What Steps Should You Take If Plagiarism Strikes Your Extended Essay?

Imagine this: you’re on the home stretch of your Extended Essay, one of the most critical components of the IB Diploma, when you suddenly find a section eerily similar to a source you vaguely remember looking at weeks ago. That sinking feeling? It’s the realization that you may have committed plagiarism. In my experience, the realization can be quite a shock, but dealing with it properly is critical to maintaining your integrity and grade.

Recognizing Plagiarism in Your Extended Essay

Firstly, let’s clarify what plagiarism entails. Simply put, you use someone else’s work or ideas without acknowledgment. It’s not just about copying text; it involves several other forms of intellectual dishonesty, such as:

  • Direct plagiarism. Copying text word-for-word from a source without citation.
  • Paraphrasing plagiarism. Rewriting someone’s ideas or findings too closely to the original, even if you change some words.
  • Mosaic plagiarism. Piecing ideas and phrases from various sources and presenting them as your own.
  • Accidental plagiarism. Failing to cite a source or misquoting a source. It happens due to carelessness, misunderstanding citation requirements, or forgetting where an idea came from.

According to general IB criteria, even unintentional plagiarism severely affects your credibility and the evaluation of your work. Remember, the intent does not always matter regarding academic integrity; the effects can be just as damaging.

Now, how might this slip into your IB Extended Essay unnoticed? Often, it happens during rushed research or sloppy note-taking. Therefore, staying vigilant is crucial. From my experience, understanding the common pitfalls helps you avoid them:

  • Hasty research. In a rush to meet deadlines, you might copy text into your notes without proper citation, planning to go back and fix it later, which sometimes doesn’t happen.
  • Poor paraphrasing. Underestimating the need to fully rephrase and analyze the researched information in your own words.
  • Mismanaged notes. Mixing your thoughts with uncited text from sources can lead to confusion about which ideas are yours and which are sourced.

To prevent these issues, keep detailed notes about where specific ideas or quotes come from and add citations as you write, not after drafting your essay. This approach ensures that each piece of information is correctly attributed, reducing the risk of plagiarism.

Immediate Actions to Take When You Find Plagiarism

Finding plagiarism in your Extended Essay is a startling moment. As a seasoned IB writer, I’ve seen many students face this challenge. Here’s a step-by-step approach to handle the situation effectively.

Pause and Plan

Firstly, take a moment to pause. Reacting in haste leads to more mistakes. From my experience, a calm assessment is crucial. Start by identifying the full extent of the plagiarism — is it a few phrases, a paragraph, or extensive sections?

Assess the Extent of Plagiarism

After taking a moment, carefully evaluate how much of your essay is implicated. As I know from years of experience, understanding the scope of the issue is vital for determining the appropriate corrective actions. This strategy might involve comparing the plagiarized sections with the sources to fully understand the overlap.

Discuss With Your Extended Essay Advisor

The next important step is to consult with your Extended Essay advisor. According to general IB criteria, transparency is crucial, and advisors are seasoned in dealing with such issues. They will offer specific guidance on correcting plagiarism and ensuring your essay meets the integrity standards required by the IB.

Document Everything

From my experience, documenting your findings and steps will be incredibly helpful, especially if the issue escalates or requires further review by IB officials. Keep records of your original notes, drafts, and any communication with your advisor regarding the issue.

Revise the Affected Sections

Once you understand clearly and consult your advisor, revise the plagiarized sections. Ensure your revisions are thorough — simply rewording sentences may not be enough. Instead, focus on expressing the original ideas in your voice and properly cite all sources.

Use Plagiarism Detection Software

After revising, I recommend using plagiarism detection software as a double-check. This step is crucial to confirm that all plagiarism has been removed and that your essay is original. Tools like Turnitin provide peace of mind before you submit your final draft.

Learn From the Experience

Finally, view this as a learning opportunity. Understanding how plagiarism occurred  (from poor note-taking, misunderstanding citation rules, or underestimating the need for original expression) helps prevent future issues. Reflect on this experience to enhance your academic skills.

Recognizing Plagiarism in EE

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How to Remove Plagiarism from Extended Essay Effectively?

Removing plagiarism from your Extended Essay effectively requires a combination of diligent revision, proper citation, and reliable tools to ensure the originality of your work.

1. Identify the Plagiarized Content

The first step is clearly identifying which parts of your essay are plagiarized. You can use plagiarism detection software like Turnitin or Copyscape. These tools highlight the problematic sections and show where the original text originated. It’s important to review these areas carefully to understand the extent of the issue.

2. Understand the Nature of the Plagiarism

Plagiarism can be intentional or accidental and ranges from verbatim copying to improperly paraphrased passages:

  • Direct copying requires complete rewriting or proper citation with quotation marks.
  • Improper paraphrasing means rephrasing the content thoroughly in your own words and ensuring you credit the source.

Understanding the nature of your plagiarism is critical to addressing it effectively.

3. Rewrite the Plagiarized Sections

Begin by rewriting the plagiarized parts. Focus on expressing the original ideas with your interpretation and analysis, which not only removes plagiarism but also enhances the academic quality of your essay. According to general IB criteria, your EE should reflect your understanding and voice, not just your ability to summarize others’ ideas.

4. Cite Your Sources Properly

Accurate citation is crucial. Make sure every idea or direct quotation from another source is appropriately credited. Familiarize yourself with the citation style recommended by your school or the IB — often APA, MLA, or Chicago. Proper citation shows respect for original authors and academic integrity.

5. Use Paraphrasing Tools Wisely

While paraphrasing tools help, they should be used cautiously. As I know from my experience, these tools might not consistently maintain the original meaning or generate awkward phrasing. Use them to get ideas on rephrasing content, but always put the final content through your critical understanding and expression.

6. Check Your Work Again

After revisions, use plagiarism detection software again to ensure all copied content has been properly addressed. This re-check will catch any accidental plagiarism that might have been missed during the revision process.

7. Seek Feedback

Before finalizing your essay, having someone else review your work is a good idea. This person could be your EE supervisor, a mentor, or a peer. They will provide a fresh perspective on your work and may catch issues you’ve overlooked.

Preventative Measures for Future Essays

Drawing on years of experience as an IB advisor, I can’t stress enough the importance of cultivating strong research habits to prevent academic mishaps like plagiarism. From day one, organizing your sources and notes is critical. Use digital tools to manage and annotate your materials. These not only help in keeping track of your references but also streamline the citation process. As I know from experience, a well-maintained digital library saves time and stress when deadlines approach.

Each IB subject may require a different citation style, and it’s imperative to understand these requirements thoroughly. Regularly refer to the latest guidelines of citation styles. Remember, accuracy in citation is not just about avoiding plagiarism; it’s about contributing to a scholarly conversation with respect and integrity.

Integrate regular checks for originality in your writing process using plagiarism detection tools. However, don’t rely solely on these tools; review your work critically to ensure your narrative and analysis remain front and center. This strategy polishes your essay and fortifies it against accidental plagiarism.

Moreover, a deep understanding of intellectual property ethics is crucial. From my experience, knowing the broader implications of plagiarism enhances your respect for academic contributions and bolsters your commitment to scholarly integrity.

Finally, a systematic approach to research and writing can significantly mitigate the risk of plagiarism. Avoid the trap of last-minute writing by breaking tasks into manageable steps and sticking to a well-thought-out timeline. This approach helps maintain clarity and focus and ensures thoroughness in research and writing.

Implementing these strategies will safeguard your work against plagiarism and enhance its quality and credibility — an invaluable skill in the IB and beyond.


If you find plagiarism in your Extended Essay, it’s not the end of the world or your IB Diploma. With a proactive approach, you will correct the course of your essay. Remember, maintaining academic integrity is essential for the diploma and overall development as an IB student.

Also, consider buying your extended essay online and relaxing while our experts write it for you. We understand the challenges of the International Baccalaureate program. Our team of experienced IB EE writers is here to assist you. We have a long history of helping IB students get the grades they need to achieve their academic goals.

Valerie Green

Valerie Green

Valerie Green is a dedicated educator who spends her time helping high school and college students succeed. She writes articles and guides for various online education projects, providing students with the tools they need to excel in their studies. Friendly and approachable, she is committed to making a difference in the lives of students.

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