Group 5

Mathematics – Applications and Interpretation

This course caters for students who are interested in developing their mathematics for describing our world and solving practical problems. They will also be interested in harnessing the power of technology alongside exploring mathematical models. Students who take Mathematics: applications and interpretation will be those who enjoy mathematics best when seen in a practical context.

This course recognizes the increasing role that mathematics and technology play in a diverse range of fields in a data-rich world. As such, it emphasizes the meaning of mathematics in context by focusing on topics that are often used as applications or in mathematical modelling. To give this understanding a firm base, this course also includes topics that are traditionally part of a pre-university mathematics course such as calculus and statistics.

The course makes extensive use of technology to allow students to explore and construct mathematical models. Mathematics: applications and interpretation will develop mathematical thinking, often in the context of a practical problem and using technology to justify conjectures.

Distinction between SL and HL

Students who choose Mathematics: applications and interpretation at SL or HL should enjoy seeing mathematics used in real-world contexts and to solve real-world problems. Students who wish to take Mathematics: applications and interpretation at higher level will have good algebraic skills and experience of solving real-world problems. They will be students who get pleasure and satisfaction when exploring challenging problems and who are comfortable to undertake this exploration using technology.


The aims of all DP mathematics courses are to enable students to:

  1. develop a curiosity and enjoyment of mathematics, and appreciate its elegance and power.
  2. develop an understanding of the concepts, principles and nature of mathematics.
  3. communicate mathematics clearly, concisely and confidently in a variety of contexts.
  4. develop logical and creative thinking, and patience and persistence in problem solving to instil confidence in using mathematics.
  5. employ and refine their powers of abstraction and generalization.
  6. take action to apply and transfer skills to alternative situations, to other areas of knowledge and to future developments in their local and global communities.
  7. appreciate how developments in technology and mathematics influence each other.
  8. appreciate the moral, social and ethical questions arising from the work of mathematicians and the applications of mathematics.
  9. appreciate the universality of mathematics and it’s multicultural, international and historical perspectives.
  10. appreciate the contribution of mathematics to other disciplines, and as a particular “area of knowledge” in the TOK course
  11. develop the ability to reflect critically upon their own work and the work of others
  12. independently and collaboratively extend their understanding of mathematics.

Course Structure

All topics are compulsory. Students must study all the sub-topics in each of the topics in the detailed syllabus guide.

Topic 1: Number and Algebra

Topic 2: Functions

Topic 3: Geometry and trigonometry

Topic 4: Statistics and probability

Topic 5: Calculus

Mathematical exploration: Internal assessment in mathematics is an individual exploration. This is a piece of written work that involves investigating an area of mathematics.

Assessment at Standard Level

Assessment component Weighting
External assessment
Paper 1 (1 hour 30 minutes) Graphic display calculator required 40%
Paper 2 (1 hour 30 minutes) Graphic display calculator required. 40%
Internal assessment
Mathematical exploration 20%

Assessment at Higher Level

Assessment component Weighting
External assessment
Paper 1 (2 hours) Graphic display calculator required 30%
Paper 2 (2 hours) Graphic display calculator required. 30%
Paper 3 (1 hour) Graphic display calculator required. 20%
Internal assessment
Mathematical exploration 20%