The extended essay should be written in a clear, correct and formal academic style, appropriate to the subject from which the topic is drawn. Given that the extended essay is a formally written research paper, it should strive to maintain a professional, academic look.
To help achieve this, the following formatting is required:
- 12-point, readable font (Calibri or Times New Roman);
- double spacing throughout entire Essay;
- page numbering - top right corner;
- no candidate or school name or supervisor name on the title page or page headers.
Submitting the extended essay in the required format will help set the tone of the essay and will aid readability for on-screen assessment by examiners.
The structure of the essay is very important. It helps students to organize the argument, making the best use of the evidence collected.
There are six required elements of the final work to be submitted. More details about each element are given in the “Presentation” section. Please note that the order in which these elements are presented here is not necessarily the order in which they should be written.
Six required elements of the extended essay:
- Title page
- Contents page
- Body of the essay
- References and bibliography -- if MLA "Works Cited" if CSE "References"
1. Required Title Page
The title page should include only the following information:
- the title of the essay
- the research question
- the subject the essay is registered in (if it is a language essay also state which category it falls into; if a world studies essay also state the theme and the two subjects utilized)
- word count
The upper limit is 4,000 words for all extended essays.
Please note: Examiners are instructed not to read or assess any material in excess of the word limit. This means that essays containing more than 4,000 words will be compromised across all assessment criteria. Given the holistic nature of the assessment criteria, students who write in excess of the word limit will self-penalize across all criteria.
2. Required Contents Page
A contents page must be provided at the beginning of the extended essay and all pages should be numbered. Please note that an index page is not required and if included will be treated as if it is not present.
3. Required Introduction
The introduction should tell the reader what to expect in the essay. The introduction should make clear to the reader the focus of the essay, the scope of the research, in particular an indication of the sources to be used, and an insight into the line of argument to be taken.
While students should have a sense of the direction and key focus of their essay, it is sometimes advisable to finalize the introduction once the body of the essay is complete.
4. Required Body of the Essay (research, analysis, discussion, and evaluation)
The main task is writing the body of the essay, which should be presented in the form of a reasoned argument. The form of this varies with the subject of the essay but as the argument develops it should be clear to the reader what relevant evidence has been discovered, where/how it has been discovered and how it supports the argument. In some subjects, for example, the sciences, sub-headings within the main body of the essay will help the reader to understand the argument (and will also help the student to keep on track). In structuring their extended essay, students must take into consideration the expected conventions of the subject in which their extended essay is registered.
Once the main body of the essay is complete, it is possible to finalize the introduction (which tells the reader what to expect) and the conclusion (which says what has been achieved, including notes of any limitations and any questions that have not been resolved).
Any information that is important to the argument must not be included in appendices or footnotes/endnotes. The examiner will not read notes or appendices, so an essay that is not complete in itself will be compromised across the assessment criteria.
5. Required Conclusion
The conclusion says what has been achieved, including notes of any limitations and any questions that have not been resolved. While students might draw conclusions throughout the essay based on their findings, it is important that there is a final, summative conclusion at the end. This conclusion(s) must relate to the research question posed.
6. Required References & Bibliography
Students should use their chosen style of academic referencing as soon as they start writing. That way they are less likely to forget to include a citation. It is also easier than trying to add references at a later stage. For more information on this, refer to the guidelines in the IB document Effective citing and referencing.
Writing the essay takes time but if students have used their Researcher's reflection space and reflection sessions in a meaningful way they should be well prepared to develop their arguments.
How to make the IB extended essay title page
The international baccalaureate is a highly respected educational organization with hundreds of thousands of students in numerous countries around the world. The certificates and diplomas they issue are recognized around the world. Many schools offer the IB curriculum and continue to do so because of the prestige and the benefits it offers to their students. But like so many formats and structures of educational writing, the IB extended essay requires a title page written in a particular way.
It doesn't matter how successful you are at writing the extended essay, how well you choose the topic and address the topic in your writing, unless you follow the rules described from the beginning, you run the risk of receiving a less than perfect score. Every part of your IB extended essay has to be done according to Hoyle and this most certainly includes the title page. The good news is that at your school and most certainly online, can be found hundreds of examples of IB extended essays with the title by each clearly displayed. If any part of this article seems unclear, it is very easy to find numerous examples of exactly how to produce the relevant title page.
The fundamentals of an IB extended essay title page
The title page itself stands alone. It does not include a great deal of information and it most certainly does not include any part of your actual IB extended essay. It is a standalone document.
The title of your essay appears in the centre of the page and must be written in full. Do not offer the shortened version of your title. Put your title about one third of the way down the page. Do not dress up the typing of your title. It does not have a line underneath it and it is not written in italics. However, if you have some published words in your title such as a poem, short story or lyrics from a song, only those published words will appear in quotation marks.
If it turns out that your title is super long, try and balance the length of the lines of your title. In other words don't have one line with 20 words in it and a subsequent line with two words in it. Centre the title.
Even if the title of your extended essay is a question, simply write it in lowercase. It is not like the title of a book. You will have an uppercase word to start of course and for relevant nouns which require an uppercase letter to begin, but otherwise everything is in lowercase.
You must include your full name as it has been registered with all IB documentation. Your name appears in the centre of the title page. You also must include the name of your school and your individual IB number. The latter will be the last thing you type.
Finally, again placed in the centre of your title page and typed using uppercase throughout, will be the words total word count and then obviously the figure that is relevant.
Again if you are unsure about any of these things there are numerous examples you can study to be sure you get it just right.