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Mathematics (Group 5)

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Mathematics plays a role in our everyday lives. Although not everyone develops a passion for the study, many of us need to use it in our careers in some way.

Perspective for artists, rhythms and harmonies for musicians, financial trends for economists, stress patterns for engineers: these are all places where you may meet and use mathematics in your life. Mathematics may act as an essential tool for you, or you may see it as the purest of all academic disciplines. Either way, you will be better equipped for the path you choose to follow having studied Mathematics as part of the IB DP. 

Two new subjects will replace the four existing subjects for the start of the 2019/20 academic year. These two subjects are Mathematics: Analysis and approaches (MAA) and Mathematics: Applications and interpretation (MAI). Both of these will be available at SL and HL.

Mathematics: Analysis and approaches (MAA) at SL and HL is appropriate for students who enjoy developing their mathematics to become fluent in the construction of mathematical arguments and develop strong skills in mathematical thinking. They will also be fascinated by exploring real and abstract applications of these ideas, with and without the use of technology. Students who take Mathematics: Analysis and approaches will be those who enjoy the thrill of mathematical problem solving and generalisation. This subject is aimed at students who will go on to study subjects with substantial mathematics content such as mathematics itself, engineering, physical sciences, or economics for example.

Mathematics: Applications and interpretation (MAI) SL and HL is appropriate for students who are interested in developing their mathematics for describing our world and solving practical problems. They will also be interested in harnessing the power of technology alongside exploring mathematical models. Students who take Mathematics: Applications and interpretation will be those who enjoy mathematics best when seen in a practical context. This subject is aimed at students who will go on to study subjects such as social sciences, natural sciences, statistics, business, some economics, psychology, and design, for example.

The mathematics courses aim to contribute to students’ personal attributes, subject understanding and global awareness by enabling them to:

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 generalisation

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 its applications

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


Whilst the new subject guides won’t be officially published until early 2019, further information, as it currently stands, can be found in the DP Mathematics Curriculum Review Final Report.