A requirement for all IB DP students, the Extended Essay is an independent research project culminating in a 4,000-word paper.
Intended as preparation for undergraduate research, the IB Extended Essay gives students the opportunity to explore topics that interest them. Students can pursue Extended Essay topics related to one of the six IB DP subject groups, or take an interdisciplinary approach. The Extended Essay provides students with experience in:
Formulating research questions
The project focuses on a topic chosen by the student. Students complete the research under the guidance of a supervising teacher. However, students can choose the IB Extended Essay topics they want to research.
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The Extended Essay also supports students' engagement with the academic disciplines. Helping students consider multiple viewpoints, the project fosters international mindedness and leadership skills.
A study conducted at the University of Virginia, USA, reported that Diploma Programme graduates felt more prepared to complete research-orientated coursework than their counterparts who took Advanced Placement courses. DP graduates also reported a greater likelihood to conduct subsequent research, citing it as critical to their future success.
According to DP graduates at two UK universities, completing the Extended Essay sharpened their critical and independent thinking skills. In Canada, IB graduates indicated higher ratings than their non-IB peers on self-managed inquiry-based learning. They also noted enhanced reading, writing, organisational and analytical skills.
The IB Extended Essay is graded by an IB-appointed independent evaluator according to established criteria. Papers are marked on a scale of 0-34, and the project can add up to 3 points to a student's overall IB DP score when used in conjunction with the TOK grade. To complete the project successfully, students must receive a grade of D or higher. Other important evaluation criteria include:
Focus and method
Knowledge and understanding
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