Compare And Contrast Extended Essay

The extended essay is an IB core requirement, where students explore a subject in depth. The subject must relate to one of the courses offered in Groups 1 - 6 of the IB Diploma Programme. The extended essay is an opportunity to demonstrate research and writing skills, along with other traits of the IB learner profile. While independent study and self-discipline are part of this task, an in-school supervisor is assigned to each student to monitor progress. The final, formal piece of writing of 3,000-4,000 words is something that students can be proud of, present to teachers, parents and even future employers. 

The following pages explain the relevance of extended essay to Group 1 and the Language A: Language and Literature course. You can find information on the basic requirements and the assessment criteria, along with sample extended essays from former students. It is recommended that you study these pages carefully before you engage in the writing process, in order to ensure the best results and the most rewarding experience. 

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. 

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 analyse, 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 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.

Find out how points awarded for the extended essay contribute to a student’s overall diploma score.

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