Physics IA is one of many daunting challenges in the International Baccalaureate, requiring extreme diligence, a lot of effort to accomplish, and no room for messing up.

If this has been giving you trouble, we share some quick tips and tricks you can consider while revising for your exams. This article shares three crucial tips for those determined to score high on their IA and given consistency, we are sure that you will see improvements in your grades as well.

1. Choosing a topic that allows you to expand fully on

Coming up with a topic is arguably one of the most difficult tasks students must overcome. It is best to choose a topic that lets you gather plenty of primary data as well as a scope for researching secondary data that shall aid in proving or disproving your hypothesis.

Setting up an experiment is the best way to collect primary data. Thankfully, there are many specific topics in Physics that you can design and perform an experiment on with ease. Below is a breakdown between experiment-based topics and simulation-based topics


● Offers a better understanding of the concept, resulting in compiling a better report
● Gives more content to write on in your investigations due to scope left for human error
● Manual collection of data via observation and documentation
● Wide range of data output due to constantly changing variables arising from exogenous factors


● Software produces precise data
● Enables the investigation of more complex topics. Supported by proper guidance, gathered data will prove to be accurate
● Easier data collection due to software handling most of the brunt of recording and compilation of data
● Smaller range of data due to precision and resistance to influence from any exogenous factors

2. Be aware of the marking criteria to better plan how you write

IB utilises an extensive marking criteria that are based on several key factors with different weightages. Once you are aware of these marking criterias, you then can better plan your write-up which might be beneficial given the limited timeframe you have in the examination. The marking criteria are as followed:

● Personalised engagement (8%) – This is to assess how you develop your research and make it your own. It involves factors such as creativity, independent thinking, and result presentation.
● Communication (17%) – This is to assess if your research presentation effictively supports the area of focus
● Analysis (25%) – This evaluates how your analysis links the IA Physics topic to the conclusion your research has derived
● Exploration (25%) – This allows the examiner to understand the premise of your research, the techniques and concepts that your research utilises, and also if you have put into consideration the aspects of safety, ethic, and the environment.
● Evaluation (25%) – This is the last stage of evaluation. It is the checking of your results and whether it is in sync with the IA Physics topic and if it is scientifically sound.

3. Get The Right Inspiration

At its core, IB aims to make students gain an increased awareness and sensitivity to the issues around them and those affecting the world. Thus, taking inspiration from a relevant world problem may help increase your chances of scoring high on your IA. That said, this is not always so simple since finding an issue and setting up an experiment around it is easier said than done.

One way to get around this difficulty is by approaching it backward - think of topics that interest you most and look for issues related to them. A vague example would be if, for instance, you are interested in thermal physics. Global warming and the melting of the glaciers serve as a relevant world issue related to this, and you could develop a hypothesis as to how to increase the specific heat capacity of the poles.


Overall, scoring well on your Physics IA will require you to creatively think outside of the box to come up with a suitable topic. Hopefully, the contents of this article have provided you with helpful info on tackling your IA, and you will be able to apply it consistently to see great results.

For any extra help, enrolling in IB tuition online is the best way to get the mentorship and assistance you need. Our excellent tutors will go through various practice papers with you, running through your ideas to ensure that your theoretical and practical knowledge is up to par. Lastly, do not forget to do some final IA checks to polish your Physics IA after completing it and we are sure you will score well too.