How to get the best IB Maths score possible – did you know your graphic calculator can help?

picture of a calculator

Careless mistakes and calculation errors can lead to dropped marks and lower Maths IB scores. So we have talked with Meera, one of our most experienced IB Maths teachers and examiners to get her advice.

Today, she gives us her tips on how to make the most of your graphic calculator in your IB exams. This list can act as a checklist so that you can make sure you have all angles covered.

Make sure that your graphic calculator is in the correct mode for Trigonometry. So, if a Calculus question involves Trigonometry, the mode will always be radians. The formulae for arc length, area of sector in the booklet all require radians.

Also, ensure that you are very familiar with adjusting the window manually as well as using the zoom settings. Sometimes a portion of the graph is only visible if you have the right window settings.

Ensure that you know how to get the correlation coefficient, (r)

Know how to use the apps to solve simultaneous equations and to find the roots of a polynomial. Make sure that you can use the equation solver as this is often more efficient than using a graph.

The table function is helpful for sequences and series as you are often looking for a term number and the step can be set to one. A more precise solution requires a graph or equation solver.

students sitting exam

Know how your graphic calculator displays asymptotes and other features of a graph.

A question on paper 2 may ask you for an exact answer so you cannot use an approximate answer obtained from the GDC. You can use it to check your calculation, however.

If you use your GDC, you must show evidence of your calculation. Otherwise, the examiner may believe that you guessed the answer.

Providing a sketch graph, the portion of the table, and the lines of working right up to when you use the calculator to solve are all useful. DO NOT give calculator commands/keystrokes.

Avoid performing too much algebra, instead, if you can use your GDC. As it will save you valuable time.

Often you may need to start off a problem with algebra or other working but activate your GDC as soon as possible.

student having online tuition

As soon as you have an equation with one variable, you can use the solve, graph or table functions.

Take care that you have deleted unpermitted programs. As this avoids time wastage if a supervisor has to do this.

Finally, make 100 % sure you fully charge your calculator AND have extra batteries!  You don’t want to be the student who loses marks because their calculator runs out in the exam! Believe me, it happens!

Do a quick double-check early on that your calculator is allowed by the IB. If it has been recommended by your school you will be fine, but if not you can check your model here.

We hope these tips will help you in your IB Maths mocks and your final exams. If you would like to book tuition with Meera please contact us.

Meera holds a BA in Science Education from the University of Melbourne and is currently the Head of Maths and the IB Coordinator at the International School of Hanover. Prior to this, she taught at colleges and grammar schools in Australia. She has over 30 years of experience teaching in various educational settings and specializes in IB Maths MYP and Diploma AA (HL and SL).

We hope you enjoyed our blog on IB Maths AA exam strategies. If you are interested in more articles about IB Maths click here.

A final thought. GDC have some helpful tips on how to use their calculators effectively in Maths exams. Take a look.

To read more articles about Maths tuition click here.

Finally, If you want to know more about how the IBO created the latest IB Maths courses, click here for their perspective on the latest changes.

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