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A Guide to Acing your IB SEHS IA

While studying Sports, Exercise and Health Science (SEHS) can be a truly enriching and worthwhile experience that will without doubt help you progress into a career, it can be a very challenging and difficult subject. Between the vast amounts of content in both SL and HL courses, as well as the highly scientific and initially nonsensical terminology, the workload is high and the margin for error is relatively low. This is the most apparent in the SEHS Internal Assessment. In many ways the SEHS Internal Assessment is the pinnacle of your SEHS learning experience, and requires high precision and methodical examination of results and research in order to score well. Therefore, this article will aim to provide some general advice I used to score 24/24 in the SEHS IA.

Pick an area of the syllabus which genuinely interested you

Although somewhat overlooked, this is a crucial part of succeeding in you SEHS IA. Given the enormous effort and time taken to complete a high quality SEHS IA, it is important that at the very least you don’t find the subject you are addressing boring. Through much personal experience and word of mouth, I have found that those SEHS IAs which are grounded in personal interest rather in what you think will secure you the most marks are almost always of higher quality. Furthermore, engaging in a topic which you enjoy helps to remove some of the more tedious elements of the IA, thereby helping incentivise you to work on producing a good IA.

Before delving into research set a solid plan for your experimental design

Unfortunately, it is quite common to have to abandon an IA due to difficulty in either measuring your dependent and independent variables or simply not having enough links between syllabus content and IA topics. Therefore, to conserve your effort it is valuable to clearly lay out an experimental design before committing to a topic which may detail;

· Independent and dependent variables and methods of measurement

· Controlled variables

· General and brief outline of experimental methodology

· Area of syllabus your IA will draw from

Construct your IA in direct correlation to the marking rubric

With an IA such as SEHS which is rooted so deeply in research and empirical evidence it is often easy to drift away from the marking criteria in somewhat tangential sections of your IA. While I would encourage research into surrounding information of your IA to better develop your knowledge of the topic, for an SEHS IA to score high marks it is integral that all the information presented is relevant and specific both to your research question and to the requirements of the marking criteria.

Research, Research and more Research

The SEHS IA relies very heavily on your capability to synthesise research into citations which support your IA, thereby lending it validity. I cannot overstate the importance of research in your SEHS IA. As a general rule of thumb, within your SEHS IA you should NEVER make any scientific claim or interjection of knowledge without sourcing it through a citation or drawing it from your own results (calculations, qualitative observations etc.).

As such it is entirely possible for your SEHS IA to have upwards of 75 references and your IA will be strengthened by each and every reference made.

While quantity of research is certainly an important factor, what is equally important is the quality of your research, while sites such as Wikipedia have their uses, the vast majority of your references and citations should stem from academic or medical journals, published medical documents, or medical/biological studies. These sources have already been tested for validity and through being published have been deemed both accurate and valid. Therefore, by incorporating them throughout your own IA you help to add to your own validity and accuracy, ultimately aiding you in your pursuit of a Band 7 SEHS IA.

Author: Marcus Buvac (45/45) - Partner and Tutor at IB Solved

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