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What is IB EE? How is the IB extended essay graded?

The IB Extended Essay (EE) is a core component of the IB Diploma Programme. It is a 4000-word self-directed, independent research paper that the learner writes during the two-year programme. The EE topic should be based on any of the subjects the learner has opted for. Generally, learners are encouraged to write the EE on one of the HL courses. Since IBDP encourages interdisciplinary learning and developing an international outlook, it is encouraged that the essay inculcates these elements. Learners can also opt to write a World Studies essay by writing on two or more subjects that they are studying.

Choosing the Right Subject

The EE is a lengthy essay for which the learner has to do extensive research from credible sources. This means that you have to read academic books, research papers, news articles etc. A learner will spend at least nine months working on their EE, so, it is important to choose a topic that -

  • Is based on a subject one is studying
  • One finds interesting
  • Fulfils IB requirements
  • Has many salient points and easily accessible information
  • Gives scope for presenting original ideas and arguments
  • Has a global implication
  • Is currently relevant

Once the learner has listed a range of topics, they must discuss them with the guidance counsellor and choose a topic that will show the learner’s engagement with the course.

EE Expectations by Subject Group

  1. Studies in Language and Literature - learners can study and write an essay on any literary work, they can present a comparative study of more than one originally written literary work, or they can present an essay studying the language in which the original text is presented.
  2. Language Acquisition - learners are expected to demonstrate an understanding of language, culture and society or literature studied by presenting an analysis of cultural context, the impact causing cultural change, or comparing literary texts.
  3. Individuals and Societies - learners present a critical study of -
    • human experience and behaviour
    • physical, economic and social environments
    • history and development of social and cultural institutions
  4. Experimental Sciences - learners will demonstrate their concept understanding through analysis of subject matter in any of the Science courses they opt for, that is, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, or Physics. Their research paper will explore interdisciplinary ideas.
  5. Mathematics - Learners investigate a problem by applying mathematics to solve real and abstract problems. They can study the origin and subsequent development of a mathematics branch, prove the efficacy of theorems, and explore the links between different mathematical branches or their use in the development of new technologies.
  6. The Arts - present a comparative study of two or more works of art or artists while touching upon various aspects such as inspirations, impact, and relevance.

Extended Essay Grading

Extended Essay is a graded subject where students will be letter graded from A to E based on five criteria -

  1. Focus and method
  2. Knowledge and understanding
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Presentation
  5. Engagement

Learners are marked on a scale of 0 to 34, and the grades signify -

B 21 TO 26 GOOD

EE Impact on Total Scores and more

The Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge together contribute up to 3 points to the total scores of IBDP. if you fail the EE or do not submit it then you will not be awarded the diploma. IBDP EE is structured in the way academic papers and college coursework are written. It is an essential skill for college and learners to develop critical thinking skills, independent research skills, and skills to present their ideas comprehensively. The skills developed in drafting the EE can help you draft a strong essay for college admissions.

The EE demonstrates a learner's understanding of the subject, their engagement with the course, and how well they have fulfilled the IBDP course objectives. A learner must start early on thinking about their EE topic and dedicate time towards it sincerely. A well-produced EE will help you prepare for the subject and learn how to conduct research, write a well-structured paper with a proper abstract, body, conclusion and citations, and learn how to identify research goals.

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