IB Juniors Begin Their Extended Essays

By Amy Simon, Reporter

Westwood juniors in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program are currently in the process of developing ideas for their extended essays (EE), which is a 4,000-word research paper that all IB Diploma candidates must complete in order to receive their IB diploma. Students are allowed to choose any academic topic to write about, as long as it falls under the 30 pre-determined IB subjects. The topics usually surround a student’s career goals, so that colleges have an idea of the path each student wishes to take.

Students have expressed many concerns surrounding their EEs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For one, many students aren’t getting the resources they need to conduct their paper. Instead of being surrounded by peers, teachers, and library resources, they have had to rely on the internet to gather information. However, other students feel neutral about the topic. Juniors in the IB program are currently writing their Internal Assessments (IA), which are research projects on a specialized subject. Having the experience to write IAs has helped many students develop their research and writing skills, which are needed to write an EE.

“I’m not particularly worried that it will be harder this year because we’ve already adapted to writing a lot of essays online,” Chris Huh ‘22 said. “We’ve also been writing IAs which I think is going to be a huge benefiting factor to writing a really good EE since it’s giving us first-hand experience to writing a research paper.”

The EE is completed over two semesters: the spring semester of the junior year and the fall semester of the senior year. This year, seniors must submit their EEs by Monday, March 1. The spring semester is used to curate ideas for juniors, while the fall semester is used to conduct research and write the paper. The majority of the work is spent outside of class, however, the Theory of Knowledge class which all IB students must take lends a helping hand to those with any additional questions on the EE itself. 

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