IB Math is one of the most challenging and demanding subjects offered in the IB Programme. The coming of disciplines like artificial intelligence, data science, and machine learning have paved the way for mathematics to become even more prominent now than ever. Hence, if you want to have a successful career in the future, you should consider improving your math skills and know-how now with the help of an IB Maths tutor.

However, each career path requires math differently. Because of this, IB has recently decided to get rid of the modules it previously offered, namely IB Math SL, IB Math HL, and IB Math Studies, and replaced them with IB Math Applications and Interpretations (AI) and IB Math Analysis and Approaches (AA).

The introduction of the new IB Math levels was an effort on the part of the IB to increase math’s practical relevance and make it more “student-friendly.” To know more about these new modules and how they can impact your career, here are some of the most important things you should know about IB Math AI and IB Math AA.

IB Math Applications and Interpretations (AI)

IB Math AI is all about the practical implementation of the different concepts in mathematics. It heavily focuses on how these concepts can be applied to solve practical problems in finance, sciences, and other components of human life. Hence, this module is perfect for those students who enjoy applying mathematics to practical contexts.

As its foundation, IB Math AI usually covers practical topics like distribution, matrices, and statistics. It is more technology-centric than IB Math AA, so you are expected to become an expert in the use of a graphic display calculator (GDC) and other technological tools when you choose this module. Graphing, instant equation solvers, and finance applications will all be heavily incorporated into learning under IB Math AI.

IB Math Analysis and Approaches (AA)

In contrast to IB Math AI, IB Math AA is all about theoretical mathematics. It focuses more on analysing abstract math concepts and theories instead of their interpretations and applications to real life. This means that this module is more concentrated on topics like calculus and integration so as to train students in the realm of pure mathematics.

If you are interested in abstract mathematics and you wish to push the boundary of your understanding of math concepts, IB Math AA is ideal for you. When you choose this module, you are expected to acquire strong skills in mathematical thinking and gain fluency in the construction of mathematical arguments.

Which IB Math level should you choose?

Both IB Math AI and AA cover the same five syllabus areas, namely Number and Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry, Functions, Calculus, and Probability and Statistics. However, the amount of time spent on each of these areas differs according to the module.

For example, if you decide to take IB Math AI at the HL level, you will spend 25% of your overall time on statistics and 20% on calculus. On the other hand, if you choose IB Math AA HL, you will spend less than 16% of your time on statistics and more than 25% on calculus. Basically, it is the way the total teaching time is divided that defines the difference between the two modules.

If you have a particular strength or weakness in one of the topics covered by IB Math AI and AA, you can use it to determine which module is right for you. Remember that your choice will affect your eligibility for the courses you might want to pursue from big universities worldwide. Therefore, it is very crucial to make a well-informed choice.

Generally, if you are planning to go for a math-intensive degree, such as engineering, physics, computer science, or pure math, IB Math AA is your best option. Many reputable universities abroad like Cambridge have already indicated a requirement for Math AA when it comes to their math-heavy courses.

On the other hand, if you prefer to take courses that do not usually have specific math requirements, such as arts, language, law, or social sciences, then your most comfortable option is Math AI. This module will push you towards career paths like finance and business, where the practical implementation of math is given much more emphasis than theories.


As the world gradually enters the digital age, mathematics is inevitably becoming more significant than ever. In recognition of such increasing significance, IB introduced IB Math AI and IB Math AA to improve the curriculum’s practical relevance in the digital age and to provide students with more flexibility in their math career choice.

Ultimately, by knowing the difference between the new IB Math modules, you can more easily determine which career path is right for you. If you wish to enhance your math skills and knowledge, do not hesitate to get the assistance of an IB Maths tutor in Singapore.

Here at QE, we have brilliant IB tutors who can help you master all your desired subjects in no time. With our extensively designed and highly-rated E3 teaching model, we can help you easily score 7s in your IB exams, no matter what subject it is. Contact us today to learn more about our trusted tuition classes.