The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focused topic chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme subjects—normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects for the IB diploma. It is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity. It provides students with an opportunity to engage in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the school). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned and coherent manner, appropriate to the subject chosen. It is recommended that completion of the written essay is followed by a short, concluding interview, or viva voce, with the supervisor.
The extended essay is assessed against common criteria, interpreted in ways appropriate to each subject.
The extended essay is:· compulsory for all Diploma Programme students
· externally assessed and, in combination with the grade for theory of knowledge, contributes up to three points to the total score for the IB diploma
· a piece of independent research/investigation on a topic chosen by the student in cooperation with
a supervisor in the school
· chosen from the list of approved Diploma Programme subjects, published in the Vade Mecum
· presented as a formal piece of scholarship containing no more than 4,000 words
· the result of approximately 40 hours of work by the student
· concluded with a short interview, or viva voce, with the supervising teacher (recommended).
In the Diploma Programme, the extended essay is the prime example of a piece of work where the student has the opportunity to show knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm about a topic of his or her choice. In those countries where it is the norm for interviews to be required prior to acceptance for employment or for a place at university, the extended essay has often proved to be a valuable stimulus for discussion.
The aims of the extended essay are to provide students with the opportunity to:
· pursue independent research on a focused topic
· develop research and communication skills
· develop the skills of creative and critical thinking
· engage in a systematic process of research appropriate to the subject
· experience the excitement of intellectual discovery.