Are you an IB student taking Mathematics Standard Level (SL)? Well, brace yourself because it is considered one of the curriculum's most challenging subjects. The syllabus comprises six topics, and students are externally and internally assessed.

Original: SourceThe Internal Assessment (IA) in Math SL is known as Mathematical Exploration. It is a written work that requires students to investigate an area of mathematics. As per the International Baccalaureate Organization, this assignment “encourages students to take a considered approach to various mathematical activities and to explore different mathematical ideas.” Don’t make the mistake of taking it lightly because it contributes 20% of your final grade.

Consisting of 6 to 12 pages, the report needs to be focused on a particular area of mathematics. The idea is to accurately demonstrate your knowledge through comprehensive mathematical writing, constructing logical arguments, and drawing conclusions with the help of diagrams, graphs, and mathematical formulae.

Here’s How You Can Ace Writing Your Math Internal Assessment

Yes, we understand this can all be very overwhelming. Here are four essential tips to help you write an impressive math IA.

Choose a Topic of Interest

When you choose a topic that is genuinely interesting to you, it reflects in the outcome. The same applies to your math IA. Studying mathematical concepts is one thing but correlating it to abstract and real-world situations is another ballgame altogether.

So, when you are brainstorming topics, select one wherein you can put your mathematical skills to use to pose a solution. It should be a topic that excites you. No, this does not just mean mathematical subjects such as algebra or statistics; it can also be related to basketball or any other field that can be explained using mathematical techniques.

Stick to the Criteria

Many students make the mistake of complicating matters by using complex mathematical concepts that are out of the syllabus. This is never a good idea and only results in a waste of time.

The surefire way to approach this assignment is by sticking to the syllabus to demonstrate your knowledge. Keep things simple and ensure you meet the five criteria – Communication, Mathematical Presentation, Personal Engagement, Reflection, and Use of mathematics.

Establish a Clear Structure

How well you structure your writing makes up the ‘Communication’ and ‘Mathematical Presentation’ criteria, so work on a logical structure before you get down to drafting. This is the flow you can adhere to while writing your math IA.


  • Highlight the objective and significance of the topic
  • Justify the choice of topic
  • Briefly mention the area of mathematics that will be explored

Body/Mathematical Exploration/Mathematical Processes

  • Describe the method of exploration
  • Share results using graphs, lists, tables, diagrams, etc.
  • Analyze the findings and form conjectures

Conclusion and Bibliography

  • Summarize the findings and relate them to the objective of exploration
  • Mention limitations, if any
  • Make real-life connections and possible extensions in relation to personal experience.
  • Reflect on what you have gained from this exploration
  • Cite references in the bibliography

Start Early

IB’s Math IA cannot be finished in a couple of hours. To do it full justice, you need to begin early.

There will be instances when you won’t be able to due to multiple assignments or will find yourself stuck while writing; at such times, it is best to get help with your Math IB IA paper. We at Writers Per Hour can help you deliver a professionally written and well-articulated math IA paper as per IB standards within your stipulated deadline.

Math SL IA Assessment Criteria

The following is a summary of the assessment criteria used for the Math SL Internal Assessment assignment:

Criterion A: Communication

This criterion evaluates structure and cohesion. A well-organized investigation has an introduction, a justification, a statement of purpose, and a conclusion. You must develop a cohesive analysis logically and show that it's simple to follow.

You will score a four if your topic exploration is coherent, concise, complete, and well-organized.

Criterion B: Mathematical Presentation

You will get 3 points if you use appropriate mathematical presentation throughout the assignment.

Criterion C: Personal Engagement

This criterion evaluates the extent to which the learner connects with and personalizes the exploration.

You can demonstrate personal engagement via a variety of qualities and talents. These include independent and creative thinking, addressing individual interests, and presenting mathematical concepts.

You will score a four if you demonstrate an outstanding level of personal engagement throughout the assignment.

Criterion D: Reflection

This criterion analyzes the student's review, analysis, and evaluation of the investigation. Although reflection can be observed towards the end, it can also be observed during the exploration process.

You earn 3 points if you show evidence of critical evaluation in your work.

Criterion E: Use of Mathematics

Your teacher expects you to produce work that corresponds to the difficulty of the course. The mathematics you examine should either be part of the curriculum or be at a comparable or higher level. It should not rely solely on the mathematics covered in past studies.

You earn 6 points if your assignment features the use of mathematics appropriate to its level. Also, your investigation must be accurate and show extensive knowledge and comprehension of the subject.

20 Math Internal Assessment Topic Ideas for SL Students

Choosing the topic is usually the trickiest part that many IB students struggle with. If you are asking, “what is a good topic for a Math IA” we can help you brainstorm. Here is a list of 20 exciting topics to help you get inspiration:

1. Do BMI scores and national income have a substantial correlation?

2. With Tokyo 2020 quickly approaching, how about simulating changes in record performances for a particular sport?

3. Calculate the severity of a climber's fall based on the distance from the last attachment point.

4. Is there a matching system that guarantees each individual will find his or her one true love?

5. A study of asymmetric information and uncertainty about the future status of the world might make us risk-averse.

6. Does investing significant money during the transfer window result in more points the following season?

7. How much time would it take to guess a password? How much more secure is a password if it contains symbols or numbers?

8. Are there patterns in the numbers that compose a Pythagorean triple?

9. How does Bayesian probability operate in this real-world scenario, and is it possible to add a layer of complexity?

10. Simulate what occurred at Chornobyl, Japan, and the long-term impacts of radioactivity.

11. Demonstrate musical chords and ideas like dissonance.

12. How do pyramid (Ponzi) schemes and con artists rapidly utilize mathematics to become wealthy?

13. Which character combinations are most effective for online security In light of brute force attacks?

14. What is a normal number and its relationship to random number generators?

15. How can we determine which numbers are narcissistic?

16. How to plot Batman and Superman logos graphs using Wolfram Alpha?

17. How well can mathematics anticipate low-probability, high-impact occurrences?

18. How can we use mathematics to anticipate the spread of illnesses like measles in a population?

19. How can we interpret distinct tones using sine waves with varying frequencies?

20. Predicting the result of sporting events is possible using a Poisson model and primary Excel expertise.

Last update: 08.07.2022

Tips to Get a 6 in Math SL Internal Assessment

Mathematical exploration accounts for 20% of your final grade. You must construct a reasonable argument in mathematical writing and draw relevant conclusions.

Your aim should be to get a 6 – or something close to that. Ideally, the best way to get such high points is to:

1. Go Easy on Topic Selection

Many IB students assume that focusing on complex topics guarantee higher score. Unfortunately, the marker won't care whether you choose a simple issue or a complex idea. So don't overthink the topic selection process.

An ideal topic to focus your research on is the one you're interested in because you have the knowledge and strong math skills in that area. In addition to a passion for and personal interest, your selected topic should allow you to develop a focused research question without errors.

Focus on how well you can communicate your selected topic to the target audience. Go beyond the syllabus or subject level if you wish. Just make sure you've done enough research to share your topic well.

2. Meet the Assessment Criteria

Before you start working on your Math SL Internal Assessment, read the assessment criteria to understand what the assignment requires.

Compare your work to the quantifiers specified in the criteria, and make the necessary changes where your assignment doesn't satisfy these quantifiers.

Because many criteria are based on a marker's interpretation, some parts of the assessment document may be relatively vague. Our advice is that you focus on the requirements that are measurable and quantitative.

3. Proofread Your IA Before Submission

You'll deal with raw data and multiple equations in Math SL Internal Assessment. Given how laborious the assignment can get, it's easy to make careless mistakes that can cost you many points.

So, before you submit your IA for grading, proofread it. It helps to have more than one person read your IA and point out the mistakes that may have skipped your eyes.

You can ask a friend in your class for help. Or you can approach someone with more experience in Math and ask them to read your work and help you to identify notation, terminology, and other potential error.

4. Study every day

Study for at least two hours daily to complete the course on time. Doing so will give you sufficient time to review your practice.

Additionally, make time for physical activity. It would be best if you devised a strategy to interact with your friends and family. Doing so will make you less worried about the examination and ensure your emotional and physical health is in good condition.


Math can be exciting, so take this assignment seriously and don’t get intimidated. By the end, you will be surprised to know how you would have broadened your horizons in this subject area. So, consider these tips and topic ideas as a guide for your math IA and nothing can stop you from scoring high grades.

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Last edit at Mar 03 2023

Stefani Holloway

Written by

Stefani Holloway

Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.

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Stefani Holloway

Written by

Stefani Holloway

Stefani is a professional writer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She primarily contributes articles about careers, leadership, business, and writing. Her educational background in family science and journalism has given her a broad base from which to approach many topics. She especially enjoys preparing resumes for individuals who are changing careers.

View all my posts
Enjoy reading?Write for our blog