Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently asked questions and answers about the EE

Image: Morter, Emily. Unsplash, 2017.

I don’t understand. What is the student/EE supervisor relationship supposed to be?

See Your EE supervisor.

What feedback should I expect to get on my one draft?

Your supervisor will read and provide feedback on one draft only. Usually your school will have a set deadline by which your draft has to be submitted. Missing this deadline or submitting a very incomplete draft may mean you miss out on useful advice.

Supervisors are only allowed to provide open-ended comments on how you might improve your EE and they may be posed as questions. For example they may say:

  • Is your research question consistent through the essay, including on the title page?

  • Check your calculations on this page.

  • Are you sure this belongs here?

  • You need to check this page for accuracy of referencing.

There is a strict list of what your supervisor is not allowed to do when reviewing your draft and that is:

  • Correct spelling and punctuation.

  • Correct experimental work or calculations.

  • Re-write any of the essay.

  • Indicate where whole sections of the essay would be better placed.

  • Proofread the essay for errors.

  • Correct bibliographies or citations.

How do I edit my own Extended Essay?

Learning how to edit your own work is an invaluable skill, though it may be painful at first. Some tried-and-true tips for editing as you go along are:

  • Print out a draft and mark it up by hand, with coloured pens or a pencil. Write on your paper liberally. Circle phrases that just sound 'funny'. Put question marks or 'awk' (short for awkward) when a sentence construction is particularly gawky. Write 'w.c.' when you need to reconsider your word choice, and play around with chopping sentences down in size (this one would be a good example!) or changing around the order of your paragraphs or arguments. For some reason, it is often a lot easier to see these mistakes and visualize changes when you are looking at a printed sheet of paper rather than scrolling down a computer screen.

  • When you think you have your final draft, print it out and read the entire thing out loud to yourself, pen in hand. Yes, this is tedious. But it is absolutely worth it! I guarantee you, you’ll hear subtle mistakes even when the same text you just read a moment ago appeared fine. It’s not just that your eyes may be tired...After all, punctuation in writing exists to imitate the natural inflections and intonation we have when speaking. Converting your essay back into oral form is the best litmus test for the integrity of your tone and grammar! Try it out!

You are not allowed to ask someone else to proofread your work as this is an important part of the EE learning experience.

I have no idea how to write an academic paper. Where do I start?

Relax. Many students are overly worried about writing academic papers simply because they may not be able to visualize what exactly an academic paper will entail, and how it differs from the school papers they have been writing in one form or another since elementary school.

Here is the quick definition - An academic paper is a piece of formal writing (i.e. unlike a conversational tone such as what I am using now, you will most likely be using the third person voice, and should avoid colloquialisms and unfounded generalizations). At the heart of most academic papers is the thesis statement, which describes what you believe and what you are trying to prove, out of all the research and analysis you have done. All the other points in the paper will go towards supporting your thesis statement.

You will write the Extended Essay to emulate an academic journal article. Because these journal articles are published, there is often a very strict methodology for how you go about writing them. This is great for you, because it means there are a lot of resources, both online and off, available to teach you about these methodologies!

Good luck, and happy writing!

Where can I find example essays and get more help?

There are many example EEs online that you can access but this can open students up to academic integrity issues.

The EE criteria and expectations changed from May 2018 so essays older than this will have been marked using a different system.

Your best source of help and information is within your school - your supervisor and the EE supervisor. They can provide you with suitable examples, advice and give you access to relevant sections of the IB Extended Essay Guide.

Are there any special rules I should know about?

There are some rules that apply to specific subjects and some examples of these are listed below:

Asking your supervisor what the expectations are for your chosen subject ensures you will be meeting the EE requirements.

  • Students doing their EE in language acquisition or classical languages must complete the RPPF in the language of their essay.

  • EEs submitted in studies in language and literature (language A registrations) cannot be based on a text studied as part of your course.

  • Economics EEs should relate to economic information, policies, outcomes or events that are no more than approximately five years old.

Is the 'candidate personal code' the same as my candidate number?

No, the candidate personal code that you need to add at the top of your RPPF is a 3-letter and 3-number code e.g. ABC123 that you will be able to get from your school. This is different from your candidate number which only includes numerical figures.

The candidate personal code is used instead of your candidate number or name to make your EE anonymous when it is externally marked.