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How to Structure and Format Your Math IA

IB Maths is a struggle for most people going through their diploma. To make matters worse, on top of just doing the dreaded maths exam, we’re also expected to write a Math IA exploration into a topic of our choice! Where do you even begin such a task? The structure and format!

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Like almost all of your internal assessments, your Math IA has to begin with a super clear introduction that sets the context for your exploration and what you aim to find out. This is a great place to show your ‘personal engagement’ with the topic you’ve chosen. ‘Why are you particularly interested in this topic?’, ‘is it relevant to any specific part of your life?’, ‘do you have any prior knowledge about this topic?’.  After establishing your personal engagement with the topic, clearly state the aim of your exploration. What are you trying to achieve and how will you arrive at an answer to your question?


Following this, the body of your exploration should focus on the particular topic you have chosen to investigate and the relevant mathematical material that will help answer or address the intended aim of the work. A really key point to consider is the level and clarity of Maths you use - the IB rewards a lot of marks for the use and communication of Mathematics so keep this in mind when you start writing your Math IA up!  For more info on how to actually write the exploration, check out our full Math IA Guide!


As with all assessments, you also need to include a solid conclusion that summarises the research and work you’ve done. What conclusions did you reach, and did you succeed in exploring the aim that you set out at the beginning of the IA! Importantly, make sure to also discuss some of the challenges in your IA and what you would/could explore with more time and more words. Finally, zoom out and think about the further implications of your study. Did your learning affect your life in any way, or how might it affect the lives of others? 

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There is no specific word count for your Math IA, but the IB advises that the exploration should be around 12-20 pages long


There are no specific requirements on which font you should use, but going with Arial or Times New Roman at 12pt is generally recommended. It should be written with double line spacing. The IA may either be written in a word processing software (like Microsoft Word or Pages), or it can be handwritten! We would recommend using a word processing software for clarity, though.

Diagrams and Graphs:

Relevant graphs, tables, and diagrams should be included throughout your exploration. Do not place these simply as appendices at the end of the essay. Make sure that your diagrams and graphs are all fully and clearly labeled in order to ensure that the examiner knows what they’re looking at!

Bibliography and Citations:

Your report should include a full bibliography with all sources you used and referenced throughout your essay. This bibliography should be attached to the end of your report. In addition to a bibliography at the end, all direct quotes must be acknowledged throughout your essay. 


If you have additional relevant information, whether that be in the form of graphs, tables, diagrams, or anything else, you may attach it as appendices to the documents if you so choose. Appendices are specifically useful to include information on data sets, graphs that show additional interesting information, or other content that you needed to remove to stay under the 20-page limit! 

So there we have it, a comprehensive introduction regarding how to structure and format your Math IA! We hope this will give you the push you need to realise your potential! If you need a bit more of a boost...

Check Out 50 IB Maths IA Topics!

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