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The Extended Essay Part 1: Getting Started

IB Diploma Programme
On May 5, Grade 11 IB Diploma Programme (DP) students were introduced to the Extended Essay (EE). The EE has been referred to as the milestone of the DP and will be completed in the early fall of 2023. It is a component of the DP core, along with ToK (Theory of Knowledge) and CAS (Creativity, Activity, and Service), and its completion is mandatory for all full DP students. 

IB describes the Extended Essay as “an independent piece of research, culminating with a 4,000-word paper.” According to their site, the EE provides a practical experience reminiscent of undergraduate research and an opportunity for students to explore a topic of personal interest. Along with the researching and academic writing skills, students will also have the chance to work on their organization, time-management and personal reflection.

The Extended Essay can be written on a topic which relates to one of the student’s six DP subjects, or they can combine two subjects into an interdisciplinary World Studies paper.

The bulk of the work for the EE will be done on the students’ own time, but at the beginning ofMay, ToK classes were transformed into EE work blocks. To ensure success, it is essential that students refer to the approximate timeline posted and meet the deadlines. The deadlines for the EE are very strict. If missed, students can not expect any feedback from their supervisors. In order to meet these deadlines, students must have good time management and work ethic.

So far, current Grade 11 DP students have decided on their course areas, chosen their topic, been assigned their supervisors, and are currently working on refining their research question. The next step is to meet with their supervisor(s), finalize their research question, and begin working on their first reflection.

Many IB Alumni refer to the EE as their favorite part of the Diploma Programme. It is not a small undertaking, and requires time, energy and dedication. The Extended Essay will encourage students to become inquirers, thinkers, effective communicators, balanced, reflective, and knowledgeable, which are not just IB Learner Profile attributes, but attributes that will help students succeed in their academic journeys and, ultimately, in life.

Part II will elaborate and provide information on the interdisciplinary World Studies, the IB courses that the Extended Essay can be written on, and share how some students arrived at their topics.