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International Baccalaureate (IB)
IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.
If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .
2022 IB Exam Changes Due to COVID-19
Because of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the IB has decided to extend the adaptations which were put in place for 2021 to 2022. May 2022 IB assessments will have two routes, exam and non-exam, depending on which your school chooses. Stay up to date with the latest information on what this means for IB diplomas, course credit for IB classes, and more with our our IB COVID-19 FAQ article .
IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?
I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:
If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.
What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?
The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.
For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one—although there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.
Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.
The IB Extended Essay must include the following:
- A title page
- Contents page
- Body of the essay
- References and bibliography
Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:
- Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
- Group 2: Language Acquisition
- Group 3: Individuals and Societies
- Group 4: Sciences
- Group 5: Mathematics
- Group 6: The Arts
Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.
As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.
According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.
The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.
Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :
- A check on plagiarism and malpractice
- Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
- Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process
Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.
What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?
You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.
It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.
Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:
- Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
- Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
- English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
- Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
- Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
- Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?
You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?
How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips
Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!
#1: Write About Something You Enjoy
You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)
I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.
But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?
Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce—not the field you choose to research within—will determine your grade.
Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.
One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).
#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow
There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.
You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won’t be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps—and the rations provided—were directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.
If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.
I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!
When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.
Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.
If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor—it's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...
Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!
#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic
If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).
For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.
I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.
Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).
The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.
There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.
Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.
Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.
#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best
Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.
Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.
Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better—and you actually take their advice—they'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.
Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.
#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow
The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.
The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.
If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.
#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!
You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.
Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.
Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.
Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):
- January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
- February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
- April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
- Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know—no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me--this will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
- August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
- September/October of Senior Year: Submit second draft of EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
- November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.
Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)
I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!
The early bird DOES get the worm!
How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?
Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .
- Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
- Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
- Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
- Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
- Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)
How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.
Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on page 103 of this document .
Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate —you should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.
Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin ):
How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?
The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.
To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .
This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.
Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .
Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.
Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)
40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme
In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.
- Chemistry 1
- Chemistry 2
- Chemistry 3
- Geography 1
- Geography 2
- Geography 3
- Mathematics 1
- Mathematics 2
- Mathematics 3
- Mathematics 4
- Philosophy 1
- Philosophy 2
- Philosophy 3
- Philosophy 4
- Psychology 1
- Psychology 2
- Psychology 3
- Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
- Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
- Visual Arts 1
- Visual Arts 2
- Visual Arts 3
- Visual Arts 4
- World Religion 1
- World Religion 2
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The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
One component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students.
Read about the extended essay in greater detail.
You can also read about how the IB sets deadlines for the extended essay , find examples of extended essay titles from previous DP students and learn about the world studies extended essay .
Learn more about the extended essay in a DP workshop for teachers .
DP subject briefs
Our course selection guidance contains subject briefs for both standard and higher level, including information about core requirements, aims and assessment.
- Read DP subject briefs
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- Main Academic Essays
What Is an IB Extended Essay and How to Write It?
Table of contents
An extended essay is a compulsory element of International Baccalaureate. A written piece of 4000 words on a topic chosen by students is essential. Check out this article by StudyCrumb to discover what to expect and how to write this work. We will give you a complete writing guide and critical tips you need for this essay type.
IB Extended Essay: What Is It?
An extended essay is independent research. Usually students choose a topic in consultation with a mentor. It is an integral part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) degree program. This means that you won't receive a degree without a successfully written paper. It requires 4,000-word study on a chosen narrow topic. To get a high score, you should meet all required structure and formatting standards. This is the result of approximately 40 working hours. Its purpose is giving you the opportunity to try independent research writing. It's approved that these skills are critical for student success at university. The following sections explain how to write an extended article with examples. So keep reading!
Choosing a Mentor for Extended Essay
IB extended essay guidelines require supervisor meetings, totaling 3-5 hours. They include three critical reflections. A mentor won't write a paper instead of you but can help adjust it. So it is important to consult with them, but no one will proofread or correct actual research for you. In general, initially treat an essay as an exclusively individual work. So your role and contribution are maximal.
Extended Essay Outline
Let's take a look at how to write an extended essay outline. In this part, you organize yourself so that your work develops your idea. So we especially recommend you work out this step with your teacher. You can also find any outline example for essay . In your short sketch, plan a roadmap for your thoughts. Think through and prepare a summary of each paragraph. Then, expand annotation of each section with a couple more supporting evidence. Explain how specific examples illustrate key points. Make it more significant by using different opinions on general issues.
Extended Essay: Getting Started
After you chose an extended essay topic and made an outline, it's time to start your research. Start with a complete Table of Contents and make a choice of a research question. Select the subject in which you feel most confident and which is most interesting for you. For example, if at school you are interested in natural science, focus on that. If you have difficulties choosing a research question, rely on our essay topic generator .
Extended Essay Introduction
In the introduction of an extended essay, present a thesis statement. But do it in such a way that your readers understand the importance of your research. State research question clearly. That is the central question that you are trying to answer while writing. Even your score depends on how you develop your particular research question. Therefore, it is essential to draw it up correctly. Gather all relevant information from relevant sources. Explain why this is worth exploring. Then provide a research plan, which you will disclose further.
Extended Essay Methodology
In accordance with extended essay guidelines, it's mandatory to choose and clearly state a methodological approach. So, it will be apparent to your examiner how you answered your research question. Include your collection methods and tools you use for collection and analysis. Your strategies can be experimental or descriptive, quantitative or qualitative. Research collection tools include observations, questionnaires, interviews, or background knowledge.
Extended Essay Main Body
Well, here we come to the most voluminous part of the extended essay for IB! In every essay body paragraph , you reveal your research question and discuss your topic. Provide all details of your academic study. But stay focused and do it without dubious ideas. Use different sources of information to provide supporting arguments and substantial evidence. This will impress professors. For this section, 3 main paragraphs are enough. Discuss each idea or argument in a separate paragraph. You can even use supporting quotes where appropriate. But don't overcomplicate. Make your extended essay easy to read and logical. It's critical to stay concise, so if you aren't sure how to make your text readable, use our tool to get a readbility test . Following the plan you outlined earlier is very important. Analyze each fact before including it in your writing. And don't write unnecessary information.
Extended Essay Conclusion
Now let's move on to the final part of IB extended essay guidelines. In conclusion, focus on summarizing the main points you have made. No new ideas or information can be introduced in this part. Use conclusion as your last chance to impress your readers. Reframe your own strong thesis. Here you must show all key points. Do not repeat absolutely every argument. Better try to make this part unique. This will show that you have a clear understanding of the topic you have chosen. And even more professional will be recommendations of new areas for future research. One good paragraph may be enough here. Although in some cases, two or three paragraphs may be required.
Extended Essay Bibliography & Appendices
To write an impressive extended essay, you should focus on appropriate information. You must create a separate page for bibliography with all sources you used. Tip from us: start writing this page with the first quote you use. Don't write this part last or postpone. In turn, appendices are not an essential section. Examiners will not pay much attention to this part. Therefore, include all information directly related to analysis and argumentation in the main body. Include raw data in the appendix only if it is really urgently needed. Moreover, it is better not to refer to appendices in text itself. This can disrupt the narrative of the essay.
Extended Essay Examples
We have prepared a good example of an extended essay. You can check it by downloading it for free. You can use it as a template. However, pay attention that your paper is required to be unique. Don't be afraid to present all the skills you gained during your IB.
Final Thoughts on IB Extended Essay
In this article, we presented detailed IB extended essay guidelines. An extended essay is a daunting academic challenge to write. It is a research paper with a deep thematic analysis of information. But we have described several practical and straightforward tips. Therefore, we are sure that you will succeed!
If topics seem too complex, turn to our top essay writers. They will accomplish any IB assignment in the best way your professor can evaluate it!
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How to Write an Extended Essay: from Outline to Conclusion
Writing an Extended Essay
As a student, especially those pursuing International Baccalaureate (IB), you will be faced with the challenge of coming up with an extended essay. But few students do not know how to write long essays like an extended essay. That is where we come in.
In this comprehensive guide, I will guide you on the 8 steps to follow when writing a good extended essay and provide you with examples of topics you can use.
As noted by one of our top essay writers for hire , extended essays are not like your ordinary essays. As the name suggests, they are extended versions of essays and it may take longer and a unique approach to writing them.
However, before delving into such details, it is important to first understand what extended essays are.
Need Help with your Homework or Essays?
What is an extended essay.
An extended essay (EE) is a form of writing that provides learners with a chance to carry out independent research concerning a topic of their interest. It is part of the requirements for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and its content is based on a freely-selected topic provided that there is an instructor for the subject in school since candidates should have a supervisor for the subjects.
To be more precise, an extended essay can be regarded as a 4000-word structured piece of writing centered on an International Baccalaureate student’s topic and it may take various forms.
What is meant by “it may take various forms” is that the way it looks depends on the topic selected. The next section will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write an extended essay.
How to Write an Extended Essay
When writing an extended essay, there 8 steps that should be taken to effectively complete it on time. Carefully read through the 8 steps to fully understand how to write an extended essay.
Step 1: Selecting a topic and researching on it
This is the first step that you should take before writing your extended essay.
As noted, extended essays will allow you to write on the topic of your interest.
However, various topics are provided by your instructor and it is upon you to select the topic that interests you.
You should keep in mind that the topic selected should have enough material and resources to support your topic and the position of your arguments concerning the topic.
Some topics may have limited resources.
At the same time, select a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow. A narrow topic may lack enough material to have a 4000-word extended essay while a broad topic may require a lot of supporting material that may exceed the 4000-word limit.
If you find the first step confusing or you find it difficult to tackle it on your own, it is advisable to seek a mentor/advisor. You should select an advisor or mentor with whom you will connect well and the one who understands the topic and what is required when writing extended essays.
Such a mentor will help you select the topic that fits your interest. While helping you select a topic that is not too narrow or broad, they should push you to deliver your best. Mentors/advisors can be your instructors or friends who have completed extended essays.
Once this is done, research extensively concerning your topic and ensure that the sources of your information are peer-reviewed and credible. They should provide the most recent research or information concerning your topic.
Note the sources of your information so that you can cite and reference them in your extended essay.
Step 2: Coming up With a Research Question
This is an important step because selecting a research question will provide you with a focused and clear summative statement to be used during your research.
It will act as a roadmap or a guideline that will help you during the writing process. It will also help you formulate a clear and concise thesis statement that will summarize your arguments and the position you will take in your extended essay.
Step 3: Structuring Your Extended Essay
As aforementioned, extended essays should always take an academic format. This means that it should have an acceptable academic structure.
At the same time, since International Baccalaureate (IB) guidelines are constantly updated, you should follow the latest guidelines so that you can utilize the latest format.
The acceptable format for your extended essay will include an introduction, methodology, main body, conclusion, bibliography, and appendices.
This will be the general structure for your extended essay.
It should be noted that this structure is not an outline.
What this means is that the structure should be considered when coming up with an outline.
Once you have decided the structure of your extended essay, come up with an outline based on your topic, thesis, and arguments.
An outline will act as a guide during the drafting process and it will save a lot of time.
This is because you will have already outlined your extended essay and what you will be doing is to add content to the points you have highlighted. Ensure that individual points translate to a single paragraph.
You should also note that the extended essay will have a table of contents. Therefore, the outline will be very important when coming up with your table of contents that is located after the cover page of your extended essay.
Step 4: Writing the Introduction
Once you have completed the above steps and you have come up with an outline based on the extended essay’s structure, the next step is to introduce your topic and elaborate it to your target readers.
There are various things you should consider when coming up with an introduction.
First of all, the introduction should be catchy and interesting.
This is because your readers will read it before deciding on whether to continue with the rest of the paper.
The best way to do this is to begin your introduction with something catchy or attention-grabbing sentence.
This will arouse the reader’s curiosity to know more about the topic.
The second thing you should know about the introduction is that it should offer a crisp and clear description of what you are going to talk about and the various strategies you will use to explore the topic. It all depends on the topic.
You can decide to highlight the issues that will be explored and the ways of addressing such issues. It is all about proving some brief background of what you will be exploring in the rest of the paper.
Do you remember that you formulated a research question after researching your topic? While introducing the topic of your extended essay, you should provide the context of your research question where you address the situation or the background from which the question comes.
While doing so, you should state the research question and elaborate on why answering the question is important for the paper’s findings.
The introduction should also tell the readers why the research you present in your extended essay is important, interesting, and/or valuable to the discipline and the audience.
Finally, you should conclude your introduction by writing your thesis statement. This should be the last sentence of your introduction paragraph(s).
Step 5: Methodology
This is also a very important step when writing an extended essay. To make sure that all the important aspects of the methodology are covered, you should divide this section into two.
The first section of the methodology explains your sources of information and the second section explores the related theories, topics, and arguments that will be used to explore your topic.
In the first section, you should describe every primary and/or secondary source used, why the sources are important, and their limitations.
Sources of secondary research can include news articles, annual reports for companies, business textbooks, magazine articles, and encyclopedias. The final thing you should do while in section 1 is to state the adjustments made in your research.
For the second section, you should provide a brief explanation of the theories that are going to be applied and the reason why they are the most appropriate in explaining your arguments.
Also, give the limitations of each theory, topic, or argument applied. Finally, state the changes made during the research and writing process.
Step 6: Drafting the Main Body
This should be the most elaborate part of your extended essay because you will concentrate on the research, analysis of the research, discussion, and evaluation.
You should try to retain the flow of step 5 that has steps 1 and 2. This will demonstrate that you understand the concepts of the International Baccalaureate while still addressing your topic using the relevant sources.
In the first section, for each of the theories, arguments, and topics used to address your topic, include about 4 examples of each to help you answer the research question effectively. Also, address the qualitative tools applied before the quantitative tools.
The second section goes beyond the course to educate your evaluator and/or readers concerning your topic. Explore the related concepts and theories deeply while providing different perspectives on the topic.
Remember that you should be evaluating the findings here. Use analytical insight to further explain your arguments and points of view. Graphs and other forms of data presentation can be used. However, they should apply to the research.
Step 7: Writing the Conclusion
In this step, you should sum up your arguments from all your sections. It is important to stipulate what has been researched and how it has helped answer the research question.
It should be noted that no new information should be added in the conclusion. Mention some limitations of the research and their impact, and the reasons behind such limitations.
Finally, state the thing(s) you can do differently if you were to write another extended essay.
Step 8: Bibliography and Appendices
On a different page or the next page after the conclusion, reference your sources of information using the correct format (APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard styles). Always remember to arrange the references from A to Z. Bibliography or references are not part of the word count.
The appendices section showcases the extra work you have done such as transcripts of the interviews conducted, additional analysis, and any other data that you found interesting but did not include in the body of your paper.
Once you are done with writing, thoroughly proofread your work and correct any grammatical or spelling errors made. Make sure that the work is well formatted with all the sections included.
At the same time, make sure that nothing in your paper is copy-pasted because it will be regarded as plagiarism. Always do this before submitting your extended essay.
Best Length of an Extended Essay
While there is no universally agreed minimum word count for an extended essay, you should not write less than 3,000 words. This is because lesser than that will demonstrate that you did not adequately research your topic.
Since the acceptable word limit on the upper side is 4,000 words, always strive to write more than 3,500 words. Unlike other types of essays like a GRE Essay that is short, an extended essay is long in terms of word count.
In other cases, the minimum word count is 1,500 words, and the maximum word count is 4,000 words. It is up to the student to decide what their word count should be. It is important not to go over or under the prescribed word count by more than 10%. The upper limit of 4000 words should be a guideline rather than a firm rule.
Can the extended essay be over 4000 words?
Yes, the extended essay may be up to 4000 words in length. The upper limit is 4,000 words for all extended essays. This upper limit includes the introduction, the body, the conclusion, and any quotations, but does not include:
- the abstract
- the contents page
- any diagrams, charts, tables, and graphs
- the bibliography
How many pages is an extended essay?
4000 words is 8 pages single spaced, and 16 pages double spaced. The number of pages changes depends on the number of words, the font, and the font size. Usually, the extended essay is 4000 words in length, so it is quite a bit longer than your average essay. Double-space, Times New Roman 12 is pretty much universal, in college anyway.
What are the extended essay minimum and maximum word count?
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12 Examples of Extended Essay topics
- What is the effect of age and gender on the photoreceptor cells in the human retina?
- How is climate change impacting the appearance of coral reefs?
- An evaluation of how antioxidants work in our bodies?
- Is there an association between viewing violence on television and the display of violent acts?
- What motivational climate should a coach employ to achieve optimal performance in athletes?
- How does the X hormone affect human behavior?
- How were women treated differently in the 1920s and 1950s Great Britain?
- What role did economics play in the unification of Germany from 1834 to 1871?
- How does the sugar concentration affect the refractive index of water?
- What factors influence the location of industries in country/city X?
- An investigation into the significance of preserving the quality of water in a continent/country/city?
- What effect does the coating of aspirin tablets have on the hydrolysis of aspirin?
Can You Redo an Extended Essay?
Yes. You can redo an extended essay if you appeal to the relevant institution about the reason(s) why you failed on the first try. You should provide credible and sensible reasons for you to be considered. It is only then that you are granted a retake.
Can You Fail an Extended Essay?
Yes. You can fail an extended essay if you do not follow the essay’s requirements, instructions, or rubric.
What Happens if You Fail an Extended Essay?
If you fail an extended essay, you will not graduate with a diploma. Therefore, if you fail, you should request a retake and do your best to write a good extended essay.
How many points is the extended essay worth?
The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay that you write on a topic of your choice. This counts towards your IB Diploma and it’s worth 3 points of your overall score.
The Extended Essay is often the most rewarding part of the IB Diploma. It gives you the chance to study something that you want to learn about in-depth, and it can be on any topic you choose – as long as there’s an expert to supervise it!
Can I publish my extended essay?
You may publish your extended essay. There are some things to consider before you do though: • Check that the subject of your essay is appropriate for publishing. Some subjects, such as science and math, may not be appropriate for publication because of how quickly the field develops. Also, check that your advisor approves of publishing the essay. • Check that you have gotten all the necessary permissions you need before you publish. • Check with your advisor if you have any doubts about these things.
Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.
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The Extended Essay Step by Step Guide 5: Structure and Planning
When it comes to writing a brilliant first draft of your Extended Essay, or any essay, I fully believe that a solid structure is one of the surest guarantees of success there is. It’s the skeleton of the essay that makes it into a fully formed being instead of a pile of jelly. And the best way to make sure you have a skeleton instead of just gelatine (is that a rhyme?) is to create a plan or outline.
We’ve talked about how to choose a topic , go about your research , and pin down a research question. So now we’re going to address how you can take all of that work and turn it into a concrete plan. It’s all about organising your ideas so that they are as clear as possible. After you’ve done this, writing the essay will be about simply filling in the gaps!
Preparing to construct your Extended Essay Outline
Know your destination.
Although your research question should already suggest what you are aiming to achieve in the essay, your conclusion needs to take this a step further. It can’t just be the same as your introduction but in different words (as tempting as that option is!). Everything in your essay should take the reader on a journey to this conclusion. It should help progress your argument so that we get closer with every paragraph.
If you’re now realising that you don’t know your destination, take the time to figure this out before you start writing. The results of a Science experiment will make it pretty obvious, but even in more subjective subjects such as English, History and World Studies you need to decide what conclusion your research points towards.
My advice to you, if you simply aren’t sure, is to follow your instincts. Think about how your evidence has affected what you personally think about the topic. Chances are it will have convinced you of something. For a reminder of different types of essay conclusions, there are some useful summaries in this article.
Exercise 1: summarise your conclusion in one sentence. Even if it’s not exactly right, or if it doesn’t include everything you feel is important about your topic, compress it as much as you can into one core idea. If you can't do this right away then set a timer for five minutes and start drafting sentences about what you 'think' your essay might conclude. At the end of the five minutes pick the one that you feel summarises it best.
Define your ideas
Take a moment to free your mind from all the details, facts, quotes and data. Go back to the essence of your essay, which is the argument you are trying to make. Without using your research to speak for itself, identify all the different ideas you want to include, and the things you want to say.
For example, you might have evidence that Virginia Woolf uses imagery of flowers frequently throughout Mrs Dalloway , but what does this actually mean in the context of your question? The idea behind it might relate more to her affinity with nature, or the parallels she draws between flowers and people.
Exercise 2: write down all the ideas you want to include in your essay. Don’t worry about an order yet. Focus instead of getting all of your ‘points’ written down somewhere. Not only is this likely to help your organise your thoughts, but it will also mean you can refer back to it later to make sure you haven’t forgotten one of your favourite ideas! This can take the form of a mind map, a list, a Word Doc. Do whatever feels easiest, because chances are this is what will help your ideas flow naturally.
Filter your evidence
I can 99% guarantee you that you won’t be able to use all the research you have done. A lot of it will be:
- Irrelevant to the question
- Repetition of what you already have
- Not quite right for your line of argument
THEREFORE it is important that you filter your evidence so that you only have the best examples and information.
Use your research question as your starting point and your conclusion sentence (the one you wrote earlier) as the end point. It is your job to make sure that every piece of research is part of a bridge between the two. Absolutely every quote, fact or piece of data that you include should actively answer your question. If it doesn’t, don’t include it.
Exercise 3: First, highlight the clearest, most informative research that you have gathered. Next, take all of these pieces of research, and write a short, one-sentence summary next to each one, describing how it relates to your question. Use your own words. You will hopefully start finding that they are backing up some of the points you know you want to include.
Constructing your Extended Essay Outline
There are different techniques you can use to structure an essay. Because the Extended Essay is much longer than what most of you will be used to, I strongly recommend using a particular technique or process to do this. Below are some examples, and you should do whatever works best for you.
The Bullet-Point Outline:
You know this one. It's the most classic example of how to structure an essay and the one most of you have probably tried before. The trick with this one is to start small and expand outwards afterwards.
- Summarise each paragraph into one line that defines the idea or sub-topic behind it.
- Evidence, data or a quote
- How the example relates to the idea you are trying to convey
- Expand your paragraph bullet points by adding in other ideas or points that are directly relevant to the overall idea behind it
The Post-it Note Outline:
I'm defining this as anything that involves you breaking down your paragraphs into defined pieces. Post-it notes, cards, and scraps of paper are the most common examples. This option is brilliant if you struggle coming up with an order for your ideas straight away. Instead it lets you play around with all the different parts of your essay as you go, until you have put them in the best possible order.
If you like the idea of this process but can't stand the idea of lots of physical pieces of paper, there are some apps that perform a similar function such as Gingko or Evernote .
The Spreadsheet Outline:
For the structure nuts among you. The beauty of this is that it lets you easily compare paragraphs in terms of length and content by breaking each one down into clear sections. You can choose how exactly you format it, but it might look like this:
As with the post-it version it is super easy to use this method to change the order of your paragraphs. You can also tailor the columns depending on what categories are most relevant to you. If you want to go a step further you can even colour code your sheet, for example according to 1st hand data or 2nd hand data, or close analysis and thematic analysis.
The key is to have a view of the bigger picture of your essay. How you go about it is up to you!
Read Part 6 - How to write it!
How to finish your extended essay over summer.
Completing their extended essay before they begin DP2 is the dream of most IB students. In reality, however, few achieve it. In this blog, we’ll explore how to finish your extended essay over summer without feeling overwhelmed! Part 1: Get Some Rest! Don’t forget that the reason you have a summer break is to take […]
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We know that feeling. You’ve come home from school with a seemingly impossible number of tasks to complete. There are essays to edit, assignments to prepare and past papers to complete. It feels like there is no end in sight. When you feel like this, take a step back and think about your external environment. […]
Top 5 Things To Do After Graduation!
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on graduating! It’s no small feat to reach the end of the IB programme and you have all accomplished so much. On top of studying six subjects, you’ve written an Extended Essay, a TOK essay, completed all your IAs, and spent time contributing to your community through CAS all while living […]
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Extended Essay: Step 10. Plan a structure for your essay
- Extended Essay- The Basics
- Step 1. Choose a Subject
- Step 2. Educate yourself!
- Using Brainstorming and Mind Maps
- Identify Keywords
- Do Background Reading
- Define Your Topic
- Conduct Research in a Specific Discipline
- Step 5. Draft a Research Question
- Step 6. Create a Timeline
- Find Articles
- Find Primary Sources
- Get Help from Experts
- Search Engines, Repositories, & Directories
- Databases and Websites by Subject Area
- Create an Annotated Bibliography
- Advice (and Warnings) from the IB
- Chicago Citation Syle
- MLA Works Cited & In-Text Citations
- Step 9. Set Deadlines for Yourself
- Step 10. Plan a structure for your essay
- Evaluate & Select: the CRAAP Test
- Conducting Secondary Research
- Conducting Primary Research
- Formal vs. Informal Writing
- Presentation Requirements
- Evaluating Your Work
How to Write an Outline
One way to plan a structure for your essay is by writing an outline. An outline breaks down the parts of your thesis in a clear, hierarchical manner. Most students find that writing an outline before beginning the paper is most helpful in organizing one's thoughts. If your outline is good, your paper should be easy to write. Use this worksheet from the Learning & Advising Center at Philadelphia University to help with writing your own outline.
The basic format for an outline uses an alternating series of numbers and letters, indented accordingly, to indicate levels of importance. Here is an example of an outline on a paper about the development of Japanese theater from the Universtiy at Albany, State University of New York:
"How to Write an Outline." U at Albany, State U of New York. U at Albany, State U of New York, 2011. Web. 5 Dec. 2012 <http://www.albany.edu/eas/170/outline.htm>.
Twelve-step Plan for Researching the Extended Essay - Step 10
10. Plan a structure for the essay. This may change as the research develops but it is useful to have a sense of direction from the start.
- << Previous: Step 9. Set Deadlines for Yourself
- Next: Step 11. Read, Read, Read! >>
- Last Updated: Feb 7, 2023 7:05 PM
- URL: https://libguides.westsoundacademy.org/ee
The IB Extended Essay must include the following: A title page Contents page Introduction Body of the essay Conclusion References and bibliography Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories, or IB subject groups, which are as follows: Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper. One component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students. Read about the extended essay in greater detail.
The International Baccalaureate® (IB) programme resource centre, a key resource for educators at IB World Schools, includes several examples of extended essay titles. These highlight the diverse range of topics covered by International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) students during their extended essays. Some examples are:
IB extended essay guidelines require supervisor meetings, totaling 3-5 hours. They include three critical reflections. A mentor won't write a paper instead of you but can help adjust it. So it is important to consult with them, but no one will proofread or correct actual research for you.
Carefully read through the 8 steps to fully understand how to write an extended essay. Step 1: Selecting a topic and researching on it This is the first step that you should take before writing your extended essay. As noted, extended essays will allow you to write on the topic of your interest.
The trick with this one is to start small and expand outwards afterwards. Summarise each paragraph into one line that defines the idea or sub-topic behind it. Expand each paragraph summary by adding 2 extra bullet points: Evidence, data or a quote. How the example relates to the idea you are trying to convey.
You are expected to spend approximately 40 hours on the whole extended essay process. You will have to be proactive in organizing and completing different tasks during those stages. Using the Extended Essay Timeline you should prepare your own personal timeline for the research, writing, and reflection required for your EE.
Follow these steps in the order given before attempting an outline: 1. Read, gather information, and think about your essay topic 2. Take notes, jot down ideas, use your Researcher's Reflection Space 3. Generate a research question (you may need several tries)