When it comes to choosing International Baccalaureate (IB) Maths, you have two main options:
(i) Maths Applications and Interpretations (or Maths AI)
(ii) Maths Analysis and Approaches (or Maths AA)
Both are offered at a Higher Level (HL) or a Standard Level (SL).
There are many considerations you have to balance when choosing your level of IB Maths, from your love for the subject to your future educational and career plans. Unfortunately, there aren’t many resources to help students with this. That is where a tutor comes in.
Both Maths AI and Maths AA cover topics such as Number and Algebra, Functions, Geometry and Trigonometry, Probability and Statistics, and Calculus. However, the two pathways approach these subjects in different ways and study them at different depths.
Maths AI emphasises how mathematical concepts can be applied to solve practical problems in the sciences, finance, statistics, humanities, design, psychology, business, economics, etc. Maths AI is aimed at students who are more interested in how maths relates to the world around us and how it is used every day.
HL students cover the same topics as SL students but study them in more depth and complexity. HL students also sit an extra paper in their final exams.
Maths AI is more technology-focused than Maths AA and expects you to use your Graphics Calculator as a tool to solve problems quickly.
The IB Maths AA focuses on more abstract and theoretical concepts than AI. This entails a stronger emphasis on topics like calculus, and a greater overall focus on the idea of proof, mathematical theorems, and mathematical argument. AA is aimed at students who are excited about abstract mathematical thinking and keen to push the boundary of their mathematical understanding.
Maths AA is more relevant to those students interested in studying, say, pure mathematics, engineering, physics or medicine.
In the Maths AA course, there is a non-calculator paper in the final exam, which is not present in a standard English Maths A-level.
Choosing the right level is very much an individual thing, and the IB provides more choices than a standard Maths A-level in England.
You will have to take into consideration what you are hoping to achieve from the IB Maths course as well as your passion for the subject. If you are considering a degree in Engineering or a similar subject, your university will most likely require you to take Maths AI or AA at the Higher Level. Similarly, certain degrees such as Economics will only require Maths AI or AA at the Standard Level. Having a tutor may help you decide.
If you’d like to study for a degree which does not need a high level of Mathematical knowledge, then your decision will come down to your personal passion for the subject or to set yourself a challenge or to help you with your other subjects.
If you want to get a real academic advantage in your Maths International Baccalaureate, TuitionWorks has a team of qualified teachers on hand to deliver a course of personalized, one-on-one maths lessons that will take your maths skills to the next level.
Maths tutor at TuitionWorks
I have been teaching and tutoring for over 35 years now, with an excellent rate of success and glowing references from literally scores of past pupils.
About me: At the age of 10, I was awarded a 7-year scholarship to Loughborough Grammar School and went on to study Mathematics at Keele University and then at Oxford University.