Mathematics is one of the six subject groups that students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) are required to study and take. The IB Maths curriculum used to consist of 4 courses, namely SL, HL, Studies, and Further Math.

However, in August 2019, the options available for the IB Maths curriculum have changed. The 4 previous courses were already by two main “routes,” which the students can take at either a Standard Level (SL) or a Higher Level (HL). These new routes are Applications and Interpretations (AI) and Analysis and Approaches (AA).

The main difference between IB Maths AI and IB Maths AA lies in their focus. The AI syllabus focuses on the practical implementation of mathematical concepts and theories, whereas the AA syllabus is all about theoretical mathematics.

If you are planning to take the IB Maths AA course, this article is right for you. Below is a quick but useful guide on what you can expect from the AA syllabus.

Focus of IB Math AA

As mentioned earlier, IB Maths AA focuses on theoretical mathematics. It covers topics that are traditionally included in a pre-university mathematics course, such as trigonometry, functions, and calculus, and are susceptible to investigation, speculation, and proof. An example of this is the study of series and sequences at both SL and HL.

Essentially, the main objective of the IB Maths AA syllabus is to increase the number of students and professionals who are experts when it comes to mathematical analyses. This is in recognition of the need for more analytical experts in today’s world, where innovation is becoming increasingly dependent on a profound understanding of mathematics. In line with this, IB Maths AA puts a strong emphasis on the students’ ability to formulate, communicate, and justify the right mathematical arguments.

Difference Between SL and HL

The new routes offered by IB Maths both come in two levels: Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL). The difference between these two levels lies in the depth and breadth of the learnings you will gain for each of the topics in the AA syllabus.

Both IB Maths AA SL and HL are for those students who are interested in and adept at manipulating algebraic expressions, recognising patterns, and understanding the mathematical generalisation of such patterns. But if you are the type of student who enjoys solving challenging problems and who wishes to have the ability to understand simple proof and acquire strong algebraic skills, AA HL is the course level for you. AA HL has longer instructional hours than AA SL to ensure that the students develop a deeper comprehension of each topic.

AA HL is basically for those students who are brilliant in Math and are inclined to take up undergraduate courses that are heavily focused on Math, such as Engineering. On the other hand, AA SL is for those who are moderate in Math and tend to take up mathematical application-based courses like Economics.


IB Maths AA is heavily focused on the theories and concepts of mathematics instead of their practical applications. Hence, if you are interested in learning and analysing abstract math theories, the AA course is the one you should take. This new syllabus covers five core topics and comes in two levels to give you the option to choose whether or not you want to study your math lessons in greater depth and breadth.

Overall, by knowing these basic pieces of information about the IB Maths AA syllabus, you can make yourself better prepared for the learnings and assessments that await you in IB Maths. If you wish to improve your math knowledge and skills and score better on your IB exams, feel free to seek the assistance of an IB Maths tutor in Singapore.

Here at QE, we have excellent and dedicated IB tutors who can help you study all your desired subjects more easily and effectively. Aside from IB Maths, we offer outstanding IGCSE Maths tuition in Singapore for those who are still preparing for their IB journey. Contact us today to find out more about our reliable tuition classes.