Key Stage 5
What will I study?
IB Mathematical Studies is a combination of some GCSE topics and new areas of maths. Topics studied include sets and logic, geometry, algebra, differentiation and statistics. The subject is studied at Standard Level only.
IB Mathematics Higher Level is more rigorous and goes deeper into new areas of mathematics. Topics studied include vectors, Calculus, logarithms, and Complex numbers.
Difference between HL & SL
IB Mathematical Studies is perfect for students who want to continue to study maths or are thinking of a career in an area that uses mathematical ideas. Examples could be careers in business, or psychology.
IB Mathematics Higher Level is designed for students with a real interest in Mathematics who could be considering a career in a mathematical or scientific field. Examples of recent university courses for Higher Level students include degrees in Maths, Marine Biology, Engineering, Architecture and Optometry.
How will I be assessed?
IB Mathematical Standard Level has two exams of 90 minutes each and one piece of coursework. The coursework is worth 20% of the course.
IB Mathematics Higher Level has three exams. One non-calculator paper, one calculator paper and a third paper on an ‘Optional’ unit. There is a Mathematical exploration piece of coursework which is worth 20% of the grade.
What coursework will I need to do?
IB Mathematical Standard Level has one piece of coursework based on a statistical project. The students choose an area of interest and base the project on this. Examples of past projects include ‘Does listening to music help you to remember things?’, ‘Do women pay less for car insurance?’ and ‘Does eating more fruit and veg actually give you better grades?’.
IB Mathematics Higher Level students complete a mathematical exploration piece. Again students choose a topic that they are interested in. They produce a paper explaining the mathematics behind the topic and develop these ideas further.
Name: Matthew Marson
Higher Education: MEng Structural Engineering & Architecture, The University of Sheffield
Job: Analyst, Global Banking & Markets, HSBC
Why you studied Higher Maths: IB Mathematics Higher Level offers the sorts of challenges that other Maths courses don’t. It stretches you to not only to apply logic in the inherent mathematical sense, but also creativity in the approach you take to reach your solution.
This was exactly the sort of thinking that helped me in my Engineering and Architecture degree. Higher Maths demonstrated to my University that I had a good command Mathematical concepts and the problems solving abilities needed to design complex structures. I can whole-heartedly testify that Higher Maths was the key to many of the tricky problems I faced at University: it taught me how to solve something new.
Many of the problems that businesses will experience in the future do not yet exist. Rather than knowing how to solve something for now, knowing how to develop a solution helps me apply the concepts I learnt in Higher Maths to create insights for clients.
Students who have studied Higher Level Maths have progressed onto degrees in Mathematics or related areas e.g. Engineering. Students considering the study of Higher Level Maths will require a GCSE Maths pass at A*.