top of page

IB Maths 




The importance of Summary notes and past papers

Summary Notes

One Page Summary Notes are the perfect method to write math notes because they are quick, easy and simple! The constriction of one page is effective because it forces you to be concise as you would want with maths notes. 

When determining which information is relevant to the topic and/or should be included on the summary page, you should consider:

  • formulas + general forms

  • rules/laws 

  • key definitions

  • exact values

  • steps to solving common questions pertaining to the topic

AND THAT'S IT! - try not to add anymore information than this because chances are it will not be the KEY information and it will take up unnecessary space and time to write it out.

Creating your own summary page...

Title of Topic


Get creative... Use a brush pen! My favourite is the Black Pentel Touch Brush Pen

Make it easy to organise your notes by writing the topic number... I like to use the thin tipped side of a Tombow Brush Pen

Draw boxes around each point for ease of reading.

Pro Tip!

Only use one colour throughout so that it doesn't distract the eyes from the important information.

DECORATE your page

(e.g. draw two simple lines!)

Write an important formulae here.

Include an example question with working out here.

Past papers

Past papers are the most effective form of revision for maths as the more practice you get, the better you will be under exam conditions.

It should be stressed that writing notes alone for math will not prepare you for the exam. They are important in the sense that the key rules/laws are learnt, but practice is required to ensure you understand how to apply the information on your notes.


  1. Do the questions in the textbook first to familiarise yourself with types of questions that could be asked

  2. Complete the review sets in the textbook after you have learnt the topic in class

  3. Try topic-based questions by using an IB Questionbank

  4. Check your answers and document your mistakes (see below)

  5. If you find a particularly difficult question, document it in a separate book, being sure to write down the worked solution and why it may seem difficult 

  6. Tick off the paper on your past paper tracker once completed!

What to do if you don't know how to answer the question in the practice paper or textbook:

  1. Consult your summary notes or formula booklet 

  2. Check the textbook to see if there are similar worked examples

  3. Work backwards from the answer

  4. If the above methods don't work, check the markscheme (DO THIS LAST!)

  5. If you do not understand the markscheme, ask your teacher for help.

USE the markscheme to aid your revision

Once you have completed a past paper, documenting your mistakes is crucial for improvement.

What should I document?



Pro Tip!

When using the markscheme to help you answer a question for the first time, look at it STEP BY STEP.  For example, look only at the first line of working as a guide and try to work out the rest on your own. Continue this until you are able to arrive at the correct answer. 

This method is more effective as provides you with help but also ensures that you are arriving at the answer on your own, because remember... there will be no markscheme to help you in the exam!

Past Paper Year/Timezone/Paper

Question number and topic(s)


  • Why you got it wrong?

    • application error (e.g. used wrong formula, law etc.)​

    • silly mistake (e.g. typed into calculator wrong, incorrect addition/multiplication etc.)

    • knowledge error (e.g. didn't know which laws/method is applicable) 

    • reasoning error (e.g. did not fully show working or provide accurate reasoning for answer where necessary)

  • The number of marks you would have been rewarded


  • Use the markscheme to show how the answer can be worked out methodically

  • Outline the areas where you would have been rewarded marks

Note: If less than 50% of the marks are rewarded, it is a good idea to review the textbook questions again for more practice.

Insert full question here, including the total number of marks rewarded

N16 TZ0 Paper 1

Question 7 - functions, quadratics, differentiation

Why I got it wrong:

  • Knowledge error

    • Using the discriminant to determine ​correct values

  • 3 out of 7


Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.27.37 PM.png
Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.27.53 PM.png
Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.28.02 PM.png
Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.28.07 PM.png
Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.28.19 PM.png
Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.28.21 PM.png
Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.28.30 PM.png

Marks awarded up to here

In this example, one line = one mark

Correct approach in attempt

Knowledge error: use of discriminant to continue working out

Write a key definition here.

Screenshot 2018-12-18 at 6.13.37 PM.png
bottom of page