Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Extended Essay: Extended Essay- The Basics

A guide to the research and writing process required for students completing the IB Extended Essay.

The Extended Essay - the Basics

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.

Extended Essay Timeline, Class of 2023 (Due Dates and Assignments)

February – March, 2022


EE grade for Semester 2, 2021-2022, is ¼ credit Pass/Fail grade.

February 2 – May 12, 2022

Juniors have occasional work sessions with EE Coordinator, Susan Trower during their 3rd period Theory of Knowledge class. The goal is to have students complete the Planning Phase of their EEs, including:

  • Becoming familiar with IB’s criteria for assessment
  • Reading example EE’s in their chosen subject that have scored well
  • Reading the Extended essay subject reports
  • Gaining background knowledge
  • Making sure that they have sufficient material for their research (i.e., “Is an EE on this topic feasible?”)
  • Picking a topic and research question
March 3, 2022 - DUE: ‘Individual EE Proposal – Request for Alternate Subject Form’ 

Document emailed to Susan Trower by 3:30 PM on 03/03/2022.

Only required of students who want to do an EE in a subject other than English A: Language and Literature; Literature and Performance; Mathematics; Global Politics; Dance; Theatre; Visual Arts, or for students who want to do a World Studies Extended Essay

March 3, 2022 - DUE: ‘Student Undertaking Contract’ to Susan Trower, signed by both student and parent, by 3:30 PM
March 3, 2022 - DUE: ‘Proposed Subject and Topic Form’ to Susan Trower by 3:30 PM


March 18, 2022

Extended Essay Supervisors assigned

March 21 - 25, 2022 - Schedule appointment with supervisor and meet for the first time (INITIAL REFLECTION SESSION)


March 28, 2022 - DUE: Initial reflection (150-175 words) to Susan Trower by 3:30 PM


April - May, 2022


Students can schedule occasional meetings with their supervisors.


May 12, 2022 - DUE: ‘Feasibility Study’ completed by 3:30 PM on May 12, 2022

Assignment to be completed in your NoodleTools project, shared with Susan Trower's Class of 2023 inbox in NoodleTools. Include:

  • A list of at least five sources relevant to your subject and topic proposal, each with an annotation that has:
    • An explanation of the main points and/or purpose of the work
    • Verification of the authority or qualifications of the author
    • Comments on the worth, effectiveness, and usefulness of the work in terms of your research
    • The point of view or perspective from which the work was created


June Term and June - August, 2022


May 27 - June 10, 2022

Juniors have ½ day June Term class with Susan Trower, EE Coordinator, and Alayna Garvin, College Counselor and IB Language and Literature teacher. Class time will be used to work on IB Language and Literature HL assignments, college application essays, and Extended essays. Each student can use the work time to:

  • Select a new topic and research question, if the feasibility study assignment proved their original choices to be unsuitable
  • Find more sources for their NoodleTools EE project, and annotate
  • Begin work on the Research Phase of the EE, due on September 6, 2022:
    • Prepare an outline of their paper
    • Write a “discovery draft” the first six pages of their paper

June 1 - 9, 2022

Meet with supervisor and discuss summer plans for work on EE


June - August, 2022 - Students work on discovery draft of their Extended Essays


Summer Break

EE grade for 2022-2023 is ¼ credit letter grade, and is posted to transcript in March, 2023.

September 6, 2022 - DUE: First 6 pages (discovery draft) due to Supervisor and Susan Trower




September 26, 2022 - DUE: Interim reflection (150-175 words) due to Susan Trower


October 24, 2022

Finish the Writing Phase

October 24, 2022 - DUE: Complete draft due to Supervisor and Susan Trower by 3:30 PM


October 31 - November 4 - Mandatory draft (revision) conference with Supervisor


January 9, 2023

Finish the Polishing Phase

January 9, 2023 - FINAL COPY DUE to Supervisor and Susan Trower by 3:30 PM




January 30, 2023 - DUE: Final reflection (150-175 words) due to Susan Trower

Extended Essay Forms and Contracts - Class of 2023

Extended Essay Coordinator

Profile Photo
Susan Trower
West Sound Academy
16571 Creative Drive NE
Poulsbo, WA 98370

What is the Extended Essay?

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:

  • practical preparation for undergraduate research
  • an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of personal interest to them, which relates to one of the student's six DP subjects, or takes the interdisciplinary approach of a World Studies extended essay.

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 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:

  • 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.

Students are evaluated on five criterion:

  • Criterion A – focus and method.
  • Criterion B – knowledge and understanding.
  • Criterion C – critical thinking.
  • Criterion D – presentation.
  • Criterion E – engagement.

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

Twelve-step Plan for Researching the Extended Essay

Open door with stairway - Britannica ImageQuestNeed 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.

IB Extended Essay Guide (first exams 2018)

Search the WSA Library Catalog

Find books, digital resources (ebooks), WebPath Express websites, and Open Educational Resources (OER).

Quick Links

Get Help

The librarian is always happy to help you!

  In Person - during library hours, 
       8:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

  Or Request an appointment

  By Phone - during library hours

  By Email - Susan Trower


West Sound Academy Library | PO Box 807 |16571 Creative Drive NE | Poulsbo, WA 98370 | 360-598-5954 | Contact the librarian