The Extended Essay (EE) is a mandatory component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP) core. It is an independent, self-directed piece of research, culminating  in a 4,000-word paper. This project typically rolls out between Grades 11 and 12 and  is an opportunity for students to investigate a topic of personal interest to them, which relates to one of the student’s six DP subjects.

Understanding that this is a big undertaking, teachers organised EE lunches, in which Grade 11 students are introduced to the project and to the different content areas. Grade 12 students who just finished their EEs also participate and share their tips for success. The Grade 11 students welcomed this peer-to-peer support and found it beneficial, as their circumstances are similar. 

“In my experience, connecting your EE and the content area of your study with something you are deeply passionate about is what makes the biggest difference. This project lasts 8, 9 months, so you have to make sure that you are really interested in what you are researching”, said Pieter, a Grade 12 student who just finished his EE connecting physics and weight lifting. 

Pieter also mentioned that he recommends Grade 11 students to stay in contact with their mentors quite often and make the most of their support. “I know I am not the best at time management, so my mentor helped me set out deadlines for my research, data collection, rough draft of the paper, etc.”  

This was the beginning of the journey for the grade 11 students as they continue to work on the final steps of their high school career.