Introducing the structure of the Diploma Programme, The Extended Essay

In the International Baccalaureate Programme, to ensure breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, students must select six subjects from six different groups:

  1.     Language and Literature Studies
  2.     Language Acquisition
  3.     Individuals and Societies
  4.     Science
  5.     Mathematics
  6.     Arts

Students are allowed to replace the Arts course with a course from any of the other five groups. In addition, the programme includes three core components that constitute the central core of its philosophy:

  1.   Extended Essay
  2.   Theory of Knowledge
  3.   Creativity, Activity and Service (CAS).

In this short article we will deal with the Extended Essay. This is an autonomous student-led research project, which concludes with the writing of a 4,000-word essay.

The Extended Essay is presented as:

  • A practical preparation for future university research work.
  • An opportunity for students to explore a topic of particular interest related to one of the six Diploma Programme subjects they are studying.

Through the research process for the essay, students acquire the skills to:

  • Appropriately pose a research question.
  • Conduct a thorough personal exploration of the topic.
  • Communicate ideas effectively.
  • Develop a strong argument.

Participation in this process fosters the ability to analyse, synthesise and evaluate knowledge.

Students are supported during the research and writing of the extended essay through the guidance of a teacher from the school who acts as a supervisor, and with whom they have several interviews throughout the process. The Extended Essay and interviews can be a valuable stimulus in countries where an interview is required for employment or to secure a place at university.

All extended essays are externally assessed by examiners appointed by the IB, using a grading scale from 0 to 34.

The score a student receives relates to one of the following bands:

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Satisfactory
  4. Mediocre
  5. Elementary

In addition to the teachers/supervisors of the extended essays, the school has an Extended Essay Coordinator, who is responsible for guiding students in the formal aspects of research and writing, as well as ensuring that the process is carried out properly.