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The Extended Essay

For Year 12, recent Friday Tutor Periods have seen students introduced to the expectations of a major component of their Diploma Programme: the Extended Essay.


As they approach half-way point of the induction sessions, there is is currently a great deal of thought and talk about the choices available, as students accept and embrace the challenges that lie ahead.  

 If you are unaware of what those challenges are, here’s a quick overview of the most interesting aspects of the process:  

 The EE (as it is commonly referred to) is a compulsory component of the Diploma Programme that (along with TOK) provide the 3 Core points that take the subject scores up to the maximum 45.  

  • As the IBO describe it, the EE is ‘... an independent piece of research, culminating with a 4,000-word paper.’   
  • In order to pass the Diploma, students must attain a grade of ‘D’ or higher in their EE.  
  • Assessment considers not only the writing but the whole process: the choice of question, the methodological approach for answering it, as well as the research/ experimentation required in order to do so.  
  • Students are also assessed on their engagement with this process – as demonstrated in their own written reflections and worth 6/34 of the total.  
  • The EE can either focus on a single subject, or a combination of two in order to examine a contemporary global issue.  
  • The EE provides students with the opportunity to indulge in their academic enthusiasm for particular subjects, or subject areas, with the intention of expanding their knowledge, expanding their subject-specific ability and – even – impressing their future universities.  
  • Students have greater ownership of the EE than any other academic endeavour to date. Appointed teacher supervisors can support but the onus is always on students to provide the ideas and the reaserch and questions. It is also up to the students to arrange these meetings.  
  • There are official school deadlines for the main points of the process but students should also be setting their own in order effectively manage their time throughout the process.  
  • Reflections, research, communication with supervisors, submission of draft and final versions will all be conducted through the ManageBac system.  
  • Ultimately: this is the single best preparation for university life that the IBDP offers. Students who fully embrace its expectations see this transition as far more straightforward.  

After the Christmas break, Year 12 will be submitting their initial proposals to ManageBac. These will outline suggestions for single- or interdisciplinary- EEs, suggest possible approaches to topics, and potentially useful research materials so that the students are well prepared for their EE experience. We are looking forward to seeing our students grow in maturity towards their studies as they progress through the EE writing process. 

It’s only just begun. 


Gruffudd Jones

Teacher of English, Year 12 Tutor,

Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge Coordinator