Extended Essay

The Extended Essay is an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject. Its purpose is to provide the candidate with an opportunity to engage in independent research. The emphasis is placed on the process of engaging in personal research, the communication of ideas, and presenting information in a logical and coherent manner. The overall presentation of the Extended Essay is evaluated within a clearly defined set of guidelines. The Extended Essay is to cover a well-defined research question within a 4,000 word limit. Students are encouraged to choose a topic of personal interest and relevance. Each student will work closely with a faculty supervisor or mentor who has qualifications in the essay subject area. The supervisor will provide guidance in the process of topic selection, research options, and presentation format. Students will be apprised of the specific guidelines and available subject areas for the Extended Essay in the middle of the junior year.

The IB philosophy is to make the student ultimately responsible for the completion of the extended essay utilizing school-based resources, such as mentors, when needed. The program in place at SM Northwest is designed to supplement that idea and has built-in deadlines in both IB English HL-1 junior year and HL-2 senior year to facilitate the completion of the essay.

Extended Essay titles include such past works as:

The Physics of a Curve Ball: An Exploration into the Realm of Fluid Dynamics; The Movement of a Curve Ball as a Function of its Velocity.

  • What is the Role of Nitrogen Dioxide as an Ambient Air Pollutant?
  • The Myth of the Vampire and its Influence in Literature and Film.
  • The Threepenny Opera : Bertolt Brecht's Tool to Analyze the Conditions of the Weinmar Republic.
  • The Emergence, Near Destruction, and Rebirth of the Male Ballet Danseur.
  • Self-Love or Self-Abdication: An Analysis of the Myth of Altruism.
  • The Effectiveness of the United Nations in Ending Genocide with Specific Reference to Cambodia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
  • The Role of Literature in Jane Austen's Fictional World.
  • To What Extent Does the Issue of Water Affect the Peace Process between the Israelis and Palestinians?


Scoring of the Extended Essay

Based on the total score obtained, Extended Essays will be marked as:

  • A - Excellent standard
  • B - Good standard
  • C - Satisfactory standard
  • D - Mediocre standard
  • E - Elementary standard or no recommendation-->disqualifies student from diploma unless they pass the T.O.K. essay, in which case they must score 28 points on exams verse 24 for students who pass both the T.O.K. essay and extended essay.

Extended Essay Form due by January 17th




Junior Year



  • Turn in subject area and mentor name

March (before spring break)

  • Meet with mentor. Discuss project/basic ideas.  Come up with research question.


  • Submit a list of appropriate sources

Senior Year



  • Remember that IB expects students to spend forty (40) hours on the E.E. Therefore, you should plan on spending twenty –twenty-five (20-25) hours during the summer doing research.
  • Verification of subject area prior to exam reg.

First week of school

  • Outline due to mentor

End of First Quarter

  • Rough draft due to mentor/TOK teacher


  • Final copy due to mentor for evaluation. Mentor gives Mrs. Deines two copies of essay when it is graded along with the cover sheet with grade on it.

February 10-15th:

  • Last day for mentors to give the two copies of the essay and cover sheet to Mrs. Deines with the cover sheet completed and signed. Also, the Viva Voce should be completed and turned in with the essays no later than this time.
  • Remember – You are expected to spend three to five hours with your mentor. Go in for help when you need it! Students should discuss each step with his/her mentor.
  • Do NOT wait until the last minute to turn things in or to meet with your mentor. Some mentors have four students with whom they are working.
  • This is academic research. Ask your mentor, Mrs. Deines or Mrs. LaFever for help finding sources.
  • If you need help with citations, see Mrs. Deines.
  • Procrastination can kill you! Take advantage of the summer to try and get as much done as possible!