Exam Tips for IB Mathematics

IB exams are the culmination of months of studying for International Baccalaureate students. Doing well sets a precedent for the rest of your academic and potentially professional career.

Therefore, the stakes are high. While some level of test-taking anxiety is normal, most of the performance-inhibiting stress can be eliminated with confidence.

To help you build your test-taking confidence, we have rounded up some of the best exam tips for IB mathematics. Along with keeping up with changes to the current curriculum, employing these strategies will help you score well on your IB exams.

Begin by Understanding

Before you begin answering a question, read it carefully and identify the command words so that you have a clear idea of what type of answer you will provide.

There are at least a dozen different types of questions on IB exams. Some want you to provide an answer only, while others want you to include reasoning for your answer.

You might make a list of pros and cons or formulate an argument for or against something. Whatever the case is, you don’t want to lose points because you didn’t fully understand the question.

Answering Questions

Work attentively and methodically through the exam. Keep your pace in mind, as you should not be spending more than one minute per question. Double-check your calculations and show your work.

The equations can be tough. Luckily you are permitted access to an official formula book during the exam to lean on. Double-check to make sure you have answered each question exactly how it is asked.

Understanding Diagrams

There will be several diagrams associated with questions on your IB exams. It is extremely important that you do not make the mistake of assuming facts from the diagrams.

For example, not every diagram is drawn to scale. What appears to be two parallel lines may not actually be, and what appears to be a right angle may not actually be.

If you need to understand a problem, draw your own diagram. It may not count for points, but if it gets you to the correct answer, it is worth the time investment.

What to Do After Answering a Question

Here are a few checks that you can do as you answer each question to ensure that your answers are correct to the best of your ability.

After all, it’s silly to miss points because you failed to comprehend the instructions on a question or because you made an assumption.

  • Re-read the question and make sure you have answered all parts.
  • Check your command words against your answer and verify that you have provided the correct type of answer.
  • Check the accuracy of your answer by checking your work or using an alternate calculation method.
  • Proof for clarity.

Final Thoughts

It can sound tedious to go through your entire exam and answer all of the questions and then go back and check all of your answers.

We recommend keeping an eye on your time and performing a cursory review on a question-by-question basis while using any remaining time at the end to go back through your answers in more detail.