Feelings for HL Maths after a year

Although I am grateful that I had taken Additional maths externally so I can help myself prepare a little for HL maths, nothing could have prepared me for the past year. At the start, while learning the basic concepts the knowledge from Add maths did help, but then I realised how quick we were going. It is a very rushed course and the concepts aren’t the easiest to understand. For me it took some time to wrap my head around some concepts and sometimes I just had to go with a few things without fully understanding them. I think being a new student also played a big role in the way that I learned because I had to study while trying to fit in at the same time. I would be lying if I said that it wasn’t hard for me at times, to balance everything, which is one of the reasons why my confidence level as seen in the graph never went very high. At the start of the year I thought that I could handle this, I am good in maths and I am able to solve questions and I never felt that the mini quizzes insanely hard. After the first long test however, I realised that the course is much harder than I thought it would be. The test caught me off guard and the I realised why I’ve heard the haunting stories and whispers of HL Math being the worst decision ever. from there I realised that I had to work harder and I started working more and doing more practice and then I upped my confidence again.

I really learnt the value of practising and revising because I have seen the result of not practising for myself and experienced the downfall of not working hard enough. I find the unpredictable nature of the questions the hardest to cope with and I think that more practice is the only way of battling this. I know if I’ve done good or bad in a test based on my scoring, and I like to go over my tests to see where I did well and where I can improve. Having a growth mindset is crucial because I couldn’t have made through the year if I kept getting hung up with the past tests and how I messed up. Instead, I like to focus on what I can do now to do better.

My First Term in HL Maths

Today in class we had to reflect on our experience in HL maths for the first term. Compared to what I thought it would be, I think it is slightly harder, not in terms of the syllabus but rather in terms of the application of our knowledge. For instance, many questions test our ability to be able to connect different aspects of different topics, no matter how different they may be, in order to solve the question. I had hoped that the questions would be more straightforward but the questions we get are a bit hard to understand but once I understand how to solve it, it gets easier while solving. I enjoy learning the new topics and being able to draw connections between various topics. I also enjoy exploring different ways of solving the same question because I get insight on how I could solve other questions using new techniques. One thing that I found very useful is the applications of the second derivative of a function because it makes the graph so much more easier to graph. I also find that connecting some topics can be useful because they make the question much easier to answer. I think I learned best through practicing my skills in order to improve my mathematical abilities. Once I get some practice, I can start to understand how to formulate answers and figure out a sort of pattern for the type of questions that are asked. I find physics to be quite similar to maths because we have to solve questions in various situations using our mathematical skills and I think that a good knowledge of maths is also needed for physics.


About a week ago our teacher asked us to make a blog about how the philosophy of chemistry is related to another subject that we do and I was absolutely clueless about how chemistry can relate to another subject at a philosophical level. I only knew how I could relate this to the other sciences or maths, speaking form a content perspective.

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However, when I was able to think about it over the weekend, I realised that chemistry and math are more alike and linked that people give them credit to be. In the same way that all chemistry topics can be linked back to the most basic form of the atom, any math concept can be linked back to the most fundamental applications of math, namely addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Anything we learn in chemistry can be linked back to the atom and how the sub-atomic particles interact within the atom and with other atoms to form literally everything. Similarly, any mathematical concept such as quadratics, polynomials, even logarithms and many concepts can be linked back to the four basic mathematical functions. In the same way that we use different functions to find answers to mathematical questions, using our knowledge of the atom and the reactions between elements, we can find solutions to so many problems that occur within many external fields of science. For instance, a new molecule can be discovered or created that can help physicists in their research and chemistry can also help develop medicines that can one day hopefully cure cancer. Both chemistry and maths have a great influence on many different fields. Chemistry can easily be linked to any other sciences and maths can be linked to other fields such as economics, business, physics, chemistry and computer science, to name a few. Maths and chemistry have more in common than just the application of maths in chemistry and I think that I might even learn more about their similarities over the course of IB.

In the future, when I learn much more about chemistry during the next 2 years, I might find another connection between chemistry and another subject. I believe I thought of maths first is because I like both maths and chemistry and I am passionate about both the subjects. Other people might have different views because they might pursue different passions. One question I have at the end of this activity is how has chemistry helped other fields of science develop in the past and how is chemistry currently helping the world? I think I’ll find the answers to these questions later, once we begin to study chemistry in detail.

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