Whether this is your first taste of an IB mathematics course or you’re gearing up for the challenge of your second year, you’ve probably heard stories about how rigorous the program is. Getting good marks in IB mathematics doesn’t just happen. Even the smartest students need to challenge themselves to master the course content and complete their exams.
Here are a few tricks to help you get ready for this year:
1. Get Familiar with your formula booklet and calculator.
2. Study Past Papers…Seriously.
3. Understand the theory behind common questions.
4. Be strategic–have a plan.
5. Get to know the course syllabus.
6. Brush up on your English.
7. Choose the right peer study group.
8. Find good resources for notes, practice problems, and explainer videos.
9. Start early and study often.
10. Study the mark schemes for your exams.
Familiarization Helps Prevent Silly Mistakes
One of the biggest culprits of low test scores among students who have otherwise mastered the content is calculator errors. Before your course begins, take time to thoroughly familiarize yourself with how to use the calculator and formula book. Know where to find good resources. And study the syllabus front to back.
Organization Keeps Learning Focused
Good habits are as important as actually learning the concepts and theories in the syllabus. Learning is a lot more difficult when you don’t have a good foundation of structured organization. Set yourself up for success by creating structure and planning ahead. You’ll need to revise often, starting at the beginning of the semester. Set aside time in your regular schedule and structure your revision to focus on assessing your skills, developing your weaknesses, and practicing for timing.
Really Learn the Content Outlined in the Syllabus
A general familiarity or even a working knowledge is insufficient for mastering an IB mathematics course. You need to master full competency of the theories and models presented in the course syllabus. This takes varied practice, diligent revision, and the help of qualified study buddies. Your choice of peers for your study group can make or break your success in the IB maths program. Exam questions may not be presented in a familiar format but they aren’t new material so you need to know the theories behind common questions well enough to apply them in different contexts.
It’s Not Just About the Material–Practice for the Exam Too
Mastering the content in the syllabus is simply not enough. The exams are timed and you need to be able to work efficiently, averaging one minute per question including review. This is something that takes practice–especially for anxious test takers. Your revision should include a focus on timekeeping practice as well as material mastery. We also recommend that you study past papers to get familiar with formatting and really dig into the mark schemes so that you know exactly what the exam questions are asking for.
The Bottom Line
Preparing for this years IB math exams is no different than previous years. The program is intense and students need to develop good revision habits, organization, and work ethic from the beginning of the semester. Cramming in the weeks leading up to exams will not work and students will be dissatisfied with their scores.