Math AA Vs AI – What Should You Select?

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Math AA Vs AI – What Should You Select?

In our discussions with parents, one thing that comes up most frequently is the importance of Maths. As an institution, we advocate viewing Math as a life skill instead of just a scoring or non-scoring subject. Moreover, studying Math can open up course options when studying abroad.

For IB students, the decision is not only limited to taking or not taking the subject. They also need to decide between Mathematics Analysis & Approaches ( Math AA) and Mathematics Applications & Interpretations ( Math AI). Apart from this, they have to decide between HL and SL. In effect, they have to choose from 4 of the below combinations.

  • Math AA HL
  • Math AI HL
  • Math AA SL
  • Math AI SL

These bifurcations within the subject are the effort of the Ib board to help students prepare for careers in the new-age fields of data science, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning, etc.

We have explained the differences here for the benefit of our students and their parents, who understandably struggle to make an appropriate decision.

What Is Math AA?

Mathematics Analysis and Approaches emphasises on developing mathematical thinking and problem-solving and is all about analysing abstract mathematical theories. Math AA covers topics like calculus and integration, Binomial Theorem, Partial Fractions, De Moivre’s Theorem, the L’hospital rule, etc. It is mainly beneficial for students who want to pursue engineering, pure mathematics or physical sciences.

What Is Math AI?

Mathematics Applications & Interpretations focuses on statistics and distribution. This math course is all about implementing mathematical concepts to real-life problems and finding answers. Math AI covers topics like log, exponential laws, random variables and distributions. 

It is ideal for students interested in social or natural sciences, statistics, business, engineering or design.

Math AA And AI Curriculum

Let us understand the two subjects by the number of hours you will have to study the different topics. 


For both of these subject options, the assessments include 80% exams and 20% internal assessments. 

Math AA HL:


Math AA SL:


Math AI HL:

AI HL yes

Math AI SL:

AI SL yes

Also Read: My Daughter Does Not Want To Study Maths. What Should I Do? 

What Do Universities Say?

It is advisable to research the universities about their specific Math requirements. For instance, the University of Toronto does not accept Math AI SL to study Computer Engineering Math. However, the National University of Singapore very clearly states that it will only admit students with Math AA HL for engineering courses.

What Should You Study?

Your choice of subject should depend upon your Math proficiency and interest in a particular course.

  • If you are really good at Math, you can take Math AA HL or Math AI HL. The courses will challenge you, and all universities will take note of it while reviewing your application. However, you may want to keep in mind that it will occupy a significant amount of your time, and IB is a demanding curriculum.  
  • If you are not really good at Math, it is advisable to take Math AA Sl or Math AI SL. You will find several universities that will accept your grades in these to give you the desired course.
  • If you are good at Math but do not want to take any HL option, you may go ahead with AA SL. 

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