Understanding the New IB Math Courses

The IB mathematics curriculum has just gotten a makeover. Two new IB math courses are being rolled out this year to replace the existing four courses. These two courses, IB Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (SL/HL) and IB Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation (SL/HL), cover a wide range of topics from geometry to calculus. If you are planning to advance your studies with the IB math curriculum, you can hire an IB math private tutor.
Determining the differences between these courses can be challenging, but hopefully this article can clear things up and help you to decide which course to take.

At first glance, it may look like these two IB math courses cover the same content. Each course advertises itself as teaching numbers and algebra, functions, geometry and trigonometry, statistics and probability, and calculus. Indeed, the coverage does overlap between the courses. However, the courses take different approaches when teaching these math concepts.

IB Math: Analysis and Approaches will look at each topic in a much more theoretical way. In this course, students will learn the WHY and HOW of math and also learn the proof behind different formulas and equations. In contrast, students in the IB Math: Applications and Interpretation course will dwell less on why certain math formulas work and will instead gain a comprehensive understanding of how these concepts can be applied to real world problems in statistics, biology, economics and other disciplines. So, if you decide to hire an IB math tutor in HK, be sure to ask which of the courses they specialize in.

The courses also differ in the topics they emphasize. For example, students in the Applications and Interpretation course will use a substantial amount of class time to study statistics and data analysis. In contrast, those in Analysis and Approaches will spend less time on statistics and instead use that time to delve more deeply into calculus.

Once you’ve chosen which course to take, you must then decide whether to take it at the standard level (SL) or higher level (HL). The major difference between the two is that HL includes more topics and is generally more challenging. For both IB mathematics courses, SL requires about 150 teaching hours to cover all content whereas HL requires around 240 hours. Thus, HL has approximately 90 hours of additional content.
When choosing between these two you must consider a lot of factors including your background in math, your available free time, and the other IB courses you are taking. Remember that those completing the IB diploma programme (DP) must complete at least three (but no more than four) IB HL courses.

If you are still unsure which IB math course to take or if you want some help preparing for the course then it is highly recommended that you hire an IB maths tutor in Hong Kong. IB math tutors often have years of private tutoring experience and will have deep knowledge of what is expected for each IB math course.