Now that so many mathematical explorations (three sessions – May and November 2014 and May 2015) have been written, assessed (and moderated) it might be a good idea to look carefully at the latest available advice on the internal assessment – the Mathematical Exploration. All the more that most IB students will by now be in an important stage of the development of their explorations – most probably closing on their draft 😛 . One of the best sources for such advice are the subject reports published after each examinations session. You could ask your teacher to make it available to you. I have decided to take out the most relevant pages. You can find here these excerpts from the sessions May 2014 and November 2014 (combined together for HL and SL).

Several comments deserve careful reflection:

  • The importance of “making the work/the exploration/the topic one’s own” related with Criterion C (Personal Engagement). “Students should be guided to produce explorations that have clear and focused aims, with evidence supporting their personal engagement.” …”Students who used textbook problems and basically cut- and-pasted from resources in the public domain often did poorly in this criterion.(Nov 14, SL)  Think carefully about this when preparing your draft.
  • Issues related with academic honesty and proper citation. Almost in every report the examiner stresses “the need to emphasize the importance of clear referencing and proper citation in student work. Many students provided a bibliography or work cited page at the end of their documents without identifying how these resources have been used in the body of their work.”
    • “A number of explorations showed very little work other than paraphrasing entries in Wikipedia. It is the school’s responsibility to check for plagiarism before student work is submitted for assessment. When students choose to present an exploration which is based on a scientific phenomenon, they should be aware that they are writing about mathematics and not reproducing a laboratory report.” (May 2014, HL)
    • “Students should not insert screenshots of equations and formulas from Wikipedia or Wolfram. This habit is a good indicator that the work is not their own.” (May 2014, SL)

    These comments make an interesting and (I hope) useful reading. Wishing you success and fun in preparing the draft of your exploration!