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IBDP Chemistry IA- Must Know



The IB Chemistry IA is challenging but also an exciting assessment to work on. The subject's content is fascinating, and the skills you learn will be helpful in your future career. The IB Chemistry IA intends to prepare students for their future academic and professional careers by developing their critical thinking skills, scientific knowledge, and problem-solving abilities.

Whether you are just starting out or want to hone your existing skills as an IB chemistry student, we have compiled some tips for succeeding in chemistry IA.


Keep these points in mind if you want to score well on your chemistry IA


1) Use SI unit throughout.

  • In formulas, use the appropriate units for each chemical species (e.g., moles for gases and molar concentrations for solutions).

  • For all experimental results, report them in terms of SI units (e.g., molarity or grams per liter).

  • If a table is used to present data, the quantities should be given in appropriate units; likewise with graphs and diagrams.

  • Calculations must be performed using appropriate metric prefixes where possible (e.g., 10-3).


2) Accuracy should be one decimal place lower than the least accurate reading.

Accuracy is the degree of closeness of a measurement to its actual value, expressed as a percentage of the true value. For example, if you have an instrument measuring in millimeters, and it is accurate to within 0.1mm (10% error), then your instrument will be reading between 9.9mm and 10.0mm for every measurement.

One decimal place is usually used when calculating results because it allows us to deal with numbers much more quickly than if we rounded off our answers by three or four decimal places. This also reduces errors caused by round-off problems (see below).

To ensure good accuracy in your calculations:

  • Round off all measurements that are less than one decimal place higher than the least accurate reading; this will ensure that you include only significant figures in those calculations;

  • Round off all results which include two or more significant figures after multiplying numbers together; this will make sure their sum is still an integer number (i.e., doesn't contain any fractional part);

  • Round off all final answers using only one decimal place lower than the least accurate reading


3) Display the results in tables and graphs.

You can use tables, graphs and diagrams to display your data. Tables are useful for showing a lot of information in a small space, but they can only show categorical data. Graphs are better at showing trends and relationships between variables than tables, as they can show both categorical and quantitative data and allow you to compare different situations or sets of data by displaying them on the same graph.

Graphs should be labeled clearly with their axes clearly labeled; this makes it easier for your reader to understand what the graph shows. In particular, graphs should have legends (a key) that explain what each line represents.


4) Do not discard any experimental results, use them to estimate errors and reliability of the experiment.

The most common ways of doing so are:

  • Use standard deviation to estimate accuracy/precision of your results (or method).

  • Calculate uncertainty in all measurements.

  • Use percentage error for each data point


5) The last page should have a list of sources used and follow IB format for citation.

This is done by putting in the title of each source at the top, followed by its author(s), date published, publisher, place of publication and page numbers.

When you write your essay, you should include footnotes or endnotes with every piece of information that is not common knowledge or provided within the text itself; this includes commentary as well as source material.


6) It's ok to copy some parts directly if it is quoted and added citations. However, don't make it too frequent because examiners might see it as plagiarism.


Start on the process at least three months before the deadline.

It's best to start on a process at least three months before the deadline. This will give you time to fix any problems and allow time to change your IA if necessary. If you wait until the last minute, there won't be enough time for either of these things!


Write what you are doing but also why you are doing it.

When writing your IA, it is essential to write about what you are doing and why. You need to explain the purpose of your experiment and what you hope to achieve with it. The best way to do this is through a hypothesis statement:

"I believe that [this] will happen because [this]." You can also explain in more detail at the beginning of your IA by listing everything that led up to this experiment.

This information helps others understand what they are reading, so they can follow along with their own ideas and thoughts, which will help them improve their experiments in future attempts!


The analysis (evaluation) should make up a large part of your chemistry IA report, making up most of the word count. It can help to organize it into different sections such as the reliability, accuracy, and limitations of your method.

It is essential to plan your chemistry IA carefully. The analysis (evaluation) should make up the majority of your word count, with a discussion on your method's reliability, accuracy, and limitations. You can organize this into different sections, such as reliability and accuracy, or you may choose to discuss these elements separately.

It’s not enough to simply state that your method was reliable or accurate; instead, you should explain why it was reliable/accurate/inaccurate by using examples from previous experiments where appropriate. Remember that you are looking at whether there are any factors that may have affected the results of an experiment or whether there were any problems during its conduct.


Your evaluation, discussion, and conclusion should include appropriate references to relevant published literature. At least four relevant sources should be referenced, and at least one reference should support each statement you make in the evaluation.

It is crucial that you cite your sources. Direct quotations from these sources are highly recommended but not compulsory if the information contained in them is already mentioned in your own writing. You can also paraphrase or summarize what has been said by other authors as long as you acknowledge their contribution and do not plagiarize anything from them.


The IA is a big challenge, but if you follow these tips, you'll have an excellent opportunity to get your best grade!



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