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The Extended Essay Part 2: Finding Your Question

By Alexis Kuo ’24
This is the second instalment in a series of articles on the Extended Essay, which follows the progress of the Class of 2024 IB Diploma students.
There are seven topic area options to choose from for the Extended Essay: the six IB course groups and the World Studies. Of these seven options, there are a few that are recommended over others, either because of resource availability or because some are considered less intense with respect to workload.

Group 1 English Extended Essays are divided into Category 1, 2 or 3 depending on the material studied. A Category 1, or CAT 1, focuses on one or more literary works (books, plays, poetry or song lyrics) in Language A (which would be English at GNS). A CAT 2 Essay would be comparing a literary work in Language A (English) with literary works originally written in another language. CAT 3 Essays have become more popular, and involves the study of a non-literature text, (film, speech (radio broadcasts and transcripts), magazine column, blog, magazine covers and textbooks) through a contextual or critical lens.

Group 2 Language Acquisition EEs can be done, but students need to be able to write in that language and need to speak to Mrs. Rebecca Neilson, Mme. Angie Girard, and the teacher in charge of that language.

Group 3 EEs at GNS can be done in IB Global Politics, IB History, or IB Economics, depending on which course the student is currently taking.

Students who are interested in pursuing a Group 4 Science EE need to speak with Ms. Dallin early in the year.

Those who would like to pursue a Group 5, or Math EE, would need to speak to Mrs. Rebecca Neilson, Mme. Angie Girard and their math teacher.

Extended Essays in the Group 6 Arts are rare but can be done. This year, Theo Marill is doing his Essay in IB Theater. He is currently workshopping his question, “How and in what ways are the techniques of Clowning expressed in the Broadway production of SpongeBob the Musical?”. He is excited to start researching “clowning,” theatre theory that he enjoys but hasn’t studied extensively yet. When considering Extended Essay topics, it is important to choose a topic with personal interest and importance, as it will be a topic that you will dive deep into and spend six months investigating and studying.

The Extended Essay journey will look a bit different for everyone, but regardless of their chosen topic the hope is the students learn the important skills of research, analysis and time management. Additionally, remember that if you need help, Mrs. Rebecca Nielson (Coordinator of Student Life and Leadership), Mme. Angie Girard (IB Diploma Coordinator), your supervisors, past graduates, and peers will be there to support you.

The third article in this instalment will focus on the interdisciplinary World Studies Extended Essay: the guidelines, options and pathways, and we will speak to a few students who are currently pursuing this option for their essay.

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We wish to acknowledge and respect the Straits Salish Peoples on whose traditional territory we gather. Specifically, we recognize the Lekwungen Peoples known today as the Songhees Nation and the Esquimalt Nation, whose historical relationships with the land where we live, work, play and learn continue to this day.