#1 Before you begin the course
No matter what IB Math course or level you plan to take, you need to be prepared and ensure that you have the necessary background knowledge and skills. Students embarking on any of the IB Math courses are expected to have studied mathematics for at least ten years. This means that you should have some background in algebra, arithmetic, geometry, trigonometry, statistics, and probability. If you are someone who is weak at any of these topics or if you have poor mental math skills, it is best to work on these before you begin the IB Math course. Most IB Math textbooks start with a section for background knowledge and skills, so use this along with any other resources provided by your teacher to be prepared. This will make your life a lot easier once the course begins.
#2 Choose the appropriate course and level
Speak to your teachers/seniors and choose an IB Math course and level that is apt for you. If you pick a course and level that is not a good fit for you, it will make your preparation for the next two years extremely stressful. For instance, if you are really bad at mental math and are heavily reliant on your calculator, it is in your best interest to do the AI course as the use of the calculator is allowed on all AI papers. But paper 1 of the AA course does not allow the use of a calculator, and you will definitely struggle to do the calculations within the allotted time if you are very weak at mental math. Read about the difference between AA and AI.
#3 Stay ahead in class
The teaching at most schools can be pretty fast-paced, and you might find yourself struggling to keep up in class. So try to keep yourself at least a topic or two ahead in class. For instance, if your Math teacher is planning to spend a couple of weeks on a topic that you find easy, then try to find out what the next few topics are going to be and prepare in advance using your math textbook. Most IB Math students find calculus quite challenging, so it is good to get a head start on that too.
#4 Befriend your graphing calculator
Questions on the calculator papers require a completely different approach to solving compared to those on the non-calculator papers. Many of the IB math questions are specially designed to test if students are aware of these different approaches. So it is vital to know all the useful functions in your graphing calculator and when to use them.
#5 Study, Practise and Review
Make sure that you have a good understanding of all the concepts and formulas in a topic before moving on to the next one. Once you have a strong foundation, practice questions related to each topic from the textbook and past IB Math papers. Review your mistakes and maintain an error log to ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes on the actual IB Math exam.
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