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Welcome to the **fifth post** in our series on **IB grade boundaries**! Please read the first post for an introduction to IB grade boundaries. This post is on **Group 5 subjects**: **Mathematics at studies level, SL and HL.**

**Little Geniuses** have compiled data from **May 2014 to Nov 2016 **to analyse trends in grade boundaries for the three group 5 subjects available. However, it’s not recommended to choose a group 5 subject based on its cut-off: instead base this choice on your mathematical ability, plans for future study and passions.

This graph illustrates the **average cut-off for a band 7** in studies, **SL and HL mathematics**. Mathematics subjects tend to have similar cut-off marks to group 3 (humanities) and group 4 (sciences) subjects.

The **cut-off is highest for Mathematics SL **over the three-year period, at **82**. The **cut-off** is lowest for **HL Mathematics at 75,** due to its difficulty, and the volume of content that must be learnt and understood. Note that 70 was the average cut-off for physics HL, over the same period: a much lower cut-off for a similarly difficult subject. The **average cut-off for group 5** (mathematics) is similar, at **79.0,** compared to the average cut-off for group 1 (English) subjects, at 80.1. However, the cut-off for mathematics tends to be higher than the cut-off for humanities and sciences subjects.

While there are some differences in the band 7 cut-offs for each of the mathematics subjects, it’s best to **choose subjects **based on your **abilities and plans for future study.**

First, consider your own mathematical abilities: **HL Mathematics**, equivalent to **HSC 4+ unit Mathematics**, is challenging, and exposes students to a variety of topics and covers them in a lot of depth.** SL Mathematics** is still rigorous, and students are exposed to key topics: differentiation, integration and vectors but in less depth. SL maths is **equivalent to HSC 2 unit mathematics**.

Finally, **Mathematics Studies **does not provide students with a rigorous understanding of calculus, but instead focuses more attention on geometry, statistics and logic. Mathematics studies is **equivalent to HSC general mathematics**. Students choosing Mathematics Studies may struggle if their future studies involve mathematics of any nature, for example, actuarial studies often require HL mathematics as a prerequisite. In other degrees, such as mathematics, science or engineering, this level of mathematics is not required, however you might be at a disadvantage compared to other students, with a stronger mathematics background.

The graph above displays the **trends in the band 7 cut-off mark over time**. As in the previous posts, exam number 1 is May 2014 TZ1, exam 2 is May 2014 TZ2, exam 3 is Nov 2014 TZ1 etc. Note that there are three exams every calendar year - there is only one time zone in November. It appears that the **cut-off for Mathematics HL and SL is decreasing over time.** However, this may just be an anomaly. Other than this, there don’t appear to any long-term trends, however, it is interesting to note the fluctuation in mathematics studies and SL cut-offs, compared to mathematics HL which is relatively stable. Overall, we can observe **less variation** in the cut-off for a **band 7 in group 5 (mathematics) subjects compared to group 3 (humanities) and group 4 (sciences) subjects.** If you’re wondering which band you would have achieved in any mathematics past paper, be sure to check out the grade boundaries for that particular session!

Please contact **Little Geniuses **if you need help in achieving a **band 7** in your **mathematics subject.**