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So I'm a 10th grader with a passion for Physics and am seriously considering majoring in it in college, thus taking it at the HL level is not in question. My main concern is in IB math choices. I want to take it at the HL level as I have a passion for it as well, and I've been told it's useful when taking Physics HL. However, I frequently make stupid mistakes on math tests that usually lead to getting at least one low B on a test per quarter. For example, one time I had to solve a system of equations, which is really easy... but in the middle of solving, I said that a=2 when the previous stated said 8a=4... yeah, those kinds of mistakes. I still received an A overall for Trigonometry by getting a 100% on the last test of the semester. I am quick to understand all of the concepts in class, and am on the Statistics and Probability team for my school's math club (ironic since many of my errors come from calculation). Despite this, I look like SL material on paper to my counselor, justifying her recommendation by using my B's on tests, saying that tests and exams are the best indicators of future success in IB, especially since we have those exams at the end of the program. Should I take HL, ignoring my counselor's recommendation, or listen to her?

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A lot of doing math problems is to leave time to check your answers. For system of equations, you just need to plug in numbers and check once. It's a lot more complicated trig and some other problems. One way to make checking your work is to write as much of the steps as you can, so that when you check you don't have to redo all the calculations: you can just "read" through the solution. For these problems you may also have to check whether the answer make sense (eg triangle inequality is satisfied, both roots of the quadratic are acceptable). You have to practice for speed and accuracy when doing homework, not just getting the right answer.

It will take a lot of work to get your speed up, but you should be able to do Analysis/Approaches at HL. If the course somehow becomes too demanding, see if you can take one of the AP Physics C tests or AB/BC Calculus, just to demonstrate a good understanding of calculus to universities.

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