How to make sure you pass your IB Chemistry Internal Assessment...

This advice is for not written for those on their way to a 7, but there is probably some useful tips in here for you too. This is for those who have perhaps not listened to their teacher’s advice, or perhaps the teacher left midway through their course or they lost their way for some reason no fault of theirs (or maybe it really is their fault!). 

I’m listing out here the most common major tips for making sure you get over the line with the IA. With the rumor going around that coronavirus could be shutting down the May 2020 exams leaving predicted grades and IAs as your final IB score, this could be a life saver to some!

Getting a 7 is hard, but getting a 1 is hard too (you have to resist your teacher’s best efforts!). You can do this!

1. Personal engagement 8%

So you didn’t do any research and came up with the method straight off the top of your head?

Go back and do the research now!

Use creative writing to say how you got you developed your question from what research you have found. 

Explain why your method is different to the research method.

Heck you might even end up getting a 7…

(Source: IB Chemistry Guide 2016)

2. Exploration 25%

(Source: IB Chemistry Guide 2016)

1. Make sure the research question is stated ‘My research question is..’ or under a heading. It must have a specific single independent and dependent variable. Get writing creatively if that is difficult considering what stray path you may have taken….

2. Make sure you variables table has more than 3 controlled variables. For the independent, dependent and controlled variables, state: units, uncertainty, increments or actual values, instrument used – as much as you can!

3. Non-negotiable – a safety section – even if you have to state that these 2/3 things are not major issues…

3. Analysis 25%

(Source: IB Chemistry Guide 2016)

1. Data insufficient – a real issue I must admit. Somehow you didn’t do a range of 5 and a repetition of 3 (you can get away with at least 2!)? Do your best to supplement your data with research figures. You need to state where you got it from. If you did a range of 3 you might be able to take data from somewhere to supplement the range out to 5.

2. Uncertainty – very common mistake and easy to fix to at least get you over the line. Most students don’t read correctly (half the smallest increment if not a digital instrument). If you only read to the increments at least state the uncertainty of what you did – plus/minus the increment. Goes a long way…

4. Evaluation 25%

(Source: IB Chemistry Guide 2016)

Don’t panic. Complete failures can get a 7…

This one just requires a bit of honesty. Just state a conclusion that is supported by the data. If you data is hopeless then just say that your experiment cannot support a conclusion for….(a nice way to say it was a complete failure).

Non-negotiable – use a table (I have an IA template for this) that means you don’t miss the mark here – its the only way I can make students see they are missing something… List out the errors, what they did to the result, how to fix them. IB loves to see you differentiate between random and systematic errors here so state what type it is.

5. Communication 17%

(Source: Chemistry Guide 2016)

This should be an easy one. Follow a standard structure, make sure you tables and graphs are well done (plenty of videos for that), make sure your reference section and in-text referencing are correct…

Be honest about your flaws and mistakes. A terribly planned and executed IA that doesn’t try to hide but explains it all, means you get full marks still for this section. Any disaster can pass. You can do it!

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