18 Feb 2022

If you’re an IB student, you may have already heard of the Mathematics and Approaches Standard Level. Or perhaps you’ve already taken it and now need to revise? In either case, studying for the IB is like running a marathon. There are so many internal assessments to submit, and so many deadlines. When students finally find time to study for their exams, they may not have much time left to study. It helps to have a plan in place to study them effectively – after all, you only get one chance at each exam. This article will give you several methods to ensure that your hard work pays off on the day of the exam by studying effectively and efficiently.

The IB Mathematics Analysis and Approaches Standard exam (MAA SL exam) comprises of 2 papers. Students are allotted 90 minutes to complete their papers. Paper 1 is a non – calculator paper and students will have to rely on their arithmetic skills. paper 2 is a calculator paper and using the Graphical Display calculator is a MUST!

In each paper, there are two sections, Section A and Section B. Section A questions are usually shorter and more straightforward. While Section B questions tend to be longer and have many linked questions. Linked questions are where the answer to the first part of the question is used in the second part. They are usually more challenging as students need to synthesize the concepts together.

Before we get down to the tips to prepare for exams, we will do an in-depth analysis of the marks distribution for the May 2021 MAA SL papers for Timezone 1 and 2. IB Mathematics comprises of 5 strands, Number and Algebra, Functions, Geometry and Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability and Calculus. We will break down the mark distribution across these 5 strands and identify the areas students should focus on.

Refer to the charts above, the three areas with the greatest mark distribution across both timezones 1 and 2 in the May 2021 exams are Geometry and Trigonometry, Statistics and Probability and Calculus. Students who are short of time may like to focus on these topics first before the rest. However, this does not mean you should only study these three topics and ignore the rest. There has been a trend of integrated questions in IB Math MAA SL exams. Integrated questions refer to questions which incorporate 2 to 3 topics in one questions. These questions are usually more challenging as it requires a good grasp of a few topics in mathematics.

The IB MAA SL exams have undergone significant changes recently. Topics such vectors have been completely removed. Students should focus on exam papers more similar to the syllabus that are testes. Older exam questions include topics which are no longer assessed. It will be best for students to attempt the questions in May 2021 as well as observe the question trends in the new exam papers.

When taking a big test, especially an exam such as IB mathematics, it is important to be prepared with all of your formulas written down. By having them written down on note cards and being able to access them easily, it will help you greatly in passing your exam. It helps you to familiarise yourself with the necessary topics and filter out unnecessary information. If there are any formulas that you don’t know well enough yet, do extra practice problems on that topic. Also check out our you tube: How to Study for IB Exams With One Day Left which has some great tips!

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