It can be rather easy to get overwhelmed by the IB exams due to the vast amount of content that you have to learn and retain. Math is my weakest subject; I have always scored lower on math sections in tests, however, IB Math Applications and Interpretation (AI) Standard Level (SL) was rather easy for me when I learned a trick. Moreover, Math AI is specifically focused on applying mathematical concepts to problems. Before we get to the tips, let’s discuss what the exam will look like for the standard level. (these tips can be used for Math AA as well because they're pretty general.)

**The MOST Important tip: ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS write something for every question. No matter the exam, this tip is CRITICAL!**

**Paper 1 SL:**

Paper one is ninety minutes with short response questions that have marks ranging from five to nine. Throughout the paper, it will cover various topics that you have learned over the years. Students are allowed a calculator on paper one and paper two, so it is useful to practice with a calculator and to understand different functions. The most valuable tip and when I say the most valuable, this tip truly shook me and helped me so much. You don’t have to get the answer correct to receive marks. I know, shocking right? I was shocked too.

For example, a question with more than one mark can give marks for simply attempting the concept or showing your work. As we have all learned, showing your work has always been important in math, especially in this case. With this, it is very important to understand concepts. Therefore, if you use the correct method or concept, you will receive what is known as a method mark as seen below. Finding practice exams can be pretty hard, but I used **this website**, to find old exams for the practice problems in this article.

Let’s look at a problem from a past paper.

As you can tell, this problem involves an arithmetic series formula and has to total of six marks.

Looking at the mark scheme, you can tell that the examiner can give students method marks. In parts B and C, the student can receive three method marks in total for showing the equation completed and for correct substitution. Honestly, I think this is what carried me in my exam. It is really helpful to know as well that the math exam is different from other exams. It doesn’t start with 100% and we lose marks, but instead, we start at zero and gain marks. This helps shift your perspective to strive for more marks rather than losing. Well, we’re done with that, time to focus on paper two.

**Paper 2:**

This leads to my favorite tip about the math AI exam! But first, what is paper two really? Paper two is basically paper one, but is longer questions with more marks: 14 to 18 marks usually. I think paper two is easier to study for because you already got through paper one. Unlike paper one, paper two has a narrower range of topics. Wanna know why? Well, whatever concepts are shown on paper one will not show up on paper two. This is the first hurdle that you have to get over and makes paper two slightly easier! For instance, if arithmetic sequences are on paper one, the same concept will not show up on paper two. Therefore, when studying for paper two, it is important to focus on the remaining untouched topics. I used websites like Revision Dojo and Revision Village to find practice questions to see if those concepts were foreign to me. For past exams, teachers usually provided past papers, but if you’re looking for more

this is a good website, or just googling it will provide past papers.

Looking at this paper's two questions, it is clearly longer than a paper one question. Luckily, when studying for this paper, we know that we don’t have to study every topic. This shortens how much we have to study.

Also, utilizing your time as much as you can will allow to quickly solve problems, so that you don’t take too much time on one question. I had this trouble a lot on my exam. Because I felt so unconfident in my math skills, I would overthink and stay stuck on a singular question, especially on paper two. I wanted to get all the marks on one question but I would spend too much time and not have enough for the later questions. Of course, I made sure to write something down for all the questions no matter if it was right or not. It’s extremely important to spend your time wisely because it is easy to get stuck and not move on. As my teacher told me, “Be like Elsa and LET. IT. GO.” As funny as it was, it was so true.

In a nutshell, acing this exam can be easier when using these tips throughout your studying. Let’s take the Math AI exam with confidence! These tips hopefully give you the encouragement and comfort we all need when studying for the exam. Stay confident and most importantly, stay chill. Don’t overwhelm yourself too much, we’ve all been there. You’ve got all the tools you need to succeed, so show that exam who’s boss! Happy studying! (as much as you can)