Monday, September 18, 2017 0

I have been writing these blogs for IB Mathematics students for a year and a half now: this is my 36th. They divide into three types:

a)    General interest and recreation. These blogs look at how mathematics impinges on everyday life and aim to give you a wider appreciation of its relevance. Examples are the probability behind backgammon; Olympic records; some thoughts about zero; a series of blogs about great mathematicians; mathematical puzzles.

b)    Help with specific areas of mathematics, such as quadratic factorisation; exponential functions; conditional probability.

c)    Hints and tips. To help with revision; using your calculator; some new year resolutions.

There’s plenty in these blogs of both a general and a specific nature to help you, whether you are doing HL, SL or Studies; and I am always keen to hear from you if there are particular topics that you would like me to cover. Last year at about this time I wrote a blog specifically for those of you just starting out on your diploma course. It’s a bit of a scary feeling, especially if you find mathematics hard, and the tips I suggested then are just as relevant now. I think that the most useful thing I can say, having taught the subject for 40 years, is to understand that, probably more than any other subject, the key to being a good mathematician is to realise the importance of detail. Many details are in fact keys to the next level of understanding: if you miss a particular detail, or you didn’t grasp it, that door remains locked, and you’ll find it harder to get into the rooms beyond! So every day you’ll be making life much easier for yourself if you review the mathematics you have covered in class; that you ensure you understand anything new; that if you get stuck answering questions, you make sure you don’t move on until you know why; and that when starting a new topic you go back and brush up on previous relevant material.

Apart from the examples I mentioned above, here are links to more of my blogs:

Help with topics:  Vectors; significant figures; logarithms; number systems.

Tips and advice:  Past paper practice; avoiding common errors.