Changes in the IB Mathematics curriculum occur every seven years as a way to keep things relevant and fresh for the current students. Recently, the IBO modified its math curriculum to distinguish between AA maths and AI maths, but what’s the difference? In short, it depends on if you prefer to learn using a classical approach or real-world context.

AA Maths: Analysis and Approaches

The world we live in today is increasingly dependent on technological innovation, a field that relies on analytical expertise. The AA maths curriculum is aimed at meeting the needs of this changing world by placing an emphasis on constructing and defending mathematical arguments. The AA maths curriculum relies heavily on algebraic expressions, pattern recognition, and the understanding of mathematical concepts applied to patterns.

AA Maths provides a classical approach that fits well for students pursuing careers in mathematics, engineering, physical sciences, and potentially economics. In any scenario where math is used as math to work traditional formulas for the sake of mathematics, a classical approach is the best fit.

AI Maths: Applications and Interpretations

The AI maths curriculum is also modernized to embrace the role that technology plays in our modern world. But instead of focusing on analytics, it focuses on the real-world application of mathematics and technology. Fundamentally speaking, AA provides a classical approach while AI is a more hands-on approach to learning the same content.

AI maths is a good fit for students pursuing careers in social sciences, natural sciences, medicine, statistics, business, psychology, and design. But in some scenarios can be a good fit for engineering and economics as well.

How to Choose the Right Course

So, which curriculum is right for you? The answer isn’t as clear-cut as you might imagine. Individual abilities and interests, as well as personal academic goals and career plans, all influence your choice. Here’s what to consider:

  1. Your abilities and preferences: Do you prefer classical mathematics or real-world application?
  2. Your academic goals: What other diploma program subjects are you participating in, and will your maths choice influence your progress in those subjects?
  3. Your career plans: Do you see yourself working as a scientist, programmer, or mathematician? Or, will you spend your time helping others through social work or medicine? Or maybe you will run a business. Knowing your future plans will help you take the right path today.

The Bottom Line on AA Maths

The IB maths programs have been split into two paths, and students can choose the path that is the best fit for their abilities and interests. While both programs learn essentially the same curriculum, the amount of time spent on any one type of content varies based on approach. The AA maths is typically a more classical approach to learning mathematics, while AI maths is modernized to apply mathematics to real-world concepts. The latter is a great way to build critical thinking and problem-solving skills for business leaders and similar roles, while the former always has a place in academia.

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