The extended essay is an IB core requirement, where students explore a subject in depth. The subject must relate to one of the courses offered in Groups 1 - 6 of the IB Diploma Programme. The extended essay is an opportunity to demonstrate research and writing skills, along with other traits of the IB learner profile. While independent study and self-discipline are part of this task, an in-school supervisor is assigned to each student to monitor progress. The final, formal piece of writing of 3,000-4,000 words is something that students can be proud of, present to teachers, parents and even future employers.
The following pages explain the relevance of extended essay to Group 1 and the Language A: Language and Literature course. You can find information on the basic requirements and the assessment criteria, along with sample extended essays from former students. It is recommended that you study these pages carefully before you engage in the writing process, in order to ensure the best results and the most rewarding experience.
The above guide contains clear expectations of what is required of you as part of the research and writing stages, as well as detailed requirements for the formatting of the final product. It also contains the rubric of how the Extended Essay is scored and how this affects your IB Diploma.
Failure to adhere to the guidelines will result in clear penalties by the IB Examiners as per the official rubric.
You may research a collection of poems or short stories, or write about a play or novel that was originally written in English. Speak to an English Department Extended Essay Supervisor if you have an idea about a text to see if it would qualify as being of sufficiently literary merit; here is a list of acceptable novels about which there is sufficient academic criticism if you are having trouble coming up with your own idea for a primary text.
Consult Managebac to find your assigned Extended Essay supervisor; it is the student's responsiblity to make the initial contact with his/her supervisor.
Writing relections is an important part of the Extended Essay process and they are externally evaluated. Consult the official IB guide for support in writing reflections which also provides exemplars.
Useful Links and Information
Modern Language Association (MLA) Formatting
The definitive source for MLA formatting and rules concerning submission of English essays is the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers by Joseph Gibaldi (New York: MLA Association, 1995). The Colonel By Library has a copy of the Fourth Edition of this text available in the REFERENCE section.
There is also a useful MLA Formatting Guide hosted by OWL at Purdue University.
Note that the IB organization will accept other citation methods as long as they are clearly recognized and the chosen method is used consistently throughout the essay.
The MLA Handbook describes plagiarism as "to use another person's ideas or expressions in your writing without acknowledging the source" and includes "fail[ing] to give appropriate acknowledgement when repeating another's wording or particularly apt term, paraphrasing another's argument, or presenting another's line of thinking" (Gibaldi 26). Gibaldi continues, "you may certainly use another person's words and thoughts in your research paper, but the borrowed material must not appear to be your creation" (26, emphasis mine).
Plagiarism is a very serious offense, constitutes academic fraud, and can carry severe penalties.