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IB DP- Mathematics: Analysis and Approach

It is a requirement of the programme that students study at least one course in mathematics. Students can only study one course out of three in mathematics. All DP
mathematics courses serve to accommodate the range of needs, interests and abilities of students, and to fulfill the requirements of various university and career aspirations.

The aims of these courses are to enable students to:

  • Develop mathematical knowledge, concepts and principles
  • Develop logical, critical and creative thinking
  • Employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalization.

Students are also encouraged to appreciate the international dimensions of mathematics and the multiplicity of its cultural and historical perspectives.

In this article, we will discuss about Mathematics: Analysis and Approach.

The course recognizes the need for analytical expertise in a world where innovation is increasingly dependent on a deep understanding of mathematics. The focus of the course is to develop important mathematical concepts in a comprehensible, coherent and rigorous way which is to be achieved by a carefully balanced approach. Students are encouraged to apply their mathematical knowledge to solve abstract problems as well as those set in a variety of meaningful contexts. Mathematics: analysis and approaches places a strong emphasis on the ability to construct, communicate and justify the correct mathematical arguments. Students are expected to develop insight into mathematical form and structure, and be intellectually equipped to appreciate the links between concepts in different topic areas. Students are also encouraged to develop the skills needed to continue their mathematical growth in other learning environments. The internally assessed exploration allows students to develop independence in mathematical learning. Throughout the course students are encouraged to take a considered approach to various mathematical activities and to explore different mathematical ideas.


Aims of the course

The aims of the course as per the official IB wesite is as given below-

  • Develop a curiosity and enjoyment of mathematics, and appreciate its elegance and power
  • Develop an understanding of the concepts, principles and nature of mathematics
  • Communicate mathematics clearly, concisely and confidently in a variety of contexts
  • Develop logical and creative thinking, and patience and persistence in problem solving to instil confidence in using mathematics
  • Employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalization
  • 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
  • Appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics influence each other
  • Appreciate the moral, social and ethical questions arising from the work of mathematicians and the applications of mathematics
  • Appreciate the universality of mathematics and its multicultural, international and historical perspectives
  • Appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other disciplines, and as a particular “Area of Knowledge” in the TOK course
  • Develop the ability to reflect critically upon their own work and the work of others
  • Independently and collaboratively extend their understanding of mathematics.

Curriculum Model Overview


  • Number and algebra
    Recommended teaching hours- 19/SL, 39/HL

  • Functions
    Recommended teaching hours-21/SL, 32/HL

  • Geometry and trigonometry
    Recommended teaching hours-25/SL, 51/HL

  • Statistics and probability
    Recommended teaching hours- 27/SL, 33/HL

  • Calculus
    Recommended teaching hours- 28/SL, 55/HL

  • Development of investigational, problem-solving and modelling skills and the exploration of an area of mathematics
    Recommended teaching hours- 30/SL, 30/HL

Total Teaching Hours-
Standard Level- 150
High Level- 240


Assessment Model

According the official subject brief, problem-solving is central to learning mathematics and involves the acquisition of mathematical skills and concepts in a wide range of situations, including non-routine, open-ended and real-world problems.

The assessment objectives given are common to Mathematics: analysis and approaches and to Mathematics: applications and interpretation.

  • Knowledge and understanding: Recall, select and use their knowledge of mathematical facts, concepts and techniques in a variety of familiar and unfamiliar contexts.
  • Problem solving: Recall, select and use their knowledge of mathematical skills, results and models in both abstract and real-world contexts to solve problems.
  • Communication and interpretation: Transform common realistic contexts into mathematics; comment on the context; sketch or draw mathematical diagrams, graphs or constructions both on paper and using technology; record methods, solutions and conclusions using standardized notation; use appropriate notation and terminology.
  • Technology: Use technology accurately, appropriately and efficiently both to explore new ideas and to solve problems.
  • Reasoning: Construct mathematical arguments through use of precise statements, logical deduction and inference and by the manipulation of mathematical expressions.
  • Inquiry approaches: Investigate unfamiliar situations, both abstract and from the real world, involving organizing and analyzing information, making conjectures, drawing conclusions, and testing their validity.

The exploration is an integral part of the course and its assessment, and is
compulsory for both SL and HL students. It enables students to demonstrate
the application of their skills and knowledge, and to pursue their personal
interests, without the time limitations and other constraints that are
associated with written examinations.

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IB DP- Mathematics: Analysis and Approach
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