Are you a student (or parent of a student) currently taking the IB Math AA, either SL or HL? Are you looking for the best studying resources to help you ace the IB? You’ve come to the right place!
As you well know, papers are the IB’s word for the final exams which determine 80% of your grade. While the IB writes new questions and creates brand new papers each year, past papers are the best resource for preparing for the unique new IB Math AA papers you’ll face. This is because, generally speaking, while the questions change year to year, the topics covered and the difficulty level of the exam papers stay the same.
The IB introduced a new Math curriculum which went into effect in 2021. This means that, as of this writing, there are only 2 years worth of exam papers. We’ve put together a free download featuring all the IB Math AA papers for both SL (Standard Level) and HL (Higher Level) from the past few years.
How can you use these past IB Math AA papers to your advantage?
The tips given below are extremely helpful for students who are looking to improve their scores!
- Go through the problems at your pace
- Take these past papers as timed, full-length practice tests
- Study the answer rubric
Let’s take a look at each of these tips one-by-one:
- Go through the problems at your pace – Perhaps the easiest way to use these past papers is by treating them as a bank of practice problems. Try each problem, one-by-one. First, simply read the question and assess whether you feel equipped to answer it. Circle the questions that are stumping you; we’ll come back to those later. For all the questions you can answer, time yourself as you try to solve them, moving at a relaxed but focused pace. Make sure to show your work clearly and mark which question it’s for. When you arrive at an answer, circle it clearly and jot down how long it took you.
- Take these past papers as timed, full-length practice tests – Probably the best way to make the most of these past papers is to treat them like the actual test. That means putting aside your phone and other distractions and giving yourself only the allotted time to finish the whole test. If you’re an athlete, you’re probably familiar with the phrase, “Practice how you play.” If you’re a striker, what’s the better way to prepare for a real game against a tough team? Uncontested shots on an open goal, or trying to score on a goalie while defenders put pressure on you? Obviously the second. The same goes for practicing for taking an IB Math exam: if you practice under similar circumstances as the actual exam, you’ll be far better prepared for the added pressure of exam-day nerves and managing your time.
- Study the answer rubric – No matter how you choose to go about solving the problems, you’ll eventually need to check your work. In fact, previous rubrics for past exams deserve as much attention and studying as the exam itself! Grading rubrics provide valuable insight into the kind of work and answers that IB qualifies as a “good” answer. After all, grading for the IB Math AA takes into account not only the correct answer, but also the correct way of finding it. That means you can have the right answer, but only score partial marks — or none at all! — if you fail to show your work. So, make sure you take the time to compare your answers side-by-side with the grading rubrics. You may find it helpful to grab a red pen and mark up your practice answer sheet with notes and comments. That way, you’ll leave yourself helpful reminders about what you need to improve on. In fact, right after you’ve seen the grading rubric, you might try putting away the rubric and solving the problem again from scratch and checking if, this time, your answer would earn top marks!
Given the similarities between the SL and HL versions of the new IB Math AA curriculum and the old IB Math SL and HL, respectively, you might consider using IB Math papers from 2014-2020 for additional practice. That said, the 2021 and 2022 papers which can be downloaded from this page offer the most accurate representation of what your exam will be like. We hope these IB Math AA past papers help you in your learning journey!