IBDP Mathematics: Syllabus, Assessment of Analysis & Approach


The IB (International Baccalaureate) continuum programs are curated to develop individuals who are not only academically qualified but are also well-rounded individuals who can face today’s challenges with optimism and open-mindedness.

There are four different programs for children from 3 to 19 years

  • IB Primary Year Program – The audience is children in the age group 3-12 years
  • IB Middle Year Program – The audience is children in the age group 11-16 years
  • IB Diploma Program   The audience is children in the age group 16-19 years
  • IB Career-Related Program – The audience is children in the age group 16-19 years

The IB programs encourage both personal development and academic excellence, challenging students to think critically, ask the right questions and think across all disciplines.

After completing the diploma program, the students can look forward to getting admission to universities and completing their graduation.

The IB DP course is a rigorous pre-university course of study designed for students in the 16-19 age range. It is a broad-based two-year course. Through this course schools are able to develop students who:

  • Imbibe excellent knowledge in all disciplines
  • Think globally
  • Purse at least two languages
  • Are creative and imaginative while dealing with everyday problems
  • Excel academically
  • Understand the nature of knowledge

Further the subjects have two levels – standard level (SL) and higher level (HL), the difference being the difficulty levels. Yet that does mean that the HL versions are unapproachable. They are applications of the concepts covered in the SL. Students of the HL often find themselves questioning the concepts of their subjects more than the SL students because the IB curriculum kindles the creative and inquisitive thinking that challenges the traditional methods of learning.

The IB DP requires the students to choose subjects from the six subject areas and complete three mandatory core elements of the DP to successfully earn the Diploma

The six subject areas are –

  • Language and Literature
  • Language Acquisition
  • Individuals and Societies
  • Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts

And the three core elements are

  • Theory of Knowledge (TOK)
  • Extended Essay (EE)
  • Creative, Activity, Service (CAS)


Mathematics – One of the Subject Areas

Of all the subjects taught in school, the most dreaded is Mathematics and we see the students go through extreme trauma while approaching the math subjects. Considering the different interests, needs, abilities, and goals of the students, the DP offers four options for the mathematics courses

  • Mathematics – Analysis and Approaches SL and HL
  • Mathematics – Applications and Interpretations SL and HL

A revamp of the earlier version of the subject has brought into effect these four courses.

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 students should consider a few parameters in making the selection from these 4 choices. Ask yourself

  • Do you know or can your teachers confirm that the level of mathematics you have pursued so far is good enough to take up an HL course?
  • If unsure, can you be comfortable with putting in extra time and effort, and getting the needed extra support to make up the difference?
  • In either of the above two scenarios, do you enjoy doing mathematics?
  • Do you have a fall-back plan in case the HL course does not work for you?

Also consider your abilities, your choice of subjects, and your career plans.
Both the courses AA and AI have the same core field of mathematics – algebra, statistics, number theory, geometry, and calculus

A quick summary to get an idea of the to revamp of the four courses and the way they are curated.

Math Analysis and Approaches (AA) Math Applications and Interpretation (AI)
What is it similar to? What is it similar to?
Standard Level (SL) – Similar to Old SL Standard Level (SL) – Similar to Math Studies
Higher Level (HL) – Similar to Old HL Higher Level – New Introduction
Who should opt for this course? Who should opt for this course?
Standard Level – Students who are moderate at math and wish to pursue economics or sciences after school level Standard Level – Students who are not strong in math and do not want to pursue math – based subjects after school level
Higher Level – Students who are strong at math and wish to pursue math or engineering after school level Higher level – Students who are strong in math and enjoy doing it but not want to pursue math-based subjects after school level


Aims of the DP Mathematics – Analysis and Approach

The aims are major to enable the students to:

  • Develop an unquenchable thirst for mathematics in the students
  • Develop an understanding of the concepts, principles, and nature of mathematics
  • Communicate mathematics clearly, concisely, and confidently in various contexts
  • Enhance the creative and logical thinking
  • Acknowledge and apply the inter-correlation between Mathematics and Technology
  • Appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other disciplines
  • Develop the ability to reflect on their own work and on the others’ work
  • Independently and in a team, extend their understating of mathematics


Curriculum Model Overview

Mathematics AA and Mathematics AI share 60 hours of common SL content.

Syllabus Component Recommended Teaching hours
Number and Algebra 19 39
Functions 21 32
Geometry and Trigonometry 25 51
Statistics and Probability 27 33
Calculus 28 55
Exploration of an area of Mathematics 30 30
Total teaching hours 150 240


Assessment Objectives

The assessment objectives for the Mathematics Analysis and Approach aim at enhancing the students’ skills to:

  • Understand, recall, and use the mathematical concepts, facts and techniques in various contexts –familiar and unfamiliar
  • Select and apply their knowledge to solve problems – both real world and abstract
  • Translate real problems into mathematics and demonstrate using technology and notations in different contexts
  • Use technology accurately, appropriately, and efficiently both to explore different ideas and to solve problems
  • Construct logically sound and precise mathematical arguments, inferences, and deductions
  • Organize and analyze information in a systematic manner drawing logically sound conclusions and testing their validity


Assessment at a Glance

Type of assessment Format of assessment Time duration SL Time duration HL Weighting of final grades SL Weighting of final grades HL


Paper 1 No technology allowed Section A –Compulsory short response questions Section B – compulsory extended- response questions 1.5 hours 2 hours 40% 30%
Paper 2 Technology allowed Section A – Compulsory short response questions Section B – compulsory extended- response questions 1.5 hours 2 hours 40% 30%
Paper 3 Technology allowed Two compulsory extended-response problem solving questions 1 hour 20%


Exploration 15 hours 15 hours 20% 20%


The Exploration is an integral part of the course and its assessment and is mandatory for both the SL and the HL students. It helps in the application of skills and knowledge, and in pursuing personal interests without time limitations and other challenges in written examinations.


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What is IB Mathematics Analysis and Approach?

IB Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches 1 is an IB Standard-Level course that covers every subject needed to pass the associated IB exam as well as every subject needed to pass the AP Calculus AB test. It might be said that this course is a first-semester college calculus course.

Is IB math analysis hard?

Analysis & Approaches in IB Math The International Baccalaureate’s (IB) mathematics course with the highest level of difficulty is called HL. Before permitting students to enroll in this course, most IB schools ask that they have performed very well on earlier mathematics exams or courses.

What are two types of math in IB?

Mathematical Applications and Interpretations and Mathematical Analysis and Approaches are the types of math in IB, both of which are available at either the Higher level (HL) or the Standard Level(SL).

Is IB the hardest curriculum in the world?

IB is undoubtedly one of the most difficult curricula. For instance, Maths HL has a reputation for being challenging, complicated, and difficult.

What is the easiest IB subject?

With an average score that is 0.1 points higher than French, Spanish HL is ranked first among the simplest IB courses.

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