Changes in Syllabus – IB Math and IGCSE Math


We know the IB (International Baccalaureate) as an education system offering 4 different programmes at different levels for children in the ages between 5 and 19 years. We are also aware the IB Board in the process of offering good quality education has constantly evolved itself either by bringing in a new program or a change in the existing program.


1.Changes in the IB Mathematics Syllabus
2.Changes in the Assessments
3.Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics Syllabus

In lieu of this process, there was a major change in the mathematics syllabus. The last assessment in the old course was taken in November 2020. After the changes made the teaching for the new course started in 2019 and the first assessment in the new course was conducted in May 2021. The changes made usually is followed for 7 years until a new change is implemented.

This change is made to ensure that the students are well equipped with the necessary skills for the Universities they apply or for their future employers in a dream company. Logical and critical thinking, analysis and interpretation and good prompt problem-solving skills are the most wanted skills in a potential candidate either for a university applicant or a company hire.

The old course had a choice of two levels depending on the ability of the students and three models

  • Mathematics at Standard Level (Math SL)
  • Mathematics at High Level (Math HL)
  • Math Studies


Changes in the IB Mathematics Syllabus

The new course introduced gives students 4 choices to choose from – 2 each from the old course SL and HL. The students should consider a few parameters in making the selection from these 4 choices

  1. Their abilities and the type of mathematics they are comfortable with
  2. Their own interest in mathematics and the areas that may be interesting for them
  3. Their choices in the Diploma programme or Career related programme
  4. Whether they want to opt for a math-based stream later
  5. Their choice of career

The new IB board mathematics syllabus aligns itself perfectly with the various combination of parameters mentioned above and enables the students to choose comfortably from the choices offered.


Applications and Interpretation (AI) Analysis and Approaches (AA)
Standard Level High Level Standard Level High Level
Like Old Math studies Unlike Old Courses Like Old Math SL Like Old Math HL
Who should opt for this?
Students who are not strong in math and do not want to pursue a math-based stream after high school Students who are strong in math and enjoy doing it but do not plan on a math-based stream after high school Students who are moderately good at math but do not plan a math-based stream after high school Students who are very strong in math and want to opt for math-based course after high school


To put in simple words, IB Mathematics– Applications and Interpretation syllabus is for students who would enjoy developing their mathematics skills in solving practical problems and when seen in real life context. It is based on the foundation of statistics and distribution. The students learn the practical application of the complicated formulas they learn in this course.

Ideal for those wanting to go on to study

  • Social Sciences
  • Natural Sciences
  • Medicine
  • Statistics
  • Business
  • Engineering
  • Applied Economics
  • Psychology
  • Design

IB Mathematics-Analysis and Approaches syllabus is for students who would enjoy developing their mathematics to become an expert in mathematical arguments and become skillful in mathematical thinking, while exploring practical and theoretical applications. So it develops the analytic expertise and a deep understanding of mathematics in students.

Ideal for students wanting to pursue

  • Mathematics
  • Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
  • Mathematical Economics

The students study mathematics in all the three levels of the IB programmes- IBPYP, IBMYP and IBDP. But at the MYP, the student is required to choose between Mathematics (Standard) and Mathematics (Extended). This helps in selecting the course at the Diploma Level.

Mathematics (Standard) – Then the student must choose between IBDP Mathematics AA (SL) or IBDP Mathematics AI (SL)
Mathematics (Extended) – Then the student must choose between IBDP Mathematics AA (HL) or IBDP Mathematics AI (HL).

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Changes in the Assessments

There are two types of- Internal and External assessments.

  • External Assessments: IB board Mathematics AA and AI – SL and HL both have two final assessments in written format. An extra assessment is included for the HL for both the courses of duration 1 hour each.
  • Internal Assessments: IB board Mathematics AA and AI- There is no change. In this assessment the student must submit a project independently which is assessed internally by the faculty and externally moderated by the IB board. This internal assessment contributes to 20 percent to the overall marks.

To know the changes in the curriculum, please visit the IB question bank to assess the practice questions topic wise

Cambridge is known for updating its course syllabus. Major changes have been made to IGCSE courses- Physics, Biology, Chemistry and English. These changes are effective May/June 2023 and will be effect until the year 2025. Mathematics as such has no significant changes and it has been clearly stated in the guidelines that any resource material endorsed to support the syllabus of 2020 is still suitable to sue with the new syllabus.


Cambridge IGCSE Mathematics Syllabus

  1. Helps building the students’ ability, confidence and the ease in using their use of techniques without the use of calculator, and thus increasing the mathematical understanding.
  2. Encourages the students’ reasoning and analytical skills.
  3. Emphasizes problem solving in mathematics and real-life contexts.
  4. Enables better communication and reasoning mathematically.
  5. Helps students of all abilities to achieve and progress in mathematical studies.

All the students should learn all the following topics

Number Algebra Shape and Space Probability and Statistics
Number Algebra and Graphs Geometry Statistics
Coordinate Geometry Mensuration
Vectors and Transformations

The course is tiered to enable the effective differentiation for the students. The Core content is intended to target grades G-C and the Extended content id intended to target grades D-A*

A* being the highest and G the lowest.


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How much flexibility do you have to step up from IGCSE Math to IB Math?

The result may vary within a year. Like one can finish the IGCSE Math first and Then the IB math in just an average of 3 years.  Thus, Students find that there is quite a flexibility to step up from IGCSE Math to IB Math.


IB math HL is how hard in the International Baccalaureate program?

The answer depends on the demographic number of students. Some students find it difficult to study IB or IGCSE math. Whereas other students find it very easy although the level of Math in both IB and IGCSE are at a basic level. Still, even the best students in math find the IB math HL is much more difficult than the IGCSE math. Although, the percentage is small.

Can one do the IB Math HL if one gets an A* score in IGCSE Math?

Yes, one can do IB Math if one gets an A* score in IGCSE Math. Thus, a small percentage of students find it easy to pursue IB math after completion of IGCSE math.

Can an IGCSE math student cope with an IB Math student?

Yes, an IGCSE Math student copes with an IB Math student. If the basics of mathematics are clear.  

Scoring 99 in the IGCSE Math is easy, thus is scoring good marks in IB math will be easy?

Yes, The problem lies in the understanding of the Math formulas and theories. Without a proper understanding, one cannot even solve a simple 12th-level math problem. Thus, if one scores 99 in the IGCSE math then, surely it is easy for the student to gain good marks in IB Math will be easy.

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