IB Spotlight: The Extended Essay

IB Spotlight: The Extended Essay

This week we shine the AIS IB Spotlight on the IB Diploma’s Extended Essay (EE) to discover from a student’s perspective what studying it is like. As an overview, EE is a 4,000-word research paper, written under the supervision of an IB teacher. It is a completely independent, self-directed piece of research, and in combination with Theory of Knowledge (TOK), can contribute to up to three additional bonus points towards a student’s overall diploma score.

Sharing on her experience completing the IB EE, AIS Year 13 student, Do Hoang Kim Thu, reveals some important advice for upcoming IB Diploma students as well as an insight on what topic she decided to focus on and why.

The Extended Essay (EE) is often dreaded as a compulsory and arduous 4000-word-long tread on the IB Diploma journey, but it shouldn’t be considered to be all that intimidating. More than anything, it is a synthesis of all the precious skills that a student has acquired while showcasing their interests in a given subject. Like Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS), the EE is not compulsory for IB Courses, but the foundation research skills it requires will benefit a student through university and beyond.

As an AIS student since my primary years, I was exposed to many opportunities in different disciplines, resulting in a wide circle of interests ranging from art, language to the sciences. At first, I was admittedly quite overwhelmed by the seemingly unlimited choices around me, but then I narrowed it down to two key aspects: achievability and passion. A big tip I can give to those looking forward to starting their IB journey is to choose a field that you have a lot of passion in, as you will be spending months and months and months (you read that right, it’s not a typo) reading academic journals and writing about that topic. As long as a good research question – one that encourages in-depth discussions and projection into the real world – is explored with determination and consistency, any student can find their own success studying the EE. 

My EE is a personal inquiry about the relationship between a child’s upbringing and institutional racism via a case study of a semi-fictional character in literature. Along the way, there were many instances when I considered handing in an unpolished paper, but something in me (that passion from earlier!) told me that this will be one of my most rewarding accomplishments in my IB Diploma! You will find that there is plenty of time to edit and polish the EE as long as a little effort is put into it every week, so do not worry if 4000 words seem like an impossible feat. However, do not be fooled by the generous deadline because as they all say, “time flies when you’re having fun!”

Finally, to those that are still apprehensive, the IB is designed to help you succeed in whatever you choose to do. So, just try your best and enjoy the ride.

Do Hoang Kim Thu

Year 13 Student at AIS

To find out more about studying the IB Extended Essay at AIS, or about the IB Diploma in general, check out AIS’s complete comprehensive curriculum guide, which includes IB Programme FAQs, 10 reasons why you should study IB, and an IB Diploma Handbook: https://www.aisvietnam.com/curriculum/ib-diploma/