The course focuses on introducing important mathematical concepts through the development of mathematical techniques. The intention is to introduce students to these concepts in a comprehensible and coherent way, rather than insisting on the mathematical rigour required for mathematics HL. Students should, wherever possible, apply the mathematical knowledge they have acquired to solve realistic problems set in an appropriate context.

The internally assessed component, the exploration, offers students the opportunity for developing independence in their mathematical learning. Students are encouraged to take a considered approach to various mathematical activities and to explore different mathematical ideas. The exploration also allows students to work without the time constraints of a written examination and to develop the skills they need for communicating mathematical ideas. This course does not have the depth found in the mathematics HL courses. Students wishing to study subjects with a high degree of mathematical content should therefore opt for a mathematics HL course rather than a mathematics SL course.

This is a demanding course for those with a sound level of competency in using and applying basic mathematical skills. There is a minimum requirement for entry into this course and a list of mathematical prior learning can be found here. Students who choose this option should enjoy the challenge of problem solving and appreciate the need for good mathematical knowledge to support their current or future courses. The course involves solving realistic problems in appropriate contexts. There are 7 areas of compulsory study as with the higher level course. Students should be aware that in a small number of cases, this is the lowest accepted level for some courses at university, you are advised to discuss this with your college counsellor.