8 TIPS FOR YOUR IB EXTENDED ESSAY: GUIDE,
IDEAS, EXAMPLES

We answer all your questions about the Extended Essay (IB) with some unique tips

The most important and significant IB projects are four:

  • IA (Internal Assessment)
  • EE (Extended Essay)
  • TOK (Theory of Knowledge)
  • CAS (Creativity, Activity and Service)

THE EXTENDED ESSAY, WHAT IS IT?

The Extended Essay (EE) is an independent piece of work that IB students are required to do with a 4000 word limit. 

The Extended Essay (EE) is a research essay on one or more specific and elaborate topics which must be related to one (or more) of the subjects they are studying.

How does the Extended Essay (EE) score?

The Extended Essay together with the T.O.K. (Theory of Knowledge) and the CAS (Volunteering) add a total of 3 points to the overall IB score. Actually, the CAS simply has to be passed, you have to do it and that’s it, it doesn’t require any marks. On the other hand, the EE and TOK are more complex.

As you know, the maximum IB score is 45 points. Of those 45, the maximum for the subjects part (there are 6 subjects) is 42 and the remaining 3 are jointly from the EE and the TOK (42 subjects + 3 TOK and EE = 45 maximum IB score).

Where is the complexity?

The EE as such is a paper that is scored with a maximum of 34. From that individual mark, it is transferred to a letter grade (A a maximum and E a minimum) and from there, adding it to the grade you get in the TOK, it will be the equivalence of those 3 points, which is the maximum you can get in the IB. Let’s explain it with an example:

If you get a 32 in your EE, your grade descriptor would be an A (the A is maximum, having that grade you have it almost perfect), in the TOK you also have an A, so in total you have A+A, which is the maximum you can get, so you would have the whole 3 points for your IB (a rubric is made, depending on the combination of letters you get 3, 2 and 1 point).

Why are these 3 points essential?

Assuming an IB student had a mark of 36 without those two papers (an acceptably good mark, considering that the maximum is 42), if you add EE and TOK it would be 39 and those three points become essential – especially when you cross “the barrier” of 35.

How do they make a difference? The three points make a difference and are essential the greater the student’s need to succeed and to be able to get into big universities. In short, it is the difference between getting into the most prestigious universities in the world or not.

On the other hand, if the student wants to get an average mark or just pass, they should not dedicate much time to the monograph. If you have expectations or need a high grade, then yes. If the objective is to go to a much more prestigious university, you should dedicate a lot of time to it in order to get those 3 extra points.

How long does it take to make an EE?

According to the IB, 40 hours, but what is the reality? Our experience is that it takes at least twice as long: 80h or 120h depending on the type of work, difficulty, subjects, etcetera.

Why does it take so long? Because this work is equivalent in difficulty to a TFG or TFM work, the quality of this work is very similar to them. Students must be very neat in how they do the work, manage it, form and procedure so as not to make extra time, i.e. they must be really productive.

The idea is that this is not a normal job, but it is very heavy and extremely complex. It has a very delimited structure and steps, that’s why it takes so long. An IA can be done in a week or a weekend with a lot of luck, but the EE is absolutely impossible.

How many reviews do your teachers have to do in your EE?

Extended Essay is such an intensive task that it requires constant assistance and support from the IB school. Unfortunately, most schools and teachers do no more than a general recommendation and introduction, when what IB requires is continuous monitoring and support with several revisions.

In theory, 3.5 hours of supervision is required, a minimum of three compulsory sessions, but in practice they never meet with the student three times during the year, and not only do they not meet, but they are not properly informed about the subject. This often leads to misunderstandings and to students skipping the rules in an existing guide that they must read (and we will explain in the next point).

TutorASAP deal with these aspects and give support and guidance to each student from the very beginning (we have been doing it for 20 years!).

Study guide: the Extended Essay Guidelines

As we said, there is an official guide, a study guide made specifically to orientate and give a series of rules to the Extended Essay. This guide, which is approximately 120 pages long, talks about how this work should be done.

Theoretically, students should know what it says, as the schools should make a presentation about it so that each student understands perfectly what they have to do. This study guide is divided into two parts:

  1. General regulation sector. In this part they explain the essential rules of style and presentation of the work, for example, the maximum number of words in the work (4.000), what typefaces to use and how to use them, how to use line spacing, how to make quotations, what to quote and what not to quote, what references to make… In other words, everything that is general and essential. These rules must be very clear, as they do not give options: they must be followed.

  2. Specific regulations, by subject. Here you will find the rules for each subject. These include the choice of topics, examples of assignments, examples of questions, clarification of the assessment criteria for each subject, and what to pay special attention to. Within the specific regulations, they also specify the type of work to be done

Problem: In schools, only general regulations are given. In addition to those general regulations, we always explain the rules for each subject, characteristics and even examples of what is acceptable work and what is not.

What can an EE be made of? What topics are usually covered?

There are three options: Either from one subject, from two subjects that are intertwined or do so-called World studies, which is an interdisciplinary work that brings together several subjects and subjects and has its own system.

Most of them are close to a single branch and subject. Whether it is one subject or another, the Extended Essay is a work at university level, at a higher level, so it must be equivalent or slightly higher than the knowledge you have at school. The advantage of this is that students no longer have to learn how to do this type of work during their degree, but will know how to do it beforehand thanks to the IB. The subjects are divided into different branches or groups organised by the IB itself.

  • 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

World studies: only for those who are 100% clear about it

World studies are much more ambitious and riskier IB Extended Essay assignments because there are many more factors involved and they have to be done very well in order to be well assessed. This type of work is only for immensely technical students with an immense capacity for innovation and who are 100% clear about it, as they are really revolutionary work… as long as they are well done.

The World Studies have different evaluation criteria to other projects. It’s also in the story guide. You have to approach your work according to these criteria to the maximum evaluation.

TASAP TIP: It would be ideal for those with an average mark >35.

Get inspired by examples of real jobs

– Before starting, the student should look at examples of what is good and bad work in order to orientate him/herself with the level that is required. We talk about level because, as we have said, it has to be higher than what you have been working with during the course. For example, in science you can’t do data analysis with basic graphs, you have to use statistical and advanced data analysis because otherwise they take away points.

Get your bearings with specific books and manuals that are for sale: there are some pretty good ones that we can leave you or we can tell you to check (you know, write to us without any problem!).

A trick that we think is very important: make a checklist with the obligations imposed on you in the official study guide of the EE. This way, by carrying out a good process, you make sure you don’t forget anything and that everything is correct.

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