Common misconceptions

Students and examiners often think differently about the nature and scope of the Extended Essay. This page summarises these differences, so that candidates can avoid any misunderstandings. This list of misconceptions is based on discussions with candidates and IB examiners. 

What students think What examiners expect
The Extended Essay is my chance to show how smart I am. I will enlighten and impress the examiner with my (background) knowledge on the topic. Knowledge is a starting point which supports and informs a 'reasoned argument'. More important that a 'brain dump' is conceptual understanding, analysis and evaluation.
My bibliography is secondary to my essay. If I write a good narrative with a compelling argument, I will prevail. The quality of sources and their relevance to the research question are the foundation of the argument. Bibliographies matter.
My RPPF is assessed and should be good. I should show how the research went well and how my argument is strong. The RPPF should show a learning curve, meaning there is reference to misunderstandings, set-backs, experiences and processes (not product).
My arguments must be persuasive, my conclusion conclusive, my opinions convincing. The essay should explore both arguments and counterarguments. Conclusions may be inconclusive. Quality of research should be convincing.
My methodology and sources speak for themselves. Their significance is obvious, especially if others have used them in their research before. Why are these methods and sources significant and relevant to answering the research question? How have others applied these methods and used these sources? Evaluate other people's research.

One of the Approaches to Teaching (ATTs) states that good teaching is 'informed by assessment'. This is to say that students deserve access to model Extended Essays with examiner comments. While this Support Site includes a few examples, schools should also build a library of good student scripts from former students for future students.

Last modified: Wednesday, 20 May 2020, 8:12 AM