Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to write an Extended Essay

Some see this extra (yes necessary) requirement as a time-suck. Laborious research, planning, drafting, writing and rewriting. The endless joy of frying your eyes in front of a computer screen!

Here, I'm going to post a brief guide, since there are several extremely detailed guides available in The Land of the Interwebz.

A) Subject
Decide from which subject your EE will be on. It is most advisable that its from one of the subjects you're studying.

B) Topic
Which area in the subject you've chosen are you interested in?
E.g: History: Cold War
E.g: English: Pride and Prejudice
E.g: Chemistry: Acids and Bases

C) Research
Tres important mes aimies! It's through research you will find out what you do like, and what you don't like.
E.g: I rather like World War Two, but I do not like the involvement of the US. This means I will not focus on US involvement in WWII.
Gather as many resources which are relevant, even if it's just a sentence. You never know when your EE focus point might change.

D) Question
The focus point of your essay. In most cases, it continues to change slightly, until a pinpoint focus in a topic is found and liked by both the supervisor and student.

E) Planning
Decide on the relevant subtopics.
Are diagrams needed?
Gather resources.
A basic dot-pointed list of what will be included in the essay for each sub-topic

F) Drafting
Place butt on suitable surface and type/write. There are two ways to go about this:
i) Set a goal and write an x amount of words every 'session'.
ii) Type/write until you can no more!
At this point it is the introduction, background information abour the topic and the body of the essay which is being written.

G) The First Complete Draft
4000+ words have been put to paper. This is an Accomplishment. Reread it and edit. Then show your supervisor, who will provide you with feedback. Do not ignore the feedback (unless your supervisor is clueless and has no hell of an idea what you're doing- which is very bad). It is not necessary that a conclusion and an abstract are written, since they come at the end.

H) Continual drafting
Edit and rewrite and improve your essay as much as you can. Keep track of ALL sources used. The correct presentation of the essay (formatting, font, etc...) can be implemented at this point.

I) The Final Draft
A viva voce (oh, the IBO and its fancy Latin!) is conducted. This is an interview with your supervisor regarding any more changes which can be made. Your supervisor actually records points they've noticed about your essay and other notes about the interview. The essay is checked for plagiarism.

Your EE component is done and dusted. The IB warlocks will give you a mark. This mark, along with your TOK essay will contribute your final IB diploma mark, with a maximum of three.
Here are a few much more thorough guides regarding the Extended Essay (in order of usefulness)
IBO official Extended Essay Guide (click on the other pages listed on the right hand side of the page to view criteria, regulations, presentation guidelines, etc...)

City Honours School EE guide
IB Survival EE for Dummies


i) To track your process, every time you make changes to your essay, either print it out (but don't bother too much if it's only 150 words or less) or save it as another file (i.e: EE edit 1, EE edit 2). This is to ensure that a Process has occurred. If, in some unfortunate case, you've been found to be the ill-omened Plagiariser, a gradual process of your work will be there to show you are innocent.

ii) My supervisor continually advised his students that one of the best topics should be from the syllabus of a subject you're studying. Why? Because it'll be like revision when writing parts of it and it'll also give in depth knowledge in a certain area of the topic.


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