IB Mathematics SL and HL 2021

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IB Mathematics SL and HL 2021 2019-03-26T07:47:06+07:00

Significant changes are going to happen for IB DP Mathematics. The first teaching of the new course will start in August/September 2019 and the first external examination assessments will take place in May 2021.

What’s new in the IB Maths?

The new courses will benefit from an improved philosophy – more emphasis is being given to approaches to learning and teaching, and this is reflected in the design of the new syllabuses.

Approaches to learning will focus on developing thinking, social, communication, self-management and research skills, whereas approaches to teaching will be inquiry-based, conceptually-focused, contextualised, collaborative, differentiated, and informed by assessment.

Two new routes will be available at both SL or HL: Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretation.

Analysis and Approaches

The new Analysis and Approaches course reflects the emphasis on algebraic, graphical and numerical approaches. Much of this course represents an updated version of the existing HL syllabus.

This course is designed specifically for students who enjoy developing their mathematics in order to become fluent in the construction of mathematical arguments and develop strong skills in mathematical thinking. Students taking this course will explore real and abstract applications of mathematics, with and without the use of technology. This course is intended for students who will go on to study subjects with substantial maths content at university (e.g. Mathematics, Engineering, Economics, Physical Sciences).

Applications and Interpretation

The new Applications and Interpretation course emphasises the applied nature of mathematics and the interpretation of results in context. Much of this course is relatively new.

This course is for students who are interested in developing their mathematics for describing our world and solving practical problems. These students will harness the power of technology alongside exploring mathematical models. Unlike the Analysis and Approaches course, which only allows the use of technology partially, Applications and Interpretation makes extensive use of it. This course is aimed at students who are likely to go into Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, etc.

What about Maths Studies?

We know one concern teachers have is what course students that would previously have taken Mathematical Studies SL should choose. As IB math teachers, we recommend that those students should take the Applications and Interpretation SL course.

SL vs HL

To bring DP Maths in line with other DP subjects and to allow schools more flexibility, SL content will be a complete subset of the HL content for that course. All students will complete 120 hours of SL content and 30 hours of investigation, inquiry and problem solving (to include the Internal Assessment). HL students will also complete a further 90 hours of additional content. Furthermore, there will be 60 hours of common SL content across all four options.

SL vs HL Math IB

Changes to assessment objectives

Two new aims are being added to the course:

Students will be required to

  • Develop the ability to reflect critically on their own work and the work of others.
  • Work independently and collaboratively to extend their understanding of mathematics.

The assessment objectives are also undergoing some minor changes:

  • Objective 3 (communication and interpretation) will include the addition of the phrase ‘use appropriate notation and terminology’ to accommodate the changes due to increasing use of technology.
  • Objective 6 will be re-named as inquiry approaches for all routes.

External Assessment

SL and HL students will take two written exam papers consisting of questions that require short and longer answers. Paper 1 will be without the use of technology; Paper 2 will require the use a graphic calculator.

HL students will take an additional paper, Paper 3, which will be a 1-hour problem solving paper, possibly requiring the use of spreadsheets and graphing software.

Internal Assessment

This will be based on the current model

How to prepare for the new IB DP mathematics courses

Those students who have obtained an A or A* at IGCSE will already be well prepared for the new courses. Those students who have obtained a B or C grade at IGCSE should consider taking the IB Mathematics “Bridging Course”. This course will be offered by GK Consultants during July and August 2019. The course will be split into one-to-one tutorial programmes and Small Group (2-6 students) tutorial programmes will be available for those students who prefer to study and work in a group. The courses will cover all the presumed knowledge that IB DP mathematics students require and offer students some “taster units” of the actual new IB DP maths courses. All students, no matter what your mathematical background is, are welcome to join these courses.

Each college or university in the United States sets its own admissions requirements. Good scores in AP coursework indicate to admissions staff that a student has achieved a recognized standard in that subject area. Most schools will accept scores of 3 or above as the equivalent of their introductory or first year courses in the same subject area. Consult university Web sites for details.
The College Board offers a series of 8 Scholar Awards which recognise outstanding scores in AP examinations.

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      Covid-19 Update 😷

      Covid-19: Tutorial Procedures

      Just recently the Covid-19 situation has become increasingly worse once again and obviously worrying for all of us. Schools are closed or likely to be closed and will be offering online learning to supplement and replace all classroom teaching, homework assignments, examination preparation and project work. We here at GK Consultants will continue to work with students on their learning, school assignments and try to support each of them in terms of organisation, time management and other guidance as needed. Intensive support for IGCSE, A Level, SAT, ACT, AP and IB examinations will continue as we approach crucial dates during these next few months. Homeschooling programmes will continue as before.


      GK Consultants will continue to operate as follows:


      • Students can have their tutorials delivered either in person or by an online learning interface such as Skype or Zoom. Remote methods of teaching and learning work well, and we have used online teaching and learning techniques for many years. Online tutorials are scheduled at the same time as their face-to-face counterparts or can be rescheduled if an alternative time is convenient for the student and the tutor.


      At GK Consultants we are always here to discuss all matters relating to your son’s or your daughter’s education. Just because we are dealing with a health crisis does not mean that education is interrupted – you child’s future is as important today as it ever was.

      We look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions and let us all hope that the situation improves soon and we will be able to look back on this current pandemic in terms such as, “Do you remember when……...”

      Best wishes to you all: I, my academic team and administrative team wish you and your family a happy, healthy, safe, and successful 2021.


      Gary King


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