The International Baccalaureate (IB) Math Internal Assessment (IA) plays a critical role in the success of your IB Program. It tests students' understanding of various math concepts and their ability to analyze, investigate, and communicate their findings.

The Math IA papers are assessed by IB examiners, and they carry a significant weightage in the final score. To score well on the paper, you need to avoid some common pitfalls that often lead to grade deductions.

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How do you get a 7 on math IA?

The first thing to o to get a 7 on Math IA is to choose your topic wisely. Choose a topic that interests you, and you can apply the math concepts practically.

Second, ensure you clearly understand the rubric. Follow the rubric and ensure you meet each criterion. Thirdly, make use of graphics, charts, and diagrams wherever possible. The more visual representations you have, the easier the examiner can comprehend your work.

What is a good score for a math IA?

A good score for a math IA paper is typically considered between 17-20 out of 20. However, it’s important to note that the IB grading system is based on a holistic approach that considers various criteria, such as mathematical communication, exploration, and reflection. Therefore, you can score lower on some criteria but still achieve a good overall score if you excel in other areas.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss eleven common IB Math IA mistakes students should avoid to get the best score possible.

1. Choosing a topic that’s too complex for you

One mistake students commonly make in their Math IAs is biting off more than they can chew. This means they choose a topic that is too complex for their level of mathematical proficiency.

When you choose a complex Math IA topic for your paper, you may struggle to understand the concepts you are researching. This could lead to a poorly written and poorly executed IA paper.

To avoid this mistake, always choose a topic you are familiar with and have a good grasp of the mathematical concepts involved. Ensure your topic is challenging enough but not so challenging that it becomes unmanageable. That way, you won’t have to crack your head when you start writing your paper.

Can I change my topic midway through the Math IA?

Ideally, you should avoid changing your topic midway through the Math IA. However, if you feel that your current topic is not working out or is too challenging, it’s okay to change it. But remember changing the topic can lead to further delays and put more pressure on you.

2. Having a poorly-formulated research question

To write a successful Math IA, you must have a clear and well-formulated research question. 

Without a good research question, your IA will lack direction and focus. You’ll find yourself rambling and presenting irrelevant information, leading to a poor grade.

When formulating your research question, make sure it’s clear and specific and aligns with your chosen topic.

Once you’ve chosen your research question, use it as a guide throughout your IA, ensuring that you stay on track and present a clear argument.

3. Failing to organize your thoughts

Math IA papers can be complex and require significant planning and organization. Failing to organize your thoughts before you begin writing can result in a paper that’s difficult to understand and lacks clarity.

Before you begin writing, take the time to map out your ideas. This can include creating an outline or flowchart that maps out the structure of your paper.

By doing so, you'll be able to ensure that your ideas are presented cohesively and that your paper has a logical process flow. Organizing your thoughts upfront will also save you time in the long run.

4. Submitting inaccurate results and conclusions

Inaccurate mathematical results and conclusions are common mistakes that make students lose marks in their Math IAs. If you’re not keen on your calculation, you may introduce errors that will give you the wrong result and conclusion in the end.

To avoid this, ensure you double-check all your calculations and that you’re using the correct formulas before submitting.

Also, when presenting your results and conclusions, ensure they are grounded in solid evidence and are consistent with the mathematical operations you’ve performed.

5. Misusing technical terminology

Mathematics is a technical subject, and using terminology incorrectly can lead to confusion and errors in the data. Many students make the mistake of using jargon without precise definitions or confusing the terms.

For example, using terms like ‘causation’ instead of ‘correlation’ is incorrect. It is also not appropriate to use words like 'significant' since this term has a specific meaning in math. The term must only be used while doing significant testing.

To avoid this mistake, use technical terms only where needed, provide precise definitions, and ensure they are consistent throughout your IA paper.

Always make sure you understand the meaning of each term before using it. Using precise language will help clarify your argument and make your IA more professional and polished.

6. Presenting poorly labeled or formatted graphs

Graphs and charts are essential in math IA papers because they help visualize the findings and make them easier to comprehend.

However, failing to label and format them correctly can lead to confusion and misunderstandings. The axis should be labeled appropriately, and they should include units. When any measurement is included, such as time, distance, and volume, the uncertainty should also be included.

Graphs should have a detailed caption and title which contains both the variables and content of the graph. Additionally, they should have consistent formatting throughout the exploration. The color, guidelines, scale, and font should be consistent.

To summarize, ensure your graphs have
  • Clearly labeled axes;
  • Concise title;
  • Accurate legend;
  • Units of measurement;
  • Readable;
  • Consistent scaling, fonts, and colors.

7. Writing poorly-formatted equations

Equations are a crucial aspect of the Math IA paper and should be presented clearly and accurately. Students sometimes make the mistake of presenting equations in a confusing and poorly formatted manner. This can make it difficult for readers to understand and follow the calculations.

To avoid this, ensure your equations are typed or written neatly and accurately. Use formatting tools such as superscripts, subscripts, and mathematical symbols to present your equations clearly.

Also, use appropriate units for each variable, and ensure the variables are clearly defined. Always double-check your calculations to avoid any errors.

8. Inadequate explanations and interpretations

The IB Math IA paper assesses students' ability to analyze and interpret the data and make informed conclusions. However, failing to provide adequate explanations and interpretations of the findings can lead to a mark deduction. Therefore, it is essential to provide detailed explanations of the methodology used and the calculations performed.

Additionally, ensure you analyze and interpret the data correctly and that your conclusions are supported by evidence.

9. Using outdated or inaccurate research materials

Research is an integral part of the IB Math IA paper. The validity of your Math IA paper depends on the accuracy and relevance of the research materials you use.

Using outdated or inaccurate research materials can provide inaccurate results and conclusions and affect the overall quality of your paper.

To avoid this mistake, ensure you use relevant and up-to-date research materials for your investigation. Where possible, use primary sources and ensure that your sources are reliable and peer-reviewed.

10. Failing to proofread

Another mistake to avoid before submitting your paper is failing to revise and proofread. This can result in minor errors that could easily be corrected with a quick review.

Some of the most common errors in math IA papers include arithmetic errors, formatting issues, and typos. Your examiner will likely deduct some marks whenever they encounter any of these errors. Fortunately, these can all be avoided by taking the time to carefully check your work before submitting it.

You can start by taking a break from your work and coming back to it with fresh eyes. Take note of any errors, and correct them as you go.

11. Failing to cite all sources of information used

Finally, don’t forget to properly cite the relevant sources used in your Math IA paper. Failing to cite sources can result in plagiarism, which can have serious consequences.

When you use information from outside sources such as a website or book, be sure to cite it properly in your paper.

Citing sources ensures that the work you're presenting is your own and gives credit to the original author or creator. It also protects you from potential plagiarism accusations. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution and include a citation.

Key takeaway

The IB Math IA paper is a demanding but rewarding task that requires commitment, hard work, and a clear understanding of the criteria. Though it can be challenging, it’s a great opportunity to showcase your mathematical skills and knowledge.

A smart approach to writing the best Math IA paper is to be aware of the mistakes you should avoid. Many students lose marks and end up scoring below average due to such common mistakes.

However, with enough preparation and attention to detail, you can produce a high-quality paper to impress your instructors and boost your overall IB grade.

If you get stuck with your IA, you can always get help from Writers Per Hour. Our math IA writing service can help you with your Standard Level (SL) and High Level (HL) IB level IA. Their subject-matter expertise combined with knowledge of IB grading criteria makes them well-suited to submit a 100% original, custom-written IA paper on time.

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Achieve Academic Success with Expert Assistance!

Custom Essays:

Crafted from Scratch for You.

Plagiarism Removal:

Ensuring Your Work’s Originality.

Rewriting & Paraphrasing:

Transform Your Draft into Excellence.

Editing & Proofreading:

Perfecting Your Paper’s Grammar, Style, and Format (APA, MLA, etc.).