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How to write IB Extended Essay? Tips and Tricks

Students across the world always find themselves trying to understand how IB extended essays work because, let’s face it, understanding it can get a little tricky. And that isn’t the case with just the IB EE (International Baccalaureate extended essay); it goes for all academic assignments. But with EE, your International Baccalaureate Diploma depends on it.

And what is an extended essay for IB Diploma, you ask? The IB extended essay stands as the mini-thesis which you have to formulate under the supervision and guidance of the IB advisor. Most importantly, the IB EE holds crucial weightage in the completion of your diploma.

When it comes to the EE, you need to begin by choosing a research question, which acts as your essay topic. Independently, you would have to conduct research and then comes the part when you formulate the essay by sharing the findings and the insights. The EE’s specific requirements include meeting the word limit of 4,000 words, and honestly, by the time you are done writing the essay, you would feel even this limit is too less because there is just so much you wanted to talk about.  Not to forget, the IB extended essay has to be written in academic writing, which means a formal way of presenting the essay. You would have to follow a writing format and cite the resources you use for the essay.

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Nevertheless, if you are looking for assistance in writing an IB EE, please follow this link.

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With that out of the way, let’s discuss what the basic structure of the IB EE should look like in our extended essay guide.

What Should the IB EE Include?

When you are doing your research and starts writing, make sure you include the following headings:

  • A title page
  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body paragraphs
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography and references

There are six IB approved subject groups when it comes to obtaining the diploma and your research topic must fall under the approved subjects. These subjects are divided into groups and they include:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

Now that you are aware of the basics, let’s move on to the extended essay tips and tricks that can help you excel in the essay!

1. Make Sure You Select a Topic Which is Not Too Broad, Nor Too Narrow

The IB EE has a specific word limit of 4,000 words. Unlike with IB ToK essay prescribed titles or IB math internal assessment topics when choosing the topic for IB EE, you need to be sure that you go for the one which can neither be too extensive for the word limit, nor too limited.

extended essay topic

For instance, choosing to write on World War II might not be the wisest decision because of how lengthy the topic can be. However, you could choose one subject or instance of the World War II, like the German POW camp conditions and Nazis’ failures and success and get ahead of it.

In case you think you are unable to find a topic which meets these particular criteria, you can always go for the topics where comparisons are made. You can compare the works of two literary artists, analyze them in the essay and offer analysis as well. Compare and contrast essays are always appreciated in the IB EE diplomas.

You need to be sure that the comparisons you are drawing meet some sort of significance. This helps you build an argument while allowing you to limit the topic without narrowing it too much. For instance, how regional dialects affect people’s job prospects, a comparison between the global South and the global West can be made.

Whether you go for a compare and contrast essay or just a usual one, remember to brainstorm beforehand. You do not want to change your topic midway because you feel you cannot find enough material or it’s a topic you are not comfortable with. Always brainstorm. And be sure to discuss with your supervisor in case you are drawn towards the confusion. Because a supervisor plays an important role and here’s why.

2. Choose your IB EE Supervisor Wisely

As mentioned before, the supervisor plays a crucial role in the IB diploma. In case you are unclear on who needs to be your supervisor, you can always make a list of the choices, write the goods and not the goods and see where you incline the most.

Do not go for the one advisor who you think is your favorite one but has no idea of your chosen topic. It just would not make any sense if you choose the teacher who teaches Chemistry to supervise the essay, which is going to Biology-topic based. Do not ruin your IB EE by choosing comfort over the trial.

Then again, always go for the next best thing there is. If you find a supervisor who inclines with the subject you are choosing, go for them. Ask them about the topic, see if they are willing to supervise you and start writing that EE.

It is essential (I cannot stress more on this one) how you need to have a supervisor who pushes you to be the best version of yourself. There are some instructors who just want to get it over with, your IB EE. They won’t be putting in a lot of effort to read the drafts, make corrections and help you out. This is where things get wrong.

It would be best if you had a supervisor who is passionate about the topic and is willing to put in extensive effort in ensuring that you are doing a top-notch job with the essay. A supervisor is there to supervise you, after all. And he or she needs to push you in order for you to excel.

Therefore, you need to go for a teacher you have had a connection with. Someone who knows you, someone you are aware of. There needs to be a mutual relationship and a connection. Because if you go for someone who does not even know your second name, they might not be able to help you the way you want it.

One important factor here is that for the completion of your IB EE and the diploma in general, the supervisor’s assessment is needed. When you are working under the supervision of someone who knows you, who sees the efforts you are putting in the essay, they will indeed say good stuff about you in the assessment as compared to the one who is just doing it for the sake of it. Choose this one wisely.

3. Your Topic = Your Comfort level and is it Important

The IB EE allows students to go for a topic they are passionate about. Of course, when you are writing such extensive research, you need to do it on a subject you like. A subject you are passionate about. If you have no idea about, let’s say, the Indo-Pak subcontinent independence in 1947, you will dread writing 4,000 words on it. Therefore, the groups allow you to choose the subject of your liking and then a topic of your preference as well.

For anyone doing IB Diploma, the EE needs to be taken seriously. The essay plays a huge role in the future prospects because it is well-reputed in the academic circles. If you pour your heart and soul into it, you will be able to do justice to the topic.

But the real question is, how do you find a topic that aligns with your passions? Start by summarizing the IB Diploma experience. Think about the classes and the subjects you enjoyed the most. Go back a little in time. Recall the moments. Think about the class in which you enjoyed participating the most.

There are no wrong or right answers with this one. It is more on the preference you have. Because then again, you have to spend a lot of time with this topic. You have to do extensive research, write a lot of words and then present it as well. So this point is more about your own choice and decision.

Once you have put the finger on the subject you want to choose, time for choosing the topics. Here’s when you brainstorm and research. You can start by thinking about the topic discussed in class which you enjoyed the most. Go back into your notes. Reread them. Open your laptop and start researching more on it. If you do not like it, go for another topic and repeat these steps. You need to invest some time and effort here.

Once you have found a topic for your IB English extended essay you think is of your liking, continue to do some more research. Keep in mind that you should look ideally for a topic that aligns with your future career or academic major. This will allow you to showcase it in the future prospects that can help you with scholarships, admissions and jobs.

Ready to write an excellent IB EE?

Questioning how to write IB Extended essay is not an uncommon thing. A lot of students find themselves confused and sometimes overwhelmed as well. You need to understand the fundamental importance of the essay and then keep these important 3 tips in mind. Remember, the IB EE is all on you – from the topic to the essay’s angles and even the supervisor you wish to choose.

It is therefore, essential that you invest proper time with the EE because you would have to do it yourself and it could be a good reflection on your CV and academic records as well.

Now you are ready to start writing a good extended essay for IB following the criteria and tricks provided by our expert IB writers team.

Wishing you all the best for the IB EE. You got this!

Vasy Kafidoff

Vasy Kafidoff is a co-founder and CEO at Writing Metier, who has a keen interest in the academic world and technology. He is a cryptoromantic and blockchain enthusiast for more than 4 years now, and he is excited about the way technology shapes financial and educational systems. Check his personal blog to find more tips on writing.

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