HOW TO MAKE A GOOD IB INTERNAL ASSESSMENT (ia)

Tips for a good Internal Assessment (IA) of your International Baccalaureate (IB). The definitive guide.

The most important and significant IB projects are four:

  • IA (Internal Assessment)
  • EE (Extended Essay)
  • TOK (Theory of Knowledge)
  • CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service)

Do you need help with your Internal Assessment? Can’t find a site that gathers all the IA information? At TutorASAP we have talked to our expert Diego Núñez to create a guide with all the tips and essential information for preparing a good Internal Assessment, one of the IB projects that causes the most headaches for students and is the most difficult to prepare- specially in subjects like Chemistry, Biology, Maths or Physics.

Our professional, who has been with us for over 14 years helping International Baccalaureate students, answers questions that all IB students ask themselves.

The Internal Assessment (IA) is a compulsory task for IB students to assess their level in relation to the objectives set out in the Diploma Programme (DP). In short, it serves to see the knowledge, skills acquired, etc., of the students with their subjects. The IA is compulsory, but NOT in all subjects, being the language subjects the ones that do not have to do this type of project. As IB students have to do 6 subjects (mixed between High level and Standard level), more or less they will have to do between 3 and 5 IA in total.

Where to find official information?

You can go into the official guides. Note that there is an official guide for each IB subject, where all the information appears in each official guide. Where can you find them? You can do this by looking on the official IB pages or at IB schools, which usually upload this kind of information.

How much is an Internal Assessment worth and what is its weight in the evaluation?

It depends on the subjects. The standard value is 20%, that’s the weight in science subjects. There are other subjects that have a more practical component, such as design or technology, where AI can be worth 40-50% of the mark, in other words with a higher weight. That is why it is very important for students to check how much it is worth in all their subjects.

How long does an Internal Assessment take?

According to the official guide, this project is estimated to take 10 hours of work. In reality this is never the case: students spend between 20 and 30 hours doing it. Moreover, if you have to do more than one project (not in all subjects), if you have to do 4, that means spending about 80 hours.

THE REALITY IS…. Don’t get the idea that you are going to spend less than 20 hours with your IA, that’s not going to happen unless it’s something exceptional. It is very important that you take this into account when planning.

What are the evaluation criteria?

The marking criteria of the Internal Assessment are based on the Evaluation Criteria. The IA is not corrected on a numerical value, but on different parts to be measured. Each subject is marked differently, taking into account different criteria. 

This evaluation criterion consists of different parts to be evaluated. These are the categories or levels of performance: Personal engagement (i.e. motivation), research, data analysis, conclusion and evaluation, presentation.

How much do each part of the correction criteria weigh?

The total internal assessment weighs over 24 (we are mainly talking about science subjects). Do all categories/parts to be taken into account count the same? Obviously not, some weigh more and some less.

Let’s take a case in point. For example, research usually weighs 6 points, so you should take it into account to put more effort there. In other words, in this case, even if your motivation is passionate, if you haven’t done enough research, you lose those points.

Our advice: know the value of all parts of IA in every subject you do. Be smart! Before doing any kind of work, you should check how it is assessed to see what is going to give you the most points.

When is it advisable to do the Internal Assessment and in which year?

Ideally, they should be done throughout grade 11, never wait until grade 12. In principle, they should be almost finished by grade 12.

Seek inspiration

As you know, in IB the maximum score that a student can have is a 7 (get the 10 that is usually used in Spain out of your head). Although the total of the internal assessment is a maximum of 24 points, it would be equivalent to a 7 in the official assessment following a criterion of ranges (from 17 to 24 points would be equivalent to a 7, for example).

WHAT TO DO TO GET THE MAXIMUM MARK? A very good idea is to look at examples of AI where you have scored well, a 7 would be ideal. Look up some examples and compare them for inspiration. 

Beware of fraud

It’s obvious: everything that is not yours and that is not cited is copying. One thing that’s very useful about the IB is that it teaches students from the beginning how to do work with official references, which helps them to know how to do professional work at university, giving them a necessary foundation that they’ll be grateful for later on.

That’s why the IB forces students to be aware of how references are made and which official references are accepted. They take it very seriously: every paper is run through different tools to see if it has been copied or not. You should look at the official guide to be careful about this.

Talk to the teacher from the beginning

Do not move forward without being sure. The recommendation is not to do research on your own, otherwise it is time wasted. 

Why do we say this? You must take into account the opinion of your tutor and subject teacher. He/she must agree with the topic and find it sufficiently interesting and reasonable to be able to move forward safely, otherwise he/she may “throw it away”. Your time is very valuable, so act wisely and firmly!

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What? PRIVATE tuition to prepare students for IB projects such as the IA Internal Assessment or the T.O.K.

How? At TutorASAP we design a specific and individualised programme for the student’s needs, bringing out their maximum potential thanks to our T.E.O.K. algorithm.

When? You choose. Customised timetables to be defined.

Where? At our centre in Plaza Castilla, in a perfect central location in Madrid, or online (live streaming with the teacher).

Why with us? Because our tutors are not just any teachers: they are true experts in teaching specifically for IB projects and assignments. What characterises us is that we get students to produce mature, exquisite and well-planned projects.

Our most demanded: 10 hours.

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