What Happens If I Fail My IB IA?

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Many students have expressed anxiety to me as a mentor and IB writer about the upcoming Internal Assessment (IA). First things first: if you fail IB IA, it isn’t the be-all and end-all. Trust me when I say this. There are many ways to lessen the blow of a poor score. “What happens if I fail my IB IA?” and similar worries can be put to rest if you continue reading. The article aims to clarify the repercussions and outline your next steps.

What Is an Internal Assessment in IB DP?

As far as I can see, the IA is a cornerstone of your IB diploma. You can demonstrate your analytical and practical talents through a research-based project covering many areas. This course aims to have each student demonstrate their knowledge and growth as learners by completing an individual project.

Skills in experimental design, data analysis, literary critique, and historical inquiry are among those that this practical component aims to test in the IB Internal Assessment. The projects differ significantly in many ways, such as:

  • You may look at the optimal circumstances for microbial development in a Biology experiment.
  • You may look at the original documents to discuss how a particular event affected History.
  • It would be appropriate to compare and contrast literary works written in English.

Teachers and IB examiners both provide crucial feedback on each IA. Thanks to the IB’s dual-layer system, your work will be evaluated fairly and thoroughly. As a first layer of feedback, teachers already familiar with your academic strengths and areas for improvement address the specific curriculum needs. Consequently, the external examiners’ viewpoint guarantees the impartiality and uniformity of the international IB community.

But What About the Grading Criteria for IB IA?

The scale that grades Internal Assessments following standard IB requirements influences your final subject grade. There are some critical factors on the IA grading rubric, and they all relate to various parts of your work:

  • Conceptual Understanding. In what ways are the main ideas of the subject clear to you?
  • Analysis. Have you used suitable methodologies and provided enough explanations for your analysis?
  • Evaluation. How well do you address the potential consequences and constraints of your research?
  • Presentation. Does your work exhibit professionalism in its organization, clarity, and presentation?

Make no mistake: a poor IA grade does not spell the end for your chances of getting a graduation. The grading criteria are handy for determining where your work needs the most improvement.

By addressing these requirements, you significantly improve your performance and ensure your IA boosts your score instead of lowering it. Consequently, ensure these requirements are at the center of your project from the beginning, and ask for input from your instructors often to help you improve. Also, pay attention to the Math IA grading boundaries, as they can differ from other subjects.

IB IA fail

What If I Fail the IB Internal Assessment?

Initially, the thought of a failing IA might be terrifying to IB students. Nevertheless, the first setback in this project may be addressed based on my significant expertise in leading students through the IB path. The IB grading system assesses pupils thoroughly across many areas. Therefore, it’s essential to grasp the bigger picture.

What Happens Right Away If Your IA Score Is Low?

Discouragement is a normal reaction to a lower-than-anticipated IA result. Such a score may appear devastating to your academic goals at first. Nevertheless, remember that the IB diploma’s ultimate product is not the product of a single component but rather the aggregate of several.

Compensating with Other Exam Components

The IB curriculum is structured to be holistic. Your final score is based on your performance on the IA and the written examinations for each topic. Doing well on these written tests will make up for your low Internal Assessment score. This technique ensures that any part of your coursework does not unduly impact your total performance.

Academic Influence in the Long Run

Your study and preparation methods may need reevaluation if your IA score is poor in the long run. If you need more help with anything, like studying for the test or expanding your comprehension of the material, this is a great chance to reflect on your progress and figure out what you need help with.

Can You Pass the IB If You Fail IB IA?

In response to this frequent question from IB students, the short answer is yes; it is possible to earn the IB Diploma despite a failing IA. If you want to know why a poor IA score doesn’t mean your graduation is at risk, you need to understand how the IB grading system works and how much weight each component has.

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK), Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), and Extended Essay are the critical components of the International Baccalaureate Diploma, assessed through coursework and external examinations spanning six courses. There are 45 points available, with each topic scored on a scale from 1 to 7. The TOK and the Extended Essay contribute up to 3 more points to this total.

But how important is IA for final scores? The Internal Assessment usually accounts for 20% to 25% of your final grade, depending on the course. Although this is important, your success in the final exams accounts for the remaining 75% to 80%. As a result, you may lessen the stress and disappointment that could come with an IA that falls short of your expectations by devoting ample time and energy to studying for these types of exams.

Can I Redo My IA to Get a Better Grade?

Many students in the International Baccalaureate program are worried about retaking an Internal Assessment. Redoing your IA may be possible in some cases (e.g., due to procedural irregularities or exceptional circumstances). Still, you must know the requirements and procedures for this to happen.

Redoing an IA is usually reserved for students who have exhausted all other options. A multi-step formal approach is necessary:

  • Finding Reasons That Hold Water. Extenuating circumstances (like a mistake in the first assessment’s procedure, a personal crisis, or sickness that substantially affected your performance) are the only grounds for retaking an IA.
  • Request for IB Coordinator’s OK. You need the approval of your school’s IB coordinator to redo this project and write a good IA. Making your case requires laying out all the necessary evidence and explaining why a redo is warranted.
  • How the School Handles Redos. Redoing courses may be subject to more stringent requirements and deadlines set by individual schools than the IB organization.

Discuss the need to rework your IA with your IB coordinator if you encounter any difficulties. Please inform us of your predicament without delay. You can ask them for advice on how to proceed and whether a redo is possible.

Performing an IA redo is no small feat. This task demands a lot of energy and may increase your workload, affecting how well you prepare for future assignments or tests.

If you want a better grade, you should repeat the work and consider strict IA word count requirements, but you must be realistic about it. Alternatively, you may find it more prudent to direct your energy towards different components of the IB curriculum.

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What Happens If You Don’t Submit Your IA?

Serious repercussions can influence your diploma program status if you do not submit an Internal Assessment. Every student in the International Baccalaureate program must fully grasp the gravity of such an act (or lack thereof).

The IB organization takes the non-submission of an IA very seriously. Usually, being disqualified from the test session for that particular topic is the main penalty, which means:

  • Subject Not Graded. In most cases, you will not earn a grade for that topic unless you submit an IA, which means you will fail the course.
  • Effect on Eligibility for a Diploma. To get an IB Diploma, you need to get a certain minimum number of points, and failing even one subject might put your whole diploma at risk.
  • Academic History. Additionally, failing to submit your work might negatively impact your academic record, affecting future college admissions and other educational possibilities.

Submission is mandatory regardless of whether you are happy with or think your Internal Assessment format is imperfect. Even if your contribution is incomplete or flawed, it might still earn you points that could determine your passing or failing grade. Additionally, it demonstrates a dedication to meeting your obligations, which is commendable in both professional and academic settings.

As a result, you shouldn’t rush into deciding not to submit an IA. The consequences might influence your educational and professional prospects in the future, not only in the current academic cycle. There are significantly worse repercussions for not submitting your IA than for providing a subpar one. Thus, you should always aim to submit it, no matter how bad.


Finally, although there are obstacles, failing your IA is not hopeless. Overcoming this obstacle is within your reach with some careful preparation and initiative. Remember that there is always a way to overcome an obstacle and that occasionally, failure may be a springboard to more significant achievement.

We should continue this discussion. If you have any further inquiries or requests for assistance, feel free to contact the IB authors at BuyInternalAssessment.com.

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