Cambridge fine with bac maths

10th February 2006 at 00:00
In your article on the International Baccalaureate (TES, January 20) it is stated that the only degree the IB would not combine with is Cambridge maths. I would beg to differ.

At Sevenoaks school we have had two offers to students to read maths next year at Cambridge. Although the IB core maths course does not offer as much mechanics as a traditional A-level course, the differential equations option goes into more than enough depth to cover Cambridge's requirements.

Furthermore, the IB offers an insight into analysis which goes far beyond the A-level, and it is this which provides the greatest challenge for mathematicians in Cambridge.

The final "linear" exam system of the IB also produces a far better preparation for Tripos papers than the bite-size modular chunks of A-level.

Finally, a large number of prospective maths students use the extended essay as an opportunity to do university-level mathematics.

In short, IB maths experience measures up well against maths and further maths A-levels, but in addition, IB students will have studied two languages, a humanities subject, a science subject and a creative subject.

To those of us who have taught in schools where both courses are taught, the difference in intellectual maturity at the end speaks clearly in IB's favour.

Paul Fannon Sevenoaks school Sevenoaks, Kent

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