Top 5 Tips for Writing Up IAs

With the final year of IB comes IA deadlines! As you move into your last year of high school, you can expect your teachers to ask about your IA progress more and more often. Many students find the actual act of writing an IA intimidating. If you aren’t sure where to start, this is the blog post for you! Here we will give you our top 5 tips for writing up IAs to help you get going.


  1. Start early! 


By starting your write up process soon after you finish doing your research, you keep it all fresh in your mind. It’s very easy to forget crucial details after a few weeks. You never know what might be relevant before you start writing. Starting early ensures that you still remember those random, yet important, details from your research process! 


Additionally, starting early sets you up for success by giving you time to address any issues that arise. It’s not uncommon to start writing and realise that you need to do more research into one aspect of your question. Starting early means that you can do this while avoiding panic-writing right up until the deadline. 


  1. Make a plan


It’s a lot easier to get started when you know what you’re going to do! Creating a plan gives you a roadmap that you can follow. This will help you out if you find that you get stuck halfway through. 


A great starting point are the subject-specific IB guides. These are basically the markscheme that IB uses to grade the IAs but they also clearly lay out the different sections that you need to include. For example, the geography one lays out six different sections and gives recommendations for the word count of each one. That’s a significant part of the plan that they’ve done for you!


  1. Start with the section you are most confident with


There’s no requirement for you to write the sections in order! You can start with whichever one you are most confident with. Most of the time, the simplest section to write is the methods section because it’s all about things that you’ve already done.

By starting with the section that you are most confident with, you’ll hopefully find that you can check a section off of your to do list pretty quickly! This momentum should help keep you motivated and stave off any procrastination that comes from being scared of the task. 


  1. Cite as you go


It can be very tempting to leave dealing with all your citations until the very end of the project. However, this means that you are sat there trying to untangle the mess of links and notes that you’ve left yourself along the way! 


Citing as you go will save you time in the long run. Dedicating ten minutes at the end of each writing session to doing citations will mean that you can actually remember what each citation is. If you have a lot of citations it might be worth trying a citation manager such as Zotero which is freely available. 


The IB take citations very seriously and it’s worth investing the time in making sure yours are done correctly. Websites like Cite This For Me will format both your in-text and bibliography citations for you, making the whole process easier. 


  1. Check out our subject-specific guides


We at Lanterna have compiled all the knowledge from our tutors into subject specific guides that can be found here. We also have a bunch of blog posts that go into more detail about IAs. You can check out our top tips for psychology, economics, biology, and history as well as more general advice on the blog. 


If you are looking for more specific advice about an IA, check out our tutoring services! We have a five hour assignment pack that has been designed specifically to help you with your IAs or EE. 

Share article links