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Simplification of answers

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Does the IB require that answers to exam questions are written in simplified form (unless specifically asked for in the question)? If no marks are deducted, one would save a considerable amount of time by not simplifying.

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I wouldn't say a considerable amount of time can be saved. The official stance is as follows:

Quote

Unless the question specifies otherwise, accept equivalent forms.

• As this is an international examination, accept all alternative forms of notation.

• In the markscheme, equivalent numerical and algebraic forms will generally be written in brackets immediately following the answer.

• In the markscheme, simplified answers, (which candidates often do not write in examinations), will generally appear in brackets. Marks should be awarded for either the form preceding the bracket or the form in brackets (if it is seen).

Example: for differentiating f(x) = 2sin (5x-3), the markscheme gives: f'(x) = 2cos (5x-3) 5 = 10cos (5x-3)           A1

Award A1 for 2cos (5x-3) 5 , even if 10cos(5x-3) is not seen.

 

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So it is acceptable to leave the answer as an unsimplified mess, and then leave it to the examiner to figure it out?

The time saved on each question might not be much, but it does add up. I certainly wouldn't turn down the chance to have an extra minute or two to work on the problems.

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You have to give some type of example for me to answer further. The example I quoted is from the markscheme of every recent Math HL paper. The final form should provide a sufficient answer to the question. When a numerical value is asked, you cannot give an expression. 6(4)/10 is not an acceptable numerical answer because this is not a value, but an expression instead. 2.4, 24/10, and 12/5 are among answers accepted, because these are actual numbers (decimals and fractions). If you are asked for a discrete value but your answer is a decimal, then of course you need to simplify or obtain decimal expression, and round up or down as appropriate. If you are asked to show a sequence is geometric and you choose to find the general term, you must express answer in form of akn-1 even if this is not explicitly told (k2n-3 or the alike are not acceptable). This extends to other forms, whether explicit or implicit. 

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