Jun 05 2019

20 Math Internal Assessment Topic Ideas for IB Standard Level

Stefani Holloway photo Stefani Holloway Content strategist and writer
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Are you an IB student taking Mathematics Standard Level (SL)? Well brace yourself because it is considered to be one of the toughest subjects in the curriculum. The syllabus comprises of 6 topics and students are externally and internally assessed.

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The 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.

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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

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Yes, we understand this can all be very overwhelming. Here are 4 key tips to help you write an impressive math IA.

Choose a Topic of Interest

When you choose a topic that is genuinely of interest to you, it reflects in the final 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 and no, this does not just mean mathematical topics 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 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 5 criteria – Communication, Mathematical Presentation, Personal Engagement, Reflection and Use of mathematics.

Establish a Clear Structure

How well you structure your writing is what 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.


  • Clearly 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 it 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 is not something that can be finished in a couple of hours. In order 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.

20 Math Internal Assessment Topic Ideas for SL Students

Choosing the topic is usually the trickiest part which 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 interesting topics to help you get inspiration:

1. Pascal’s triangle patterns: Fibonacci sequence.

2. Mersenne prime: primes which are written as 2n-1.

3. Magic squares and cubes: the reason behind the working of magic squares.

4. Perfect numbers: the reasons behind a number being a perfect number.

5. Non-Euclidean geometries: Angles in a triangle do not add up to 180 degrees.

6. Soap bubbles minimal surfaces: the assumptions of soap bubbles on the minimum possible surface area.

7. Graphical understanding of complex roots: finding the complex root for a quadratic.

8. Investigations of polygons graphing: finding functions that plots a square.

9. The harmonic series: investigations of the relationship between fractions and music.

10. The reasons behind ‘e’ as the base of the natural logarithm.

11. Area optimization: optimization of areas of various polygons.

12. Black swan events: the use of mathematics in prediction of small probability high impacts events.

13. Correlation: investigating whether mathematics ability is influenced by finger length.

14. Birthday paradox: investigating the probability of two or more people sharing a birthday.

15. Infectious disease modelling: using mathematics to predict the likelihood of a disease spreading in a given area.

16. Modelling Zombies: Investigating how zombies survive.

17. Math and football: determining whether the results of a game are influenced by sacking the manager.

18. Designing a parachute: physics behind the designing of a parachute.

19. Fourier transformations.

20. Plotting planetary patterns: using log graphs to plot the patterns of planets.


Math can be extremely interesting so take this assignment in your stride and don’t get intimidated by it. By the end of it, 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 Sep 26 2021