Extended Essay

The Extended Essay (EE) is a mandatory core component of the IB Diploma Programme. It is a research paper of up to 4,000 words giving students an opportunity to conduct independent research or investigation on a topic that interests them. Like the theory of knowledge (ToK) essay, ToK presentation, and participation in creativity, action, service activities, submitting an extended essay is a prerequisite to award of the Diploma.

What is the significance of the extended essay?

The extended essay provides:

  • practical preparation for undergraduate research
  • an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of special interest to them, which is also related to one of the student’s six DP subjects.

Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:

  • formulating an appropriate research question
  • engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
  • communicating ideas
  • developing an argument.

Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyse, synthesize and evaluate knowledge.

An extended essay can also be undertaken in world studies, where students carry out an in-depth interdisciplinary study of an issue of contemporary global significance, across two IB diploma disciplines.

How is study of the extended essay structured?

Students are supported throughout the process of researching and writing the extended essay, with advice and guidance from a supervisor who is usually a teacher at the school.

The IB recommends that students follow the completion of the written essay with a short, concluding the interview with their supervisor. This is known as viva voce.

The extended essay and interview can be a valuable stimulus for discussion in countries where interviews are required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university.

What are the criteria to assess the Extended Essay?

There are five (A-E) criterion to assess the EE and each criterion is organized at three levels of information. Firstly, the markband, which relates to the mark range available; secondly, the strand, which relates to what is being assessed; and, thirdly, the indicators, which are the demonstration of the strands within a markband.

Criterion A: Focus and method – This criterion focuses on the topic, the research question and the methodology…

Criterion B: Knowledge and understanding – This criterion assesses the extent to which the research relates to the subject area/discipline used to explore the research question…

Criterion C: Critical thinking – This criterion assesses the extent to which critical-thinking skills have been used to analyse and evaluate the research undertaken.

Criterion D: Presentation – This criterion assesses the extent to which the presentation follows the standard format expected for academic writing and the extent to which this aids effective communication.

Criterion E: Engagement – This criterion assesses the student’s engagement with their research focus and the research process.

How is the extended essay assessed?

All extended essays are externally assessed by examiners appointed by the IB. They are marked on a scale from 0 to 36. (*0 to 32 from 2018)

The score a student receives relates to a band. The bands are:

  • A – work of an excellent standard.
  • B – work of a good standard.
  • C –work of a satisfactory standard.
  • D – work of a mediocre standard.
  • E – work of an elementary standard.

What is the order of sections of the Extended Essay?

Basically, the order is:

  • title page
  • abstract (no abstract from 2018)
  • contents page
  • introduction
  • body of the essay (i.e. development, methods, results)
  • conclusion
  • references/bibliography
  • appendices

Further Information is on IB website

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EUROPEAN International School Ho Chi Minh City

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