Curriculum information of Carey Baptist Grammar School

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Extended Essay

Course Description and Aims

The extended essay is an in-depth study of a focussed topic chosen from the list of approved DP subjects - normally one of the student’s six chosen subjects. The extended essay is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity, engaging students in personal research in a topic of their own choice, under the guidance of a supervisor (a teacher in the School). This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing, in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned, coherent and appropriate manner.

The extended essay is a compulsory, externally assessed piece of independent research/investigation. Presented as a formal piece of scholarship containing no more than 4,000 words, it is the result of approximately 40 hours of student work, and 3 mandatory reflective sessions with the supervisor.

The aims of the extended essay are to provide students with the opportunity to:

  • pursue independent research on a focussed topic;
  • develop research and communication skills;
  • develop creativity and critical thinking;
  • engage in a systematic process of research;
  • experience the excitement of intellectual discovery.

Curriculum Model Overview


The research process
1. Finalise whether the essay will be written in an approved IB subject (or World Studies).
2. Choose a topic.
3. Formulate a well-focussed research question.
4. Plan the investigation and writing process.
5. Plan a structure (outline headings) for the essay. This may change as the investigation develops.
6. Undertake some preparatory reading.
7. Carry out the investigation.

Writing and formal presentation

The required elements of the final work to be submitted are:

• Title page.
• Contents page.
• Introduction.
• Body (development/methods/results).
• Conclusion.
• References and bibliography.
• Appendices.

The upper limit of 4,000 words includes the introduction, body, conclusion and any quotations.

The viva voce (final reflection session)

The viva voce is a short interview between the student and the supervisor, and a recommended conclusion to the process.

The viva voce serves as:

• A check on plagiarism and malpractice in general.
• An opportunity to reflect on successes and difficulties.
• An opportunity to reflect on what has been learned.
• An aid to the supervisor’s report.

Assessment at a Glance

Assessment criteria /34


Focus & Method

Marked out of 6

This criterion focusses on the topic, the research question and the methodology. It assesses the explanation of the focus of the research, how the research will be undertaken, and how the focus is maintained throughout the essay.

Knowledge & Understanding

Marked out of 6

This criterion assesses the extent to which the research relates to the subject area/discipline used to explore the research question, and the way in which this knowledge and understanding is demonstrated through the use of appropriate terminology and concepts.

Critical Thinking

Marked out of 12

This criterion assesses the extent to which critical-thinking skills have been used to analyse and evaluate the research undertaken.


Marked out of 4

This criterion assesses the extent to which the presentation follows the standard format expected for academic writing and the extent to which this aids effective communication.


Marked out of 6

This criterion assesses the student’s engagement with their research focus and the research process. It will be applied by the examiner at the end of the assessment of the essay, after considering the student’s Reflections on planning and progress form.