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Maths HL vs Maths SL

I often hear that the gap between SL and HL is very big for maths especially, more than any other subject. 

 

Currently, I'm doing HL and getting high 6s but it's going to get a lot harder next year. My problem is that i'm not naturally intelligent when it comes to maths; I don't have this maths 'intuition' that some people seem to have e.g. sometimes i can't comprehend questions when it comes to an actual test.

 

Does HL get a lot harder in the second year than in the first? And is it arguably the hardest HL that takes more time than other subjects? Apparently only 2 people got 7 in maths hl last year, is that normal?

 

Thanks

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Intuition only does so much. You still have to be able to solve the problem, which comes a lot from being exposed to lots of different types of problems and actually working them. HL math is a tough subject, but spending a lot of time solving math problems (either textbook or past exam problems) goes a long way in doing well in math.

 

Whether HL is harder than the first year is dependent on how your school structures the course. At my school HL was harder the second year. At other schools it's hard from the beginning and stays relatively the same level of difficulty (however, you might find some parts easier or the course easier overall as you get more comfortable with it). It will take a lot of time, but how much time depends on how well you understand what you're studying. Though I didn't take HL, I know people that spent more time in HL English to get a 5 than taking HL math and getting a 6 or 7. This is entirely dependent on you.

 

What's normal also depends on the school. Some schools around the world have their entire class get 7's. In my year, no one got a 7 in HL math at my school, though we had a few 6's.

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Whether or not this "intuition" in doing math questions exists is probably a ToK questions so lets leave that for another day. And I cannot comment on difficulty between Year 1 and Year 2 because my school very likely splits up the curriculum differently. For us we do most of Topics 1 through 5 in Year 1, and Topic 6, some distributions as well as the paper 3 Option in Year 2. At my school all Year 1 tests are hybrids of IB and non-IB questions with time allocations of around 1 min 45 to 2 min per mark. In year 2, for math, we started with 1 min 30 sec and worked up to IB's 1 min per mark half way through the year. This gradual build-up of test difficulty allows the 45% to 60% 6s or 7s in HL math at my school.

My English teacher commented that IB rewards those who work hard and work smart, rather specifically those who are amazing "innately". Personally I think it's important to split up doing repetitive questions to learn and practice applying concepts, with doing IB questions for the sake of doing well on the exam (and to develop that "intuition"). Also another way to work smart is to access past IB questions, papers, markschemes (very important) and if possible, Examiner's comments. 

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