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Duke University
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Unweighted GPA: 3.7
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Varun Srinivasan
4 IB Guides

IB Math HL Internal Assessment (IA) Example Topics

What’s Covered:


The international baccalaureate diploma program (IBDP) is an impressive alternative to a high quality high school education. Its ability to provide students with practical learning methods is unparalleled to others. One of the most interesting parts about IBDP and its classes, are actually the internally graded components referred to as internal assessments (IAs). They’re usually handed out to students from the school in the form of research-based essays and other forms of investigative ways of learning. 


IAs are done for every single one of the six subjects a student signs up for in IB. The IA is also usually a student-led initiative to showcase their knowledge through university-level work. This blog will be talking about great example IA topics and ideas for the subject IB Math HL


What is the IB Internal Assessment (IA)?


The IA is a fancy word for any internally graded piece of work for your IB grade. Internally graded means it was assigned and scored on part of a teacher, or some form of administration at your school. Conversely, externally graded assessments like exams and the extended essay are given to IB, and the organization will then have it assessed and returned to the student. 


Most schools assign students IAs in addition to coursework and other assignments, so the expectations for IAs aren’t that high. They’re usually easy and approachable but promote critical thinking and investigatie through processes. 


In IB Math HL, your IAs will usually be based on concepts taught in your coursework presented through practical applications and researching. You might however, find it difficult to pick a topic for your IA due to massive amounts of options form the coursework provided, but don’t worry because this guide will help you with some ideas to get you started on your IA process!


IB Math IA Examples and Ideas


IA Idea 1 – Modeling Statistics


Modeling statistics is a pretty broad concept for an IA, but it can refer to any project where a change in statistics is presented in a visually effective manner. An example of modeling is presenting the rate at which a country’s population changes relative to external factors. For example, how does a country’s population change relative to their GDP (gross domestic product) and other forms of economic growth measures? What conclusions can be drawn via a hypothesis based on the data we collected through modeling?


Modeling is in itself a relatively easy task. However, creating a way to present statistics to an audience that may not be as well-informed about statistics is the real goal of the IA. A great way to present it could be a research-based essay or even a presentation with slides. The possibilities are boundless, so feel free to get as creative as you want with this!


IA Idea 2 – The Statistics Behind Poker


Using mathematics to model a plan to statistically win poker is much more difficult than you’d think. The process can be something like combining modeling and simulation concepts to create data that is reliable enough to form winning strategies for a game as complex as poker. The whole process will be an extension of Game Theory, a popular method in which mathematics is used to calculate the probabilities behind card games, board games and video games. 


A great way to showcase this would be with some simple code! A simulated game can be created to show how the gathered data and a formed strategy can be used to show how the IAs hypothesis worked or how it didn’t. Another way is also playing a real poker game and applying said strategy and recording it, and this recording can also be considered as a form of submission. 


IA Idea 3 – Using Optimization to Measure Places


Optimization can be an effective method to measure the size of objects quickly. Try going outside and finding objects and spaces that you’d like to measure. Gather all the data required to perform optimization to calculate volumes. 


Although this IA idea isn’t as particularly research based as the others, there’s bound to be loads of difficult and rigorous calculations, so this is a great way to perform and showcase that knowledge through an IA.


How is the IB Math IA Scored?


The IA is internally scored, which essentially means IB is not responsible for grading any of the work for IAs. Instead, your teachers and sometimes supervisors appointed specially for overseeing the progress of an IA are going to give you a grade for your work. This means it’s important your supervisor understands the process of your IA, so try to find one that will best facilitate your progress and work.


The IAs in Math HL make up a little above 10% of your total grade for the class. However, considering IAs are graded more leniently compared to external assessments, this can be considered an easier 10% to earn! That means you should try your best on the IAs as they can be a life-saver for your total grade later on.


Final Tips


Have Fun With the Idea


The IA isn’t meant to be a seemingly impossible herculean task, something that might be a better description for the extended essay. Create and execute topics that interest you and are more engaging. This would definitely lead to creating a better IA that’s informative and more likely to score well! Usually, the less it feels like work, the better the idea is for an IA!


Solve a Problem


If you’re struggling to find solutions and ideas for IA, here’s a different thought process that might help a bit. Instead of seeking ideas for the intent of making an IA, think about problems that require practical solutions through either modeling or other forms of mathematical solutions.


Design an idea that solves said problem, and create a presentation around the solution. This is essentially a very simple process that can be applied to a broad number and range of concepts. A different thought process like this might be all you need to kickstart your IA. 


How Does the IA Affect My Admission Chances?


The IA itself, for any idea and any method of presentation, has little to no effect on your chances of admission. However, the IAs do help you become a more holistic student. This holistic quality is something many universities do want, as opposed to high scores and grades.

It can be difficult to keep track of a lot of the factors involved in college admissions chances. An intuitive tool like CollegeVine’s admissions calculator is an effective way to get a better understanding of admissions. The tool uses GPA, extracurriculars and other metrics to calculate your chances of admission into a university of your choosing!

Short Bio
Varun is a recent graduate from Arizona State University, Tempe, with a degree in Computer Science. He aims to share his knowledge of computer science, the IB Diploma Program, and all things college-related with high school students. In his free time, he can be found performing DJ sets or cooking!