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IB DP Mathematics:
Applications and
Interpretation HL
Course Guide
Hello DP1!
Welcome to the Diploma Programme at UCSI Springhill and welcome to your new math class!
Congratulations on making it to Math HL! (You’re only a step away from some of the greatest pick-up lines
ever: “I did my EE in Math!” “I got a 7 for Math HL!”)
You’re now officially the top priority in my professional life (well, along with DP2), and as such, I’d love for us
to get to know each other! So here’s almost all you need to know about me:

d I formally studied Mathematics and Computer Science1 as an undergraduate and Education

(Educational Leadership) as a postgraduate2. My professional training, however, has included interior
design3 and ESL, too.
d To quench my thirst for learning (read: getting certified in) random things, I have used Brainbench
and Coursera, can say I’m ‘certified in random things’ and highly recommend these two to support
your CAS and to strengthen your HL subjects. (I think beyond my undergrad + postgrad years I’ve at
least gained a new certification a year, and I’d like to keep it steady for the rest of my days. Lifelong
learning ftw.)
d Other than IB DP + MYP here and in two other IB schools, IGCSE4, and Western Australian
mathematics, throughout the decades I’ve also taught Indonesian, science5 (only Checkpoint level,
though), and ESL6. I spent most of my twenties coaching high school78 and varsity debaters9. I was the
designated librarian at my last TESL job, and on odd days I miss my part-time Excel expert10 and
database migrating11 days. In 2014 I learned about the World Scholar’s Cup12 and OH BOY now I’m a
WSC evangelist/volunteer (and my son13 is a cria)!
d I believe education should be about liberating people – providing them with intellectual choices of
(and freedom to choose) ways to survive and thrive, including how to negotiate with life, other people,
events, and circumstances. I’d say that my (professional) life mission is to drag all Dorothys out of
Kansas14! And on that note, I believe anyone interested in education should read Paolo Freire’s
Pedagogy of the Oppressed15.
d Math has been a combination of natural tendency and fate to me. It was a subject I liked and aced
growing up, and when it was time to start my varsity life, voila – the first undergraduate double
degree programmes in the country were offered, and IT (my main interest back then) was paired with
mathematics. I ended up loving math way more than IT, needless to say. By the time I graduated, I’d
been getting referrals from my two of my favorite lecturers to tutor their high school students, and to
my delight and amusement, I’d developed a rather shameless view of the world…16 (a milder version is
available, too)17.
d Yes without a doubt I would have taken DP myself and would have chosen English A: Language and
Literature SL, Spanish Ab Initio SL, Information Technology in a Global Society HL, Computer Science
HL, Mathematics: Application and Interpretation HL, and Design Technology SL.
d Just because random former students have asked: Yes, I’d
be an IB DP Math teacher all over again in my next life/in a
different universe/if I could time travel. No, I wouldn’t force
my son to be a math person, but yes, I hope he’ll take
whatever (RIP) Further Mathematics HL’s reincarnation will
OK. Now that you know me better
than my mother does,
let’s turn the attention to you! Me & my cria
Anita Wijaya, SSi, SKom, PGDipEd
watching WSC The
Hague 2019 Global
Round rehearsal

Surviving and thriving in class
At the end of the day, what I wish to see is an intact group of content and successful students. By successful, I
mean those who embody the IBO’s ‘Group 5 aims’ (from MAI guide, Aug 18, p20), i.e.
1 develop a curiosity and enjoyment of mathematics, and appreciate its elegance and power
2 develop an understanding of the concepts, principles and nature of mathematics
3 communicate mathematics clearly, concisely and confidently in a variety of contexts
4 develop logical and creative thinking, and patience and persistence in problem solving to instil confidence
in using mathematics
5 employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalization
6 take action to apply and transfer skills to alternative situations, to other areas of knowledge and to future
developments in their local and global communities
7 appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics influence each other
8 appreciate the moral, social and ethical questions arising from the work of mathematicians and the
applications of mathematics
9 appreciate the universality of mathematics and its multicultural, international and historical perspectives
10 appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other disciplines, and as a particular “area of knowledge” in
the TOK course
11 develop the ability to reflect critically upon their own work and the work of others
12 independently and collaboratively extend their understanding of mathematics.
For all these to materialize, I believe there are non-negotiable ingredients of a functional math class – my very
own, if you will:

Eight commandments!
1 Be physically present and reasonably punctual – always aiming to use school hours effectively.
2 Always bring the holy trinity with you: laptop, GDC, formula booklet.
3 Since your success is your responsibility as well as mine, participate in class and let me know how I can
best assist you in your learning. Help me help you. I’m always only a ManageBac message, an e-mail
(anitaw@sh.ucsiinternationalschool.edu.my), or a WhatsApp line (0149277808) away.
4 Keep record of your own learning. Have a big, fat folder to keep everything.
5 Try your best to keep a positive attitude towards everyone in class even on a bad hair day. This includes
staying focused and refraining from distracting yourself and others in class – e.g. when no electronics are
needed, no electronics are needed.
6 Know yourself – What keeps you motivated? What are your targets?
7 Abide by school rules.
8 Offer others help when you can, and seek help from others when you need it.

The courses and their topics
There are two math courses that the IB currently has: Mathematics: Analysis and Approaches (MAA) and
Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation (MAI). Each course is offered at the Higher Level and the
Standard Level. Sure you know and have chosen or been assigned one, but there’s no harm in knowing this
(from MAI guide, Aug 19, p8, emphases added):


MAA This course recognizes the need for analytical Students who choose MAA at SL or HL should be
expertise in a world where innovation is comfortable in the manipulation of algebraic
increasingly dependent on a deep expressions and enjoy the recognition of
understanding of mathematics. This course patterns and understand the mathematical
includes topics that are both traditionally part of a generalization of these patterns. Students who
pre-university mathematics course (for example, wish to take MAA at HL will have strong
functions, trigonometry, calculus) as well as algebraic skills and the ability to understand
topics that are amenable to investigation, simple proof. They will be students who enjoy
conjecture and proof, for instance the study of spending time with problems and get pleasure
sequences and series at both SL and HL, and and satisfaction from solving challenging
proof by induction at HL. problems.
The course allows the use of technology, as
fluency in relevant mathematical software and
hand-held technology is important regardless of
choice of course. However, MAA has a strong
emphasis on the ability to construct,
communicate and justify correct mathematical

MAI This course recognizes the increasing role that Students who choose MAI at SL or HL should
mathematics and technology play in a diverse enjoy seeing mathematics used in real-world
range of fields in a data-rich world. As such, it contexts and to solve real-world problems.
emphasizes the meaning of mathematics in Students who wish to take MAI at HL will have
context by focusing on topics that are often used good algebraic skills and experience of solving
as applications or in mathematical modelling. To real-world problems. They will be students who
give this understanding a firm base, this course get pleasure and satisfaction when exploring
also includes topics that are traditionally part of a challenging problems and who are comfortable
pre-university mathematics course such as to undertake this exploration using technology.
calculus and statistics.
The course makes extensive use of technology to
allow students to explore and construct
mathematical models. MAI will develop
mathematical thinking, often in the context of a
practical problem and using technology to justify

Mathematics: Applications and Interpretation HL
(from MAI guide, Aug 19, pp26-71) Bold subtopics = Additional Higher Level (AHL)

Topic 1: Number and algebra (16 + 13 hours)

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
1.1 Operations with numbers in the for Calculator or computer notation is not acceptable. Do names that we give
 × 10 where 1 < + < 10 and  is an For example, 52E30 is not acceptable and should be written as things impact how we
integer 5.2 × 10 . understand them?
For instance, what is the
impact of the fact that
some large numbers are
such as the googol and
the googolplex, while
others are represented in
this form?
1.2 Arithmetic sequences & series. Spreadsheets, GDCs and graphing software may be used to Is all knowledge
Use of the formulae for the nth term and generate and display sequences in several ways. concerned with
the sum of the first n terms of the If technology is used in examinations, students will be expected identification and use of
sequence. to identify the first term and the common difference. patterns? Consider
Fibonacci numbers and
Use of sigma notation for sums of
connections with the
arithmetic sequences.
golden ratio.
Applications. Examples include simple interest over a number of years.
Analysis, interpretation and prediction Students will need to approximate common differences.
where a model is not perfectly arithmetic
in real life.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
1.3 Geometric sequences and series. Spreadsheets, GDCs and graphing software may be used to How do mathematicians
Use of the formulae for the nth term and generate and display sequences in several ways. reconcile the fact that
the sum of the first n terms of the some conclusions seem to
sequence. conflict with our
intuitions? Consider for
Applications. Examples include the spread of disease, salary increase and instance that a finite area
decrease and population growth. can be bounded by an
infinite perimeter.
1.4 Financial applications of geometric Examination questions may require the use of technology, How have technological The concept of 
sequences and series: including built-in financial packages. advances affected the can be introduced
• compound interest The concept of simple interest may be used as an introduction nature and practice of to continuous
mathematics? Consider compounding,
• annual depreciation. to compound interest.
the use of financial 1 +  → , as
Calculate the real value of an investment with an interest rate 
 → ∞, however
packages for instance.
and an inflation rate.
In examinations, questions that ask students to derive the this will not be
formula will not be set. examined.
Compound interest can be calculated yearly, half-yearly,
quarterly or monthly.
Link to: exponential models/functions in topic 2.
1.5 Laws of exponents with integer Examples: Is mathematics invented
exponents. 5 × 5 = 5 , 6 ÷ 6 = 6, or discovered? For
2  = 2 , 2 = 16  , instance, consider the

2  = ! number e or logarithms–

Awareness that  = " is equivalent to log & " = ,

did they already exist
Introduction to logarithms with base 10
that " > 0, and log (  = ln .
before man defined
and e. them?
Numerical evaluation of logarithms using
1.6 Approximation: decimal places, Students should be able to choose an appropriate degree of Is mathematical reasoning
significant figures. accuracy based on given data. different from scientific

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Upper and lower bounds of rounded If  = 4.1 to one decimal place, 4.05 ≤  < 4.15. reasoning, or reasoning in
numbers. other areas of
Percentage errors. Students should be aware of, and able to calculate,
measurement errors (such as rounding errors or measurement
limitations). For example finding the maximum percentage error
in the area of a circle if the radius measured is 2.5 cm to one
decimal place.
Estimation. Students should be able to recognize whether the results of
calculations are reasonable. For example lengths cannot be
1.7 Amortization and annuities using Technology includes the built-in financial packages of graphic
technology. display calculators, spreadsheets.
In examinations the payments will be made at the end of the
Knowledge of the annuity formula will enhance understanding
but will not be examined.
Link to: exponential models (SL 2.5).
1.8 Use technology to solve: In examinations, no specific method of solution will be required. What role does language
• Systems of linear equations in up to 3 In examinations, there will always be a unique solution to a play in the accumulation
variables system of equations. and sharing of knowledge
• Polynomial equations in mathematics? Consider
Standard terminology, such as zeros or roots, should be taught.
for example that when
Link to: quadratic models (SL 2.5) mathematicians talk
about “imaginary” or
“real” solutions they are
using precise technical
terms that do not have
the same meaning as the
everyday terms.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
1.9 Laws of logarithms: In examinations, a will equal 10 or . What is meant by the

log & = log &  − log & ,
terms “law” and “theory”
Link to: scaling large and small numbers (AHL 2.10).
in mathematics. How does
log &  . = / log &  this compare to how
for , , , > 0 these terms are used in
different areas of
1.10 Simplifying expressions, both numerically Examples:
1 1 3 ! 1 1
52 × 5! = 54 , 65 ÷ 62 = 65 ,
and algebraically, involving rational
2 1 
323 = 8,  2 =

1.11 The sum of infinite geometric sequences. Link to: the concept of a limit (SL 5.1), fractals (AHL 3.9), and Is it possible to know
Markov chains (AHL 4.19). about things of which we
can have no experience,
such as infinity?
1.12 Complex numbers: the number 9 such How does language
that 9  = −1. shape knowledge? For
Cartesian form: : =  + "9; the terms real example do the words
part, imaginary part, conjugate, modulus “imaginary” and
and argument. “complex” make the
concepts more difficult
Calculate sums, differences, products,
than if they had different
quotients, by hand and with technology.
Calculating powers of complex numbers,
in Cartesian form, with technology.
The complex plane. Use and draw Argand diagrams.
Complex numbers as solutions to Quadratic formula and the link with the graph of
quadratic equations of the form
  + " + ; = 0,  ≠ 0
with real coefficients where "  − 4; < 0.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
1.13 Modulus-argument (polar) form: Why might it be said that Solution of
: = =cos @ + 9 sin @ = = ;9C @  DE + 1 = 0 is beautiful? differential
Exponential form: Exponential form is sometimes called the Euler form. What is the place of equations by
: = =^9@ beauty and elegance in separation of
mathematics? What about variables
Conversion between Cartesian, polar and the place of creativity? (AHL5.15), as both
exponential forms, by hand and with polar and
technology. exponential forms
Calculate products, quotients and integer In examinations students will not be required to find the roots are solutions of
= 9,.
powers in polar or exponential forms. of complex numbers. FH

Adding sinusoidal functions with the Phase shift and voltage in circuits as complex quantities.
same frequencies but different phase Example: Two AC voltages sources are connected in a circuit. If
shift angles. J = 10;KC40L and J = 20;KC40L + 10 find an expression
for the total voltage in the form
J = M cos40L + N.
Geometric interpretation of complex Addition and subtraction of complex numbers can be
numbers. represented as vector addition and subtraction. Multiplication
of complex numbers can be represented as a rotation and a
stretch in the Argand diagram.
1.14 Definition of a matrix: the terms element, Given the many
row, column and order for / ×  applications of matrices in
matrices. this course, consider the
fact that mathematicians
Algebra of matrices: equality; addition; Including use of technology.
marvel at some of the
subtraction; multiplication by a scalar for
/ ×  matrices.
deep connections
between disparate parts
Multiplication of matrices. Multiplying matrices to solve practical problems. of their subject. Is this
Properties of matrix multiplication: evidence for a simple
underlying mathematical
associativity, distributivity and non-
reality? Mathematics,

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Identity and zero matrices. Students should be familiar with the notation O and 0. sense, perception and
Determinants and inverses of  × 
reason–if we can find
solutions of higher
matrices with technology, and by hand
for 2 × 2 matrices.
dimensions, can we
reason that these spaces
Awareness that a system of linear In examinations M will always be an invertible matrix, except exist beyond our sense
equations can be written in the form when solving for eigenvectors. perception?
M = ".
Solution of the systems of equations Model and solve real-life problems including:
using inverse matrix. Coding and decoding messages
Solving systems of equations.
Link to: Markov chains (AHL 4.19), transition matrices (AHL
4.19) and phase portrait (AHL 5.17).
1.15 Eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Students will only be expected to perform calculations by hand Mathematics can be used Principal
Characteristic polynomial of 2 × 2 and with technology for 2 × 2 matrices. successfully to model component and
matrices. real-world processes. Is factor analysis.
Diagonalization of 2 × 2 matrices
this because mathematics Link between
was created to mirror the discrete change
(restricted to the case where there are
world or because the and continuous
distinct real eigenvalues).
world is intrinsically change in
Applications to powers of 2 × 2 matrices. Applications, for example movement of population between mathematical? dynamical systems
two towns, predator/prey models. (including why e is
PQ = RSQ R , where R is a matrix of eigenvectors, and S is a such an important
diagonal matrix of eigenvalues. number).
Link to: coupled differential equations (AHL 5.17).

Topic 2: Functions (31 + 11 hours)
# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
2.1 Different forms of the equation of a , = / + ; (gradient-intercept form). Descartes showed that
straight line.  + ", + T = 0 (general form). geometric problems could
, − , = / −   (point-gradient form).
Gradient; intercepts. be solved algebraically
Lines with gradients / and /
and vice versa. What does
Calculate gradients of inclines such as mountain roads, bridges,
Parallel lines / = / .
this tell us about
etc. mathematical
Perpendicular lines / × / = −1. representation and
mathematical knowledge?
2.2 Concept of a function, domain, range Example: U = √2 − , the domain is  ≤ 2, range is U ≥ 0. Do you think mathematics
and graph. A graph is helpful in visualizing the range. or logic should be
Function notation, for example U, VL, classified as a language?
The concept of a function as a
mathematical model.
Informal concept that an inverse function Example: Solving U = 10 is equivalent to finding U − 110.
reverses or undoes the effect of a
Students should be aware that inverse functions exist for one to
one functions; the domain of U   is equal to the range of

Inverse function as a reflection in the line
, = , and the notation U  .
2.3 The graph of a function; its equation Students should be aware of the difference between the Does studying the graph
, = U. command terms “draw” and “sketch”. of a function contain the

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Creating a sketch from information given All axes and key features should be labelled. same level of
or a context, including transferring a mathematical rigour as
This may include functions not specifically mentioned in topic 2.
graph from screen to paper. studying the function
algebraically? What are
Using technology to graph functions
the advantages and
including their sums and differences.
disadvantages of having
different forms and
symbolic language in
2.4 Determine key features of graphs. Maximum and minimum values; intercepts; symmetry; vertex;
zeros of functions or roots of equations; vertical and horizontal
asymptotes using graphing technology.
Finding the point of intersection of two
curves or lines using technology.
2.5 Modelling with the following functions: What role do models play Conics–how can a
in mathematics? Do they parabola be
Linear models. Including piecewise linear models, for example horizontal
U = / + ;
play a different role in created by cutting
distances of an object to a wall, depth of a swimming pool,
mathematics compared to a cone?
mobile phone charges.
their role in other areas of
Link to: equation of a straight line (SL 2.1) and arithmetic knowledge?
sequences (SL 1.2).
Quadratic models. Technology can be used to find roots.
U =   + " + ;;  ≠ 0 Link to: use of technology to solve quadratic equations (SL 1.8).
Axis of symmetry, vertex, zeros and roots,
intercepts on the -axis and ,-axis.
Exponential growth and decay models. Link to: compound interest (SL 1.4), geometric sequences and
U =  + ; series (SL 1.3) and amortization (SL 1.7).
U =  −  + ;;  > 0
U =  Z + ;
Equation of a horizontal asymptote.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Direct/inverse variation:
U =   ,  ∈ ℤ
The ,-axis as a vertical asymptote when
 < 0.
Cubic models:
U =  + "  + ; + T
Sinusoidal models: Students will not be expected to translate between sin  and
U = C9" + T cos , and will only be required to predict or find amplitude (),
U = ;KC" + T period ( ), or equation of the principal axis (, = T).

2.6 Modelling skills: Fitting models using regression is covered in topic 4. What is it about models in
Use the modelling process described in Link to: theoretical models (SL 2.5) to be used to develop the mathematics that makes
the “mathematical modelling” section to modelling skills and, for HL students, (AHL 2.9). them effective? Is
create, fit and use the theoretical models simplicity a desirable
in section SL2.5 and their graphs. characteristic in models?

Develop and fit the model:

Given a context recognize and choose an
appropriate model and possible
Determine a reasonable domain for a
Find the parameters of a model. By setting up and solving equations simultaneously (using
technology), by consideration of initial conditions or by
substitution of points into a given function.
At SL, students will not be expected to perform non-linear
regressions, but will be expected to set up and solve up to three
linear equations in three variables using technology.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Test and reflect upon the model:
Comment on the appropriateness and
reasonableness of a model.
Justify the choice of a particular model,
based on the shape of the data,
properties of the curve and/or on the
context of the situation.
Use the model: Students should be aware of the dangers of extrapolation.
Reading, interpreting and making
predictions based on the model.
2.7 Composite functions in context. U ∘ U   = U  ∘ U = .
The notation U ∘ ` = U`. Example: U =  − 3 − 2 has an inverse if the domain is
Inverse function U  , including domain restricted to  ≥ 3 or to  ≤ 3.
Finding an inverse function.
2.8 Transformations of graphs. Students will be expected to be able to perform transformations Is mathematics
on all functions from the SL and AHL section of this topic, and independent of culture?
others in the context of modelling real-life situations. To what extent are we
Translation by the vector   denotes horizontal translation of
aware of the impact of
, = U + "; , = U − 
culture on what we
3 units to the right, and vertical translation of 2 units down. believe or know?
Reflections: in the  axis , = −U, and
in the , axis , = U−.
Vertical stretch with scale factor a:  and , axes are invariant.
, = aU.

Horizontal stretch with scale factor :
, = Uc.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Composite transformations. Students should be made aware of the significance of the order
of transformations.
Example: , =   used to obtain , = 3  + 2 by a vertical
stretch of scale factor 3 followed by a translation of  .
Example: , = sin  used to obtain , = 4 sin 2 by a vertical
stretch of scale factor 4 and a horizontal stretch of scale factor
2.9 In addition to the models covered in the Link to: modelling skills (SL2.6). Is there a hierarchy of For the population
SL content the AHL content extends this areas of knowledge in equation
Fe e
to include modelling with the following terms of their usefulness = g1 − 
Ff h
with g = g when
functions: in solving problems?
Exponential models to calculate half-life. L = 0, the solution
Natural logarithmic models: is the logistic
U =  + " ln  equation:
 ijk lmn
, with
Sinusoidal models: Radian measure should be assumed unless otherwise indicated
U =  sin " − ; + T by the use of the degree symbol, for example with U = C9°. W= − 1.
In radians, period is .
Students should be aware that a horizontal translation of c can
be referred to as a phase shift.
Link to: radian measure (AHL 3.7)
Logistic models: The logistic function is used in situations where there is a
U = ; o, W,  > 0
restriction on the growth. For example population on an island,
1 + W  bacteria in a petri dish or the increase in height of a person or
Horizontal asymptote at U = o is often referred to as the
carrying capacity.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Piecewise models. In some cases, parameters may need to be found that ensure
continuity of the function, for example find  to make
1 + , 0 ≤  < 2
U = 
 +  x≥2
, continuous. The formal definition of
continuity is not required.
In examinations, students may be expected to interpret and use
other models that are introduced in the question.
2.10 Scaling very large or small numbers using Choosing a manageable scale, for example for data with a wide Does the applicability of
logarithms. range of values in one, or both variables and/or where the knowledge vary across
Linearizing data using logarithms to emphasis of a graph is the rate of growth, rather than the the different areas of
determine if the data has an exponential absolute value. knowledge? What would
or a power relationship using best-fit Link to: laws of logarithms (AHL 1.9) and Pearson’s product the implications be if the
straight lines to determine parameters moment correlation coefficient (SL 4.4). value of all knowledge
was measured solely in
Interpretation of log-log and semi-log In examinations, students will not be expected to draw or sketch terms of its applicability?
graphs. these graphs.

Topic 3: Geometry & trigonometry (18 + 28 hours)

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
3.1 The distance between two points in three- In SL examinations, only right-angled trigonometry What is an axiomatic
dimensional space, and their midpoint. questions will be set in reference to three-dimensional system? Are axioms self
Volume and surface area of three-dimensional shapes. evident to everybody?
solids including right-pyramid, right cone, In problems related to these topics, students should be
sphere, hemisphere and combinations of these able to identify relevant right-angled triangles in three-
solids. dimensional objects and use them to find unknown
The size of an angle between two intersecting lengths and angles.
lines or between a line and a plane.
3.2 Use of sine, cosine and tangent ratios to find In all areas of this topic, students should be encouraged to Is it ethical that
the sides and angles of right-angled triangles. sketch well-labelled diagrams to support their solutions. Pythagoras gave his name
Link to: inverse functions (SL2.2) when finding angles. to a theorem that may

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
The sine rule: This section does not include the ambiguous case of the not have been his own
 " ; creation? What criteria
= =
sine rule.
sin M sin N sin W might we use to make
such a judgment?
The cosine rule:
;  =  + "  − 2" cos W
 + "  − ; 
cos W =
Area of a triangle as
" sin W
3.3 Applications of right and non-right angled Contexts may include use of bearings. If the angles of a triangle
trigonometry, including Pythagoras’ theorem. can add up to less than
Angles of elevation and depression. 180°, 180° or more than
180°, what does this tell
Construction of labelled diagrams from written
us about the nature of
mathematical knowledge?
3.4 The circle: length of an arc; area of a sector. Radians are not required at SL. Does personal experience
play a role in the
formation of knowledge
claims in mathematics?
Does it play a different
role in mathematics
compared to other areas
of knowledge?
3.5 Equations of perpendicular bisectors. Given either two points, or the equation of a line segment
and its midpoint.
Link to: equations of straight lines (SL 2.1).

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
3.6 Voronoi diagrams: sites, vertices, edges, cells. In examinations, coordinates of sites for calculating the Is the division of Delaunay
Addition of a site to an existing Voronoi perpendicular bisector equations will be given. Students knowledge into triangulations as
diagram. will not be required to construct perpendicular bisectors. disciplines or areas of the duals of
Questions may include finding the equation of a knowledge artificial? Voronoi
Nearest neighbour interpolation.
boundary, identifying the site closest to a given point, or triangulations;
Applications of the “toxic waste dump” calculating the area of a region. self-driving cars;
problem. the art gallery
All points within a cell can be estimated to have the same
value (e.g. rainfall) as the value of the site. problem. Natural
In examinations, the solution point will always be at an
intersection of three edges.
Manhattan metric.
Contexts: Urban planning, spread of diseases, ecology,
meteorology, resource management.
3.7 The definition of a radian and conversion Radian measure may be expressed as exact multiples of π, Which is the better
between degrees and radians. or decimals. measure of an angle,
Using radians to calculate area of sector, Link to: trigonometric functions (AHL 2.9). degrees or radians? What
length of arc. criteria can/do/should
mathematicians use to
make such judgments?
3.8 The definitions of cos @ and sin @ in terms of Students should understand how the graphs of To what extent is
the unit circle. U = sin  and U = cos  can be constructed from the mathematical knowledge
The Pythagorean identity: unit circle. embedded in particular
cos  @ + sin @ = 1 Knowledge of exact values of cos @, sin @, and tan @ will not traditions or bound to
stu H
Definition of tan @ as
be assessed on examinations, but may aid student particular cultures? How
vws H understanding of trigonometric functions. have key events in the
Extension of the sine rule to the ambiguous history of mathematics
case. shaped its current form
and methods?
Graphical methods of solving trigonometric Link to: sinusoidal models (SL2.5 and AHL2.9).
equations in a finite interval.

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3.9 Geometric transformations of points in two Matrix transformations of the form: When mathematicians Affine
    + U 
dimensions using matrices: reflections, and historians say that transformations
horizontal and vertical stretches, ; T , they have explained and digital image
enlargements, translations and rotations. b: matrices (AHL 1.14) something, are they using processing.
the word “explain” in the
Compositions of the above transformations. Iterative techniques to generate fractals.
same way?
Link to: infinite geometric series (AHL 1.11) and Markov
chains (AHL 4.19).
Geometric interpretation of the determinant of Area of image =|det {| × = KU K"|;L.
a transformation matrix.
3.10 Concept of a vector and a scalar. Use algebraic and geometric approaches to calculate the Vectors are used to solve
Representation of vectors using directed line sum and difference of two vectors, multiplication by a many problems in
segments. scalar, kv (parallel vectors), magnitude of a vector |v| from position location. This can
Unit vectors; base vectors 9, |, .
components. be used to save a lost
The resultant as the sum of two or more vectors. sailor or destroy a
Components of a vector; column building with a laser-
guided bomb. To what
V = }  ~ = V  + V € + V 
extent does possession of
V knowledge carry with it an

The zero vector ‚, the vector −ƒ.

ethical obligation?

……………⃗ = .
Position vectors „M
Rescaling and normalizing vectors. |ƒ|
, the unit normal vector.

Example: Find the velocity of a particle with speed 7ms-1

in the direction 39 + 4|.

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3.11 Vector equation of a line in two and three Convert to parametric form: Mathematics and the
dimensions:  =  + ‰‹, , = , + ‰/, : = : + ‰.
knower: Why are symbolic
‡ = ˆ + ‰Š, where Š is a direction vector of the representations of three-
line. dimensional objects easier
to deal with than visual
representations? What
does this tell us about our
knowledge of
mathematics in other
3.12 Vector applications to kinematics. Finding positions, intersections, describing paths, finding
Modelling linear motion with constant velocity times and distances when two objects are closest to each
in two and three dimensions. other.
‡ = ‡ + VL
Relative position of N from M is ……………⃗
MN .
V 7
For example: V  =  .
6 − 4L
Motion with variable velocity in two
Projectile motion and circular motion are special cases.
UL −  to indicate a time-shift of .
Link to: kinematics (AHL 5.13) and phase shift (AHL 1.13).
3.13 Definition and calculation of the scalar product Calculate the angle between two vectors using What counts as
of two vectors. ƒ · Ž = |ƒ||Ž| cos @, where @ is the angle between two understanding in
The angle between two vectors; the acute non-zero vectors ƒ and Ž, and ascertain whether the mathematics? Is it more
angle between two lines. vectors are perpendicular ƒ · Ž = 0. than just getting the right

ƒ × Ž = |ƒ||Ž| sin @ Q, where @ is the angle between ƒ and

Definition and calculation of the vector
product of two vectors. Ž and Q is the unit normal vector whose direction is given
by the right-hand screw rule.
Not required: generalized properties and proofs of scalar
and cross product.

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Geometric interpretation of |ƒ × Ž|. Use of |ƒ × Ž| to find the area of a parallelogram (and
hence a triangle).
Components of vectors. The component of vector ˆ acting in the direction of
vector Š is |Š| = |ˆ| cos @.
The component of a vector ˆ acting perpendicular to
vector ", in the plane formed by the two vectors, is
= |ˆ| sin @.

3.14 Graph theory: Graphs, vertices, edges, adjacent Students should be able to represent real-world structures Mathematics and
vertices, adjacent edges. Degree of a vertex. (circuits, maps, etc) as graphs (weighted and unweighted). knowledge claims. Proof
of the four-colour
Simple graphs; complete graphs; weighted Knowledge of the terms connected and strongly
theorem. If a theorem is
graphs. connected.
proved by computer, how
Directed graphs; in degree and out degree of Link to: matrices (AHL 1.14). can we claim to know that
a directed graph. it is true?
Subgraphs; trees.
3.15 Adjacency matrices. Given an adjacency matrix {, the 9, V|th entry of { gives
Walks. the number of  length walks connecting 9 and |.
Number of  -length walks (or less than k -
length walks) between two vertices.
Weighted adjacency tables. Weights could be costs, distances, lengths of time for
Construction of the transition matrix for a example.
strongly-connected, undirected or directed Consideration of simple graphs, including the Google
graph. PageRank algorithm as an example of this.
Link to: transition matrices and Markov chains (AHL 4.19).
3.16 Tree and cycle algorithms with undirected What practical problems
graphs. can or does mathematics
Walks, trails, paths, circuits, cycles. try to solve? Why are

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Eulerian trails and circuits. Determine whether an Eulerian trail or circuit exists. problems such as the
travelling salesman
Hamiltonian paths and cycles. Use of matrix method for Prim’s algorithm.
problem so enduring?
Minimum spanning tree (MST) graph What does it mean to say
algorithms: the travelling salesman
Kruskal’s and Prim’s algorithms for finding problem is “NP hard”?
minimum spanning trees.
Chinese postman problem and algorithm for Students should be able to explain why the algorithm for
solution, to determine the shortest route constructing the Chinese postman problem works, apply
around a weighted graph with up to four odd the algorithm and justify their choice of algorithm.
vertices, going along each edge at least once.
Travelling salesman problem to determine the Practical problems should be converted to the classical
Hamiltonian cycle of least weight in a problem by completion of a table of least distances where
weighted complete graph. necessary.
Nearest neighbour algorithm for determining
an upper bound for the travelling salesman
Deleted vertex algorithm for determining a
lower bound for the travelling salesman

Topic 4: Statistics & probability (36 + 16 hours)

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
4.1 Concepts of population, sample, random This is designed to cover the key questions that students What is an axiomatic
sample, discrete and continuous data. should ask when they see a data set/analysis. system? Are axioms self
evident to everybody?
Reliability of data sources and bias in Dealing with missing data, errors in the recording of data.

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Interpretation of outliers. Outlier is defined as a data item which is more than 1.5 ×
interquartile range (IQR) from the nearest quartile.
Awareness that, in context, some outliers are a valid part
of the sample but some outlying data items may be an
error in the sample.
Link to: box and whisker diagrams (SL4.2) and measures
of dispersion (SL4.3).
Sampling techniques and their effectiveness. Simple random, convenience, systematic, quota and
stratified sampling methods.
4.2 Presentation of data (discrete and continuous): Class intervals will be given as inequalities, without gaps. What is the difference
frequency distributions (tables). between information and
data? Does “data” mean
Histograms. Frequency histograms with equal class intervals.
the same thing in
Cumulative frequency; cumulative frequency Not required: Frequency density histograms. different areas of
graphs; use to find median, quartiles, knowledge?
percentiles, range and interquartile range
Production and understanding of box and Use of box and whisker diagrams to compare two
whisker diagrams. distributions, using symmetry, median, interquartile range
or range. Outliers should be indicated with a cross.
Determining whether the data may be normally
distributed by consideration of the symmetry of the box
and whiskers.
4.3 Measures of central tendency (mean, median Calculation of mean using formula and technology. Could mathematics make
and mode). Students should use mid-interval values to estimate the alternative, equally true,
Estimation of mean from grouped data. mean of grouped data. formulae? What does this
tell us about
Modal class. For equal class intervals only.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Measures of dispersion (interquartile range, Calculation of standard deviation and variance of the mathematical truths?
standard deviation and variance). sample using only technology, however hand calculations Does the use of statistics
may enhance understanding. lead to an over-emphasis
on attributes that can be
Variance is the square of the standard deviation.
easily measured over
Effect of constant changes on the original Examples: If three is subtracted from the data items, then those that cannot?
data. the mean is decreased by three, but the standard
deviation is unchanged.
If all the data items are doubled, the mean is doubled and
the standard deviation is also doubled.
Quartiles of discrete data. Using technology. Awareness that different methods for
finding quartiles exist and therefore the values obtained
using technology and by hand may differ.
4.4 Linear correlation of bivariate data. Technology should be used to calculate =. However, hand Correlation and
Pearson’s product-moment correlation calculations of = may enhance understanding. causation–can we have
coefficient, =. Critical values of r will be given where appropriate. knowledge of cause and
effect relationships given
Students should be aware that Pearson’s product moment
that we can only observe
correlation coefficient (=) is only meaningful for linear
correlation? What factors
affect the reliability and
Scatter diagrams; lines of best fit, by eye, Positive, zero, negative; strong, weak, no correlation. validity of mathematical
passing through the mean point. Students should be able to make the distinction between models in describing real-
correlation and causation and know that correlation does life phenomena?
not imply causation.
Equation of the regression line of , on . Technology should be used to find the equation.
Use of the equation of the regression line for Students should be aware:
prediction purposes. • of the dangers of extrapolation
Interpret the meaning of the parameters,  • that they cannot always reliably make a prediction of 
and ", in a linear regression , =  + ". from a value of ,, when using a , on  line.

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4.5 Concepts of trial, outcome, equally likely Sample spaces can be represented in many ways, for To what extent are
outcomes, relative frequency, sample space example as a table or a list. theoretical and
 and event. Experiments using coins, dice, cards and so on, can experimental probabilities
The probability of an event M is enhance understanding of the distinction between linked? What is the role of
gM = M. experimental (relative frequency) and theoretical emotion in our perception
The complementary events M and M′ (not M). probability. of risk, for example in
business, medicine and
Simulations may be used to enhance this topic.
travel safety?
Expected number of occurrences. Example: If there are 128 students in a class and the
probability of being absent is 0.1, the expected number of
absent students is 12.8.
4.6 Use of Venn diagrams, tree diagrams, sample Can calculation of
space diagrams and tables of outcomes to gambling probabilities be
calculate probabilities. considered an ethical
application of
Combined events: The non-exclusivity of “or”.
gM ∪ N = gM + gN − gM ∩ N
mathematics? Should
mathematicians be held
Mutually exclusive events: gM ∩ N = 0 responsible for unethical
Conditional probability An alternate form of this is: applications of their work?
gM ∩ N = gNgM|N
Independent events: Problems can be solved with the aid of a Venn diagram,
gM ∩ N = gMgN tree diagram, sample space diagram or table of outcomes
without explicit use of formulae.
Probabilities with and without replacement.

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4.7 Concept of discrete random variables and their Probability distributions will be given in the following What do we mean by a
probability distributions. ways: “fair” game? Is it fair that
Expected value (mean), “” for discrete data. ” 1 2 3 4 5
casinos should make a
Applications. g” =  0.1 0.2 0.15 0.05 0.5

g” =  = 4 +  for  ∈ –1, 2, 3—

“” = 0 indicates a fair game where ” represents the
gain of a player.
4.8 Binomial distribution. Situations where the binomial distribution is an What criteria can we use Hypothesis testing
Mean and variance of the binomial appropriate model. to decide between using the binomial
distribution. In examinations, binomial probabilities should be found different models? distribution.
using available technology.
Not required: Formal proof of mean and variance.
Link to: expected number of occurrences (SL4.5).
4.9 The normal distribution and curve. Awareness of the natural occurrence of the normal
Properties of the normal distribution. distribution.
Diagrammatic representation. Students should be aware that approximately 68% of the
data lies between ˜ ± š, 95% lies between ˜ ± 2š and
99.7% of the data lies between ˜ ± 3š.
Normal probability calculations. Probabilities and values of the variable must be found
using technology.
Inverse normal calculations For inverse normal calculations mean and standard
deviation will be given.
This does not involve transformation to the standardized
normal variable :.
4.10 Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, =› . In examinations Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient, =› , Does correlation imply
should be found using technology. causation? Mathematics
If data items are equal, ranks should be averaged. and the world. Given that

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Awareness of the appropriateness and Students should be aware that Pearson’s product moment a set of data may be
limitations of Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient is useful when testing for only approximately fitted by a
correlation coefficient and Spearman’s rank linearity and Spearman’s correlation coefficient for any range of curves, where
correlation coefficient, and the effect of monotonic relationship. would a mathematician
outliers on each. seek for knowledge of
Spearman’s correlation coefficient is less sensitive to
which equation is the
outliers than Pearson’s product moment correlation
“true” model?
Not required: Derivation/proof of Pearson’s product
moment correlation coefficient and Spearman’s rank
correlation coefficient.
4.11 Formulation of null and alternative Students should express œ and œ as an equation or Why have some research When performing
hypotheses, œ and œ . inequality, or in words as appropriate. journals “banned” p - a   test Yates
Significance levels. values from their articles continuity
a -values.
because they deem them correction is often

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Expected and observed frequencies. In examinations: too misleading? In applied to small
The   test for independence: contingency
practical terms, is saying samples. Is it
• the maximum number of rows or columns in a
that a result is significant universally
tables, degrees of freedom, critical value. contingency table will be 4
The   goodness of fit test.
the same as saying it is accepted as a valid
• the degrees of freedom will always be greater than
true? How is the term method? In what
one. At SL the degrees of freedom for the goodness of
fit test will always be  − 1
“significant” used situations would
• the   critical value will be given if appropriate
differently in different you use Yates and
• students will be expected to use technology to find a a
areas of knowledge? why? Are there
-value and the   statistic
other ways to deal
with small sample
• only questions on upper tail tests with commonly-used
significance levels (1%, 5%, 10%) will be set
• students will be expected to either compare a p -value
to the given significance level or compare the  
statistic to a given critical value
• expected frequencies will be greater than 5.
Hand calculations of the expected values or the   statistic
may enhance understanding.
If using   tests in the IA, students should be aware of the
limitations of the test for expected frequencies of 5 or less.
The L -test. In examinations calculations will be made using
Use of the a -value to compare the means of technology.
two populations. At SL, samples will be unpaired, and population variance
Using one-tailed and two-tailed tests. will always be unknown.
Students will be asked to interpret the results of a test.
Students should know that the underlying distribution of
the variables must be normal for the L -test to be applied.
In examinations, students should assume that variance of
the two groups is equal and therefore the pooled two-
sample L -test should be used.

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4.12 Design of valid data collection methods, such Biased and unbiased, personal, unstructured and What are the strengths
as surveys and questionnaires. structured (with consistent answer choices), and precise and limitations of
Selecting relevant variables from many questioning. different methods of data
variables. collection, such as
Choosing relevant and appropriate data to
Categorizing numerical data in a   table and Appropriate categories should be chosen with expected
justifying the choice of categorisation. frequencies greater than 5.
Choosing an appropriate number of degrees
of freedom when estimating parameters from
data when carrying out the   goodness of fit
Definition of reliability and validity. Students should understand the difference between
Reliability tests. reliability and validity and be familiar with the following
Validity tests.
Reliability: Test-retest, parallel forms.
Validity: Content, criterion-related.
4.13 Non-linear regression. Link to: geometric sequences and series (SL1.3).
Evaluation of least squares regression curves In examinations, questions may be asked on linear,
using technology. quadratic, cubic, exponential, power and sine regression.
Sum of square residuals (žžZk›  as a measure
of fit for a model.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
The coefficient of determination (Ÿ ). Ÿ gives the proportion of variability in the second
Evaluation of Ÿ using technology. variable accounted for by the chosen model.
Awareness that Ÿ = 1 − and hence = 1 if žžZk› = 0,
may enhance understanding but will not be examined.
Awareness that many factors affect the validity of a model
and the coefficient of determination, by itself, is not a
good way to decide between different models.
The connection between the coefficient of determination
and the Pearson’s product moment correlation coefficient
for linear models.
4.14 Linear transformation of a single random J=” is the expected variance of the random variable ”. Mathematics and the
variable. Variance formula will not be required in examinations. world: In the absence of
“” + " = “” + ". knowing the value of a
J=” + " =  J=”.
parameter, will an
unbiased estimator always
Expected value of linear combinations of  be better than a biased
random variables. one?
Variance of linear combinations of 
independent random variables.

̅ as an unbiased estimate of ˜. D
̅ = ¦



as an unbiased estimate of š .

UD D − ̅ 

= C = ¦
−1 −1
where  = ∑D§ UD .
Demonstration that “”©  = ˜ and “C
= š  will not
be examined, but may help understanding.

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4.15 A linear combination of  independent normal The central limit theorem For a normally
random variables is normally distributed. In can be proved distributed
particular, mathematically population of size
”~«˜, š   ⇒ ”©~« ­˜, ®
(formalism), but its truth N, how many
 can be confirmed by its random samples

In general, ”© approaches normality for large n, how large

applications (empiricism). of size n do you
Central limit theorem. What does this suggest need to take in
depends upon the distribution from which the sample is
taken. In examinations,  > 30 will be considered
about the nature and order to verify the
methods of mathematics? central limit
sufficient. theorem?
Online simulations are useful for visualisation.
4.16 Confidence intervals for the mean of a normal Students should be able to interpret the meaning of their Mathematics and the
population. results in context. world. Claiming brand A is
Use of the normal distribution when σ is known and the L- “better” on average than
distribution when š is unknown, regardless of sample size. brand B can mean very
little if there is a large
overlap between the
confidence intervals of
the two means.
4.17 Poisson distribution, its mean and variance. Situations in which it is appropriate to use a Poisson To what extent can
Sum of two independent Poisson distributions distribution as a model: mathematical models
has a Poisson distribution. 1. Events are independent such as the Poisson
distribution be trusted?
2. Events occur at a uniform average rate (during the
What role do
period of interest).
mathematical models play
Given a context, students should be able to select between in other areas of
the normal, the binomial and the Poisson distributions, knowledge?
recognizing where a particular distribution is appropriate.
Not required: Formal proof of means and variances for
probability distributions.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
4.18 Critical values and critical regions. Use of the normal distribution when š is known and the L- Mathematics and the
Test for population mean for normal distribution when š is unknown, regardless of sample size. world. In practical terms,
distribution. Samples may be paired or unpaired. is saying that a result is
significant the same as
The case of matched pairs is to be treated as an example
saying that it is true?
of a single sample technique.
Mathematics and the
Students will not be expected to calculate critical regions
for L-tests.
world. Does the ability to
test only certain
Test for proportion using binomial parameters in a
distribution. population affect the way
knowledge claims in the
Test for population mean using Poisson Poisson and binomial tests will be one-tailed only. human sciences are
distribution. valued? When is it more
Use of technology to test the hypothesis that In examinations the data will be given. important not to make a
the population product moment correlation Type I error and when is it
coefficient (¯) is 0 for bivariate normal more important not to
distributions. make a Type II error?

Type I and II errors including calculations of Applied to normal with known variance, Poisson and
their probabilities. binomial distributions.
For discrete random variables, hypothesis tests and critical
regions will only be required for one-tailed tests. The
critical region will maximize the probability of a Type I
error while keeping it less than the stated significance
4.19 Transition matrices. In general, the column state matrix (° ) after ntransitions is Leslie matrices are
Powers of transition matrices. given by ° = ± ° , where ± is the transition matrix, with used extensively in
±D² representing the probability of moving from state | to biology.
state 9, and ° is the initial state matrix.
Use of transition diagrams to represent transitions in
discrete dynamical systems.

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Regular Markov chains.
Initial state probability matrices.
Calculation of steady state and long-term Examination questions will state when exact solutions
probabilities by repeated multiplication of the obtained from solving equations are required.
transition matrix or by solving a system of
linear equations. Awareness that the solution is the eigenvector
corresponding to the eigenvalue equal to 1.
Link to: matrices (AHL1.14), eigenvalues (AHL1.15) and
adjacency matrices (AHL3.15).

Topic 5: Calculus (19 + 22 hours)

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
5.1 Introduction to the concept of a limit. Estimation of the value of a limit from a table or graph. What value does the
Not required: Formal analytic methods of calculating knowledge of limits have?
limits. Is infinitesimal behaviour
FG F³ F›
applicable to real life? Is
Derivative interpreted as gradient function and Forms of notation: , U′, or for the first derivative.
F FZ Ff intuition a valid way of
as rate of change. knowing in mathematics?
Informal understanding of the gradient of a curve as a
5.2 Increasing and decreasing functions. Identifying intervals on which functions are increasing
Graphical interpretation of (U′ > 0) or decreasing (U′ < 0).
U′ > 0
U ´  = 0
U ´  < 0

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
5.3 Derivative of U =   is U ´  =   , The seemingly abstract
∈ℤ concept of calculus allows
The derivative of functions of the form us to create mathematical
U =   + "  + ⋯ where all exponents models that permit
are integers. human feats such as
getting a man on the
Moon. What does this tell
us about the links
between mathematical
models and reality?
5.4 Tangents and normals at a given point, and Use of both analytic approaches and technology. In what ways has
their equations. technology impacted how
knowledge is produced
and shared in
mathematics? Does
technology simply allow
us to arrange existing
knowledge in new and
different ways, or should
this arrangement itself be
considered knowledge?
5.5 Introduction to integration as anti- Students should be aware of the link between anti- Is it possible for an area
differentiation of functions of the form derivatives, definite integrals and area. of knowledge to describe
U =   + "  + ⋯ the world without
where  ∈ ℤ,  ≠-1. transforming it?
Anti-differentiation with a boundary condition Example: If = 3  +  and , = 0 when  = 1, then , =

to determine the constant term.  +   + 8.5.

# Content Guidance, clarification & syllabus links TOK Enrichment
Definite integrals using technology. Students are expected to first write a correct expression

Area of a region enclosed by a curve , = U before calculating the area, for example ¶ 2632 + 4T .
and the -axis, where U > 0. The use of dynamic geometry or graphing software is
encouraged in the development of this concept.
5.6 Values of  where the gradient of a curve is Students should be able to use technology to
zero. generate U′ given U, and find the solutions of
Solution of U′ = 0. U′ = 0.
Local maximum and minimum points. Awareness that the local maximum/minimum will not
necessarily be the greatest/least value of the function in
the given domain.
5.7 Optimisation problems in context. Examples: Maximizing profit, minimizing cost, maximizing How can the rise in tax for
volume for a given surface area. plastic containers, for
In SL examinations, questions on kinematics will not be example plastic bags,
set. plastic bottles etc be
justified using
5.8 Approximating areas using the trapezoidal Given a table of data or a function, make an estimate for Exploring other
rule. the value of an area using the trapezoidal rule, with numerical
intervals of equal width. integration
Link to: upper and lower bounds (SL1.6) and areas under techniques such as
curves (SL5.5). Simpson’s rule.

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5.9 The derivatives of sin , cos , tan ,  , ln ,   Link to: maximum and minimum points (SL5.6) and Euler was able to make
where  ∈ ℚ. optimisation (SL5.7). important advances in
The chain rule, product rule and quotient rules. mathematical analysis
before calculus had been
Related rates of change.
put on a solid theoretical
foundation by Cauchy and
others. However, some
work was not possible
until after Cauchy’s work.
What does this suggest
about the nature of
progress and
development in
mathematics? How might
this be similar/different to
the nature of progress
and development in other
areas of knowledge?
F2 G
5.10 The second derivative. and U′′ for the second Music can be expressed
F 2
Both forms of notation,
using mathematics. Does
this mean that music is
Use of second derivative test to distinguish Awareness that a point of inflexion is a point at which the mathematical/that
between a maximum and a minimum point. concavity changes and interpretation of this in context. mathematics is musical?
Use of the terms “concave-up” for U′′ > 0, and “concave-
down” for U′′ < 0.
Link to: kinematics (AHL5.13) and second order
differential equations (AHL5.18).
5.11 Definite and indefinite integration of   where

 ∈ ℚ, including  = −1 , sin , cos , 2 and

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Integration by inspection, or substitution of Examples:

the form ¶ sin2 + 5 T, ¶ i
¸ U¹`º`′T stu
¶ 4 sin   T, ¶ vws T

5.12 Area of the region enclosed by a curve and the Including negative integrals.
 or ,-axes in a given interval.
Volumes of revolution about the - axis or ,- ^
J = ¸ »,  T
axis. &
J = ¸ »  T,

Kinematic problems involving displacement C, TC

5.13 What is the role of
velocity V and acceleration . TL convention in
= = =V
mathematics? Is this
TL TL TC similar or different to the
Displacement = role of convention in
f2 other areas of
¸ VLTL knowledge?

Total distance travelled =


¸ |VL|TL

Speed is the magnitude of velocity.

F F2
Use of ¼ = and ½ =
Ff 2

5.14 Setting up a model/differential equation from Example: The growth of an algae ¾, at time L, is
a context. proportional to √¾.

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Solving by separation of variables. Example: An exponential model as a solution of = ,. In what ways do values
affect our representations
The term “general solution”.
of the world, for example
in statistics, maps, visual
images or diagrams?
5.15 Slope fields and their diagrams. Students will be required to use and interpret slope fields. In what ways do values
affect our representations
of the world, for example
in statistics, maps, visual
images or diagrams?
5.16 Euler’s method for finding the approximate Spreadsheets should be used to find approximate To what extent is certainty Runge-Kutta
solution to first order differential equations. solutions to differential equations. attainable in methods.
Numerical solution of = U, ,. In examinations, values will be generated using mathematics? Is certainty
permissible technology. attainable, or desirable, in
other areas of
Numerical solution of the coupled system Contexts could include predator-prey models. knowledge?
= U , ,, L
= U , ,, L

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5.17 Phase portrait for the solutions of coupled Systems will have distinct, non-zero, eigenvalues.
differential equations of the form: If the eigenvalues are:
=  + ",
• Positive or complex with positive real part, all solutions

move away from the origin
= ; + T,
• Negative or complex with negative real part, all
solutions move towards the origin
Qualitative analysis of future paths for distinct, • Complex, the solutions form a spiral
real, complex and imaginary eigenvalues. • Imaginary, the solutions form a circle or ellipse
Sketching trajectories and using phase • Real with different signs (one positive, one negative)
portraits to identify key features such as the origin is a saddle point.
equilibrium points, stable populations and Calculation of exact solutions is only required for the case
saddle points. of real distinct eigenvalues.
Link to: eigenvectors and eigenvalues (AHL1.15).
5.18 F2
= U,
, L by Euler’s Write as coupled first order equations = , and How have notable
Solutions of
Ff 2 Ff Ff
= U, ,, L.
individuals such as Euler
method. Ff shaped the development
F2 F
+ + " = 0, can also be investigated
Ff 2
Solutions of of mathematics as an area
using the phase portrait method in AHL 5.17 above. of knowledge?
Understanding the occurrence of simple second order
differential equations in physical phenomena would aid
understanding but in examinations the equation will be

The assessments at a glance

The daily and quarterly challenges

During your MAI HL journey, we will be doing many activities in class that will help me assess your progress in
all of the contents of the syllabus above. At the end of every unit, a class quiz will be administered.
Examinations end most of the quarters, and contribute significantly to your quarter grades.

Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3 Quizzes Coursework

Marks Minutes % Marks Minutes % Marks Minutes % % %
Q1 55 60 60 - - - - - - 40 -
(in class)
Q2 55 60 30 55 60 30 - - - 40 -
Q3 83 90 30 55 60 30 - - - 20 20
Q4 83 90 30 83 90 30 28 30 10 20 10
Q5 110 120 30 83 90 30 28 30 10 20 10
Q6 - - - - - - - - - 20 80
Q7 110 120 30 110 120 30 55 60 20 20 -

(Note: A Graphic Display Calculator is required for this course; to succeed you need to develop your GDC skills
as much as your mathematical knowledge and skills. The main models normally used, and two ‘families’ I’m
familiar with, are Texas Instrument TI-83 or TI-84 and the Casio CFX-9850 or FX-9860 series. The best strategy
has always been to have a unanimous vote on which make to use as a whole class.)
Paper 1 = GDC, compulsory short-response questions
Paper 2 = GDC, compulsory extended-response questions
Paper 3 = GDC, two compulsory extended-response problem-solving questions
Number of quizzes per quarter = not fixed
Coursework = homework, projects, done in your own time = not in class

The battle that matters the most

Paper 1 Paper 2 Paper 3 Exploration
Marks Minutes % Marks Minutes % Marks Minutes % %
May 21 110 120 30 110 120 30 55 60 20 20

Exploration is your Internal Assessment, marked by your teacher and moderated externally, and due way, way
earlier than May 2021.
An IA Google folder will be shared with you to serve as the main reference for IA.

Internal Assessment criteria
From MAI guide, Aug 19, pp85-89

Criterion Max Highest Descriptor clarifications

mark band
A 4 The The “presentation” criterion assesses the organization and
Presentation exploration is coherence of the exploration.
coherent, well A coherent exploration is logically developed, easy to follow and
organized, and meets its aim. This refers to the overall structure or framework,
concise. including introduction, body, conclusion and how well the
different parts link to each other.
A well-organized exploration includes an introduction, describes
the aim of the exploration and has a conclusion. Relevant graphs,
tables and diagrams should accompany the work in the
appropriate place and not be attached as appendices to the
document. Appendices should be used to include information on
large data sets, additional graphs, diagrams and tables.
A concise exploration does not show irrelevant or unnecessary
repetitive calculations, graphs or descriptions.
The use of technology is not required but encouraged where
appropriate. However, the use of analytic approaches rather than
technological ones does not necessarily mean lack of conciseness,
and should not be penalized. This does not mean that repetitive
calculations are condoned.
B 4 The The “mathematical communication” criterion assesses to what
Mathematical mathematical extent the student has:
communication communication • used appropriate mathematical language (notation, symbols,
is relevant, terminology). Calculator and computer notation is acceptable
appropriate only if it is software generated. Otherwise it is expected that
and consistent students use appropriate mathematical notation in their work
throughout. • defined key terms and variables, where required
• used multiple forms of mathematical representation, such
as formulae, diagrams, tables, charts, graphs and models,
where appropriate
• used a deductive method and set out proofs logically where
Examples of level 1 can include graphs not being labelled,
consistent use of computer notation with no other forms of
correct mathematical communication.
Level 4 can be achieved by using only one form of mathematical
representation as long as this is appropriate to the topic being
explored. For level 4, any minor errors that do not impair clear
communication should not be penalized.
C 3 There is The “personal engagement” criterion assesses the extent to which
Personal evidence of the student engages with the topic by exploring the mathematics
engagement outstanding and making it their own. It is not a measure of effort.
personal Personal engagement may be recognized in different ways. These
engagement. include thinking independently or creatively, presenting

mathematical ideas in their own way, exploring the topic from
different perspectives, making and testing predictions.
There must be evidence of personal engagement demonstrated in
the student’s work. It is not sufficient that a teacher comments
that a student was highly engaged.
Textbook style explorations or reproduction of readily available
mathematics without the candidate’s own perspective are unlikely
to achieve the higher levels.
Significant: The student demonstrates authentic personal
engagement in the exploration on a few occasions and it is
evident that these drive the exploration forward and help the
reader to better understand the writer’s intentions.
Outstanding: The student demonstrates authentic personal
engagement in the exploration in numerous instances and they
are of a high quality. It is evident that these drive the exploration
forward in a creative way. It leaves the impression that the student
has developed, through their approach, a complete understanding
of the context of the exploration topic and the reader better
understands the writer’s intentions.
D 3 There is The “reflection” criterion assesses how the student reviews,
Reflection substantial analyses and evaluates the expl
evidence of oration. Although reflection may be seen in the conclusion to the
critical exploration, it may also be found throughout the exploration.
Simply describing results represents limited reflection. Further
consideration is required to achieve the higher levels.
Some ways of showing meaningful reflection are: linking to the
aims of the exploration, commenting on what they have learned,
considering some limitation or comparing different mathematical
Critical reflection is reflection that is crucial, deciding or deeply
insightful. It will often develop the exploration by addressing the
mathematical results and their impact on the student’s
understanding of the topic. Some ways of showing critical
reflection are: considering what next, discussing implications of
results, discussing strengths and weaknesses of approaches, and
considering different perspectives.
Substantial evidence means that the critical reflection is present
throughout the exploration. If it appears at the end of the
exploration it must be of high quality and demonstrate how it
developed the exploration in order to achieve a level 3.
E 6 Relevant The “Use of mathematics” HL criterion assesses to what extent
Use of mathematics students use relevant mathematics in the exploration.
mathematics commensurate Students are expected to produce work that is commensurate
with the level with the level of the course, which means it should not be
of the course is completely based on mathematics listed in the prior learning. The
used. The mathematics explored should either be part of the syllabus, at a
mathematics similar level or slightly beyond. However, mathematics of a level
explored is slightly beyond the syllabus is not required to achieve the highest
precise and levels.
A key word in the descriptor is demonstrated. The command

sophistication term demonstrate means to make clear by reasoning or evidence,
and rigour. illustrating with examples or practical application. Obtaining the
Thorough correct answer is not sufficient to demonstrate understanding
knowledge and (even some understanding) in order to achieve level 2 or higher.
understanding For knowledge and understanding to be thorough it must be
are demonstrated throughout. Lines of reasoning must be shown to
demonstrated. justify steps in the mathematical development of the exploration.
Relevant refers to mathematics that supports the development of
the exploration towards the completion of its aim. Overly
complicated mathematics where simple mathematics would
suffice is not relevant.
The mathematics can be regarded as correct even if there are
occasional minor errors as long as they do not detract from the
flow of the mathematics or lead to an unreasonable outcome.
Precise mathematics is error-free and uses an appropriate level of
accuracy at all times.
Sophistication: To be considered as sophisticated the
mathematics used should be commensurate with the HL syllabus
or, if contained in the SL syllabus, the mathematics has been used
in a complex way that is beyond what could reasonably be
expected of an SL student. Sophistication in mathematics may
include understanding and using challenging mathematical
concepts, looking at a problem from different perspectives and
seeing underlying structures to link different areas of
Rigour involves clarity of logic and language when making
mathematical arguments and calculations. Mathematical claims
relevant to the development of the exploration must be justified
or proven.
Students are encouraged to use technology to obtain results
where appropriate, but understanding must be demonstrated in
order for the student to achieve level 1 or higher, for example
merely substituting values into a formula does not necessarily
demonstrate understanding of the results.
The mathematics only needs to be what is required to support the
development of the exploration. This could be a few small
elements of mathematics or even a single topic (or sub-topic)
from the syllabus. It is better to do a few things well than a lot of
things not so well. If the mathematics used is relevant to the topic
being explored, commensurate with the level of the course and
understood by the student, then it can achieve a high level in this

Extracted from MAI Teacher Support Material, Aug 19, pp45-48.
How long should it be? The exploration should be reviewing policies and procedures,
accessible to fellow students. explaining the assessment criteria,
It is difficult to be prescriptive
reviewing progress, developing
about mathematical writing. Can the students use
topics). Time spent on the
However, the Mathematics: mathematics other than that
exploration outside of class time
analysis and approaches and the which they have done in class?
should be in line with the normal
Mathematics: applications and
Yes, but this must be clearly homework expectation for 10 to
interpretation guides state that 12
explained and referenced, and 15 hours of class time.
to 20 pages should be
teacher comments should clarify
appropriate. An exploration may Can all students from one class
be less than 12 pages, however. A submit explorations on exactly
more common failing of Can students use mathematics the same topic?
mathematical writing is excessive that is outside the syllabus?
No. In fact, no two students
repetition, and this should be It is not necessary to do this to should submit explorations that
avoided as such explorations will obtain full or high marks. If are exactly the same
be penalized for lack of students decide to explore mathematically (they can,
conciseness. It is recognized mathematics outside the syllabus however, be from the same area
however that some explorations it is recommended that the level is or topic of mathematics, for
will require the use of several commensurate with the syllabus. instance "vectors"). The
diagrams, which may extend them
Can a student use data for an exploration is intended to be the
beyond the recommended page
exploration that has already sole work of an individual student.
been used for other Diploma Whole class discussion can be
Are there any particular topics Programme internally assessed used when generating ideas,
to be avoided? work (for example, the extended selecting the topics for
essay, fieldwork or experiments)? exploration, sharing research
A topic must be chosen so that
sources, acquiring the necessary
the assessment criteria can be This is to be discouraged, since it knowledge, skills and
applied to it. Purely descriptive is unlikely that data collected for understanding, and seeking peer-
historical topics, for example, are one particular use will lend feedback on writing. However, the
not appropriate. themselves to being treated in a final exploration submitted must
Is any particular format for the different manner. It may well be be the work of the individual
exploration to be used? possible that students could use student.
the data collected from work
No particular format is required. Can students in the same
completed in other subjects,
Students may write both the text class/school use the same title
provided that it is analysed in a
of explorations and draw graphs for the exploration?
totally different manner. However,
and/or tables by hand, or
it is the student’s responsibility to Yes, but the explorations must be
explorations may be fully or
inform the teacher that these data different, based on the avenues
partially word-processed. Either
have been collected for a different followed by the student. As noted
form is acceptable as long as the
subject. The teacher must then above, the title should give an
exploration is clearly legible. In
ensure that no overlap occurs. idea of what the exploration is
recent years, students have used
How much time should a about.
various forms of technology (for
example, spreadsheets) to present student be spending on the Can SL and HL students use the
data, construct tables and graphs, exploration? same stimulus?
and perform calculations. A total of 10 to 15 hours should Yes, there is no reason to restrict
What should the target be set aside for the exploration any stimulus to a particular level,
audience be for a student when work in class. A portion of these although the assessment of
writing the exploration? hours can be spent on general criterion E will be different.
class business (for example,

Your final grades
While your papers earn percentage points and your final percentage score gets processed (a fixed grade
boundary will be applied to it), the IB states that he final grade (the one printed on your IB transcript) is
allocated according to IB grade descriptors (from Grade descriptors, Dec 17, pp16-17, emphases added).

Grade 7
Demonstrates a thorough knowledge and comprehensive understanding of the syllabus;
successfully constructs and applies mathematical arguments at a sophisticated level in a wide variety of
successfully uses problem solving techniques in challenging situations;
recognizes patterns and structures, makes generalizations and justifies conclusions;
understands and explains the significance and validity of results, and draws full and relevant conclusions;
communicates mathematics in a clear, effective and concise manner, using correct techniques, notation and
demonstrates the ability to integrate knowledge, understanding and skills from different areas of the
uses technology correctly in challenging situations—makes efficient
use of calculator’s functionality when required.
aka life goal
Grade 6
Demonstrates a broad knowledge and comprehensive understanding of the syllabus; successfully constructs
and applies mathematical arguments in a variety of contexts; uses problem solving techniques in challenging
situations; recognizes patterns and structures, and makes some generalizations; understands and explains the
significance and validity of results, and draws relevant conclusions; communicates mathematics in a clear and
effective manner, using correct techniques, notation and terminology; demonstrates some ability to integrate
knowledge, understanding and skills from different areas of the course; uses technology correctly in routine
situations—makes efficient use of calculator’s functionality when required.

Grade 5
Demonstrates a broad knowledge and good understanding of the syllabus; applies mathematical arguments in
performing routine tasks; successfully uses problem solving techniques in routine situations; successfully
carries out mathematical processes in a variety of contexts, and recognizes patterns and structures;
understands the significance of results and draws some conclusions; communicates mathematics effectively,
using appropriate techniques, notation and terminology; demonstrates an awareness of the links between
different areas of the course; makes use of calculator’s functionality when required (this use may occasionally
be inefficient).

Grade 4
Demonstrates a satisfactory knowledge of the syllabus; applies mathematical arguments in performing some
routine tasks; uses problem solving techniques in routine situations; successfully carries out mathematical
processes in straightforward contexts; shows some ability to recognize patterns and structures; has limited
understanding of the significance of results and attempts to draw some conclusions; communicates
mathematics adequately, using some appropriate techniques, notation and terminology; makes some use of
calculator’s functionality, but perhaps not always when required (this use may occasionally be inefficient).

Grade 3
Demonstrates partial knowledge of the syllabus and limited understanding of mathematical arguments in
performing some routine tasks; attempts to carry out mathematical processes in straightforward contexts;
makes an attempt to use problem solving techniques in routine situations; communicates some mathematics,
using some appropriate techniques, notation or terminology; occasionally uses calculator’s functionality, but
often inefficiently—does not always use it when required and may use an inefficient analytic approach.

Grade 2
Demonstrates limited knowledge of the syllabus; attempts to carry out mathematical processes at a basic level;
communicates some mathematics, but often uses inappropriate techniques, notation or terminology; unable
to use calculator correctly when required—questions exclusively requiring the use of the GDC are generally
not attempted.

Grade 1
Demonstrates minimal knowledge of the syllabus; demonstrates little or no ability to use mathematical
processes, even when attempting routine tasks; communicates only minimal mathematics and consistently
uses inappropriate techniques, notation or terminology; is unable to make effective use of technology.

The plan
An overview of when we need to get what done by. Slight shifts may happen depending on how fast we
actually do things. Highlighted subtopic = AHL.

Q1 {1} Number & algebra (1.1 – 1.11) Q5 {3} Circular functions & trig: Vectors
{3} Circular functions & trig (3.9 – 3.13)
(3.1 – 3.4, 3.7 – 3.8) Toolkit
9w In-class exam 7w Quarter Exam = Mock 1

Q2 {3} Circular functions & trig (3.5, 3.6) Q6 {1} Number & algebra: Complex numbers
{2} Functions (2.1 – 2.6) (1.12 – 1.13)
5w Quarter Exam 7w IA

Q3 {2} Functions (2.7 – 2.10) Q7 {5} Calculus (all)

{4} Stats & probs (all)
Toolkit = IA preparation
10 w Quarter Exam 10 w Quarter Exam = Mock 2

Q4 {3} Circular functions & trig: Graph Theory Q8 Revisions

(3.14 – 3.16)
{1} Number & algebra: Matrices (1.14 – 1.15)
9w Quarter Exam 3w FINAL EXAMS


What should you aim?

People taking Math HL should either NEED it for future studies or LOVE math. Speaking of needs:

Award of the IB Diploma

University requirements
Snapshots of what some top universities require (accessed Sep 19):
University of Waterloo, Canada18 King College, UK19

University of Melbourne, Australia20 Auckland University, NZ21

Purdue University, USA22

The University of Texas at Austin, USA23

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA24

What if I don’t quite get there?

Depending on how far you are from ‘there’, a number of scenarios may happen. Rest assured that the school
and I want the best for you.


Main student references

Best textbook so far:
1 Mathematics for the IB Diploma: Applications and Interpretation HL.
London: Hodder Education.
Optional; some available in the library:
2 Mathematics (three separate volumes)
Adelaide Airport, South Australia: Haese & Harris Publications.
3 Mathematics Applications and Interpretations HL.
Melton, Victoria: IBID Press.
4 Oxford IB Diploma Programme: IB Mathematics: applications and interpretation, Higher Level.
Oxford: Oxford University Press.
5 Mathematics Applications and Interpretation Text Higher Level.
Harlow, Essex: Pearson Education.
(More level- and need- or interest-specific references, e.g. for remedial or IA purposes, are given as and when

To support you Because internet Fun, fun, fun

GeoGebra25 Revision Village29 Cambridge Brain Sciences30
Graph26 For IA: fivethirtyeight’s The Riddler31
Legally free (although mostly old) For IA: Haese & Harris’ Challenge
books!27 Question32
Wolfram Alpha28 Kenken33
Anything by Martin Gardner36

1 Mathematics: applications and interpretation guide (First assessment 2021)
Cardiff, Wales: IB.
2 Mathematics: applications and interpretation teacher support material (First assessment 2021)
Cardiff, Wales: IB.
3 Grade descriptors (for use from December 2017)
Cardiff, Wales: IB.

Sad to see they no longer offer PGDipEd (Educational Leadership)!
Formerly Sheffield School of Interior Design!