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IB Math Studies SL, IB Mathematics SL and Math HL














IB Mathematical Studies SL, IB Mathematics SL and IB Math HL

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.

How to choose the suitable IB Math subject

1 Consider your interests

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

2 Check the subject requirements of the university of your choice

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!

Article Name
Difference between IB Mathematical Studies SL, IB Mathematics SL and Mathematics HL
Parents and students alike are often confused by the wide choice of Math subjects available for IB. They are often unsure of the difference between IB Mathematical Studies SL, IB Mathematics SL and Mathematics HL. This article will help parents and students to understand the differences between each subject and help them make informed decisions.......

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  1. Sania says:

    If I take Mathematical studies SL and want to apply for liberal arts to a US college does it mean some colleges don’t count it as a full diploma course because I have done Mathematical studies and as a result I cannot apply to those colleges?

    • IB Super says:

      Most Liberal Arts Colleges accept Math studies as a subject. However, some of the more competitive colleges may prefer Math SL. US universities evaluate applicants holistically. If Math is not where your strength lies, you may like to show your other strengths, example debating skills or writing skills.There are Math studies students who are accepted into good colleges, but Math SL will improve your chances in the admission process.

  2. Nikos Adamopoulos says:

    The question I would like to ask is whether it is worth taking Further Maths IB test in order to apply to the most demanding universities like Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, Imperial.

    • ibsuper says:

      I do know of students who got university offers from top universities such as Oxford and Cambridge just with HL Math. You may not need Further Math. If you really enjoy Math and excel in Math, I would encourage you to go for Further Math.