Have you ever dreamt about completing a school assignment requirement by learning how to ski? Or perhaps by participating in marine life conservation efforts halfway across the world? Or maybe even writing your very own cookbook for the keto diet?
If you answered yes to any of these, or for that matter any other out of the box ideas, then the MYP Personal Project may be your chance to fulfil this dream. If you are currently in the Middle Years Program you are required to complete the MYP Personal Project in your last year before the IB. The personal project gives you the chance to develop a project of your choosing by consolidating your learning from the classroom. The project aims to test “self-management, research, communication, critical and creative thinking, and collaboration” skills.
But with so much scope and endless choices you may be wondering just where to start. Here I give you the 4 steps to hit the ground running and succeed in your project.
1. Choose something that interests you
This may probably be the most cliché piece of advice you’ll hear but it’s also the most important. The personal project warrants around 25 hours of works and so it’s essential you choose something that you will enjoy learning about. You will also need to write about your personal interest in the project in your concluding presentation or report. It can often be challenging to find something that interests you and also fits the requirements. Reflecting on what you enjoy doing academically and extrapolating your knowledge from these courses into your personal project.
If you wish to have a less academically inclined project you can always choose from courses such as PE or music where you can focus your efforts on an activity but still benefit from what you’ll learn in the classroom to guide your project. For example, you may choose to compose your own music based on all the theory you’ve learned in music or develop an exercise routine based on your knowledge of anatomy and physiology from PE. At the end of the day, your current learning will provide you with a plethora of knowledge while stimulating your interests so use this to your advantage and keep an open mind.
2. Writing matters
Now that you have a topic that really interests you it may be hard to shift your attention from actually creating the content for your personal project as opposed to writing your report. Your personal project will be graded on 4 criteria. While your personal project definitely relies on having a good product/outcome, there is only one criterion that explicitly focuses on the quality of your product. The remaining criteria focus on your research and investigation, planning and evaluating your product and your goals. As such, it may be beneficial to spend a significant chunk of your time writing your report. Here is a little breakdown of each criteria and how you can enhance your writing specific to that criteria
- Criterion A (Investigation): try to define a clear goal for your project and connect it to your personal interest. Do some research specific to the goal. For example, if you are creating a website to inform people about global warming, researching global warming would be beneficial. Try to also highlight why your project is meaningful.
- Criterion B (Planning): develop a clear plan for how you wish to achieve your goals. Document your progress often. It can be hard to remember everything you did over the last couple months if you try to do it the night before your report is due.
- Criterion C (Take action): focus on creating a quality product/ outcome that connects with your goal
- Criterion D (Evaluation): A little bit of self-critique never hurt anybody! Focus on what you did well, what you may chance and how you could do better. Remember an honest evaluation is worth 25% of your marks so really reflect on your process and outcome
3. Connect with your supervisor
You will be assigned a supervisor at the beginning of your personal project. They are arguably your best resource during this process so it’s good to form strong connections with them. Your supervisor will work closely with you so update them regularly and don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. Try to incorporate their feedback as you progress since they can provide valuable insights.
Developing a strong connection with your supervisor can extend beyond the personal project! Since they get to connect with you one on one and know you personally, they also be great references as you apply to universities or jobs later. Your supervisors can speak to your work ethic and interests and provide invaluable references in the future. At the end of the personal project be sure to thank them for their time by writing a personalized note or gifting them something small.
4. Have fun with your MYP Personal Project!
Your personal project is probably one of the limited occasions you’ll get in school do what something you absolutely love while also getting graded for it. Treat it as a learning experience while also having fun. The process can be lengthy and seem a bit challenging but there is nothing like the amazing feeling you get when you present something you are so passionate about and answer questions about it.
Here are my 4 tips for succeeding in the personal project. Of course, this is a very general overview so be sure to consult other resources as you start the journey into the personal project. Best of luck and knock it out of the park!