentation, use rational judgement in different situations, and analyse various complex problems.

The subject of philosophy gives students an opportunity to come upon some of the most fascinating and influential thinkers. At the same time, the IB programme encourages “doing philosophy”, that is, being engaged in autonomous philosophical activity, not just replicating the thoughts of other thinkers. It attempts to arouse students’ curiosity, while fostering reflections on both their own perspectives and the views of others. The subject dares the students to develop their own philosophical voice and encourages them to become self-reliant thinkers.

The subject consists of four parts: the core theme, optional themes, a prescribed text and an exploration of the nature of philosophical activity.

The core theme is compulsory and is called Being Human. It addresses a number of fundamental concepts and issues which pertain to the human existence. It consists of challenging problems such as:

  • What is the relation between the mind and body? Is it possible to explain mental properties with physical processes?
  • What determines the identity of a person? Is it reason or rather emotions, customs or free choices?
  • What are values? How do values emerge?
  • To what extent do relationships with others determine the essence of the self?
  • Are there any distinguishing characteristics which set mankind apart from other animals?
  • Are animals and robots people?

There are seven optional themes:

  • Aesthetics
  • Epistemology
  • Ethics
  • Philosophy and contemporary society
  • Philosophy of religion
  • Philosophy of science
  • Political philosophy

The names of the optional themes suggest which oftentimes controversial human problems are being thought about. The topics range from questions about the essence of art to the problems of social justice. At standard level students choose one optional theme, and at higher level, two.

There are 12 prescribed philosophical texts, all of which are taken from the world’s philosophy treasury trove. Both at standard and higher level one text is chosen and analysed in class. Among the options are Plato’s The Republic, Friedrich Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, and Peter Singer’s The Life You Can Save.

The so-called “exploration of philosophical activity” is concentrated on the study of the functions and methods of philosophy. In addition to the critical examination of various philosophical approaches, students are engaged in reflecting on their own philosophising. This topic is obligatory only at higher level.

Psychology is defined as the systematic study of behaviour and experience. The overall aim of this course is to give students a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of psychology. Students undertaking the course can expect to develop an understanding of how psychological knowledge is generated, developed and applied. This will allow them to have a greater understanding of themselves and appreciate the diversity of human behaviour. The psychology course in the junior year examines the core – the interaction of biological (e. g. the influence of neurotransmitters and brain damage on human behaviour), cognitive (e. g. explanations of memory functions and false memories, the influence of emotions on memory) and sociocultural (e.g. stereotypes, conformity, compliance techniques) factors in human behaviour. The interaction between these factors substantially determines behaviour. This approach demonstrates how explanations offered by each of the three approaches complement one another and together provide more complete and satisfactory explanations of behaviour. In addition to this, the students at higher level study some additional topics – one for each approach: the use of animal models in psychological research, the influence of digital technologies on cognitive processes, and the influence of globalisation on behaviour.

During the senior year, two options are taught at higher level: abnormal psychology and the psychology of human relationships. Students at standard level choose only one option.

Abnormal psychology focuses on diagnosing, explaining and treating humans suffering from psychological disorders. This option begins by considering what is ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’ behaviour, and then looks into issues related to diagnosis and treatment, particularly of depression. Students learn about biomedical treatments (e.g. drugs, electro-convulsive therapy, sports) and psychotherapeutic treatments, with an emphasis on cognitive behavioural therapy.

The option psychology of human relationship begins by looking at the origin of altruistic and pro-social behaviour. It then explores personal relationships, focusing on attraction and communication, the role of communication and culture, as well as reasons for the end of relationships. The last subtopic is prejudice and discrimination.

The course has a strong emphasis on research as students must complete an independent psychological experiment and present the findings in an individual report in a professional fashion. An example might be an investigation into the accuracy of eyewitness reports after a car crash. One of the areas of study is also research involving qualitative analysis (e.g. case study, interview), besides descriptive statistics (e. g. arithmetic mean and standard deviation) and inferential statistics, e.g., t-test. The ethical concerns raised by the methodology and application of psychological research are also key considerations in this psychology course.

The aims of the psychology course at HL and  SL are to:

  • Interpret and/or conduct psychological research and apply the resulting knowledge for the benefit of human beings.
  • Ensure that ethical practices and responsibilities are implemented in psychological inquiry.
  • Develop an understanding of the biological, social and cultural influences on human behaviour.
  • Develop an understanding of the different theoretical processes that are used to interpret behaviour, and to be aware of how these processes lead to the construction and evaluation of psychological theories.
  • Develop an awareness of how applications of psychology in everyday life are derived from psychological theories.
  • Develop an appreciation of the eclectic nature of psychology.
  • Understand and/or use diverse methods of psychological inquiry.

The study of IB History provides students to gain deeper understanding of the global world in the past and consequently in the present. Through different topics the main focus is to build knowledge that will provide students the skills of rationally interpreting, critical thinking, sensible connecting and above all solid argumentation. The history through different periods and different regions of the world will get us closer to establish the connections in time and space.

IB History includes the core of 20th century focusing on authoritarian states, causes and effects of 20th century wars, the Cold war and the move to global war. On higher level the imperial Russia, European states in the inter-war years is studied and in the end the post-war Central and Eastern Europe is explained.


Physics is one the oldest and more fundamental scientific disciplines. It deals with the fundamental laws of nature and is thus a basis for other natural – lately also social – sciences and engineering disciplines. Physics tries to investigate natural phenomena by experiments and to describe them with mathematical models. Both approaches are essential and equally important, although the experimental aspect is commonly neglected in high schools. However, the IB physics syllabus is designed for students to acquire in-depth understanding of the more important physical concepts and to develop experimental skills and data analysis techniques. In comparison to the national physics syllabus the IB syllabus covers a wider range of topics, it is more thorough and up to date.

The IB physics syllabus consists of a common core, additional higher level (AHL) and optional topics. On an elementary level classical topics, including mechanics, thermal physics, oscillations, waves, electricity, magnetism, atomic and nuclear physics are covers in the core. An extension of this knowledge is offered by the AHL topics. The students learn about more complex concepts in physics, such as wave phenomena, fields, electromagnetic induction and quantum physics. Depending on their interest the students choose one additional topic, which is covered in detail. These optional topics are relativity, engineering physics, imaging or astronomy.

A part of the IB physics syllabus is also practical work, including experimental labs, a common project with other experimental sciences (Group 4 Project) and an individual investigation (Internal Assessment), which is assessed and already represents a part of the final grade.

IB physics is a great choice for all students who want to study natural sciences, engineering or medicine and of course for all others who would like to know, how nature really works.

Biology is the study of life. Over the course of evolution 4 billion species could have been produced. This diversity makes biology both an endless source of fascination and a considerable challenge.

Biologists attempt to understand the living world at all levels using many different approaches and techniques. At one end of the scale is the cell, its molecular construction and complex metabolic reactions. At the other end of the scale biologists investigate the interactions that make whole ecosystems function. By its very nature, biology lends itself to an experimental approach, and this is reflected throughout the course of IB Biology.

Students at standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the option studied.

While the skills and activities of biology are common to students at both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, in the additional higher level (AHL) material and in the common options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.

Sylabus outline:

Core(95 teaching hours ):

  • Cell biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Evolution and biodiversity
  • Human physiology

Additional higher level (AHL) (60 teaching hours)

  • Nucleic acids
  • Metabolism, cell respiration and photosynthesis
  • Plant biology
  • Genetics and evolution
  • Animal physiology

Option (15 teaching hours for standard level and 25 teaching hours for higher level)

  • Neurobiology and behaviour
  • Biotechnology and bioinformatics
  • Ecology and conservation
  • Human physiology

Practical scheme of work (40 teaching hours for standard level and 60 teaching hours for higher level)

  • Practical activities
  • Individual investigation (internal assessment–IA)
  • Group 4 project

Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. It is the basic science as chemical principles underpin both the physical environment in which we live and all biological systems.

The IB program is focused on the acquisition and development of chemical knowledge which allows students to develop their scientific literacy, experimental, research and problem-based skills. Through studying chemistry students should become aware of how scientists work and communicate with each other. While the scientific method may take on a wide variety of forms, the emphasis is on a practical approach. In addition, through the overarching theme of the “Nature of Science” this knowledge and skills will be put into the context of the way science and scientists work in the 21st Century and the ethical debates and limitations of creative scientific endeavour.

The sciences are taught practically. Students have opportunities to design investigations, collect data, develop manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate their findings. The investigations may be laboratory based or they may make use of simulations and data bases. Students develop the skills to work independently on their own design. Our school possesses a well-equipped school laboratory, which allows students to also carry out experiments in the field of instrumental analytical chemistry (UV-VIS spectroscopy, polarimetry, gas chromatography, infrared spectroscopy) and the more motivated students the opportunity to early involvement in contemporary research activities (collaboration with the University and different research laboratories).

Students are assessed both externally and internally and the programme is Available at standard (SL) and higher levels (HL). The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL. Chemistry students at SL and HL undertake a common core syllabus and a common internal assessment (IA) scheme.  While there are core skills and activities common to both SL and HL, students at HL are required to study some topics in greater depth, to study additional topics and to study extension material of a more demanding nature in the options. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.

A practical approach to the course delivery is emphasised through the interdisciplinary group 4project (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) and a mixture of both short-term and long-term experiments and investigations.

Internal assessment accounts for 20% of the final assessment and this is assessed through a single individual investigation (duration 10 hours). This investigation may involve a hands-on approach, use of data-bases, modelling, simulation or a hybrid. Student work is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB.

The external assessment of chemistry consists of three written papers. In paper 1 are 30 (at SL) or 40 (at HL) multiple-choice questions.  Paper 2 contains short-answer and extended-response questions on the core (and Additional Higher Level (AHL) material at HL). Paper 3 has two sections; Section A contains one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work on the core (and AHL material at HL). Section B contains short-answer and extended-response questions from each of the four options (Medicinal Chemistry or Materials or Biochemistry or Energy).


Mathematics Analysis and Approaches is a course which can be taken at standard or higher level. The standard level course is designed for students with a satisfactory mathematical background. However, a good mathematical background and some talent are expected for students taking the course at higher level.  The syllabus is divided into five compulsory topics on both levels: numbers and algebra, functions, geometry and trigonometry, calculus and probability and statistics. There is an emphasis on conceptual understanding, inquiry-based learning, modelling, proof and the use of technology. During the learning process, students are given many opportunities to be active participants and learn through inquiry and investigation. All important mathematical topics are covered in the standard level course, and therefore provides supportive knowledge for future studies in other subjects, such as biology, economics, psychology or business. At higher level, candidates acquire a deeper understanding and broader knowledge. In addition, special attention is given to solving original problems which are new to the students. Consequently, candidates will be well prepared for further studies in subjects such as mathematics, financial mathematics, physics, chemistry or computer science.

In the first year of the programme, students are divided into two groups (standard and higher level). Students can decide at which level they will study depending on their interest in the subject. At the end of September, all students take a placement test to assess their prior knowledge. Based on the results of the test, students can decide to change the level. The course is taught over 2 years for 4 teaching hours (45 min) per week at standard level, and 5 teaching hours per week at higher level. The final exam is split into two parts. The externally assessed part counts toward 80% of the final mark and includes two papers at standard level, and three papers at higher level. For paper one, graphic display calculators are not allowed, but for paper two, they are required. For the third paper, which is only for higher level, the students are challenged to solve new problems, which they have not seen before. The internally assessed part of the course counts toward 20% of the final mark. It is referred to as Mathematical Exploration. The students are encouraged to explore a topic of their choice, and then write a piece of work. This gives the students the opportunity to pursue their interests and improve their writing skills.


The 1st year topics:

  • Proof
  • Linear, quadratic, rational function, exponential and logarithmic function
  • Geometry
  • Trigonometry
  • Differentiation

The 2nd year topics:

  • Integration
  • Sequences and series
  • Probability and statistics


The 1st year topics (HL):

  • Linear, quadratic, exponential and logarithmic function
  • Polynomials and rational functions
  • Proof
  • Trigonometric and circular functions
  • Differentiation
  • Integration

The 2nd year topics (HL):

  • Differential equations of first order
  • Sequences and series
  • Complex numbers
  • Geometry
  • Vectors
  • Probability and statistics


Music is part of the sixth group: the arts. The music course is designed to offer students the opportunity to build on prior experience in music while encouraging a broad approach to the subject and developing new skills, techniques and ideas.

Both standard level (SL) and higher level (HL) music students are required to study music in society from middle years to the present day (ranging from that of Western traditions to that of non-western regions and cultures), which incorporates the study of two set works. They choose one of the three options: creating, solo performing or group performing. Candidates are free to perform whatever music they choose. The composition portfolio is made up of two harmony and counterpoint exercises, one structured arrangement and one free composition. Candidates also undertake a musical investigation in the form of a media script investigating the relationship between two musical genres.

In the Diploma Programme, there are external and internal assessments and several methods for assessing the work produced by students: assessment criteria, markbands and markschemes. For internal assessment, solo and group performing, these criteria are: selection of programme, technical proficiency, understanding of style and musical communication. The externally assessed listening paper includes four criteria: musical elements, musical structure, musical terminology and musical context. Each assessment criterion has level descriptors describing specific levels of achievement together with an appropriate range of marks.

Importance is attached to individual development during the two years course as well as specific standards. The programme is designed for those who have a general interest in music as well as for those intending to continue their study of music further.