IB Group 5: Mathematics
The IB specification focuses on how Mathematics enters our lives daily in a number of ways: for example, we purchase items, consult a timetable or read a newspaper. For most of us, Mathematics extends into our chosen profession: artists need to learn about perspective, economists need to recognise trends in financial dealings and engineers need to take into account stress patterns in physical materials. Scientists view mathematics as a language that is central to our understanding of events that occur in the natural world. Some people enjoy the challenges offered by the logical methods of mathematics and the adventure in reason that mathematical proof has to offer whilst others appreciate mathematics as an aesthetic experience.
Individual students have different needs, interests and abilities. The Abbey School offers three Mathematics IB courses – Mathematical Studies (SL), Mathematics Standard Level and Mathematics Higher Level.
Students who intend to apply to university abroad or wish to pursue a degree course in the UK with a very high mathematical content should check the precise IB Mathematics entry requirements before making their decision.
Mathematical Studies (SL) is a course designed to build confidence and encourage an appreciation in students who do not anticipate a need for mathematics in their future studies, or whose main interests lie outside the field of mathematics. It is designed to be accessible to less confident mathematicians although it still requires commitment and builds on the fundamental skills and knowledge acquired at GCSE. The course covers the development of mathematical techniques
from an applications rather than theoretical perspective and emphasises the use of mathematics in real-life situations. It would suit students who will be pursuing subjects such as Social Sciences, Humanities, Languages, Arts and those which involve the use of statistical and/or logical reasoning.
Mathematics Standard Level is designed for those students who are confident about applying GCSE techniques correctly. The majority of these students will need good mathematical skills in other subject areas and a strong mathematical background for their university course but any student who is good at and enjoys mathematics will benefit from the SL course. It would suit students who will be pursuing subjects such as Chemistry and Economics.
Mathematics Higher Level is very demanding and aimed at those who have exhibited a high level of competence in Mathematics. It is more difficult than A Level Mathematics and is therefore best suited to those who enjoy the subject and the challenge of difficult problems and would suit students who will be pursuing subjects such as Mathematics, Computer Science, Physics, Engineering and some Economics courses at University.
The final grade award is attained by an externally assessed examination of 2 papers (3 for HL) and an internally assessed piece of coursework which comprises 20% of the final grade. The external examination is sat at the end of the second year; both SL and HL each have one paper which is non-calculator. The coursework is an individual piece of work which is either a mathematical exploration (SL and HL) or a mathematical project (Studies).
Skills gained on this course
- Ability to select, use and apply mathematical facts, strategies and techniques in a variety of contexts and problem-solving situations.
- Formulation of mathematical arguments and ability to communicate them clearly.
- Ability to use standard mathematical models to represent situations in the real world and interpret the results.
- How to use effectively graphic calculator technology as a mathematical tool.
Mathematics develops students’ analytical skills and is appropriate to a wide range of careers and science-based courses at Higher Education level and is held in universally high regard. Particularly relevant careers include Accountancy and Banking, Computing, Engineering, Architecture and Business.