How Can I Write a Good IB Internal Assessment?

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As a seasoned IB writer, I’ve experienced the ups and downs of writing compelling Internal Assessments (IAs). Here, I’ll share insights to help you create an IA that meets expectations and exceeds them. From the outset, it’s essential to understand what an IA requires according to general IB criteria and how to write one effectively.

What Is an IB Internal Assessment?

Internal Assessment is a critical part of the International Baccalaureate curriculum, playing a decisive role in evaluating students across various subjects. From my experience, the IA helps bridge theoretical knowledge with practical application, preparing students for exams and future academic and professional challenges. Here’s what typically constitutes an IA:

  • Research Question. A well-defined question that the entire project is centered around.
  • Investigation. Thorough research and analysis relevant to the question.
  • Analysis. Critical examination of the information and data gathered.
  • Conclusion. Summation of findings and reflections on the research question.
  • Presentation. Structured and coherent presentation of the research and its findings.

In my opinion, the most successful Internal Assessments show genuine curiosity and engagement with the topic. Choosing a question that resonates personally can transform the IA from a mere requirement into a profound learning experience. It’s also essential to manage your time effectively throughout the IA process. According to general IB criteria, students should balance their research, writing, and revision phases within the given timeframe to ensure a comprehensive and well-reasoned paper.

Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Good IB Internal Assessment

Writing a compelling Internal Assessment is a critical skill every IB student must master. From my experience, following a systematic plan eases the writing process and instills confidence as you move through each stage. Let me share a step-by-step guide that aligns with general IB criteria and has proven effective in my practice.

Step 1. Choose Your Topic Carefully

As I know from years of mentoring, the choice of topic can make or break your IA. Select a topic that interests you and fits well within the syllabus criteria. It should be narrow enough to manage within the constraints of the IA but broad enough to investigate in depth. According to general IB criteria, a well-chosen topic often leads to more engaging and comprehensive research.

Step 2. Develop a Focused Research Question

In my opinion, a clear and concise research question is the cornerstone of a successful IA. It should be specific and framed to invite analytical rather than descriptive responses. This question may require several revisions to sharpen its focus and ensure it’s answerable within the word limit and resources available.

Step 3. Plan Your Research

Effective planning is crucial. Map out what resources you need, including primary and secondary sources. According to general IB criteria, a robust IA is supported by varied and reliable sources. From my experience, students should allocate time to gather data from libraries, online databases, and interviews, ensuring a rich mix of content to bolster their arguments.

Step 4. Conduct Thorough Research

Begin your research phase by collecting data and recording findings comprehensively. Organizing your notes and sources saves considerable time during the writing phase. As I know from guiding students, thorough and organized research forms the backbone of a persuasive IA.

Step 5. Create a Detailed Outline

A detailed outline is invaluable. It should reflect the structure of your IA, with sections for introduction, methodology, body, conclusion, and references. As I often remind my students, this outline acts as a blueprint for your work, helping maintain a clear direction and ensuring all critical points are covered.

Step 6. Write the First Draft

Start writing your first draft based on your outline. At this stage, develop your argument and integrate your research findings. Per my experience, it’s crucial not to worry too much about perfection in the first draft; the aim is to get all your ideas down on paper.

Step 7. Revise and Refine

Revision is where the accurate polishing happens. Enhance the clarity, coherence, and structure of your IA. Pay attention to feedback from peers or advisors. From my experience, multiple revisions are often necessary to refine arguments, improve transitions, and ensure the paper flows logically from one section to the next.

Step 8. Final Editing and Proofreading

Lastly, ensure your IA is error-free and complies with all IB formatting guidelines. From years of writing and mentoring, I know this final step is crucial for presenting a professional and polished piece.

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How to Choose the Best Topic for Your Internal Assessment?

As an IB tutor, I’ve observed that a well-chosen topic makes the IA more manageable and engaging. Let me guide you through considerations and practical tips to help you select an optimal topic for your IA.

Align with Your Interests

Firstly, reflect on your interests and passions within the subject. An IA topic that resonates with you will be more motivating to work on over an extended period. From my experience, students who choose genuinely curious themes tend to produce more insightful and committed work.

Consult the Syllabus

Ensuring that your chosen topic aligns with the IB syllabus is essential. Review the syllabus thoroughly to understand the key themes and areas emphasized in your subject. According to general IB criteria, an IA should demonstrate a deep understanding of the course’s core concepts. This alignment ensures relevance and helps in adhering to the assessment criteria.

Scope for Research

Consider the scope of research available on your topic. A good topic will have sufficient resources and data available but won’t be so well-trodden that it becomes difficult to find a unique angle. In my opinion, you should aim for a balance — enough existing research to build upon, but also room for original analysis and personal contribution.

Feasibility and Practicality

Assess the feasibility of researching your topic. Consider factors like the availability of primary sources, the need for experiments or surveys, and your time constraints. A practical topic can be effectively researched and reported on within the limitations of the IA format and deadlines.

Narrow Down and Refine

Once you have a few potential topics, narrow them down by considering how each meets the above criteria. Refine your topic to a specific research question that is clear and focused. This is a critical step — having a precise question makes your research efforts more directed and efficient.

More Topics to Read:

Tips for Structuring Your Internal Assessment

Effectively structuring your Internal Assessment is fundamental to demonstrating your research and analytical skills within the IB framework. I’ve found that a well-organized IA guides the reader smoothly through your argument and demonstrates your understanding and control of the subject matter. Below are tips to help you structure your IA, drawn from my experience and the general IB criteria.

By following these structured steps, you ensure that your IA is a collection of facts and figures and a coherent, compelling narrative demonstrating your understanding and analytical skills. Remember, a well-structured IA can significantly influence your final grade and, more importantly, your learning experience.

Your introduction sets the stage. It should introduce your topic, state your research question, and outline the purpose and focus of your IA. In my opinion, a strong introduction also previews the methodological approach and any hypotheses, if applicable. Ensure it’s engaging and informative enough to hook the reader’s interest from the start.

The body of your IA is where you dig into detailed analysis and discussion. It should be logically organized to support your research question. From my experience, breaking down the body into manageable, focused sections is crucial. Each section should serve a clear purpose in advancing your overall argument. Here’s a suggested structure for the body:

  • Literature Review. Discuss existing research and theories relevant to your topic.
  • Methodology. Explain your research methods and justify your choices.
  • Results/Findings. Present the data or findings from your research.
  • Discussion. Analyze your results in the context of your research question and existing literature.

Next, a strong conclusion is essential. It should summarize the key findings, reflect on the research question, and mention the implications of your findings. As I know from crafting many IAs, your conclusion should also suggest areas for further research, demonstrating your critical engagement with the topic and foresight into its broader implications.

According to general IB criteria, proper formatting and accurate referencing are non-negotiable. They not only reflect your attention to detail but also uphold academic integrity. Ensure that you follow the specific formatting guidelines provided by the IB, including the citation style.

Lastly, from my experience, revising and refining your IA is as crucial as writing it. Allocate sufficient time to review your work, seek feedback, and make necessary adjustments. This iterative process helps enhance your IA’s clarity, coherence, and overall quality.


In summary, writing an outstanding IB Internal Assessment is a path that requires careful planning, thorough research, and detailed analysis. Follow these guidelines, and you’ll create an IA that will impress everyone. Good luck, and remember that our IB writers are always ready to help if you want to buy an Internal Assessment. We write only original, custom papers that follow the IB criteria.

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a passionate educator, marketer, and management expert with over 15 years of experience in the education sector. After graduating from business school in 2016, Nick embarked on a journey to earn his PhD, fueled by his dedication to making education better for students everywhere. His extensive experience, beginning in 2008, has made him a trusted authority in the field.

Nick's groundbreaking article, published in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," showcases his keen insights and commitment to improving the educational landscape. Guided by his motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to simplify students' lives and promote efficiency in learning. His innovative ideas and leadership have helped transform countless educational experiences, setting him apart as a true pioneer in his field.

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