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“I don’t know what topic to choose.”

“Ughhhh. My teacher says my essay lacks focus.”

“I don’t think these assignments are important, are they?”

Well, if you find those remarks relatable, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about the IA and EE.

Internal Assessment (IA)

What is it?

Anything graded by your teacher is known as an internal assessment. This is opposed to external assessments that are marked by a trained IB marker outside your school. Every subject in the IB has some form of IA. For example, in IB Physics, you conduct an investigation and do a write-up of 6 to 12 pages which is then graded internally.

Does what my teacher say about the assignment matter?

Yes, absolutely. Your teacher will be giving you your final grade, so, it’s really important to follow his/ her advice. Be sure to take notes when you consult your teacher about your IA.

Is my teacher going to mark harshly because she is a strict teacher?

While your teacher would be awarding you the final grade, the IB has some standards in place to make sure students aren’t unfairly graded simply because of strict teachers. One of such method is moderation. An IB external examiner will review a sample of teacher-assessed assignments. This examiner will determine whether the marks are correct. The IB uses Dynamic Sampling:


From the figure above, we see that when the initial sample of a teacher’s mark is deemed harsh or lenient, the IB would require further samples of work and adjust the grades.

Is the IA even important?

Of course, it is! Students tend to place a much greater emphasis and effort on the external assessments, sometimes neglecting IAs. However, the IA is as important as the external exams. Here’s why: both internal and external assessments contribute to your final grade. Internal assessments typically contribute between 20-30% of the subject assessment grade, but for some courses, the IA can contribute up to 50%.

Covid-related update:

Since COVID has transformed the face of the world as we know it and since safe examinations are still a concern, ‘the IB has confirmed that it will offer a dual-route for the May 2021 Diploma Programme and Career-related Programme examination session.’ What does this mean? According to its official website, the IB is currently in discussion with schools in different parts of the world to determine “which of the two pathways is best for their region: written examinations, where they can be administered safely, or an alternative route using a combination of internal assessment coursework and teacher-predicted grades, where they can’t.”

At the time of writing this article, the news we have is that “roughly 71% schools (61% of students) have indicated that they will be able to administer the exams”.

Extended Essay (EE)

What is it?

It’s a long piece of writing (4,000 words max) on a topic of your choosing. It is a research paper that allows you to explore an academic area that you have an interest in. All extended essays are graded by an external IBO examiner.

How many hours should I spend on my EE?

The IB recommends spending about 40 hours on your EE. Of course, these 40 hours are spread out over your IB journey.

How is it assessed?

All extended essays are assessed by external examiners appointed by the IB. They are marked on a scale from 0 to 34:

  • Focus and method – 6 marks
  • Knowledge and understanding – 6 marks
  • Critical thinking – 12 marks
  • Presentation – 4 marks
  • Engagement – 6 marks

The score a student receives relates to a band. The bands are:

  • A – work of an excellent standard
  • B – work of a good standard
  • C –work of a satisfactory standard
  • D – work of a mediocre standard
  • E – work of an elementary standard

Is the EE even important?

YES! The EE and TOK are awarded individual grades and can collectively contribute to 3 points towards your overall diploma score.

Need Help With The IA or EE?

IA typically contributes between 20-30% of the subject assessment grade, while EE, a component of the DP core, collectively contribute up to 3 additional points towards the overall diploma score. Find out how Prep Zone Academy’s expert IB trainers can help with your IA or EE!

For further inquiries, contact us at +65 6812 9999.


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Michelle S.

Author Michelle S.

Michelle is an experienced English Language Trainer. Prior to joining Prep Zone, Michelle taught in Inti International College, Malaysia. She has been teaching English to foreign learners for over ten years. Her background includes teaching Technical English, Writing Skills, Public Speaking, IELTS, TOEFL, IGCSE, IB and GCSE O/A-Level.

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