How to Write an IB Lab Report


Experimental sciences play an important part in the education of International Baccalaureate students. Pupils opting to study modules such as chemistry or physics are required to submit portfolios of their investigations for internal and external assessment. The results of all experiments must follow formal criteria set out by the International Baccalaureate foundation. Once students learn to write an IB lab report, they will be able to present information in a clear and organized manner.

A good lab report should allow anyone to duplicate an experiment.
(lab image by Alhazm Salemi from

Things You'll Need

  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Blue or black pen
Step 1

Create a new word processing document. All IB lab reports must be typed. The only exception is indicating raw data, which can be done with either a blue or black pen.

IB lab reports must be typed.
computer image by blaine stiger from
Step 2

Label the first page of the IB lab report in the top right-hand corner. Be sure to list your name, the date, experiment number and IB number.

Always label your report to avoid marking errors.
documents image by AGITA LEIMANE from
Step 3

Write your title. This should be descriptive and summarize your experiment.

The lab report title should sum up your experiment.
experiment image by Andrey Kiselev from
Step 4

Save your work with a file name that includes your name. This will aid teachers viewing your work electronically.

Avoid data loss by frequently saving your lab report.
computer image by martini from
Step 1

Use the interrogative form for questions (e.g. What effect does? ... ).

Beneath your title, write down your question.
question box image by Pete Linforth from
Step 2

Provide your reader with paragraph of background information. This should be written formally using third person. This section should give your reader an idea of your subject knowledge and relevant information.

Draw on your subject knowledge in this section.
school books image by William Berry from
Step 3

Write your hypothesis. This summarizes your assumptions and the expected outcome. Discuss control factors and variables before identifying what you’re looking for and what will be measured. This section should always end with a conditional (e.g. If ... then ... ) statement.

Your hypothesis reveals your assumptions and expectations.
experiment in lab image by david hughes from
Step 1

List all equipment and materials used. Include precise measurements in your materials list.

Always include exact measurements.
peson image by Claudio Calcagno from
Step 2

Draw a diagram of the experiment. Label necessary items in the procedures section.

A drawing of your setup enables the experiment to be replicated.
bricolage image by Jacques PALUT from
Step 3

Use a numbered, step-by-step format to show how the experiment was conducted. This section should be labeled "Method." Use the past tense for this section. For example, "The Bunsen burner was lit" rather than "Light the Bunsen burner."

Number each item in your method section.
Number image by LepoTn from
Step 4

Express any concerns under the "Safety" section.

Toxic gas is a safety issue worth mentioning.
experiment image by Andrey Kiselev from
Step 1

Create a "Data Collection" section. Information here can be quantitative or qualitative. Raw data from your experiment should be stored in well-labeled tables, noting any uncertainties. Original data—if available—should be attached to the end of the report.

Data charts must be labelled on both axes.
financial charts image by Chad McDermott from
Step 2

Process your data as medians or averages. Use diagrams or graphs. This can be done in blue or black ink—or use spreadsheet software. Label this section "Data Processing and Presentation."

Show formulas and calculations in this section.
formulas image by Anton Gvozdikov from
Step 3

Refer to your hypothesis in the "Conclusion" section. Draw on the results of the experiment and, if possible, indicate the percentage of error. Refer to established findings in this section and reference appropriately.

Write this section using a paragraph format.
Pilcrow Paragraph Symbol image by Georgios Kollidas from
Step 4

The final section, "Evaluation," allows you to review your work. Use a paragraph format discussing errors, ways to avoid mistakes or ideas for further study.

Discuss how to prevent errors in future experiments in this section.
error image by dead_account from

Related Searches

Tips & Warnings

  • Always write in first person, unless noted.
  • Always provide references.


Promoted By Zergnet



Related Searches

Check It Out

Can You Take Advantage Of Student Loan Forgiveness?

Is DIY in your DNA? Become part of our maker community.
Submit Your Work!