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 special interest to them, which is also related to one of the student’s six DP subjects.
- formulating an appropriate research question
- engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
- communicating ideas
- developing an argument.
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 36. 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.