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Ace your IA in no time with these tips!

Updated: Mar 15, 2022

If you are a pre-IB student or entering the first year of the IB, then you’ll possibly have some worries about your IAs, and you might be asking yourselves some of these questions.

  • How can I get started on my IA?

  • How do I write an IA with ace marks?

  • How to frame a perfect research question?

  • I am stuck on my IA – what to do now?

Calm down. You are not alone. We are here to help you with such issues and more.

How to select your IA question

An ideal research question should intend to create an aim, answer one’s curiosity, and be helpful to society in the larger perspective. It would be best to obtain a ton of inspiration from other sample IAs. There is nothing wrong with having a similar topic that has already been worked on but ensure not to copy. Keeping it original is the key!

The IA essentials

Your IA can be oral, written, a project, or practical experiments, depending on your subject. The aim is to show that you can showcase the assessment criteria related to the selected question. IA assessments are also used for most degrees, including:

  • An oral task in languages.

  • Fieldwork in geography.

  • Laboratory work in science.

  • Investigations in math.

  • Artistic performances.

Your IA subject teacher gives internal marks for IAs and is externally moderated at the end of your diploma, adding to your total marks. Here are the marking criteria (Varies as per the subjects’ requirements and focus).

  • Knowledge and understanding.

  • Application and analysis.

  • Synthesis and evaluation.

  • Skills and techniques.

It is always advisable to make it in advance, as it compensates for a percentage of your final marks.

Using the marking criteria to enhance your IA score

Keep yourself updated by looking at past IAs and reviewing them against the requirements. Additionally, try thinking why an IA scored well while another scored poorly. It will help you improve your IA score by applying these insights.

Always keep the marking criteria when working on your project. This way, you can keep checking back to see that you will deliver what the examiners need and meet all criteria requirements. Every time you complete an element, ask yourself, how many points will I score? Then critically see what you need to add or change to get every mark.

Marking and moderation

The IA will be graded as per the subject marking criteria. The subject teacher can give only one feedback, so try completing the significant part for the first draft submission. After that, always insist on asking for marks scored in various criteria and improving further.

Know that your subject teacher will mark your IA, then send a sample to the IB for moderation by one of their examiners accordingly. The obtained marks are adjusted in line with the grade changes required.

Begin early and keep up with deadlines

We strongly advise you to keep up with the timings your teachers have provided. They have prepared the deadlines carefully, so you won’t have a ton of work to do at any given point. Otherwise, you will end up with many complex assignments to do at once and fail to give your best. It is always wiser to start working on IAs during the first-year summer break. This will enable one to focus better on academics during the second year.

Ask for help

If you get stuck, ask for help, talk to your friends, teachers, IB coordinator, or external tutors. We can also tell you that it’s wiser to get early help as it will save the time you might waste while:

  • Working on a poorly selected topic.

  • Going too far without answering the question.

  • Meeting a dead-end.

  • Giving time to irrelevant research.

Students with English as their second language

We know that English is not the first language for many IB students across the globe. But the IA has to be only in English. Students frequently find the written IA format challenging if English is not their primary language. If it is your case, ask for help from your English teachers or external tutors.

Want us to do the work for you instead? Or are you looking for the best guidance from experienced #IBDP examiners and teachers. Learning from the best can help you stay ahead and prepared.

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