Major Differences between AA & AI (HL and SL)

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General Differences

1What is the major difference between AI and AA math?
Broadly, the analysis stream is considered more pure and “abstract”, while the applications option is more “applied”. When studying analysis and approaches, students will focus on honing their mathematical skills, problem-solving and exploring real and abstract applications. This is suited for students who wish to study mathematics at college or subjects that require a deep knowledge of math. This will be taught with and without technology. Analysis and approaches (AA) at either SL or HL is ideal for students who are interested in studying mathematics, engineering, physical sciences, and some economics. In comparison, the applications and interpretation (AI) option is for students who wish to solve real problems using math. The emphasis here will be on exploring mathematical models and understanding the practical components of the subject. Students interested in studying social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, statistics, business, engineering, some economics, psychology, and design in college should opt for applications and interpretation at SL or HL. There are broad guidelines on the IB website that indicate which stream of mathematics would be suitable for which type of student.
2How are the examinations like for the new syllabus?
Both these streams, either at SL or HL will have two written final exam papers, consisting of short and long answers. Additionally, HL students will have an extra Paper 3, which will be a one-hour problem-solving paper, possibly requiring the use of spreadsheets and graphing software.
3 What about the IA/projects for the new syllabus?
The main difference in the Internal Assessment (IA) is that the previous Project is changing to Exploration. Students will now spend 30 hours developing investigational, problem-solving, collaboration and modelling skills; the culmination of which will be assessed through an IA component. An independent exploration of an area of mathematics chosen by the student, the IA is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB and contributes to 20 percent to the overall mark. In order to build an authentic understanding of the subject, the IB aims to create immersive situations within the classroom so that students can apply the theory that they have learnt. The new IBDP mathematics syllabus will focus on developing the skills of analysis, abstraction and generalisation, risk awareness and statistical literacy, algorithmic thinking, modelling and inquiry.

Content Differences

1Numbers & Algebra
3Geometry & Trigonometry
4Statistics & Probability