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How difficult is Math HL

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Hi, I'm going to be junior next school year and take IB classes.

I'm considering about taking Math HL.

I currently go to public high school in the States and I went to public high school in Korea now.

I've studied math in America and Korea.

Since I came to America, I found out that math is super easy here , compared to Korea.

We learn pretty much same stuffs but the quality of problems is totally different. Math in Korea is EXTREMELY difficult.

I was top 4% of my school in Korea and I always get A in math class here ( However, I feel like story problems are sometimes quite hard for me since I don't speak perfect English ).

I took Algebra2 and am taking Functions and Statistics. 

 So, I guess I'm pretty good at math.

But, I heard that IB Math HL is so hard and the test is not just about solving problems but about analyzing problems and showing deep understanding of math.

I'm quite afraid to take Math HL. 

I want to know how hard it is and if I should take it.

 

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Once you get used to the language used in questions, you should be ok. Top 4% is like first in a class of 25. I have yet to see any high school math program more rigorous than IB, other than those for math prodigies. Although IB asks about many clever relationships in math, IB will also place hints and break down a long question into shorter parts. Math HL is manageable for the average high school student around the world who has excellent preparation in mathematics. Personally I was I think top 2-3 in math in my grade of 60 HL students of mostly 1st/2nd generation Asians, and I spent about 10 hours per week studying math.

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Hey there,

If you really were doing that well in maths in Korea, then I'd say go for IB HL maths. Assuming that you haven't deteriorated much while studying in America, given that you're not finding it very challenging, I think you'll find Maths HL just fine. I studied maths in a half public half international school in China, and found most of the core syllabus of Maths HL quite easy. It can be difficult sometimes, but as long as you're not careless and you figure out how to hit the marks (I sometimes lose marks simply because I don't write down all the steps), a 7 is definitely possible.

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I'd just like to add that Math HL, much like most other high school math programs, is not particularly difficult in terms of rigour or intuition.  Neither the rigour usually found in university maths nor the intuitive genius required to participate in Olympiad-level maths are necessary.  However, you do need to get used to solving questions both quickly and accurately, which for me is the main issue I have.  Even though you do have more time per mark now, it's still about 1.2 marks a minute, which is still quite a lot less than most other subjects (e.g. physics and chemistry, which are about 1.5 marks a minute).  

Edited by SC2Player

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To be honest, you sound to me like the perfect candidate for Maths HL. If you've been doing this well in maths so far, there is no reason for you to not do well in Maths HL, especially if you put effort into it. I don't think you have anything to be afraid of. Maths HL is hard , but it definitely isn't impossible to someone with a good grasp of it. 

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2 hours ago, NancyMulligan said:

Thank you for all your answers! It really helped me a lot. I was afraid of it because I hate math and I heard I have to do a huge amount of work lol. 

Wait, if you hate maths then I suggest you think again whether you really want to do HL maths. It will be all 'fun and games' when the first few units roll in and you'll ask yourself what all the hype is about. But when further trigonometry (which still isn't bad for HL maths) and Infinitesimal calculus hit you then all that ease will go away,  and you will have to truly put effort in. This is where many students who were good at maths pre-IB drop out because they're not truly interested in mathematics and are not willing to put a very huge amount of effort in. 

Of course the difficulty is subjective, but there are a handful of people who will find maths HL 'easy peasy' (I'm looking at you, @SC2Player :P). If you are not willing to put a huge amount of effort, I really suggest thinking about it twice. 

I was pretty good at maths pre-IB, and got 96% in IGCSE with minimal effort. I also did an additional course, Additional Maths, which I've done in 7 months instead of the recommended 2 years and partially self-taught it myself where I came out with a 79%, yet I find maths HL difficult recently. Right now I'm working about 1 hour most days except before tests where it goes up to 15 hours a week sometimes, and I am getting mid-7s (85%ish raw marks). 

I do not want you to drop the idea of HL maths because I believe it's an excellent course, but keep in mind that at some point it might not come naturally anymore like it did, and think whether you'd be willing to put that effort in if you hate maths.

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