IA and EE Ideas and Tips
Internal Assessments (IA)
In Physics, the Internal Assessment constitutes 20% of your final IB grade, so it's worth getting it right.
The IB are looking for a number of key skills and competencies to be assessed through the report, with a particular emphasis on the following areas:
Typically, the IA is marked and assessed by your teacher against a standard set of criteria. A sample from each school will then be sent off to the IB, who will moderate the cohort (assessing the fairness of teacher marking from a particular school, then scaling all IAs from that school up or down if necessary). Overall, this does mean that the marking of the IA is a little formulaic - following a standard set of marking criteria set by the IB. However, if you use these marking criteria to guide you as you complete your report, you can maximise your chances of achieving a strong grade.
What should I consider when choosing an IA topic?
It is always useful to start with an area of particular interest to you, and to go from there. Perhaps you play a sport or a musical instrument? Maybe you enjoy electronics and have ambitions to study engineering at university.
Overall, the IA title should be structured in a form such that "How does x- affect y-", so you should choose a topic with an easily quantifiable dependent and independent variable (e.g. 'how does temperature of a squash ball affect rebound height' - both height and temperature are easy to quantify).
As the IA marking criteria assesses your ability to analyse data, it is worth thinking beforehand about whether the relationship is likely to follow a predictable trend.
Extended Essay (EE)
The Extended Essay counts towards your IB Core Points (maximum 3) along with your ToK. You can choose to complete your EE in whichever subject you choose.
Physics EEs need not necessarily be practical, though the majority are.
If a Practical EE is chosen, these tend to form a similar format to the IA - however the general expectation is that the analysis should be a little more in depth and rigorous.
You will be assigned an Extended Essay supervisor to offer guidance throughout the EE process, as part of which they are permitted to mark one draft of your EE. It is important that the first draft submitted is of a good standard, such that you are able to make the most of the feedback recommended by your teacher. The final grade however is determined by the IB - all EEs are sent off to the exam board and marked individually.