Table of content
IB Physics IA is more than just E = mc2. It is about opening the door to a completely different world of experiments, errors, and uncertainties. So, grip tight!
With a great IB, the course comes significant IA responsibilities. Good thing you have Nail IB with you.
IB Physics is globally recognized as among the most difficult introductory physics courses available. A high ranking in your Physics IA is necessary to earn excellent grades and may significantly lessen the burden on your final examinations.
Considering two years' worth of cognitively challenging material, innumerable old problems to consider, and assessors aiming to test the limits of your understanding.
This guide is disguised as your saving grace and will explain how you can choose your topics, conduct phenomenal research, and maximize your marks in each category to get a flawless 24/24 on your Physics IA.
IB Physics IA Rubric & Criteria
Before you’re knees deep into your IB Physics IA essay, knowing how and on what you will be marked is essential.
Criteria A (Personal Engagement)
Although this is a very minor component of your IB Physics IA, it nonetheless accounts for about 10% of your final grade. The IB topic reports state that the greatest ways to show active relationships are through your approach, the breadth of your data gathering, and the depth of your research. A brief description explaining your sincere fascination with the topic and the thinking process behind your test concept is excellent, but it shouldn't be over a few words long.
- Don't include a section named "personal interest" at the start of your IA
- Don't write a lengthy justification for your purported fascination with the subject.
Criteria B (Exploration)
We advise drafting a short summary at the start of your IA since it is the very first paragraph the examiner will see. This summary should outline the relationship between variables, a quick overview of methods, and your findings, to receive full points in this section. Your examiner would like to have all of it spelt out for them at the front so they can simply follow your study; they don't sit tight to be startled by the outcomes at the conclusion. The abstract shouldn't be more than one paragraph or about three to four lines.
Your introduction comes next. Here you should outline any particulars of your personal participation and the train of thinking that brought you to this topic. Your well-defined research topic should be stated at the conclusion of your introduction.
Your background of the study follows the introduction. Find all physics principles, dynamics, formulas, and theorems relevant to your IA and start building from there. For information that extends past your IA, you may cite outside sources. Your hypothesis, which must rationally emerge from your background studies, should be presented at the conclusion of this.
Your section on methods comes next. An equipment list containing exact measurements for the lengths, weights, and specifications of the equipment, as well as a thorough methodology that describes each step of your IA, are crucial components of the methodology. An ideal methodology should consist of the following:
- A picture of your experimental procedure,
- A scientific layout with labels for your experimental investigation,
- A record of variables comprising independent, dependent, and controlled variables
- A list of controlled variables describing the variable, the justification for its need for control, and the method you're using to do so.
Criteria C (Analysis)
This is possibly the most significant component of your physics IA. It is important to have adequate data to conduct a successful analysis; you ought to have a minimum of five trials for each increase of the independent variable and a minimum of seven distinct increases of your independent variable. Of course, you are under no need to display any of these if doing so will occupy an excessive amount of space in your IA. If so, provide a few expected outcomes and analyses at various scales while making it appear that the same procedure was followed to obtain further results. Although the grading rubric suggests that both qualitative and quantitative assessments are necessary, your IB Physics IA should lean more heavily towards quantitative analysis. Only describe any changes that have to be addressed in your study or any unforeseen outcomes in the qualitative discussion.
Additionally, be careful to bear in mind the need for your data to be documented accurately. Your equipment's setup often dictates this. You should also account for operator error. Analysis of uncertainty is useful in such situations.
In this criterion, comprehensive uncertainty analysis can determine the distinction between a 4 and a 6. Almost all potential sources of uncertainty need to be mentioned, even if your analyses show that they have little impact. Examiners will be happy if you have considered this since it shows careful consideration of each and every detail of your research. It is also helpful to remember the criteria for substantial numbers in uncertainties and the transmission of uncertainty, both of which may be stated close to the start of any IB Physics book. Again, present a sample calculation and mention that the exact approach was applied to other sections if there isn't the sufficient capacity to display all transmission calculations. Even little uncertainties on charts must always be shown with error bars. Your analysis needs to include enough information, careful thought, and an explanation of the causes and spread of all uncertainty.
Despite the fact that this is a matter of personal opinion and since other professors recommend various structures, we suggest you offer my findings after the discussion and review. The conclusion should be a succinct statement that serves as a response to your research topic and would either confirms or rejects your hypothesis.
Criteria D (Evaluation)
Your analysis and evaluation grades are strongly connected. You will already be doing well in this section if you've covered the causes and spread of uncertainty across the outcomes analysis!
To complete and receive the highest grade, you must review the causes of error, distinguish between arbitrary and purposeful errors, and accept that each can be reduced or avoided by changing the approach or conducting more trials.
Nevertheless, this could be an elective instead of a required extension. More experienced students may explore the prevalence of error and see if it fits an almost assumed normality or is biased towards the core or to either extremity.
Explain the reliability of your experiment as well. This is based on how effectively you managed your variables. To establish the causal relationship between the two, you must demonstrate that just about any changes in your predictor variables were entirely brought about by the independent variable's changes. There should additionally be a mention of accuracy, but it needs to be more condensed than examining legitimacy.
It would be best if you then elaborate on any potential modifications or advancements to your process. These shouldn't be unrealistic, although they should be based on any difficulties or problems you encountered during your IA. Don't try to make everything seem beautiful the first time; it almost never is. Instead, please talk about the challenges you faced and what you'd do to solve them in the long term. These need to be divided into solid highlighted points aimed at arbitrary or systematic causes of error since they are frequently connected to your drivers of mistake.
Criteria E (Communication)
Although this criterion only carries a score of 4, your assessors will be better able to gauge the depth of your research, analysis, and assessment if your IA is clear and simple to understand. A clear framework is essential.
PRO TIP - Present your IA to both physicists (such as your instructor, former students, and tutors) and non-physicists (such as your friends or family members), depending on their level of physics knowledge. You're on course for a 4/4 in the Communication criteria if everyone can follow the logic of your IA, even though they don't comprehend the physics.
Before You Commence (Physics IA Checklist)
Before you grab your data and jump right into writing the essay, here are some things we suggest ticking off on your to-do as they'll come in handy!
Settling Down on the Right Physics IA Topic
This is the first and most crucial choice regarding your IB Physics IA. Ensure that you give your topic lots of thought because it might decide the outcome of your inquiry.
Numerous students become preoccupied with the "personal involvement" portion of the evaluation. They believe that to do well, they must discover a subject that is directly connected to their daily lives. However, remember that this merely accounts for 8% of your final mark and that you have many other possibilities to demonstrate personal participation.
There are many more factors to choosing a topic than just one. All of those are briefly covered in our blog on IB Physics IA topic ideas. Here, we've covered pretty much everything you need to consider before picking your Physics IA topic, along with giving you some of the best IB Physics IA ideas one can explore. So, remember to check that space out!
Shaping Your IB Physics IA Experiment
Whatever research question you decide on, you must have the tools at your disposal to carry out the experiment. Thus, it is beneficial to write down your experiment design strategy with as much information as possible.
While being inventive is fun, try your best to plan your setup to ensure that the experiment may be carried out in your school or a typical classroom. Conducting a 7/7 investigation could be more challenging if you require specific accommodations.
At this point, be as specific as possible about the data you will capture and how you plan to gather it. If you discover that you need more tools to carry out your experiment, your IB Physics IA topic could be too complex. Go back to step 1 and look for something different. However, in the past, we have seen schools supporting students with external science labs and helping them with their research.
However, it will require more of your time for your Physics IA, don't ever forget, even if you love IB Physics, you are responsible for 5 more IAs; time management is crucial and is a core necessity for an IB student, so please don't go GAGA over a single subject!!!! [CAN'T EMPHASIZE MORE ON THIS FACT]
After creating a solid experiment, you must carry it out!
The main goal of data capturing is maintaining organization. Record all the data you collect, taking into account any control factors like heat, etc. Perform the experiment again when you've finished! Your random mistakes will decrease if you perform your experiment more frequently. Five repetitions ought to be the bare minimum for a brief trial. It's crucial to ensure that all repetitions are performed under identical/constant circumstances.
Measuring the uncertainties
Your experiment(s) will undoubtedly contain certain systematic flaws and sampling errors; therefore, you must spot them.
Your gear may be the source of the systematic inaccuracies. For instance, if you utilize a stopwatch or another digital metre, it will always have an inherent error of 1 on the final digit. They might also result from your research methodology. Consider if there are any extra ambiguities in your samples that might be attributed to "human" variables like response delays.
Do It The Right Way
The only way to minimize random mistakes, on the contrary side, which is unrelated to your tools or methods, is to do the experiment again. The inaccuracies result from variations in the number logged, but what you really require is the mean payout over time. Hence, in order to obtain the most accurate estimate, you must average numerous tests; your random error is obtained by dividing the measurement range by 1⁄2.
Make a linear graph and draw the result.
It's important to see if the connection you're seeking to test genuinely holds up after receiving your findings with uncertainty. In order to accomplish this, a linear graph is the simplest method. While it is feasible to complete this task manually, using quantitative information technology tools will yield a more accurate answer. You could get this from your school, but if not, Google Spreadsheets do wonders!
Tip: The altered variables must be proportionate to one another, that is, spaced by a constant amount.
So how would you determine whether or not the connection exists intact once the finest line has been created?
Looking at your linear fit variables, or your graph's inclination angle and the y-intercept, is a useful approach to accomplish this in physics. This is because these are connected to physical constants, making it possible to determine how well they match your expectations.
The part of your assessment, which accounts for 25% of your final grade, is among the experiment's most crucial steps after all the actual work for the study is completed.
Here, you may take stock of what you've accomplished and think back on it all, highlighting significant outcomes and potential mistakes along the way.
Your graph's slope might as well have allowed you to determine the value of any undetermined numeric value. Match this against what you anticipate it to be as a crucial component of your judgment.
Psst! Refrain from fretting if your result differs significantly from the actual value. In reality, you may get a tonne of points by carefully examining how and why you arrived at the incorrect conclusion. Use your imagination as you re-examine your experimental design and methodology to hunt for potential causes of the mistake.
IB Physics IA Structure
Now that you know the bases on which your IA will be marked, let us help you out with how to structure the essay. We’ve covered the main aspects in the previous section hence we’ll simply give the main structure heads here so as to give you a sense of direction.
- Research Question
- Theory and Hypothesis
- Raw Data
- Processed Data
- Analysis and Conclusion
Break your IB Physics IA essay into these 13 sub-heads to make things easy not just for yourself but also for your grades! Need extra tips on how to ace this baby? Important Tips For A Good Grade in IB Physics IA is the right space for you with the best of notes at your disposal.
Things To Keep An Eye Out In The IB Physics IA
Your essay should have a distinct introduction, body, and conclusion while also being well-organized.
You should include some history of the experiment directly, how you proposed the idea, and why you find this field of study intriguing in the opening, which ought to be brief. You may also provide some conceptual framework for the relationship you are examining here.
The conceptual framework, sampling methodology, findings, analysis, and assessment should all have their own parts in the main structure, assuming they are not already included in the opening.
Additionally, it could be beneficial to divide the "analysis" portion into two parts: one dedicated to the actual computation of the conclusion and the other for error analysis.
You should include recommendations on how the study may be enhanced or prolonged in the conclusion section to produce better results for the fictitious researcher who will undertake it next. When you're doing this, try to be rational; merely claiming something like "advanced devices" or "good skill" won't cut it. Instead, consider what you might have done differently if you had to redo the experiment.
Although there isn't a set word limit for your Physics IA, the IB suggests that the essay should be between 6 to 12 pages. As a result, be sure to pay attention to your content.
Anyone may feel too anxious before taking the IB Physics IA since it is undoubtedly a significant assignment. Following the advice given above should, in our opinion, make you feel calmer and more confident that you are doing morally. Consider this guide a complete checklist as the foundation for your IB Physics IA.
We have a group of knowledgeable IB resources that can assist you with planning, organizing, and completing your courses. If you're interested in receiving further help with your IAs and IB course, discover Nail IB for the goldmine it is and register here!
More importantly, remember to have fun throughout the process.
It might come off as tedious but in reality, is just as fun and experimental.
If you are ever in doubt or feel stuck, please feel free to reach out to Zoé at email@example.com, and she will reply to all your questions ASAP!!