Extended Essay: IB juniors start essay a year before it is due

"word cloud" with words/phrases that describe and relate to the IB extended essay, forming a graduation cap.

By Paola Diaz ’19

Junior year IB: more homework, tests, assessments, projects, and studying, so why also start an 8-10 page essay about a  year before it’s due?

IB juniors have already been introduced to the extended essay, which is a 4,000 word paper on the student’s choice of topic. IB extended essays are graded on a scale from 0 to 36 and are checked by official IB workers. The extended essay replaces the senior paper for IB juniors.

Why start so early? Is this a good idea?

European History teacher and IB coordinator, Hadley Austin, explained how she thinks it is a good idea to start early by explaining, “Mostly the reason I think it’s a good idea is because the first semester of your senior year is crazy. You’re writing all these college application essays, you’re looking for scholarships, you’re making big life decisions, which is always kind of stressful and takes brain space, and so, I think that the more students can get this done over the summer, and the IB students do have more limited summer assignments, so they can devote their energy to this[…]” Junior Loribeth Godinez also explained, “I think it’s super important to start on this assignment early because it requires lots of extensive research, and we already have a lot to do so if we start early, then we will be less stressed.” Similarly, Edwin Arollo said, “I believe this is a good idea to start this soon because we are able to focus on internal and external assessments that come with IB; the sooner we finish, the faster we will be able to study.”

What have juniors done so far to prepare?

Austin adds, “[students] have already proposed topics for their paper and in a couple weeks, we’re gonna go through all of those topics, and we’re going to assign them to mentors, and they’re gonna begin their research.” Arollo shared how not only have students already researched potential topics they are interested in, but they have also created research questions in which their extended essay can be based on. Godinez added, “Our IB coordinator, Ms. Austin, told us about the assignment and what it requires.” He later explained how mentors depend on the research questions a student makes.

Has the extended essay already added more stress for IB juniors?

With the due date of the essay being very extended, some IB juniors aren’t as stressed about it. Godinez adds, “I’m not as stressed as I usually would be because I know that it’s not due right away, and I trust that my mentors will help me.”

On the other hand, students, like Arollo, feel like the extended essay does add a bit more stress because if it’s not done seriously, it could jeopardize the possibility of receiving the IB diploma. He also believes that other things could be very distracting. “There are internal and external assessments to worry about.”

Austin explains how the senior project adds stress; the extended essay also adds more stress because everytime something is added, it gets a bit more stressful. Austin also believes that the juniors get a slightly better arrangement than the seniors do with their senior project because IB juniors have more time. “It will add stress, but I think it’s very manageable.”