Learn How to Ace Your IB Extended Essay in 12 Steps
The International Baccalaureate Extended Essay requires you to choose your own topic and research it extensively. It is a demanding paper that requires you to investigate an area of knowledge in great detail, and to represent and discuss your findings in a clear and concise way. You can use a wide range of sources for your research, providing you with the chance to explore different aspect of your topic from different perspectives.
Completing this essay is an important part of becoming an IB diploma recipient. It encourages you to apply the knowledge and skills learned throughout the IB program within a complex investigation of a particular topic. Furthermore, the Extended Essay allows you to demonstrate your ability to analyze evidence, synthesize information, formulate thoughts, and present these in a well-reasoned argument.
In short, the Extended Essay is a culminating project that puts your studying and research skills to the test. It pushes you to think critically, and develop strong evaluative powers. At the same time, it offers you the opportunity to delve into a subject area of your choice and gain a greater understanding of it.
This guide will give you a step-by-step process to help you craft and deliver an effective Extended Essay. We’ll walk you through each of the 12 steps needed to construct and submit your essay in order to get the best result.
Step 1: The Basics – Understand the Need for Research & Planning Ahead of Time
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Extended Essay is a long-form research paper that will test your analytical and writing skills. To ensure you understand the time and effort involved, it is important to have a good grasp of the basics from the beginning.
Research is an essential part of the IB Extended Essay and is a fundamental skill for success. It involves carefully collecting, analyzing and interpreting data from a range of sources. You must think critically about the questions you are asking and analyze the information you have collected.
It is also important to make sure that you plan ahead of time and set realistic deadlines for yourself. Give yourself enough time to read the material, understand what it is telling you, and form some kind of conclusion or opinion based on your findings.
Finally, you must make sure that everything you write is properly documented and referenced. Not only is this important in terms of being academically honest but it can also help to make your extended essay more credible.
Step 2: Understanding the Criteria for Assessment
Now that you have a detailed research question and have outlined your argument, it’s time to understand exactly what the criteria for assessment are in the IB Extended Essay. All essays are marked based on four criteria; each criterion has a maximum of 25 points.
- Criterion A: Research Question— Maximum Points: 4
- Does the essay provide evidence of independent research?
- Does the essay provide evidence of well-defined research questions?
- Are the research questions relevant to the subject chosen?
- Criterion B: Introduction— Maximum Points: 4
- Is the introduction clear and concise?
- Does the introduction state the research question?
- Does the introduction provide a context for the research?
- Criterion C: Investigation— Maximum Points: 12
- Does the essay demonstrate effective use of research sources?
- Is data presented in a logical manner?
- Are references used accurately throughout the essay?
- Criterion D: Knowledge and Understanding— Maximum Points: 5
- Is there a clear demonstration of understanding topics covered?
- Are the student’s conclusions accurate and well-reasoned?
- Did the student include a bibliography or list of sources used?
By taking the time to understand the criteria for assessment, it will help to ensure your extended essay is written in such a way that it meets the expectations of the assessors. Additionally, by paying attention to these aspects of the essay, you will be able to improve the overall quality of your work, which will increase the chances of receiving a higher score.
Step 3: Asking a Detailed Research Question
Getting your IB Extended Essay topic right is key to making progress in your project. This third step involves asking a detailed research question that will be the foundation of your project. Ideally, this question should be guided by something that interests you and has room for exploration. It should also be applicable to some areas of knowledge within the International Baccalaureate framework.
It’s helpful to start by brainstorming ideas that you’re interested in. Once you narrow down a particular direction, you can begin to ask questions about it. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t make the question too broad or too narrow. A good question should have multiple points of research and inquiry.
Getting specific with the research question is important. If the question you are asking is too general, you may find it difficult to find enough evidence to form an argument. On the other hand, your question shouldn’t be too specific either. You need to be able to explore and discuss wider themes as you write your extended essay.
So what makes a good research question? It should have at least two components: a prompt that provides direction for your research and allows for inquiry, and a focus that narrows down the range of possibilities. Here are some examples:
- What factors led to the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II?
- How does the symbolism of fire in “Fahrenheit 451” relate to the themes of freedom and control?
- What are the most important considerations when evaluating the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies in developing countries?
By taking the time to craft a detailed research question, you can give your project focus and clarity. Your research question will provide the structure needed to complete your IB Extended Essay.
Step 4: Gaining Access to Appropriate and Current Research Resources
Once you have a strong research question for your IB extended essay, it is important to gain access to research resources that are both current and appropriate. It is important to use up-to-date sources because this will ensure that the evidence presented in your essay is relevant.
When looking for research sources, start by looking for books, journals, and other academic texts that have been written or reviewed within the past 5-10 years. If you are having difficulty finding material on your topic, try searching for articles and other resource material from well-known and reputable organizations such as governmental and non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, charities, and research institutes.
Your school library should be your first port of call when looking for appropriate research resources. Most libraries nowadays have a modern digital catalogue system, which will allow you to search by keyword, subject, or author. You may also find that some libraries also provide access to online databases, allowing you to access a wider range of resources than would normally be available.
You may also consider using online resources such as online libraries, websites of recognized organizations, and online databases of articles and journals. These resources can provide a wealth of information, although you should exercise caution, as not all of these sources are reliable or up-to-date.
Once you have gathered a good selection of resources, take time to thoroughly read through them and make sure that they are suitable for your essay. Make sure to take notes as you read and also note down any quotes or statistics that could be used in your essay.
Gaining access to relevant and current research resources is a key step in writing a successful IB extended essay. By taking the time to source appropriate research materials and reading them thoroughly, you will be well-equipped to present your argument and provide evidence to support your arguments.
Step 5: Making Good Use of Your Research Time
Research is an essential part of writing a successful IB extended essay – it helps to ensure that you have a solid foundation of evidence to support your arguments. It can also be time-consuming and difficult to find the right sources!
In this step of your IB extended essay writing process, you will want to ensure you make the most of the research time that you have available to you. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your research time:
- Create a plan of action – decide how long you need to dedicate to each aspect of your research and create a timeline for yourself.
- Be organized – keep track of all your research sources in a database or spreadsheet to help you easily search for information when you need it.
- Prioritize – focus on the more relevant sources first so that you can save your time for more in-depth research as you progress with your project.
- Be efficient – use keywords and phrases to quickly locate sources that might be helpful for your topic.
- Take breaks – allow yourself time away from the research to think about what you have found, process it and organize it in your mind.
Making good use of your research time will not only help ensure that you have a comprehensive collection of sources to draw upon but it should also reduce the amount of stress and anxiety associated with writing your extended essay.
Step 6: Outlining Your Argument
Once you have an understanding of the main research question your essay will focus on, you can begin to outlinethe main elements of your argument. It is important to consider the implications that each argument may have and the evidence that should be used to support it. Additionally, it’s important to make sure that all arguments are linked to each other cohesively.
Creating an outline will help you keep track of how your essay is developing and ensure that each point links to the next. If there are any gaps in your argument, it is easier to identify them at this stage. Writing an outline can also save you considerable time as you begin to write the essay, as it will put you in the right direction and provide a structure for you to work within.
When creating an outline, think about the following:
- What are the main points of my argument?
- What supporting evidence do I need to use?
- How will I link my arguments together?
- Are there any gaps in my argument?
Setting aside time to create an outline is beneficial in the long run, as it will save you valuable time when constructing your essay. When all your ideas are in one place, it makes it easier to review and edit them.
Step 7: Structuring and Writing Your Extended Essay
Writing an extended essay can be stressful, especially when you’re trying to meet the requirements of the IB guidelines. To make the process as smooth as possible, it is important to have a well-structured plan that outlines each step. In this step, we’ll guide you on how to structure your extended essay to ensure that you can present the best work to your assessor.
Creating an Outline
Before writing your extended essay, you should create an outline. An outline will help you organize your thoughts and ideas into a systematic structure. You should include the main point that you want to discuss in each section. Also, make sure to provide background information and evidence to support your argument.
Writing the Introduction
Your introduction is the first impression your reader has of your essay, so make sure it’s clear and captivating. To do so, start by introducing the topic, then provide a brief overview of the essay. Finally, state your thesis statement (or research question) and the points that you will argue in the essay. Make sure to preview the essay structure in your introduction to give the reader a better idea of what they are about to read.
Arranging the Body Paragraphs
The body of your essay should include all the evidence and points that support your thesis statement. Make sure to arrange the paragraphs logically, so that each one flows smoothly into the next. Start each paragraph with a topic sentence that introduces the point you will discuss in that paragraph. Then, provide evidence and examples to back up this point. Lastly, finish the paragraph with a conclusion that links back to the main argument.
Summarizing and Concluding
Conclusion is the most important part of your essay. Start by summarizing all the major points that you have discussed previously in the essay. Try to avoid adding new information here; instead, focus on restating why these points are important. After that, provide a few thoughtful insights based on the evidence presented in your essay and focus on the future implications of your arguments.
Step 8: Documenting References and Citing Sources
Once you have finished drafting and structuring your IB Extended Essay, it is time to document the references you have used in your paper. Documenting your sources is a very important part of completing an essay. Citing your sources shows that you have done your research and gives credit to the authors from whom you have borrowed or quoted from.
The two most popular methods for documenting references are the APA (American Psychological Association) format and the MLA (Modern Language Association) format. The referencing style that you choose to use should be consistent throughout your essay. Remember to always double-check the style guide provided by your school.
Each source that you reference needs to include a full citation. This includes the author’s name, the title of the work, the publication date, and the URL (if applicable). Additionally, if you are taking quotes directly from a text, you need to provide the appropriate page numbers.
It is also important to provide in-text citations whenever possible.This means that each time you use information from a source, you should cite it within the text. For example, if you are quoting an author whose name is Sarah Jones, you would write “according to Jones (2020)…” near the beginning of the sentence, followed by the quotation itself.
By following these guidelines and using the appropriate referencing style, you will ensure that your sources are properly documented and referenced in your IB Extended Essay. With all of the elements in place, you are ready to submit your essay and prove that you have worked hard to complete a top-quality academic paper.
Step 9: Providing Evidence to Support Your Arguments
When writing an IB extended essay, it is important to provide evidence to support your argument. This can be done through a variety of means, including citing sources, using facts and figures, and providing relevant quotations. By providing evidence to back up your points, you can make sure that your essay is well-argued, clear and convincing.
When citing sources, it is important to make sure that you are consistent with the style of citation that you use. For example, if you are using the American Psychological Association (APA) style of citation, make sure to follow the guidelines for that style throughout your essay. You should also remember to include any necessary bibliographic information such as the author’s name, title of the work and the date of publication.
You can also provide evidence to support your arguments by using facts and figures. Make sure that any figures or statistics you include are accurate and up-to-date. Don’t forget to cite the source of the figures, so that readers can see where you obtained the information.
Finally, quotations can be a great way to provide evidence to support your argument. Quotations should be used sparingly, as they can quickly become overwhelming. When selecting quotes, make sure that they are relevant and that you can link them back to your main point. Also, make sure to quote directly from the source, rather than paraphrasing, so that you can accurately represent the author’s original statement.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your essay contains evidence that is logical and relevant. This will make your argument more convincing, and will help you achieve higher marks in your essay.
Step 10: Proofreading and Editing to Ensure Quality Control
Proofreading and editing are essential when it comes to ensuring the quality of your IB Extended Essay. After writing your extended essay, you will need to make sure that it is free from errors and written in a way that flows logically. To do this, there are a few steps that you can take.
First, reread your essay several times to verify that all of your points are accurate and addressed in a logical order. Make sure to check for any grammar or spelling mistakes, and read the essay out loud to make sure it makes sense. After that, have someone else read over your essay to provide an additional set of eyes in case you missed anything. Having another person review your essay not only gives you a fresh perspective but also helps you to identify any potential issues with clarity or use of language.
Finally, use a spell-checker and grammar-checker to help you make sure that any potential errors have been corrected. Doing so will ensure that your IB Extended Essay is clear, well written, and of the highest quality possible. Following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your IB Extended Essay meets the criteria for assessment.
Conclusion: Summarizing the Main Points of the Guide and Reflection on the Process
Congratulations! You have made it to the end of this guide and you are now in a better position to write an excellent extended essay for your IB exam. We have walked through 12 crucial steps that will help you develop a great essay. Let’s quickly summarise the main points:
- You should understand the need for planned research and know the criteria for assessment beforehand.
- The essay should have an original research question and take reference from current and reliable sources.
- Spend time on outlining, structuring, and proofreading to have a quality end product.
- Provide evidence to support all arguments and ensure you document references properly.
These points will serve as a great foundation for writing your extended essay. Now is the time to look back and reflect on the whole process. How did you plan and research? How much time did it take you? Are there any areas where you think you can improve further? Reflecting on these questions will help you refine your future essays.
Although this process may seem daunting at the start, once you understand how it works and the right approach to take, it will become easier. Writing a good extended essay requires patience and thoughtful effort, but if followed correctly, it will be well worth the effort. Good luck!