Extended Essay Tips from Grads Who Got an A

Getting an A on your Extended Essay certainly isn’t easy, but it is possible! In this article we’re giving you the insider knowledge on how to get an A, from IB grads who did. We’ve asked our tutors for their best tips and consolidated them for you!

Tip 1: Start early! 

You’ve probably heard this tip a million times at this point, but it really does make a difference! The Extended Essay process can be a long one. It’s important to give yourself room to take breaks and problem solve, without the stress of a deadline fast approaching. 

By starting early you can give yourself dedicated chunks of time to focus on your Extended Essay. Taking some time away from it now and then helps give your brain space to come up with new ideas and solutions. It also will help prevent burnout in the long run. 

Our grads who got an A all found that having a rough draft by the start of their final year in the Diploma Programme helped them manage their stress levels. This in turn meant that the work they produced was of a higher quality! 

For more advice on creating a plan for working on your EE check out this previous post

Tip 2: Don’t overextend yourself! 

It’s important to remember that the Extended Essay is just that – an essay that’s longer and goes into more depth. The IBO aren’t expecting you to make a brilliant scientific breakthrough or re-conceptualise an issue! 

They want you to be able to explore something you’re genuinely interested in and introduce you to what longer research looks like. 

Keeping this in mind when you’re formulating your research question will help make sure that you’re not giving yourself too much to do. Trying to fit a larger project into the 4,000 words won’t improve the quality of your work! 

For more detailed advice about choosing a research question, take a look at this post.  

Tip 3: Don’t be afraid to pivot if it isn’t working!

Many of our tutors had this as one of their top tips, and it was the best piece of advice I got when I was in the IB! I started a Chemistry EE in my DP1 year. It wasn’t what I was passionate about, but I thought I wanted to do science at university so went with a science project. I very quickly realised I was very allergic to one of the components in my experiment (pomegranates!). I was determined to do it anyway, but eventually it became clear it just wasn’t going to work. For context, I now have an EpiPen for my allergy.

My English teacher was kind enough to let me switch to doing an EE with her on the second to last day of the school year. I’d had the idea for it much earlier in the year but hadn’t ended up pursuing it. It was a project that I was genuinely excited about. I had to work hard to catch up but I ended up getting a much better grade than I would have gotten on my Chemistry one! 

If your project isn’t working, and you can’t figure out how to fix it, don’t be afraid to pivot! This may be altering your research question slightly or a more drastic change like I did. If you think it will benefit you in the long run always see if it’s a possibility! 

If you’re looking for more specific help with your EE, check out our online private tuition here.

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