Feel free to use the search bar on the top right to search through our forum. I believe I have written on this multiple times but sure i'll write something new.
I think some common characteristics among students who do well in Maths HL is that they have a strong foundation in mathematics and they practice a lot of IB questions and other challenging questions. You still have some time before the exam, and the first step is to identify what you need to work on, as a priority. Ask yourself:
1. Am I fast with simple calculations/mental math? Do I rely on a calculator for simple calculations? Do I have confidence in my mental math skills?
2. Do I understand why the formula works / when it is applied? When I have conceptual questions/misunderstandings, do I resolve them?
3. Are the past papers similar to what I learn in class? Did my class cover the syllabus thoroughly enough for IB?
4. Am I able to do simpler questions on these HL topics? I am unable to do difficult questions because of the way it's asked? because I can't make the connection? Because I don't have enough time?
These questions surround two keys to success: 1) strong math skills 2) familiarity with IB questions. Luckily practice can improve both. For many other subjects, you can attribute success to "he did 10 past papers timed" or "she was very good in the subject to begin with". But in Maths HL, students are successful when they both work hard and start off very well. While practice is the answer, you need to practice differently depending on how you answered the four previous questions. If you are making simple mistakes, then you should do drills of simple problems (simple as solving algebraic equations/systems, simplifying expressions, rearranging, arithmetic) where you try to do dozens of them in a minute or a few minutes, on a daily basis. If you are understanding class fine, but not doing well on papers, then see first if your class actually covered the entire syllabus in detail and do extra reading or youtube videos and see if you understand better. For this case you want to practice questions at different levels between your class and IB. Many of them can be found in a standard textbook. When you encounter a new problem type, see if you can solve a slightly different question, such as with different numbers, or asking for different quantities. In some cases, you need to know why a formula is used. For example vectors and probability are highly conceptual. You need to recognize that the problem want you to use a tree diagram or a venn diagram, because questions won't tell you that. Be aware that yes you were working with normal distribution for a but for part b you need to define a binomial distribution. Practice is the fool-proof way to improve, and is your number 1 strategy. You need to know what you are practicing and your goals for doing so.
I do want to end with a few somewhat obvious tips, in case you are unfamiliar with the HL Exam.
- Know your calculator very well, but don't rely on it. Know how to use tables, plot built-in functions with unknowns eg (y=binomcdf(6, x, 0.2)), solver
- Understand how examiners give marks. Understand the command terms IB uses.
- Understand that Part B is typically considered harder than Part A, but they also give more hints in Part B. Be able to recognize hints
-Understand what forms IB is looking for and avoid doing extra work. For example if they want equation of a Cartesian line without specifying what form, you can leave in any form (usually simplest is point slope form). Don't simplify expressions if you don't need to.
- Understand that the number of marks indicate the number of things they are looking for, not the difficulty. a 10 point problem can be very easy but a 3 point problem can be very hard.