Five Mistakes to Avoid When Writing IB Extended Essays

IB Extended Essays

The IB Extended Essay (EE) is compulsory and required of your IB diploma, it is considered a core assessment that all students are required to complete. Students will have to put in the extra care and effort to ensure that they excel in this component. However, it is easier said than done given that there are so many criteria to meet for writing an outstanding IB extended essay. Hence, we narrowed down some of the common mistakes students tend to make when writing their IB extended essays. 


Five common mistakes to avoid when writing IB extended essay


IB Extended Essays


1. Failure to understand the different elements of the IB extended essay

There are many elements and structures to writing IB extended essays, including but not limited to the following: 

  • Abstract
  • Application of evaluative and analytical skills appropriate for the subject
  • Conclusion
  • Comprehension of the studied topic
  • Formal presentation
  • Holistic judgment
  • Introduction
  • Investigation
  • Knowledge
  • Research question
  • Reasoned argument
  • Use of language and vocabulary appropriate for the subject


Clearly understanding these ambiguous terms helps to ensure that you know what is needed to get a high score on your IB extended essay. These terms have specific definitions to them which are helpful for guiding students on what needs to be elaborated or brief. It also prevents students from missing out on any important points. A clear hypothesis for your essay can show your understanding, hence knowing these terms can be vital for exams.


IB Extended Essays


2. Not reading the question carefully 

Students that fail to read and understand the question will lose half their battle in their IB extended essay, even if they have a good piece. Therefore, before you can even think about anything else, you should understand the IB extended essays’ question before attempting to answer. What is it that the question is asking? What should be the intended outcome of your essay? Does it align with what the question is asking? Students can always refer back to the question while writing to make sure that their essay is still relevant and related to the question. 


IB Extended Essays


3. Failure to reference all the sources accurately and precisely 

Referencing is not just about acknowledging that you are using other people’s work, it also helps to show your professionalism. Referencing also puts your work into context and offers people your essay’s insights in breadth and depth. Regardless if this is a grading criterion or not, referencing is an important part of writing, and citing your sources accurately will only bring you more good than bad. 


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4. Lack of planning 

Planning is important when it comes to writing any kind of essay. The IB extended essay requires students to be logical in what they are intending to convey. Planning is half the battle won because you will have the opportunity to spot any flaws and rectify them immediately as well as spend time thinking about the areas you wish to emphasize or elaborate on. Hence, even if you are not one to plan, having a rough idea of what you are going to write, and how you are going to structure your essay is still a good starting point. 


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5. Using weak or poorly developed examples in your essay

Examples are important to not only back your essay up but also offer readers another perspective of looking at something. Hence, selecting the right examples is just as important as other parts of your essay. 

Especially for essays that are heavily based on factual information, you should take note of the examples you are providing your readers. Using examples with poor stands can cause your essay to be unsubstantiated enough or sound passive. Both of which can cause you to lose marks on your IB extended essay. Therefore, be sure to use reliable and credible sources that have a strong argument or stand to prove your point. 


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