Aspiring IB students often ask me the difference between IB Mathematical Studies SL, IB Mathematics SL and IB Math HL.(There is also Further Mathematics HL, but few students take this) It is important that you choose the appropriate IB Mathematics subject for your IB diploma program. A wrong decision can result in a nasty shock later when you realize you do not have enough Math credits for the university degree you want to read! Here are some guidelines to help students make the right decision.
Firstly, students should consider their interest and background in Math. They should not choose the most challenging math subject if they simply dislike Math. Among the three Math subjects, Mathematics HL would be the most academically demanding, followed by IB Mathematics SL and IB Mathematical Studies
Second, students should also consider their academic plans and future career choices when choosing the appropriate subject. IB Mathematical studies would be suitable for students who do not need mathematics in their further studies at university. For students who plan to pursue subjects such as medicine, chemistry, economics, psychology and business administration, it is recommended that they select Mathematics SL for the IB diploma program. In fact, for some of the more competitive UK universities such as London School of Economics, Oxford and Cambridge, they require students pursuing Economics or Finance to score a 7 in HL Math! For students who plan to include Math as a major component of their university studies or pursue courses such as physics, engineering and technology, I would advise them to take IB Mathematics HL.
I have just provided some general guidelines to help students make the right choices. I would strongly recommend students to check with their prospective university on the entry requirements for the courses they plan to take after their IB diploma. Hope this helps!
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