IB Mathematics (HL)/Introduction

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Mathematics Higher Level (HL) is a two-year course offered by the International Baccalaureate (IB) and is one of the Group 5 (Mathematics and Computer Science) courses for the IB Diploma Programme. The Standard Level (SL) mathematics courses are Mathematical Studies SL, Mathematics SL, and Further Mathematics SL. The curriculum for Mathematics SL is a subset of the curriculum for Mathematics HL. The curriculum for Further Mathematics SL is composed of all four of the optional topics from Mathematics HL, plus an additional Geometry topic.

In Mathematics HL, a student is required to perform an in-depth study of the Core curriculum topics of algebra, functions and equations, circular functions and trigonometry, matrices, vectors, statistics and probability, and calculus. In addition, there are four optional topics of study ("Options"), one of which must be selected by the school. These four Options are listed below.

  • further statistics and probability
  • sets, relations, and groups
  • series and differential equations
  • discrete mathematics

This Wikibook is intended for use as a study guide to cover these topics.

Students in the course take three External Assessment examinations, appropriately named Paper 1 (P1), Paper 2 (P2), and Paper 3 (P3). P1 and P2 evaluate a student's knowledge of topics from the Core, while P3 evaluates a student's knowledge of the chosen Option. Other details about these exams are outlined below.

  • P1: no calculator allowed, 2 hour time limit, composed of ~10 short response questions (Section A) and ~5 extended response questions (Section B).
  • P2: graphing calculator required, 2 hour time limit, composed of Sections A and B in the same fashion as P1.
  • P3: graphing calculator required, 1 hour time limit, ~5 extended response questions.

Students also complete two portfolio projects to fulfill the Internal Assessment requirements for Mathematics HL. The two portfolio projects can be assigned and completed at any time during the course, though samples from the school must be submitted to the International Baccalaureate for score moderation in March/September of the final year of the course. One project must be a mathematical investigation (requiring a formal conjecture and mathematical proof) and the other involves mathematical modelling.

A student's overall IB grade for the course is based on that student's performance on all of the External and Internal Assessments, with P1 and P2 being each worth 30% of the overall grade and P3 and the Internal Assessment each being worth 20% of the overall grade.