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What do IB Math tutors do?

Updated: Sep 23, 2019

There has been an increasing demand in IB tuition in the past few years. More and more people believe that IB tuition helps students with their academic performance to a great extent. IB tuition centres are therefore established to provide such services that students are able to excel in their studies and exams. There are various tutors in charge of different subjects such as IB Mathematics, IB Biology, IB Chemistry and so on.

IB tutors help students to learn and apply knowledge productively in one or two hours for each lesson. Among all subjects, IB Math tuition is one of the most well-established lessons at the IB tuition centre as there is a great demand. It is vital for IB Math tutors to guide students on their academic pathway, therefore, IB Math tutors need to be well equipped and fully prepared for each lesson so as to play their role.

Why is there an increase in demand?

International Baccalaureate (IB) offers a continuum of international education for students from 3 to 19, including Primary Years Programme, Middle Years Programme, Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme. Diploma Programme, being the longest and most well-built programme under IB, offers students from 16 to 19 opportunities to acquire knowledge, conduct independent research and complete projects that are related to community service. IB Diploma Programme then receives a high level of recognition among the higher education institutions all over the world.

It is often one of parents’ top choices for their children’s education, as it emphasizes students’ academic endeavour, as well as personal development. According to the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), there is a significant increase in the number of candidates enrolled in the IB Diploma Programme, from 69,834 in 2015 to 85,783 in 2019. However, the pass rate decreased from 80.84% to 77.40% from 2015 to 2019. As a result, more and more IB tuition centres have been established to help IB candidates with their academic performances, independent and critical thinking.

IB tuition emphasizes on comprehensive study materials which are written carefully by various experienced tutors, efficient conduct of teaching, as well as tailor-made classes depending on students’ needs. IB tuition provides students with not only ways to acquire knowledge in an easier and more effective way, but also the skills to apply knowledge in the exams and future development.

IB Diploma candidates are required to study six subject groups, one of which being Mathematics. According to the diploma statistical bulletin published by the IBO in May of 2019, the mean grade of mathematics, including all levels of study, is between 4 and 5. IB Mathematics is therefore one of the most important subjects in the IB Diploma Programme that most students are concerned with. IB Math tutors therefore are here to help students with difficulties in conquering IB Mathematics.

What exactly does an IB Math tutor do every day?

Prepare for classes

IB Math tutors should not only possess excellent way of teaching, but also be clear of the entire curriculum so as to teach students how to answer questions more accurately. Outside class, IB Math tutors should get themselves well prepared for their classes. He or she would normally study the programme curriculum, and go through all past exam papers to make sure that there are no mistakes in the study material, as well as to make sure that he or she can explain clearly to the students during classes.

It usually takes IB Math tutors a long period of time to prepare for a one-hour class, as he or she needs to ponder ways of teaching, important skills to teach students to solve specific problems, prepare for past paper questions related to the concept that would be taught on the day, and also prepare for a summary of key points. Different from other subjects, IB Math tutors need to focus more on teaching the way of thinking and applying the knowledge, instead of the knowledge itself.

Tutors need to think of ways to convey the message clearly and logically so that students can learn and absorb in a short time. Therefore, it requires IB Math tutors to be clear of his or her words. Unlike Biology and Chemistry, in which tutors can explain concepts with real life examples, IB Math tutors face more challenges in teaching abstract concepts such as imaginary numbers and logarithms. That is why IB Math tutors need to make full preparation before classes so as to make sure that classes are conducted smoothly and competently.

Prepare for study material

Some IB Math tutors are also responsible for preparing and updating study guide, so as to provide students with up-to-date information and better study material. Study guides are made concise for students to grasp the knowledge in a short time. They are usually combined effort from different tutors who are experienced in IB Diploma curriculum and IB tutoring. With the help of the study material, IB Math tutors are able to target students’ problems and improve their weaker parts of knowledge.

It is important that a set of study material for one specific chapter or topic should include both the key concepts with examples, as well as past exam papers so that students are able to learn how to apply the knowledge and skills while solving questions that actually appeared in the IB exam for the past few years.

Teach new concepts

With all the study material ready, IB Math tutors are prepared for classes. How do Math tutors usually conduct classes?

IB Math tutors conduct classes in various sizes, up from more than 6 students in a class, down to one-to-one private sessions. Flexible class sizes enables IB tuition centres to provide tuition services according to students’ needs. On one hand, together with a group of students, tutors are able to teach a class with general coverage and classmate interaction. On the other hand, tutors can also conduct private classes with students, and design the class outline and material according to individuals’ needs. Regardless of the class size, tutors always focus on covering what the students need to know in a short time in order to excel on exams.

For every class, IB Math tutor starts with introducing the outline of the class at the beginning, such as covering important concepts in the chapters, followed by exam paper questions. During the introduction of a new concept, an IB Math tutor focuses on clear delivery of message and illustrates key points with examples so as to explain related concepts on point. IB Math tutors would also teach the students some useful skills or tips to solve certain questions, often concluded by tutors’ own experience, or collaborated by different experienced tutors. Towards the end of each class, tutors would review the key concepts taught in the class, ask the students whether there is still any other questions, and discuss about topics to cover for the next class. The aim of the whole class is to make sure that students always learn new knowledge or skills in order for a better academic performance and understanding of the topic.

Help with revision

Besides covering new concepts and past paper questions, IB Math tutors also help students review their own work to ensure that the grading criteria is met. During classes, if students are willing to share their exam results with tutors, tutors are able to identify the problems why his or her students did wrongly on the exam, so as to target students’ weaknesses and solve the problems. Tutors are also able to review, again, the important concepts and skills to emphasize the key points in respective chapters in order to improve students’ academic performance. This is also the reason why tutors should always be fully prepared to answer students’ questions in any topic at any time.

Way of teaching. What makes the difference between Maths and other subjects?

It is important for an IB Math tutor to teach the knowledge in a clear and logical way so that students are able to understand easily. It is also essential that he or she does not only tell students all the answers, but explaining how to apply knowledge to the exam questions. Different from IB teachers in schools, IB Math tutors at IB tuition centres focus more on efficient and effective way of teaching that targets students’ needs. Past exam papers are one of the most powerful tools for an IB Math tutor to teach and show students how to deal with specific questions. Together with these exam questions with step-by-step guidance, IB Math tutors are able to teach and review comprehensively all key concepts in the chapter in each class.

What makes the difference between IB Math tutors and tutors for other subjects? IB Math exams test students more on their problem-solving ability, while other subjects such as biology examine students’ ability to memorize, understand and explain the concepts. The key to achieve higher grades in IB Math is to do more practices so that students would learn how to apply the knowledge to different types of questions. IB Math tutors are there to try their best to demonstrate ways to solve different questions using the knowledge learnt in the class. As there are countless past exam questions, it is necessary for an IB Math tutor to selectively choose questions that require students to apply knowledge in a different way, even if the questions are under the same topic.

Encourage students

Yes. Practice makes perfect. This may be what most IB Math tutors would suggest to their students.

However, overloading students with tons of questions is not a good way of teaching either. Besides reasonable distribution of time for classes and practices, tutors should also encourage students to boost their confidence and willingness to continue studying. Students often feel frustrated when they are not able to grasp the idea or solve a problem. Tutors do not only teach students knowledge and skills, but are also company to students who need both academic and mental support.

Knowing the answers to the exam questions is important, but it would be better for tutors to help students find their love and passion towards certain subjects. Some students possess psychological resistance towards Maths because they did not perform well in the early stage and did not receive any positive encouragement. It is also important for a tutor to help students correct their mental stage and hole a positive attitude towards Mathematics so as to build up students’ confidence to strive for improvement.

Reflect and Improve

Another task that IB Math tutors are always doing is to reflect and improve themselves. As a tutor faces many students everyday, it is vital for him or her to teach differently, preferably in a way that is most suitable for the student. Some students are good at memorizing, some are good at calculations. Therefore, tutors need to think of the best way is to teach the student. Tutors would also watch videos and tutorials to learn more teaching skills and tactics to improve themselves.

No one is perfect. Even experienced IB Math tutors might make mistakes. This is why IB Math tutors should also pay attention to their self-improvement in order to minimize the possible mistakes. The world is always changing, so you will definitely be left out if you are not changing or improving yourself. Self-development is one of the most essential parts that a tutor should consider not only to improve themselves, but also to help with students’ learning experience and outcome.


All in all, IB Math tutors do not only prepare for classes, for students, but also for themselves, the future, and even the development in the IB curriculum.

IB Math tutors are people who themselves may also be IB candidates in the past, who are willing to share their knowledge and learning skills to students, who are able to help students with both their academic performance and positive attitude, especially during the intense preparation of final IB exams. IB Math tutors at the IB tuition centres are always ready and willing to see more students achieve their success with their help.

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