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IB Math SL exam

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I take my IB math SL exam in less than two weeks, are there any tips or recommendations from previous takers? For those that have taken this exam previously, how much of the exam (paper 1 and paper 2) do you have to get correct in order to get a 4 for the course? Taking into consideration that my IA is aiming me for a 6. Not exact figures, but rough estimations on how much I would have to get correct.

What are you thoughts on the exam? easy? hard?

Any links or advice would be appreciated!

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Only thing to do is to practice, and not waste time during the exam I guess. I practice with a stopwatch myself :D

Use the reading time to identify the easier tasks and do them first

There are a couple things you should that are NOT in the information booklet, like the general equation of a line, minima & maxima points of a graph, points of inflection

Despite doing many past papers, I still have severe difficulties getting a bare 5... my own fault really, for not doing homework during the past 2 years

I think sometimes the difficulty can be up to luck too, the May 2009 papers were incredibly difficult compared to more recent ones or something like that.

Edited by Jyrgen

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I took the exam last year and I scored a 6, so I'll try to give you some tips as to what I did.

To prepare for the exam I did basically every past paper that my teacher had. I only focused on those that followed the syllabus that we were using, as it made little sense to spend time on questions that I would not be tested on. This meant that I did nearly every exam released from 2007 through 2010. I did both the May and the November exams so I would have more to practice. And when I did a past paper, I would sit down with a timer or watch a clock and time myself to see how much I could answer within the 1.5 hour time period. When you do multiple papers, you begin to see patterns and common types of questions that often get asked, and I could lessen the time I had to spend on each type of question because I knew how to approach it. This really helped, because when I sat for the actual exam I finished about 15 minutes early :P

The night before the exam and the day of the exam don't start freaking out. It won't help you at all. Just go get a good night's sleep so you can focus on the exam, eat a good breakfast if you like to eat breakfast (nothing's worse than feeling hungry during the exam :P ) and try to keep yourself relaxed until the exam. Also make sure you bring spare pens in case one runs out and change your batteries the night before, even if your calculator doesn't say that the batteries are low. Nothing is worse than going into Paper 2 (the calculator-based one) and having your calculator die in the middle of it and your school not having any backup calculators.

On the actual exam, make use of the five minutes of reading time they give you. Use this time to look at each question and make a mental note on how hard it is. You don't have to do the questions in order, you just need to make sure you answer all of them and you clearly label each question. I started with all of the ones I found easy (calculus, matrices). That way I could lessen my nerves and get confidence to answer questions that I found harder (vectors, trigonometry).

If a question has multiple parts and you need the answer from part b to answer the question in part c but you don't know how to find the answer to part b, just make up a number. IB has this nice little policy where even if you use the wrong number from a previous part in your calculations, if you perform all the steps correctly you will still get nearly all, if not all, marks. Do this!

I got a 6 overall. My IA was not spectacular, it was probably a mid 5, so I made up for it by studying really hard for the exam. I did not find the exam to be very difficult overall, but that may be because I was well-prepared. There were some tricky questions, there always will be, but the overall difficulty is not there if you prepare. And like Jyrgen said, luck plays into it as well sometimes. I found the May 2011 exam wasn't that bad, but this year's might be harder.

Good luck on your exams :)

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Emi: Thanks for the tip on the follow-through marks, I would not have thought about this.

Past papers are the only real way to revise for Math I find. We finished the syllabus around 2 months ago and I have done roughly 15-20 past papers, some more than once (from 2007-2011). DO THEM!!! It is so helpful. The style of questions is very similar, the approaches that need to be taken as well. I feel a hundred times more confident knowing what the exam paper looks like and how the questions are phrased. I really hope things go well in two weeks. I need a 5!

Good luck everyone and try to stay as calm as possible. Soon it is all over.

Oh and to get a 4 you usually need around 50% of marks (IA1, IA2, P1, P2). A 5 is at around 60%

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I take my IB math SL exam in less than two weeks, are there any tips or recommendations from previous takers? For those that have taken this exam previously, how much of the exam (paper 1 and paper 2) do you have to get correct in order to get a 4 for the course? Taking into consideration that my IA is aiming me for a 6. Not exact figures, but rough estimations on how much I would have to get correct.

What are you thoughts on the exam? easy? hard?

Any links or advice would be appreciated!

Since the paper is tommorrow I hope you have already revised well :P If you have a Math study guide of some sort it can be really helpful to just skim over the basic concepts again, because if you are like me and you find that the only way to effectively practice/study math is to do past papers you will also realize that depending on what years you have done you may have not really come across a very ranadom concept or type of question but one that could definitely come on your paper. So it can be helpful to revise the bare concepts in case you happen to end up with a question you haven't really seen before. :)

Also as Emy mentioned, when you have those Section B long answer questions and you find yourself stuck on one part a lot of times you can actually skip it you don't necessarily even have to make up a number. I have found IB is quite thoughtful in many cases when they make their questions, they usually say Show: x is equal to y, so that even if you can't show it you know what the value of x is for the next part. So move on because I've gotten stuck many times on a part a or b and gotten discouraged only realizing later that the next part was actually easier and very do-able with the information they have provided. So keep a calm head.

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Please do not talk about the exam unless 24 hours have passed.

- Danai

Edited by The Economist

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