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Mathematical Studies

  • The IB DP mathematical studies standard level (SL) course focuses on important interconnected mathematical topics.
  • The syllabus focuses on: placing more emphasis on student understanding of fundamental concepts than on symbolic manipulation and complex manipulative skills; giving greater emphasis to developing students’ mathematical reasoning rather than performing routine operations; solving mathematical problems embedded in a wide range of contexts; using the calculator effectively.
  • There is an emphasis on applications of mathematics and statistical techniques.
  • It is designed to offer students with varied mathematical backgrounds and abilities the opportunity to learn important concepts and techniques and to gain an understanding of a wide variety of mathematical topics, preparing them to solve problems in a variety of settings, develop more sophisticated mathematical reasoning and enhance their critical thinking.
  • Enjoy and develop an appreciation of the elegance and power of mathematics
  • Develop an understanding of the principles and nature of mathematics
  • Communicate clearly and confidently in a variety of contexts
  • Develop logical, critical and creative thinking, and patience and persistence in problem-solving
  • Employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalization
  • Apply and transfer skills to alternative situations, to other areas of knowledge and to future developments
  • Appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics have influenced each other
  • Appreciate the moral, social and ethical implications arising from the work of mathematicians and the applications of mathematics
  • Appreciate the international dimension in mathematics through an awareness of the universality of mathematics and its multicultural and historical perspectives
  • Appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other disciplines, and as a particular “area of knowledge” in the TOK course.

Topic 1: Numbers and algebra
Topic 2: Descriptive statistics
Topic 3: Logic, sets and probability
Topic 4: Statistical application
Topic 5: Geometry and trigonometry
Topic 6: Mathematical models
Topic 7: Introduction to different calculus


    • Do mathematical symbols have sense in the same way that words have sense? Is zero different? Are these numbers created or discovered? Do these numbers exist
    • What is measurable? How can one measure mathematical ability?
    • Is standard deviation a mathematical discovery or a creation of the human mind?
    • Why can we use mathematics to describe the world and make predictions? Is it because we discover the mathematical basis of the world or because we impose our own mathematical structures onto the world?

    Paper 1
    15 compulsory short-response questions based on the whole syllabus.

    Paper 2
    6 compulsory extended-response questions based on the whole syllabus.

    An individual piece of work involving the collection of information or the generation of measurements, and subsequent analysis and evaluation.

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