The IB Mathematics exam is a two part exam, split into two distinct papers, paper 1 without a calculator and paper 2 with a calculator. Yesterday, I tasted the International Baccalaureate waters and took paper 1.

Today’s exam, paper 2, was with a calculator and was enormously easier than yesterday. The idea is that examinees can actually perform rigorous calculations and check their work with topics that are conventionally too complex to do by hand. My experience holds true to this.

Paper 2 was again only 10 questions, very much unlike the 26 question specimen papers we received last week for review. Since I don’t know how much I can safely reveal about the exam questions, I’ll be vague. There were a couple graph oriented questions that either had me interpret the graph or actually draw it. Odd;y, there was no problem in which I required a piece of IB Graph Paper. The hardest question was about trigonometry again. The question was triangle based but present me with some scary variables and other things I’d rather really not remember.

There was a derivative question, finally. Actually, it was an integral question, but everyone derives in integrals. The matrix problem was quick and easy. I seriously hope nobody did it by hand, because doing a 3 by 3 determinant is nasty. A simple distribution question was nice to see, but then it was followed by other time chomping problems too.

The exam today was so much easier than yesterday’s paper 1. Paper 2 allows a calculator, true, but I was warmed up to this again after doing it just hours before for paper 1. Seriously, if anyone takes Mathematics Standard Level in the future, you need to experience this exam. It is not scary, it is not terrorizing, is not brutal. There are things you just will not remember, or just not know. I’m fine with not knowing somethings, but I love knowing what I do know.

That’s all I’ve got for this this exam and this week. Next week, I’ll be taking the impossible IB Physics 1 and AP Macroeconomics.