The level of hype rises as the seniors finally put their pens down and sigh a breath of relief, only to ask the juniors to get theirs ready. If you haven’t already guessed, the time for IB students to delve into their extended essays has finally arrived. One wise guru, a lot of motivation, and 4000 words, make up a large bulk of this taxing piece of work. The aim of this essay is for students to explore a topic in a specific subject that they find interesting and study it beyond the curriculum. Very rarely are the perspectives students argue or experiments they perform, thoroughly thrilling.
Writing the EE is undoubtedly both a frightening but exciting experience at the same time. Neha, a current junior who hopes to write her EE in Chemistry, explains, “I was excited to start my EE and try it out; however, after learning about all the shortcomings in my method and the obstacles I had to overcome, I grew scared since I did not know if it would be doable in the time allocated.” Setting up an experiment, thinking of independent variables, and understanding the science behind the changes, will assuredly pose some challenges. Albena, a Junior writing her EE in psychology, expands, “as I am actually intrigued by my EE topic, I do find it interesting to write about and do get excited to learn more about my topic.” Advice to all future IB takers, always chose the topic of most interest to you.
While the deadline may be months away, it is widely appreciated that the earlier the work is done the easier it is for students. This spring break, students were given the opportunity for head start as they were told to write 1500 words by the end of break. Aware that this was not their final drafts, students tried their level best to hand in a complete 1500 word draft. It was definitely not easy at first. For Albena, “The hardest part about writing the EE was actually starting. Once the writing process began, the words came flowing.” So much information gathered in one spring break can be overwhelming, however with time and the support of the mentor, students can be assured that they will soon be experts on the matter.
Even with a supportive mentor, time to research, and passion for the subject, they are bound to face some difficulties. Neha shares, “my biggest challenge will be performing trials and ensuring changing my independent variable produces the desired effect/impact. In the words of Mr. Hall, as the area of this experiment is “not very fertile”, I’m apprehensive.” Specific aspects of each student’s work is without a doubt going to cause problems. Whether it is the ability to conduct surveys, the accuracy of predicted results, or the insightful perspectives the student must contribute, students will constantly find themselves solving problems.
Let’s all give some good luck to our juniors beginning yet another one of IB’s adventures and hope the best for seniors who have just walked out of one, smiles on their faces.