Starting in their first year of the IB Diploma, students are expected to write an Extended Essay of 4000 words, which is an independent, self-directed piece of research. The Extended Essay provides practical preparation for undergraduate research, and an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of special interest to them, based on one of their six IB subjects.
Throughout the research process, students develop the skills to formulate an appropriate research question, develop arguments, and communicate ideas effectively. Students are supported throughout the process by subject specialist teachers.
Universities look favourable upon the Extended Essay, as no other post-16 program has a similar component. The skills students learn by tackling such an intensive piece of work is just one of the reasons that the IB prepares them thoroughly for university.
At Dulwich College Puxi we are giving our students lots of practice to develop these necessary essay writing skills. This week, students in Year 8 took time to reflect on their Extended Essay writing pieces which considered why the Spanish Armada were defeated. Individual students selected a cause that they considered to be key in determining what was a failure for the Spanish. They developed a paragraph which discussed their chosen cause and wrote it in a public space for others to reflect on the stated cause and their explanation of it. Each student then listened to the reflections of their peers in order to consider how best to develop their own essay writing further.