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Extended Essay

What is the Extended Essay (EE)?

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of available Diploma Programme subjects for the session in question. This is normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for those taking the IB diploma, or a subject that a course student has a background in [prerequisite required]. It is intended to promote academic research and writing skills, providing students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (an appropriately qualified member of staff within the school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen.


It is mandatory that all students undertake three reflection sessions with their supervisor, which includes a short, concluding interview, or viva voce, with their supervisor following the completion of the extended essay. An assessment of this reflection process is made under criterion E (Engagement) using the Reflections on planning and progress form.


The extended essay is assessed against common criteria, interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject.

Source: EE Website

How the Reflection is Assessed
The Reflection on planning and progress form (RPPF) is worth nearly 18% of your overall EE grade!
The RPPF will be graded using the following assessment criteria: 
EE Criterion E: Engagement
Source: EE Website
Criterion E: Engagement - Grade Descriptors
GRADE A: Engagement with the process is conceptual and personal, key decision-making during the research process is documented, and personal reflections are evidenced, including those that are forward-thinking.
GRADE B: Engagement with the process is generally evidenced by the reflections and key decision-making during the research process is documented.
GRADE C: Engagement with the process is evidenced but shows mostly factual information, with personal reflection mostly limited to procedural issues.
GRADE D: Engagement with the process is evidenced but is superficial, with personal reflections that are solely narrative and concerned with procedural elements.
GRADE E: (failing condition) Engagement with the process is limited, with limited factual or decision-making information and no personal reflection on the process.
Source: EE Website
Presentation in the EE

The extended essay should be written in a clear, correct and formal academic style, appropriate to the subject from which the topic is drawn. Given that the extended essay is a formally written research paper, it should strive to maintain a professional, academic look.

To help achieve this, the following formatting is suggested.

    • font, font size and spacing conducive to on-screen marking
    • page numbering
    • no candidate, supervisor, or school name on the title page, page headers, appendices or acknowledgment pages
    • the file size must not be more than 10 MB. (Note that the RPPF is uploaded separately and is not part of the overall file size of the essay.)

Submitting the extended essay in the required format will help set the tone of the essay and will aid readability for on-screen assessment by examiners.

6 Required Elements of the Extended Essay
Title Page
Do NOT include your name, ONLY the following:
EE Title Page
Contents Page A contents page must be provided at the beginning of the extended essay and all pages should be numbered. Please note that an index page is not required and if included will be treated as if it is not present.

The introduction should tell the reader what to expect in the essay. The introduction should make clear to the reader the focus of the essay, the scope of the research, in particular an indication of the sources to be used, and an insight into the line of argument to be taken. While students should have a sense of the direction and key focus of their essay, it is sometimes advisable to finalize the introduction once the body of the essay is complete.

Body of the essay

Research, analysis, discussion and evaluation:

The main task is writing the body of the essay, which should be presented in the form of a reasoned argument. The form of this varies with the subject of the essay but as the argument develops it should be clear to the reader what relevant evidence has been discovered, where/how it has been discovered and how it supports the argument. In some subjects, for example, the sciences, subheadings within the main body of the essay will help the reader to understand the argument (and will also help the student to keep on track). In structuring their extended essay, students must take into consideration the expected conventions of the subject in which their extended essay is registered.

Once the main body of the essay is complete, it is possible to finalize the introduction (which tells the reader what to expect) and the conclusion (which says what has been achieved, including notes of any limitations and any questions that have not been resolved).

Any information that is important to the argument must not be included in appendices or footnotes/endnotes. The examiner will not read notes or appendices, so an essay that is not complete in itself will be compromised across the assessment criteria.

Conclusion The conclusion says what has been achieved, including notes of any limitations and any questions that have not been resolved. While students might draw conclusions throughout the essay based on their findings, it is important that there is a final, summative conclusion at the end. This conclusion(s) must relate to the research question posed.
A bibliography is an alphabetical list of every source used to research and write the essay. Sources that are not cited in the body of the essay but were important in informing the approach taken should be cited in the introduction or in an acknowledgment. The bibliography must list only those sources cited
*Include page numbering/page headers (with shortened version of title/research question), double-spacing, AND a 12-point font conducive to on-screen marking
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Elizabeth Desimone
Diploma Program (DP) Coordinator
Jennifer Gorman
Extended Essay (EE) Coordinator
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Assessment in the EE

Total Marks Available: 34


Criterion A: focus and method

(6 Marks)

  • Topic
  • Research Question
  • Methodology

Criterion B: knowledge and understanding (6 Marks)

  • Context
  • Subject Specific Terminology and Concepts

Criterion C: critical thinking

(12 Marks)

  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Discussion and Evaluation

Criterion D: presentation

(4 Marks)

  • Structure
  • Layout

Criterion E: engagement (RPPF)

(6 Marks)

  • Process
  • Research Focus