The International Baccalaureate evaluates its subjects every seven year and makes some changes to keep the program relevant and the syllabus up to date. They’ve divide the IB Math subject into two: IB Math AA (Analysis & Approaches) and IB Math AI (Application and Interpretations), making it easier for IB students to choose a Math course that’s right for them.
In this guide, we’ll look at IB Math AA vs IB Math AI to help you understand the differences between the two subjects.
What is IB Math AA?
The IB Math Analysis and Approaches is similar to the current Mathematics Standard Level syllabus. Refined, with some sections removed and others added to the syllabus, the IB Math AA is a suitable subject for students who’re interested in studying subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, and Economics.
At High Level, the IB Math AA is suitable for students who’re interested in studying Engineering or Mathematics in the university. It’s also similar to the current IB High Level syllabus with a few subtractions and additions.
What is IB Math AI?
Taught in SL and HL, the IB Math AI is a suitable subject for students who are interested in pursuing Bachelors of Arts degree. The subject is more or less the same as the current Math taught in the SL syllabus.
The AI taught at IB HL is an extension of the SL subject with the primary focus being on depth instead of breadth.
IB Math AA vs AI: Which One Should You Choose?
The answer to this question depends on the career path you’d like to pursue. If you aspire to become an engineer, data scientist, machine learner, or mathematician, IB Math AA will give you the knowledge and tools you need to excel in the careers. If you’re interested in pursuing a career such as management and economics, which puts more emphasis on the application of math, IB Math AI is the right subject for you.
We understand that not everyone can figure his or her career path soon. If that’s you, it’s best to examine your attitude towards Mathematics to help you decide what career best fits you and what module to pursue. If you find that you’re a student only interested in applying Math, you should consider learning IB Math AI. However, if you find yourself fascinated by the “why” behind mathematical theories, IB Math AA should be suitable for you.
According to International Baccalaureate, the IB Math AA is a perfect subject for those who want to enter STEM-intensive subjects and the Application is ideal for those who want to study humanity and human sciences.
IB Math AA vs IB Math AI: What are the Differences?
AI and AA share some common topics that teachers cover in the first sixty hours of the course, but the core focus of the two subjects is completely different.
In IB Math Analytical & Approaches, the focus is on the theory and the objective is to teach students how to analyze abstract theories that form the basis of all calculations.
In IB Math Application and Interpretation, instructors teach students how to apply mathematical concepts in the real world, with distribution and statistics being the primary components of the course.
2. In SL and HL Modules
You can choose to study IA and AA in Standard or Higher Level. The Standard Level (SL) requires you to put in about 150 hours into learning and you’ll take two written examinations.
The Higher Level, on the other hand, requires you to study for not less than 240 hours, after which you’ll write 3 exams for each module.
On examination, your teacher expects you to use a calculator, as doing the calculations manually can take too long. For the AA your instructor won’t allow you to use a calculator for one of the tests.
The HL of IB Math AA and IB Math AI are ideally suitable for students who’re good in Math. Those who don’t have a strong foundation in the subject should opt for the Standard Level to avoid frustrations and difficulty in the IB program.
It’s important to notes that the initial stages of IB Math AA and AI are quite similar in both Standard and Higher Level. In this case, it may be best to choose the Higher Level.
Before you make a choice, check if your school allows the change of module. If they do, you can easily switch to the SL module if you find the HL module somewhat or too difficult.
IB Math AA vs IB Math AI: What are the Similarities?
IB Math AA and IA cover the core field of mathematics, which include algebra, statistics, number theory, and calculus.
The Analysis subject focuses on calculus as the foundation for all the STEM fields and Application puts more priority on statistics as the core for all the human sciences.
It’s ideal to have a strong foundation in calculus even if you don’t focus on the STEM field, as it will make it easy for you to understand many of the concepts taught in the subject both in the SL and in HL levels.
IB Math AA vs IB Math IA: Which One Is Easy?
The IB Math AI is easier than IB Math AA. At least you can use a calculator to write all your exams.
IB Math AA, on the other hand, can be more challenging because you have to do a lot more calculus. Also, you have to do a big portion of your exams without using a calculator.
One last thing to keep in mind is that your university requirements vary as far as these two subjects are concerned. Some will require you to take the AA subject to meet their curriculum requirements. The course you’re planning to take may also influence which module to take.
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