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How to get a good score on a Biology HL IA?

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Guest Fiorella

I just finished my IA and I noticed I only have 14 pages while most of my peers have about 22...I'm genuinely concerned I should have written more. Though, if I'm being honest I honestly thought I wrote a lot but apparently not as much as the others. I read through the rubric and the lab report format I should follow (which I did) and I think the part where I'm going to miss the most points is DATA PROCESSING just because I gave up on the graphs with excel x.x so I just got an online tool to do it for me lol.

Anyway, so my question is, based on your current or past experience doing this IA what are some advices you can provide me so that I ensure a good quality IA?

Thanks! :)

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-My main advice is to check small details! (and not when you're half asleep!) So make sure all your units are correct, correct number of decimal places (sig figs), uncertainties are calculated correctly.

-Make sure in your conclusion you DO talk about any weird things on the graph (teachers love this) such as the line of best fit not going through (0,0) or any outliers

-DON'T forget headings on all tables and graphs

-Averaging counts as 'Processed data' so make sure you have a table of all the data before it is averaged and before any calculations are made. That will count as your 'raw data'

-In your evaluation make realistic improvements. DON'T say "We could improve this by testing it in zero gravity blah blah blah"

They're the main areas I've lost marks. Don't worry about length too much, it's quality not quantity, I've got good marks on 7-9 page IAs.

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Precision. Cross-reference. Most people lose marks in data processing and presenting processed data because of tiny mistakes, but really, this part is more laborious than mentally challenging. Significant figures, appropriate tables, appropriate graphs, etc. Also, pages give no indication of length. Some people choose to present data differently, and what sometimes took me a page, do them four or five, or vice versa. Follow the IB checklist, look at some sample IAs (which have comments on them) and see what the strengths of the piece is and emulate them/look at the weaknesses and cut those from your own.

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