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The IB Extended Essay Guidelines for Students

Academic writing

Essay paper writing


The extended essay is one of the most important papers you will need to write during your studies. The matter is that completing this task is obligatory for receiving the IB Diploma. The IB extended essay requires making advanced research on the chosen topic and is designed to check the student’s creativity, analytical skills, as well as the ability to collect and process data. In case you are looking for an extended essay guide, you will find everything needed for creating a perfect paper in this article written by our proffesional essay writers!

IB extended essay topics

The idea for your academic paper should be taken from one of the IB subjects, and you’ve probably learned lots of them. Which topic is it better to choose? The main rule for picking a good theme for your extended essay is that it should be neither too broad nor too narrow. The matter is that writing on a narrow topic, you may not find enough information, while the broad one will be difficult to cover. Moreover, remember that you are limited by the maximum of 4,000 words for your academic paper.

Luckily, you are free to write your paper on any IB extended essay topic ideas, so feel free to select the most interesting option. How to choose the best one? Pay attention to the subjects you enjoyed studying the most. As soon as you pick the subject you would like to deal with, try to specify the range of themes you find really engaging. For example, if you have always been interested in Psychology, which option would work better for you – the topic of mental health or family issues? Brainstorm the categories you prefer most, and you’ll surely come up with a decision. By the way, don’t forget that your research advisor has to approve your idea as well.

How to write an extended essay?

First of all, you have to find a professor to cooperate with while working on the essay. The good news is that you can choose a research advisor by yourself. Although most students are not paying enough attention to choosing a supervisor, we highly recommend doing this wisely. First, this person should be a real pro in the field you’ve chosen for your essay. Second, make sure your advisor is likely to motivate you to do your best to create a perfect academic paper. Finally, it’s not a good idea to work with extremely busy professors because your supervisor should have enough time for fruitful cooperation.

After you get your topic approved by your research advisor, start writing the paper as soon as possible. Although the IB extended essay is not that long and complicated, it still requires plenty of time for advanced research. Moreover, you might need to write several drafts for your professor to check and approve the direction you’re going in. And one more secret tip for diligent students – early birds are likely to get higher scores for their essays!

IB extended essay guide

  • Have your writing process under control. Do not procrastinate, always meet the deadlines, and be aware of all the possible changes in the requirements for your paper.
  • Don’t forget about other subjects. Although writing an IB extended essay is obligatory for receiving a diploma, having a good GPA is equally important.
  • Record all the references you are using while working on your academic paper. Make notes and point out all the sources you’ve used during your research. This way, you will not have any issues creating a reference list by the end of your writing process.
  • Do not ignore the assessment criteria as well as basic requirements for your extended essay. The same rule works for the recommendations of your supervisor (try to take into account and follow all of them).
  • Use only trustworthy sources. Picking only reliable references is a must for every student. In case you are not sure about any information, either check or skip it.
  • Be original. Your essay should always be unique, so avoid copying and pasting data with no changes. To make sure your paper is plagiarism-free, use online plagiarism detection tools (there are lots of free services available on the Internet).
  • Do not cite sources that were not actually used in your essay. Be honest and precise.
  • Make sure you’ve mentioned the same facts and problems in the introduction and the conclusion of your IB extended essay.

The extended essay format

Fortunately, this kind of essay should have standard formatting. First of all, start with Times New Roman 12 font. Then make the entire document double spaced. For more detailed instructions, ask your professor since different colleges and universities require using different formatting styles (for example, APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago).

Generally speaking, an extended essay has the following structure:

  1. Title page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Main part
  5. Conclusion
  6. List of references

Remember that your essay should not exceed 4,000 words, which is about 15-20 pages, depending on whether you are using illustrations and graphs or not. Note that people who will check your essay are not allowed to read papers that go over the 4,000 words limit. If you don’t want to get into trouble (and you surely don’t), consider meeting the requirements for the size of your assignment. If your paper exceeds this limit, it’s a good idea to edit your essay and make it shorter.

The extended essay title page

The title page for extended essay should include:

  • title of your academic paper
  • research question
  • the subject of the paper
  • the word count of your essay (for example, 3,900 words)

However, mind that you don’t have to write your name as well as the name of your professor on the title page. As for the heading, it is better to make it no longer than one line. Finally, avoid using any special formatting, like underlining or italics; and of course, place your title at the center of the page.

The extended essay abstract

An abstract for your extended essay has to be no longer than 300 words. It should contain your research question, the scope of the research, as well as a few sentences about the results. The abstract page is always written after the title page on a separate sheet of paper. It is designed to give the reader a vision of what you are going to touch upon in your essay, so make sure to provide clear and comprehensive information.

So as you can see, this kind of essay stands out from other types of papers you’ve written before. It has its own requirements and formatting, which are crucial to follow since writing a great extended essay is an essential factor for receiving the IB Diploma. That is why it is highly recommended to put all your time and effort into ensuring that the final result is perfect.

Always consult your supervisor regarding everything you might need to write a flawless essay. This way, you will avoid making the most common mistakes. Don’t be shy to ask for help; the more information you get, the better your paper is likely to be. Another tip for beginners is to start writing as early as possible so that you will get enough time to edit your document in case your research advisor has some remarks.

However, in case you do not have enough time for writing your extended essay or simply got lost in dozens of requirements for this paper, feel free to contact our team of professionals. There are many experts in our company who specialize in writing extended essays on a wide range of topics, so you will definitely get a top-notch paper within a short deadline!


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