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Extended Essay

Extended Essay – an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject

During Grades 11 and 12, students must complete an essay of no more than 4,000 words. Its purpose is to provide a student with an opportunity to engage in independent research at an introductory level.

Emphasis is placed on the process of engaging in personal research, on the communication of ideas and information in a logical and coherent manner, and on the overall presentation of the Extended Essay in compliance with IB guidelines. Students are required to devote 40+ hours to the essay over the course of 12 months.

This essay

  • exposes students to independent research,
  • leads to a major piece of work,
  • needs to be in formally presented, structured writing,
  • must communicate ideas and findings in a reasoned and coherent manner,
  • has to be appropriate to the subject chosen.

Each student chooses a faculty member to act as an advisor to the essay.

Subject Choice

In choosing a subject, an essential consideration should be the personal interest of the student. The subject should offer the opportunity for in depth research but should also be limited in scope. It should present the candidate with the opportunity to collect or generate information and/or data for analysis and evaluation.

Extended Essays submitted in Language B (Spanish or French) or Literature A1 (Japanese, Korean, French or English) must be written in that language. All other essays must be in English.

Organisation of the Extended Essay

The Extended Essay is limited to 4,000 words and should include an abstract, an introduction, a development methodology, a conclusion, a bibliography and any necessary appendices.


The Extended Essay is externally examined. Marks are awarded against a set of published criteria (both general and subject specific).

The final Extended Essay grade and the final ToK grade are entered into the Diploma Points Matrix to award a possible maximum of 3 extra points to be added to a student’s Diploma score. Candidates not submitting satisfactory work in either area will fail the Diploma.

B.I.S.'s Extended Essay Schedule

  • Introductory workshops to the Hexagon Core (Extended Essay, Creativity, Action & Service and Theory of Knowledge) in September of the first year of the Diploma.
  • A follow up workshop the following spring, where students learn about the research and drafting process.
  • Bulk of the work to be carried out over the summer months.
  • Exit viva voce (interview) completed by February of the second year.