Mathematics HL is a subject that undoubtedly requires students to put in long hours of studying to excel in. Even then, it does not necessarily guarantee a 7 in the final IB exams. In addition to hard work, a good studying strategy is necessary to ensure that you are maximizing your revision time. Thus, here are some studying tips that worked best for me when studying for Mathematics HL:
1. Make sure to understand the concepts
Before practicing questions, it is essential that you first have a strong understanding of the math concepts behind it. There is an array of resources that you can choose from, including YouTube videos, study guides, and good old textbooks. I recommend that you get a copy of the Haese and Harris Mathematics HL exam preparation and practice guide book, as it has concise explanations of each topic. However, make sure to try out different resources until you find one that works best for you!
2. Don’t rely on the mark scheme
Practicing past paper questions take up a large part of your effort in Math HL. However, how you study with these practice questions can determine whether you get a score of 6 or 7. Whenever you work on a past paper and get stuck on a question, DO NOT immediately go to the mark scheme for the full answer. First, try your best to solve the problem on your own, re-read the question slowly if needed. If, after about 45 minutes, you are still unable to come up with an answer, then look at only the first step, and see if you can solve the question from there. Then, reveal the next step, and if necessary, think of the problem from another perspective. Continue this until you are finally able to come up with a solution. By doing so, you are not merely copying down the answers but practicing your critical thinking skills, which is ultimately what truly counts in Math HL exams.
3. Time yourself
Those of you who feel that you don’t work well under time pressure, practice timing yourself when you are answering practice questions at home. This way, you will get used to working on questions within limited time frames.
4. Write down your mistakes (IMPORTANT!!)
The most important tip that has worked best for me was to write the mistakes I made on a post-it for every question. These mistakes can vary from the forgotten formulae, careless errors, and specific methods to answer a particular question. Before each test, compile all your post-its and read through them. Doing this will remind you of common mistakes that you made, thus preventing you from doing the same in exams.
I hope that all these tips above can help you in achieving your dream score in mathematics HL! It takes a lot of hard work and effort, but in the end, you will gain a lot of critical thinking skills for your future endeavours. For more studying tips, be sure to check out our article on effective exam revision.