IB Presentations Part 2 – Preliminary Research and Time Management

In this second part of our IB Presentations series, we will be discussing the two first things you need to be talking about when it comes to your presentations: preliminary research and time management.

As you know, every IB student is assessed through presentations at some point. Obviously a ‘Great IB Presentation’ is one that gets you top marks! But how does that happen? Below, we will look at the first two things you will think about when you start working on your IB presentation.


1) Preliminary Research

First things first, we need to figure out what your presentation is going to be about. Now, in some classes you may be given a specific question: ‘talk about the use of nature imagery in Macbeth’. In other classes you might have to think up a topic yourself. This can be especially difficult in subjects like ToK, when your choices can be very broad.

Here’s how to go about finding suitable material present:

  • Google around the question: Check online resources like wikipedia and articles that relate to your subject. This shouldn’t be too stressful, you’re just figuring out what might be interesting to talk about.
  • Ask your teachers: Teachers love helping you and will be very happy if you head back after class to ask for ideas. Work with them to find something that you both find interesting and then to find valuable resources that they know about.
  • Look at what other students have done: Ask your teacher what other students have talked about before and what resources they used. Ask your classmates what they’re going to present on where they’re finding information. The key here is to help each other.

These tips should get you started finding useful information and improving your area of research.

A future article will provide a lot more information about how to use this information to create a plan.

2) Manage Your Time

Time is always your most valuable resource in the IB, and even more so when it comes to presentations. You have basically two situations where you need to manage your time. You must manage your preparation timeline and manage time during the presentation. But how?

Planning for the Presentation

Usually, with your important IB presentations, you are given a good amount of time to prepare. But sometimes you may not have long. If you have a long time you might find it hard to get started until the last minute. If you have a short time you might find things stressful. Either way don’t panic. Instead, do the following:

  • Write out what you need to do for the presentation (research, slides etc.)
  • Grab a calendar and plan to do work each day to prepare these things
  • Adjust your calendar as your tasks change but make sure you plan ahead


Your textbook and teachers are really useful when trying to develop the deeper knowledge needed to present. Don’t forget that, to teach someone else about something, you must really understand that thing yourself.

Timing During the Presentation

Here are our top tips for managing your presentation timing:

  • Go slowly and be clear: do not try to stuff the entire textbook in there. It is better to make sure you are clear and convincing than trying to say everything. If you want to include more information, why not provide a handout?
  • Practice your presentation timing especially if you are in a group. Everyone should be able to deliver their content in exactly the right amount of time. If you are short on time the last person will lose out. Don’t allow this. Don’t let people overrun.
  • Make sure the most important information gets the most time. Be wary of giving too much context, especially in subjects like ToK.

These ideas should give you a starting point for your IB presentation. You should be able to put together a basic calendar and do some preliminary research to give yourself an idea of what you are (and are not) going to talk about in your presentation. In the next instalment of this series we’re going to talk about making sure your content is relevant and will get you those IB points. We’re also going to discuss how you should structure your IB presentation.

Read Part 3: Including Awesome Content and Keeping Things Logical


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