A Comprehensive Guide To Picking The Best IA Math Topic

09 Feb 2023

If you’re currently taking IB Maths, you’ll know that the IB Maths IA (Internal Assessment) accounts for exactly 20% of your total grade. Performing well can mean all but securing a good grade before you even sit down to take your exam. So, it’s no wonder students spend so much time carefully choosing the best Maths IA topic.

Unfortunately, choosing a topic can be quite the struggle, especially if you have little to no experience doing so. That’s why we’ve compiled all the essential tips you’ll need before making this momentous decision. Keep reading to learn how to pick the topic that will optimise your chances of getting the best grade possible.

1. Speak to your teacher for guidance

If you’re struggling to choose an appropriate topic for your Mathematics IA, your teacher is the best person to consult. They have a deep understanding of your abilities and areas that require improvement, as well as an awareness of what the IB Program expects. Furthermore, your teacher needs to approve the topic before you can embark on writing your IB Math IA.

However, it’s essential that you do your own research and generate a few topic ideas before speaking with your teacher. The IB assessment guidelines limit the extent of assistance that your teacher can offer. While they can review and provide informal feedback on your topic, they cannot provide additional help beyond that.

2. Do research

Conducting thorough research is a critical step in choosing the perfect topic for your IB Mathematics IA. This will not only make sure that you are passionate about the topic but also ensure that you have enough information to write a comprehensive essay. To get started, visit the library or search online for articles and books related to your chosen topic. Additionally, reviewing previous exemplar Mathematics IAs can provide you with inspiration and give you an understanding of what is expected of you in your own essay.

3. Select a topic that sparks your interest

When writing your Math IA, you have the opportunity to delve into a mathematical concept from a real world perspective. It’s crucial to choose a topic that you find engaging as it will allow you to better understand the application of mathematical concepts. If you have an interest in mathematical modeling, consider a topic like “Modeling population growth.” If statistics pique your interest, “An investigation of the effects of different genres of music on memory recall” could be a great choice. If you’re a fan of geometry, consider exploring topics like “Finding the optimal packing shape for drink containers.”

4. Ensure your topic is meets the assessment criteria

Before finalising your Math IA topic, it’s important to make sure it meets the assessment criteria set by the IB program. This means conducting thorough research to ensure the topic is both feasible and aligns with the criteria that your teacher and the IB examiner will use when grading your work.

It’s crucial to choose a topic that you can write a 12-20 page report on, while also considering real-world application and complexity. A topic that is too descriptive with little practicality, or too complex for your current mathematical knowledge, will not be suitable for the IA.

IA important rubric requirements

Now, let’s delve into the crucial rubric requirements outlined by the IB for a successful Mathematics IA:

Mathematical Presentation (0-4):

To receive the full 4 marks, ensure your IA has a coherent structure with clear explanations. Break down the IA into sections: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion.

– Section 1: Introduction

Clearly state the why, what, and how of your chosen topic.
Engage personally with the topic to satisfy the requirement.
Define the objective for your IA and explain your aim explicitly.

– Section 2: Body – Theory & Calculation

Provide relevant theory needed to reach a conclusion.
Explain the method chosen and its relevance.
Include all formulae, assumptions, and calculations with clear explanations.

– Section 3: Reflection, Conclusion, and Bibliography

Conclude in a clear, concise, and coherent manner.
Relate results and implications to the aim raised in the introduction.
Include substantial reflection throughout, addressing limitations, strengths, weaknesses, and future research questions.
Provide a detailed bibliography.

Mathematical communication:

– Assess the student’s ability to organise research and findings coherently.
– Evaluate the fluency of mathematical language through notation, universally accepted symbols, and appropriate terminology.

Personal engagement:

– Assess the student’s ability to make the Mathematics their own by infusing creativity and developing an independent understanding of the topic.
– Encourage students to discuss challenges, feelings, and emphasise the mathematical concepts learned during the investigative process.

Use of Mathematics:

– Assess how well a student uses Mathematics in the exploration.
– Encourage simplicity, precision, and clarity.
– For HL, expect a higher level of precision, sophistication, and rigour in exploring complex concepts.

5. Get help when needed

Consider working with a qualified tutor if you’re having trouble coming up with a solid topic for the upcoming Math IA or require assistance with any other aspect of the assignment. Our tutors at IB Super have unparalleled expertise working with students on their IB Mathematics IA and can offer helpful and insightful direction and support. Additionally, you can gain access to better resources and more effective methods of data gathering and analysis from them.


Choosing the ideal topic for your IB Math IA is a critical aspect of securing a high score. However, with the help of experienced and dedicated IB Math tutors in Singapore, the process can be made much smoother and more enjoyable. At IB Super, our tutors are committed to supporting students like you in reaching their full potential in this crucial assessment. With their expertise and guidance, you’ll have the necessary tools to succeed. Don’t wait – contact us today and embark on the journey towards your best possible score!

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