This guide explains the process required to complete the IB Extended Essay - from the initial step of choosing a research topic, through effectively searching for information and organizing your sources to presenting your findings with accurate references and citations.
This timeline also applies to students submitting Senior Essays. Completion of an Extended Essay or Senior Essay is required for graduation from West Sound Academy.
February 2 – May 12, 2023
EE grade for Semester 2, 2022-2023, is ¼ credit Pass/Fail grade.
February 3, 2023:
Juniors meet on Project Day for a half day on campus, to do beginning work on their Extended essays with EE Coordinator, 8:20 AM to 12:20 PM. Students will:
February 6-10, 2023
Extended Essay Supervisors assigned
February 13-17, 2023
Initial meeting of students with supervisors (Initial Reflection Session)
March 17, 2023:
Juniors meet on Project Day for a half day on campus, to do continue work on their Extended essays with EE Coordinator, 8:20 AM to 12:20 PM. Students will:
March 20-24, 2023
April 10-14, 2023
Interim Reflection Session with supervisor
Present this assignment either as a calendar or a list of calendar dates, showing your plans by week, starting with May 21 (the last week of Semester 2), going through September 5 (due date for the first complete draft.)
May 8-12, 2023
Check-in meeting with supervisor. Topics:
June - August 2023
Students write first draft of their essays.
Draft must conform to IB Formal Presentation Requirements.
August 21, 2023
Individual student meetings with EE Coordinator at Senior Retreat to discuss the ‘Draft of the draft’ assignment
EE grade for 2023-2024 is ¼ credit letter grade, and is posted to transcript in March, 2024.
September 11-22, 2023
Student revision conferences with supervisors.
October 31 - November 10, 2023
Final Reflection Session (Viva Voce) with supervisor
The extended essay is a required component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP).
It is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.
What is the significance of the extended essay?
The extended essay provides:
Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:
Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyze, 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 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.
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 34.
The score a student receives relates to a band. The bands are:
Students are evaluated on five criterion:
However, when your supervisor marks your essay in order to arrive at a predicted grade, the grading will be based on the qualitative grade descriptors for the EE, not a translation of a number score into a letter grade.
Find out how points awarded for the extended essay contribute to a student’s overall diploma score.
Source: International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme website
Need tips on how to get started? Follow these steps to get going on the research for your Extended Essay.
1. Choose an available Diploma Programme subject for the extended essay for the session in question.
2. Educate yourself. Read the following materials: the assessment criteria, relevant subject-specific chapter of the Extended Essay guide, the IB's ethical guidelines and other associated policies where relevant, such as those relating to animal experiments
3. Set up the Researcher's Reflective Space (RRS) and use this as the key planning and reflection tool for the extended essay process.
4. Choose a topic and undertake some background reading in it.
5. Formulate a preliminary research question. Try to incorporate an IB command term in the research question if possible.
6. Draw up an outline plan for the research and writing process. This should include a timeline.
7. Begin to identify how and where you will gather source material for your research.
8. Identify which system of academic referencing they will use, ensuring that this meets the minimum requirements for the IB.
9. Set deadlines for yourself that are realistic and take into consideration WSA's internal EE deadlines.
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.
11. Undertake some preparatory reading in light of the proposed research question. NOTE: If you discover that it will not be possible to obtain the evidence needed in the time available, the research question should be changed. This is better done sooner rather than later; do not lose time waiting and hoping that something will turn up. Go back to step 3, 2, or 1, and choose a new research question that can be answered.
12. Carry out the research. The material collected should be assembled in a logical order, linked to the structure of the essay and clearly focused on the research question posed. Only then will you know that you have enough evidence for each stage of the argument so that you can proceed to the next. You should be prepared for things to occasionally go wrong. Sometimes you may discover something later in the research that undermines what you thought had been established earlier. If that happens, your research plan needs to be revised.
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