BlogLearnQCAA Internal Assessments: Here’s What to Expect for IA1

QCAA Internal Assessments: Here’s What to Expect for IA1

Studying with laptop - QCE IA1

So, it’s the beginning of Year 12 and you have your first internal assessment (IA1) approaching! You may be wondering, what am I meant to do for this task? Or, how do I do well in this task?

Well, if you study English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, General Mathematics, and/or Mathematical Methods then this is the article for you.

We’ll break down the IA1 for each of these subjects, so you can feel super prepared (and maybe even a bit excited!) for each of these tasks. 

Let’s dive in!

What is an IA?
English IA1
Physics, Chemistry, and Biology IA1
General Mathematics and Mathematical Methods PSMT

What is an IA?

IA stands for “internal assessment” and there are 3 of them that you will need to complete in Year 12 for each of your subjects. These assessment items are school-based, meaning, your teachers create them.

The task, however, is similar from school to school — you may just focus on a different topic or idea. The last assessment piece you will complete is your EA, or external assessment. These are the external exams (but let’s not worry about those just yet). 

The IA1 is the first piece of assessment in your senior schooling that will contribute to your ATAR.

Find out what IA1 mark you need to be on track for an ATAR over 90!

In Year 11 (or Units 1 and 2), you would have completed what are called FAs, or formative assessments. These are essentially mock assessment pieces for what you will be doing in Year 12. They contribute to your QCE, but not your ATAR, and they are based on the Units 1 and 2 content. 

Check out our Ultimate Term 1 Resource List for all the articles you need to ACE the first term of Year 12

Each IA has a different weighting and this weighting varies again between subjects. For example, IA1 for English is worth 25% of your total grade for the year. For Mathematics subjects, your IA1 is worth 20%, and for Sciences, it’s worth only 10%. 

Doing your official IA1 at the end of Year 11? Don’t freak out! Here’s 5 Tips for doing your IA1 in Year 11!

English IA1

Writing a Feature Article - Written Response for a Public Audience Featured Image

For English, your IA1 will be a ‘Written Response to a Public Audience’. Typically, this will mean writing something like a feature article — however, the genre can change depending on what task your teacher feels like setting you.

Within this task however, you will be required to compare two different texts to answer the thesis statement that you have developed.

For example, you may have to compare Macbeth to Blade Runner 2049. This comparative nature of the task will remain the same — no matter what genre you have to write in. 

It is important, once you have received your task sheet and ISMG, to really think about the writing conventions of the specified genre.

Ask yourself:

  • How conversational am I allowed to be?
  • Should I be including language features?
  • How should I structure my response?
  • Should I use personal pronouns?

These are all very important questions to ask, as they will greatly aid the development of your response. 

With this task, you will have 1000-1500 words to play with and quite a few criteria to try to tick off.

Check out our guide here to find out exactly how to tackle this task, in the context of a feature article. A few of the key tips included within this article are: 

  • Format your response appropriately, 
  • Abide by the conventions of the genre, and
  • Incorporate a variety of sentence and paragraph structures. 

This article is packed full of fantastic tips, so if you are looking for more support with this task, then I highly recommend that you give it a read:

How to Create a Written Response for a Public Audience for QCAA English

Physics, Chemistry, and Biology IA1

Looking over data

IA1 for Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, bring about the much beloved data test! Okay… the “much beloved” part may have been a bit of a stretch.

Anyhow, the data test is a chance for you to show off your analytical abilities. You will be given 60 minutes and a handful of data sets to analyse.

Each set of data will have corresponding questions and answering these questions usually requires you to draw on the trends and relationships that you have observed in the data sets. 

The Data Test is competitive! Here’s what IA1 data test mark you will need to score to be on track for an ATAR over 90!

How can you best prepare for the data test?

Now, graphical analysis and general analytical skills are quite difficult to teach in class. So to do your very best on this task, it is crucial that you do lots of practice questions before the real deal.

This task is one that is dreaded by most students — myself included. I took three science subjects in high school and so had to do three data tests, but I managed to find a way to help make these assessment pieces more bearable.

I simply changed my perspective on the task. There are two things that I would often remind myself of during study, that I would like to share with you: 

  1. A data test is not a test of your memory. I’ll say that one more time for the people at the back… A data test is not a test of your memory; and,
  2. 90% of the answers are right in front of you. 

Feeling stressed about your first FIA1 in Year 11? Here’s why the start of Year 11 can be so overwhelming!

What is the purpose of a data test?

The aim of a data test is to assess your ability to analyse data and draw appropriate conclusions. It isn’t interested in whether you can derive Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation, or define the term ecosystem.

All it really wants to know is whether you can make something of the relationships present in a data set. For this reason, most of the answers will be right in front of your eyes.

There may be the odd occasion where you have to actually apply a formula to perform a calculation, but other than that the answers are mostly hiding in the data sets — you just need to dig them up. 

If you are a bit worried about your data test(s), then do I have the treat for you! As I said above, practising is the best thing you could possibly do in the lead up to a data test.

So, I have listed below some amazing articles that have been written for you and each of them have some pretty neat practice questions. If you haven’t checked them out below, then I highly recommend that you do so:

QCAA Unit 3 Physics Data Test IA1 – Practice Questions
QCAA Unit 3 Chemistry Data Test IA1 – Practice Questions 
QCAA Unit 3 Biology Data Test IA1 – Practice Questions 

General Mathematics and Mathematical Methods PSMT

For Mathematics, your IA1 will be what is called a problem-solving and mathematical modelling task (or, more commonly referred to as, PSMT). This task is a little different between General Mathematics and Mathematical Methods. 

Not sure if you’re in the right level of maths? Here’s how to decide whether to continue with Maths Methods or drop to General Maths for the QCE.

General Mathematics

In General Maths, the PSMT requires that you explore or challenge a claim by analysing datasets. Similarly, to methods, you will have to develop some model that you will then need to evaluate the strengths and limitations of.

Your model will be used to assess the claim on which you are basing your report. There will be a 10 page limit for this task, so it is important that you are concise and clear in your communication.

Have a read of our guide to the PSMT for General Maths here we discuss some valuable tips for completing this task. So if you are yet to check the article out, then you should definitely do so:

  • Focus on the bigger picture;
  • Remember that correlation doesn’t always equal causation; and, 
  • Compare the data. 
The Ultimate Guide to Writing a Problem-Solving and Modelling Task Report for General Maths

Mathematical Methods

In Maths Methods, the PSMT is a task which has been designed to assess your ability to respond to an investigative mathematical scenario. It aims to evaluate your ability to make connections between the content you have been learning in class, and the problem at hand — requiring that you use the mathematical techniques you have learnt to solve the problem (this will likely be integration in Year 12).

You will have 10 pages, and 2000 words, to work with. And you will be required to provide a response that addresses the real-life application of mathematics and technology.

Check out our guide to the PSMT for Maths Methods where we discuss exactly how to go about completing this task (so if you haven’t already checked it out, then I highly recommend that you do). A few of the key tips were:

  • Experiment with different models before settling on one;
  • Utilise technology as much as possible; and,
  • Ensure your assignment can be understood independently of the task sheet. 
How to Structure Your PSMT Report for QCAA Mathematical Methods

And there you have it! That is what you should expect when tackling your IA1s. Don’t forget to check out the resources linked throughout this article — I promise, you wont regret it!

When you’ve received your IA marks, you should check out how you’re tracking for your goal ATAR with our QCE Cohort Comparison Tool! You can also discover the best schools in Brisbane with our Ultimate Brisbane ATAR School Ranking List.

Learn to write effective study notes for Social Science subjects!

Are you looking for some extra help with preparing for IA1?

We have an incredible team of QLD tutors and mentors!

We can help you master your QCAA subjects and ace your upcoming QCE assessments with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or online!

Looking for some extra help to prepare for the IA1 assessments? We can help with our Brisbane QCE Tutoring! We also offer QCE tutoring on the Gold Coast!

We’ve supported over 8,000 students over the last 11 years, and on average our students score mark improvements of over 20%!

We have expanded our team to support regional areas! Check out our Townsville tutoring options to find your expert tutor today!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational QLD tutor and mentor, get in touch today or give us a ring on 1300 267 888!

Katelyn Smith was a pioneer in the Queensland ATAR system. After graduating in 2020 with an ATAR of 98.40, she now studies a Bachelor of Advanced Science (Honours) at The University of Queensland — majoring in Physics. Through her studies, she hopes to develop a greater appreciation for how the wonders of the universe work. When she isn’t slaving away behind her unnecessarily large textbooks, she enjoys catching up with friends, scrolling mindlessly through TikTok, and sleeping.

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