Over the past year, rumours have been spreading. Is it really true? Is the IBO completely changing the Maths syllabus? Will Maths Studies cease to exist?! For those of you about to start your IB Diploma, the new maths syllabus has probably been a hot topic of conversation. And having spoken to a lot of you, I have understood that it’s been a rather confusing topic too! So, whether you’ve chosen your maths class for next year or not, I thought it would be helpful to create a super simple guide to the new IB maths courses. Read on for an easy explanation of what to expect from the new syllabus.

What’s New?

From 2019, there will be two new IB Diploma maths subjects. These are Maths: Analysis and Approaches and Maths: Applications and Interpretation. Both subjects will be offered at SL and HL. The SL maths courses mean 150 hours of classes, whilst a HL maths course is taught over 240 hours (remember, these class hours are spread over two years – phew!!!). Knowing the amount of time you’ll be spending on a subject is a good way to decide which level to take. Think to yourself: do I really want to have 240 hours of maths, or am I more suited to 150 hours? But what differentiates (maths joke, get it) the two courses is how they approach mathematics. Here’s a quick break down of the two subjects:

Mathematics: analysis and approaches

  • Emphasis on algebraic methods
  • Develop strong skills in mathematical thinking
  • Real and abstract mathematical problem solving
  • For students interested in mathematics, engineering physical sciences, and some economics

Mathematics: applications and interpretation

  • Emphasis on modelling and statistics
  • Develops strong skills in applying mathematics to the real-world
  • Real mathematical problem solving using technology
  • For students interested in social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, statistics, business, engineering, some economics, psychology and design

As I often tell pre IB students, when choosing your IB subjects it’s a great idea to think a bit further ahead to what you might want to study at University. So, when choosing which of these maths options (and at which level) to take, don’t be scared to approach your maths teacher or IB Coordinator for advice. If you have a subject or course in mind for University, ask for their opinion as to which maths option might be best!

Click the link above to get access to our free guide on how to choose your IB Maths Courses!

How do these New Options relate to the Old IB Maths Courses?

For those of you who were familiar with the old IB maths options, you might be confused about how these new courses relate. E.g. which of the new courses should I take if I wanted to opt for Maths Studies?! We’ve had an in depth look at the new courses, and here’s our opinion as to which of the old options links to which new course:

  • Applications and Interpretation SL – similar to Maths Studies
  • Applications and Interpretation HL – similar to the old Maths SL
  • Analysis and Approaches SL – similar to the old Maths HL
  • Analysis and Approaches HL – similar to the old Further Maths HL course (only for the brave!)
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Subject Breakdown

Five topics will be covered in each of the new maths courses. These are:

  • Number and algebra – check out this link to Khan Academy’s great algebra content
  • Functions
  • Geometry and trigonometry
  • Statistics and probability – click here to watch our free IB maths course on statistics
  • Calculus

However, the emphasis on each of these topics varies depending on the maths course and what level you’re studying. This handy graph provides a summary of each course and its weighting of the five topics:

Source: IBO

For more details on the maths subject breakdown, check out this blog from the IBO.

Source: Amazon

Additional Materials

Some of you may have already come across the legendary GDC, also known as the graphic display calculator (or ‘the brick’ as I liked to call it). Well don’t you worry, because this bad boy is once again a requirement for the new maths courses. Get ready to lug this unnecessarily huge calculator around school for at least two years.





Extra Help

If you’re looking for support to get to grips with these new maths courses, then our tutors are at hand to help! All of our maths tutors are up to date and confident with the syllabus changes. They’ll be able to help you make a head start this summer, either through our Online Private Tuition, or on one of our Summer Courses! 

I hope this blog has given you a quick guide to the changes regarding the IB maths courses. If you’re still unsure as to which of the new courses is right for you, don’t hesitate to speak with your maths teacher or IB Coordinator. They should be able to help you make the right choice!

Find out how to ace TOK here…

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