Mathematics is challenging across the board. But nobody feels the pressure quite like students in the IB Maths programs. By design, the curriculum is strenuous. It requires diligent study and mastering skills to score well. The courses move quickly and cover a lot of material that builds on skills learned at lower levels so it’s easy to fall behind. It’s already an uphill battle, IB Maths students should be aware of these common pitfalls so they can avoid common study errors that put them even further behind.
Cramming Before Exams
Success in the IB Maths program requires a lot of studying. Too many students put off the tedious work of studying and then try to cram in the days leading up to an exam. However, studies in cognitive sciences have proven that this crash-course approach is largely unhelpful. In order to make meaningful learning progress, you need to space learning with frequent reviews. And this takes time. Cramming before exams will lead to short-term retention only that hurts you in the long run.
Skipping Hard Material
The human brain is hardwired to seek the path of least resistance. And that means that we have to try harder to focus on the areas that challenge us. Our minds would happily allow us to spend our study time breezing through practice problems on the concepts we’ve mastered while ignoring the material we don’t really understand. And this is a big mistake because it means that you’ll never master it.
And speaking of ignoring challenging topics, many students don’t have a realistic concept of what their challenges are. If you use past papers to study, that’s a good first step. But you should also be keeping a log of the problems that you get wrong so that you can understand where your weaknesses truly are. On IB Maths exams, you’ll still get partial points if you can answer part of the question even if you can’t do the whole thing. So, it’s important to try.
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Get Comfortable with the Calculator
While calculators aren’t allowed on Paper 1, they are used on Paper 2. And the most common mistake that students make with their calculator is forgetting brackets. When you enter a formula into the calculator with or without brackets, you get completely different answers. Don’t let this silly mistake take points off your exam grade. As you work through problems, highlight key information and avoid doing mental calculations which can also be a source of simple mistakes.
The Bottom Line
The IB Maths curriculum is challenging. Students spend a lot of time revising for exams in hopes of getting good grades. But often, students make small mistakes while studying that can be detrimental to their success. Everything from how frequently they study to how strategically they study ultimately factors into their final grades.
The best way to prep for your IB Maths exams is to use frequent revisions and spaced learning to your advantage. Be realistic with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and get a tutor to help you fill in the gaps. IB Maths is challenging, but not impossible when you have the right approach. Revision Village is your top resource for IB Maths. Find out more today.