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The Best IB Math Study Guide and Notes for SL/HL

Posted by Dora Seigel | Mar 22, 2020 11:00:00 AM

International Baccalaureate (IB)


IB Math Standard Level (SL) and IB Math Higher Level (HL) are two of the toughest classes in the IB Diploma Programme curriculum, so it's no surprise if you need a little extra help in either class.

In this article, we've compiled the best free online materials for IB Math SL/HL so you can get all the IB Math notes you need in one place. For convenience, I ordered the resources following the IB Math SL/HL syllabus.




2021 IB Exam Changes Due to COVID-19

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, May 2021 IB assessments will have two routes, exam and non-exam, depending on which your school chooses. Stay up to date with the latest information on what this means for IB diplomas, course credit for IB classes, and more with our 2021 IB COVID-19 FAQ article.


How to Use This IB Math Guide

If you're in search of information on one topic, use the ctrl + f function on your computer to search this guide for that specific topic. For instance, if you want to read about Algebraic Sequences, use ctrl + f to bring up the search function. Type "Algebraic Sequences," and your computer will show you all the study materials for Algebraic Sequences listed in this article.

I split the following material up into three categories:

  • Broad Notes: Longer (generally 3-10 pages) that provide an overview of most or all of the subjects covered in a topic
  • Specific Subjects: Shorter summaries of specific subjects within a topic
  • Videos: Demonstration videos of how to solve past paper problems related to the subject


Common Study Errors That IB Math SL/HL Students Make

IB Mathematics SL/HL covers a lot of material. With so much material, you can't afford to fall behind because you won't be able to catch up. You'll need to master the subjects during the school year in order to excel on the IB Math SL/HL papers.

Common errors that IB Math students make include the following:

  • Ignoring the material you don't understand: If you didn't understand it from your teacher, then you need to look for outside help. This IB Math study guide is a great start, but you may need to supplement with outside tutoring, too.
  • Only studying right before the IB Math SL/HL papers: As I said before, there are too many topics for both courses to master in only a few weeks (that's why these courses are spread out over a couple of years!). This is why it's so important that you master the subjects when you're learning them in class. If you're still struggling, this guide can help—but don't be afraid to get tutoring from a teacher or other expert.



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IB Math Core Topics (140 Hours for SL, 182 Hours for HL)

For IB Math SL and HL, all students study the topics listed below. Here's a complete set of IB Math notes you can use in your review.


Complete IB Math Topics Overview: Standard Level

This 167-page set of notes includes every topic covered in IB Math SL. It's definitely not something you want to read in one night, but it's great to reference as you review different IB Math topics. It's highly organized, so you can search the table of contents to find the exact topic you want to study.


Topic 1: Algebra (9 Hours SL, 30 Hours HL)


Topic 2: Functions and Equations (24 Hours SL, 22 Hours HL)



Topic 3: Circular Functions and Trigonometry (16 Hours SL, 22 Hours HL)


Topic 4: Vectors (16 Hours SL, 24 Hours HL)


Topic 5: Statistics and Probability (35 Hours SL, 36 Hours HL)


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Topic 6: Calculus (40 Hours SL, 48 Hours HL)


4 Additional Topic Options for IB Math HL (48 Hours)

In addition to all the math topics listed above, IB Mathematics HL students study just one of the following four options listed below. While there are fewer written notes for these topics, you still have many videos and practice questions you can use for your review.


Topic 7: Statistics and Probability


Topic 8: Sets, Relations, and Groups


Topic 9: Calculus


Topic 10: Discrete Mathematics


Summary: The Best IB Math Study Materials

IB Math has six core topics that both SL and HL students study (for different amounts of time):

  • Topic 1: Algebra
  • Topic 2: Functions and Equations
  • Topic 3: Circular Functions and Trigonometry
  • Topic 4: Vectors
  • Topic 5: Statistics and Probability
  • Topic 6: Calculus

IB Math HL students also study one additional topic for 48 hours. It can be any of these four:

  • Topic 7: Statistics and Probability
  • Topic 8: Sets, Relations, and Groups
  • Topic 9: Calculus
  • Topic 10: Discrete Mathematics

There are many free IB Math notes and study resources available online, especially compared with other IB classes, which often have few high-quality online resources. This makes it easier to keep up with what you're learning in IB Math and be prepared for all the exams for the class.

There are multiple types of IB Math study resources, including general study guides, in-depth notes, and videos. Try out each of them to see which ones work best for your study style. Remember, you want to study early and consistently in order to be well prepared throughout the school year and for the final IB exam!


What's Next?

Learn more about IB Math by checking out every IB Math paper available.

Looking for more resources for IB Math review? Read our articles on trig identities, completing the square, finding the mean of a set of numbers, and calculating statistical significance.

Want to learn more about other IB classes? You're in luck! We've got lots of IB class guides and study materials for subjects such as Biology, Business and Management, Physics, and Geography.


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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.

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