Extended Essay? Almost done!

As stressed and sleep-deprived seniors walk the hallways to their IB exams, juniors have their own International Baccalaureate requirements to worry about. While these two requisites aren’t exactly parallel in difficulty, many students are feeling anxious about their Extended Essay panels coming up on the 16th and 19th of this month.

Students who are soon to be part of the IB program should be aware of what this assignment entails. The Extended Essay is a 4000-word essay based on a self-created research question within any of the pre-determined IB areas of study. The research questions this year cover a variety of topics, ranging from the extent to which dance is a product of our society, to determining what type of baseball bat hits the ball the farthest. The purpose of the panel is for students to receive feedback from a variety of teachers on the work they’ve produced, as writing an essay this broad and open-ended with no aid from others is an intimidating, challenging task.

When I first came across this assignment, reluctance was the first emotion in mind. I felt a certain pressure when entering the IB program in general, but this unease was even more overwhelming when I had to start this assignment. I’m sure many juniors can relate with that. Once the ideas started flowing, however, being able to develop the concepts in more detail was a rewarding feeling. After finally completing my panel draft, I’m amazed at how I was able to draft a response to a topic I’ve learned about only this year in my IB Psychology class, yet at the same time, I’m extremely proud.

As a junior awaiting the feedback I’ll receive in the panels, I have some tips for upcoming IB candidates that will make the Extended Essay process easier. When Amaral first came to talk to our grade about it, the thought that came into mind was “Already?” but yes, the earlier the idea is developed, the better. Although this doesn’t mean you should start worrying about it in your freshman year, keep the time frames in mind and don’t even consider pushing this to the last minute. Writing 4000 words isn’t as terrible as one might imagine, but it isn’t something that can be successfully completed in one day, either; procrastination really isn’t the way to go for such a large-scale task. Finally, teachers and students who have already been through the burden of the EE emphasize that writing about a topic of interest is crucial. Don’t underestimate the importance of this factor. I am glad I did so because I wouldn’t be able to commit to such a huge task if I had not been passionate about it.

So, students, parents, and teachers, come to the panels to support and recognize the impressive essays the juniors have produced! This event is a milestone IB candidates must reach and a fundamental step closer to our diplomas so, juniors, don’t be anxious. Instead, rejoice in the progress you’ve made in your second-to-last year of high school.