All Extended Essays are submitted with a Reflections on Planning and Progress Form (RPPF), which consists of three boxes: the first reflection, the interim reflection and the viva voce or final reflection. The reflections are assessed on Criterion E: Engagement for 6 out of the 34 marks that are available for the EE. The cumulative word limit for these three boxes is 500 words. Supervisor comments must also be supplied on this form. You can download the English version of the form here:

Reflections on Planning and Progress Form
Frequently asked questions

YES. However, this must be done under the supervisor’s supervision. The EE guide states the following: “In appropriate circumstances, as long as reflection statements are not qualitatively changed, supervisors may oversee and authorize the deletion of content from the first and interim reflections in order to enable a student to include sufficient words in his/her final reflection. It is, however, expected that early in the extended essay process students will receive appropriate guidance regarding the allocation of words to the three reflection statements.”

In theory, NO. In practice, it’s difficult to say. Supervisors should not comment on the quality of the essay but on the candidate’s level of engagement. If the supervisor feels that the candidate was not engaged, then the supervisor can write a comment to explain this. What the examiner does with this comment is up to the examiner. While the IB claims that supervisor comments cannot harm candidates, examiners cannot ‘unread’ comments. If the supervisor does not believe that the essay or RPPF are the student’s own work, then the supervisor should not submit the essay to the e-Coursework system.

NO. Changing the research question throughout the inquiry, research and writing process is very normal and part of the learning experience. Therefore the candidate should explain why they have changed the RQ in the RPPF. If the candidate changes subjects, it is recommended (but not required) that candidates start a new RPPF.

Examiners are not instructed to read the essay before the RPPF. However, the essay appears above the RPPF in the examiner’s menu, and it is believed that most examiners read the essay before the RPPF. In theory, the order in which the examiner reads these documents should not matter. In practice, whatever is read first will influence what is read second.

NO. The marks for Criterion E are based solely on the RPPF. In theory it is possible to have a very poor essay and top marks for Criterion E: Engagement or vice versa. In practice this is rarely the case. For example, the phrase ‘evaluation of the research’ appears in Criterion C: Critical thinking, which means that a level of reflection on sources and methodology is expected within the essay.

YES. As the EE Subject report states, 0 marks will be awarded for Criterion E if the RPPF is not written in the language of the essay. Language A and B essays should be submitted in the target language. Essays registered for any other subject may be submitted in English, Spanish or French.

Evenly. There are good arguments for 200 words in the first and last box to explain plans and reflect on experiences. But students can also earn top marks with an average of 166 words in each box. A technical problem occurs when candidates use too many words in box on the writeable PDF form: a scrollbar then appears, which is locked for examiners, meaning words go unread.

Before 15 March (May-session schools) or before 15 September (November-session schools). Candidates meet with their supervisor for three RPPF sessions. It is recommended that candidates complete the corresponding comment box on the form immediately after each meeting, preferably under the supervisor’s supervision. Strike while the iron’s hot! If you are completing this form on ManageBac, it is recommended to keep each entry unlocked until after the final session (viva voce). Note that viva voce (final RPPF session) takes place after the essay has been submitted. No changes may be made to the essay after it has been submitted or after the viva voce has been conducted.

Candidates do not sign the form. Supervisors initial and date (month only) each comment box. Candidates do not have to confirm that the essay and RPPF are their own work. If the supervisor does not believe that the essay is the student’s own work, then they should not submit the essay to the e-coursework system.


Is it even possible to assess someone on their ability to reflect? Yes and no. Criterion E measures student's ability to articulate their decision making process and their ability to convince the examiner that they are engaged with the topic and research. Notice the phrases 'ability to articulate' and 'ability to convince.' Mastering useful RPPF phrases may help you score well on Criterion E. Reflective thinking is a self-management skill, one of the IB's Approaches to Learning, which will help you in life in general.

Last modified: Friday, 5 June 2020, 2:02 PM