School Information » Extended Essay

Extended Essay

What is the EE?
The Extended Essay (EE) 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 student has a background in. 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 (up to 4,000 words), in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen and is accompanied by a mandatory reflection form (up to 500 words). The extended essay is assessed against common criteria, interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject. (Source: EE Website)
The EE is the result of approximately 40 hours of research/writing by the student. The EE is a process not just an end product.


EE Timeline
EE Proposal
Students submit the following to ManageBac for supervisor approval:
  1. SUBJECT - Select from one of the available DP subjects
  2. TOPIC - Select a topic of your choosing that "fits" within the subject specific requirements & adheres to the no "double-dipping" rule
  3. SUPERVISOR: Supervisors should be familiar with the specific discipline/issue under study
  4. RESEARCH QUESTION (RQ): A research question is a clear and focused question centered on a research topic about a particular issue that a student is interested in
To keep organized students are advised to maintain a Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) to store ideas, notes, files, sources, websites, videos, etc. Try using the RRS in ManageBac!
The primary responsibility for the essay lies with the student, but the supervisor mentors the student through each stage of the process.
The total supervision time permitted is 3-5 hours. The supervision model used at MHS includes at least 6 meetings (see EE Timeline):
  • 3 formal mandatory reflection sessions - which are recorded on the RPPF and worth nearly 18% of your EE grade (see below)
  • 3 informal "check-in" sessions
The role of the supervisor:
  • provide students with advice & guidance in the skills of undertaking the research process
  • encourage & support students throughout the research and writing of the extended essay
  • discuss the choice of topic with each student and, in particular, help to formulate a well-focused research question which is suitable to the subject of registration and ensure that the chosen research question satisfies appropriate legal and ethical standards
  • is familiar with the regulations governing the EE & assessment criteria and check that the student is conforming to any rules stated in the subject guide and is NOT "double-dipping" or using texts that are not permitted 
  • ensure the student understands the importance of using credible/accurate sources
  • monitor the progress of the extended essay to offer guidance and to ensure that the essay is the student’s own work and the student has properly acknowledged all sources  
A good student-topic-supervisor fit is likely when the supervisor:
  • knows the student well
  • shares the student's excitement and curiosity about the topic
  • is comfortable establishing a clear work plan with the student
  • follows up with timely feedback
Supervisor Comments on DRAFT
EE Supervisors are only permitted to comment on 1 completed draft of your Extended Essay. Completed drafts, with bibliography, are due in ManageBac the first week of school (August) of your senior year. 
Students will then meet with their supervisor for a "check-in" session in August to discuss feedback.
"Advice should be in terms of the way the work could be improved, but the draft must not be heavily annotated or edited by the supervisor" (EE Guide, pp 63-64)
Student Reflection in the Extended Essay


Reflection in the Extended Essay is worth nearly 18% of your overall EE grade!


It is mandatory that students undertake 3 reflection sessions with their EE 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) and documented using the Reflections on planning and progress form (RPPF).


  • Reflection in the extended essay focuses on the student’s progress during the planning, research and writing process. It is intended to help students with the development of their extended essay as well as allowing them the opportunity to consider the effectiveness of their choices, to re-examine their ideas and to decide whether changes are needed.
  • The emphasis in the extended essay is on process reflection, characterized by reflecting on conceptual understandings, decision-making, engagement with data, the research process, time management, methodology, successes and challenges, and the appropriateness of sources.
  • Students will be encouraged to informally reflect throughout the experience of researching and writing the extended essay, but are required to reflect formally during the reflection sessions with their supervisor and when completing the Reflections on planning and progress form (Reflection in the core)
Supervisor Comments on Student Reflections
After the 3rd (Final) Reflection Session, the viva voce concluding interview, supervisors will complete their supervisor comments to contextualize the student's engagement with the process & include hours spent with candidate (3-5 hours are permitted).
3 Reflection Sessions (Criterion E: Engagement)
What your 3 mandatory reflection sessions might look like...
1st & 2nd Reflection Sessions
3rd Reflection Session
How to Prepare for your 3 Reflection Sessions
How the 3 Reflection Sessions are Assessed
Q: How will your 3 reflection sessions be assessed?
A: Personal Engagement with the research focus and the research process.
The Reflection on planning and progress form (RPPF) is worth 18% of your overall EE grade! Reflection entries will be completed in ManageBac under the "Planning and Progress Form" tab within a few days of each meeting for authenticity while details are fresh.
The RPPF will be graded using the following assessment criteria
EE Criterion E: Engagement
Source: EE Website
Writing your 3 Reflections
Reflections should be meaningful and demonstrate personal engagement with the research and writing process. Use first person statements such as "[for] me, my, myself, and I..." making sure to reflect on your, not your supervisor's, decision-making.
Students have up to 500 words to write ALL 3 reflections on the Planning and Progress Form in ManageBac, so choose your words wisely! 
Word Count Suggestions:
  • 150-175ish words for each reflection entry
  • 150ish words for your 1st & 2nd reflections, 200ish words for your 3rd
  • 100ish words for 1st & 2nd reflections, 300ish words for your 3rd
1st Reflection Session Initially, I had decided that my EE would would study the relationship between years of training and accuracy in pistol shooting. However, upon discussion, I realized that it would more practical to research on new training methodologies to improve performance in the sport since this will allow me to directly  impact athletes in my community. Therefore, I discussed the possibility of exploring how a specific psychological training method effects accuracy in air pistol. The two psychological training methods that I thought of studying were either Mental Image or Mindfulness Meditation Therapy (MMT). Upon reading a 2014 paper from Universal Journal of Psychology titled "The Relationship between Relaxation Techniques and Sport Performance" that compared MMT and Imagery, I learned that there existed a positive correlation between both training methods and performance. However, upon discussion, I concluded that my EE should study MMT instead of Imagery because medication has originated in India and is quite an accepted part of Indian culture. Therefore, the experimental group would be more willing to practice it as compared to Imagery.
2nd Reflection Session During the interim reflection session, I discussed the RQ that I had come up with. Upon discussion, I decided that in order to make the study more focused to a location, I should add the words "from Mumbai" to the RQ. A challenge I faced was in incorporation of various psychological models of sporting performance into the theoretical background of the EE. After reading the paper "Contrasting Concepts of Competitive State Anxiety in Sport" published in the Online Journal of Sports Psychology, I gained a comprehensive understanding of the Inverted-U, Multidimensional-Anxiety and Catastrophe Theories into my EE because I learned that there existed "scant research to offer full support for the Multidimensional Theory" and disagreement amongst sports-scientists over its reliability. I look forward to doing further research on sports psychology to incorporate it in my EE.
3rd Reflection Session
The EE writing process has been an intellectually challenging experience and has taught me how to read, analyse and evaluate findings from research papers. The process was particularly enjoyable because I was able to apply Sports Science theory to favourite sport of 10m Air Pistol
A particular challenge that I faced was in the data-collection process. Since I work as a part-time coach at the local range, I was able to gain the necessary permissions to organize two matches. Initially I had decided to collect data for 50 athletes to both matches. However, I had to reduce this number since I was finding it difficult to coordinate and ensure attendance of 50 athletes to both matches. Therefore, I conducted an experiment of 28 participants. This number was small enough for me to coordinate with, but large enough to conduct the statistical T-Test and test reliability of the results. I am excited about applying the learnings from the EE to my own training programme and to the training programme of my peers.

Assessed Reflections:

Criterion Mark Awarded Examiner Commentary
E: Engagement
(Maximum possible marks: 6)
Engagement is excellent. Reflections on decision-making and planning are evaluative. These reflections communicate a high degree of intellectual and personal engagement with the research focus and process of research, demonstrating authenticity and intellectual initiative.

Source: Sports, exercise, and health science EE & RPPF & Graded Rubric


The following levels correspond to the attainment levels of the rubric for Criterion E: Engagement

Levels of Reflection

Descriptive (Limited)

Analytical (Good)

Evaluative (Excellent)

  • What did I do?
  • How did I undertake my research?
  • What were the problems I faced?
  • Did my approach or strategies change throughout the process?
  • What have been the high and low points of the research and writing process?
  • Was my research successful?
  • If I changed my approach or strategies during the process, why did I do this?
  • What did I learn from the experience in terms of my understanding of the subject area and/or the skills needed to undertake research?
  • How has my understanding of the topic and research process developed throughout the task?
  • If I were to undertake this research again, would I do it differently - if so, why or why not?
  • What has affected this?
  • If I did do the research again, would I change the theories applied or the methodological approach? Would this have led to a different outcome?
  • What can I conclude from this?
  • Were the strategies I used for undertaking my research the most appropriate for achieving my outcomes?
  • What, if any, questions emerged as a result of my research that I was not expecting? Would these questions influence my approach if I were to undertake the research again?
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 (ex. Arial)
    • page numbering (top right corner of the page)
    • 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.
Works Cited (MLA)
References (APA)
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


"A citation is a shorthand method of making a reference in the body of an essay, either as an in-text citation or footnote/endnote. This must then be linked to the full reference at the end of the essay in the bibliography. A citation provides the reader with accurate references so that he or she can locate the source easily. How sources are cited varies with the particular referencing style that has been chosen. Page numbers should normally be given when referencing printed material and this is especially so in the case of direct quotations. For some styles this will also be in the citation, in others in the full reference. Once again, it is important to emphasize that there must be consistency of method when citing sources."

*Include page numbering/page headers (with shortened version of title/research question), double-spacing, 12-point font conducive to on-screen marking (Arial)
IMPORTANT: If you're thinking about including an Appendices at the end of your essay (after your Bibliography) please click here to determine if it's appropriate as examiners are NOT required to read them!
IB DP Logo
Contact Us
DP Logo
Nikki Ahrenstorff
IB Coordinator
Jennifer Gorman
Extended Essay Coordinator
EE Resources
EE Subject Reports
"Dos" & "Don'ts" Guide:
Assessment in the EE


Assessment Objectives


Assessment Criteria


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
Academic Integrity
It is the responsibility of the student and supervisor to confirm with the appropriate DP subject teacher that the selected EE topic is NOT an extension of an internal assessment (IA) AND they are not using material that will be submitted for any other IB assessment component.
Additionally, Studies in language and literature EEs may NOT be based on a text studied in the student's course.
Key points to remember regarding academic honesty and referencing:
"The essay must provide the reader with the precise sources of quotations, ideas and points of view through accurate citations..."
"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."
"A reference is a way of indicating to the reader, in an orderly form, where information has been obtained."
"References must be given whenever someone else's work is quoted or summarized..."
*Students are expected to use Turnitin (a similarity check & grammar tool) via ManageBac to help ensure citation accuracy.
EE Writing Tips
  • Don't procrastinate! Devise a plan to work on sections of your essay. Breaking it up into sections makes the writing process more manageable: 
    • Introduction - be sure to include the actual research question itself in the introduction, the factors being investigated to answer the question, the research subject-specific methodology/approach being used (the type of sources/data you intend to analyze in your own unique way) and why the topic is worth investigating.
    • Body - your essay should continuously relate back to the research question in an attempt to answer it and should be broken up into various headings, and maybe even subheadings depending on your topic or subject. Use separate paragraphs under each heading/section to further break up/organize your discussion points. Be careful to avoid writing a narrative essay by simply "retelling" events - instead focus on analyzing the information you've gathered.
    • Conclusion - is used to reiterate your key findings and how your points relate to the research question, any limitations regarding your research methods or sources, and to summarize your final analysis
    • Works Cited (MLS) or References (APA) - cite as you write using in-text citations (using either MLA or APA referencing style) & provide an alphabetized list of the sources you actually used in your essay. Let Citation Machine do the hard work for you by properly formatting both your in-text & bibliography citations!
  • Create an outline. It can help to organize your ideas. Try using Post-it Notes to rearrange your ideas until you find the order you'd like to present your discussion points/analysis
  • Just start writing! You don't even need to begin writing in complete sentences. Just get something down on "paper" even if it's just bullet points. You can also write each section in whatever order you prefer. In fact, it's not uncommon to write the introduction section last! 
  • You're not looking for perfection with your 1st DRAFT. The goal is to write a complete draft so you can receive the BEST feedback since your supervisor can only read 1 draft. After your feedback session, you'll have the opportunity to make any edits or revisions to "perfect" your essay to your liking, and please reach out to me with any formatting or presentation questions!