The extended essay is the culmination of a long process. You could say that the final product is like the tip of a very deep iceberg. While you 'only' see 3,000 - 4,000 words, hours of research, writing, editing and reviewing lie below the surface. The extended essay is the unique opportunity to demonstrate a range of skills that can be developed in the Language and Literature classroom, from citing sources properly to writing abstracts. By breaking down this large task into smaller, more manageable tasks, we can develop the skills necessary for the extended essay.

The following pages offer exercises that develop the skills related to the extended essay. For example, you can find out more about refining a guiding question so that it is both relevant to the Language and Literature course and focused on a topic or text. Keep in mind that the extended essay cannot be writting in one night, or even in one week. 'Practice makes perfect' as the saying goes. And so, developing these skills requires time and careful planning. 

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Comments 7

elizabeth smith 10 November 2017 - 09:33

Dear Tim

Do you have any general advice for me on how to conduct the viva voce for the EE? This is the first time I am doing this. I tried to find some general guidance on your website.

On a separate note, I truly appreciate all the support you have given me.



Tim Pruzinsky 14 November 2017 - 06:26

Hi Elizabeth,

I'm conducting mine next week and will have more concrete information for you then. However, I tend to talk to students about what I will call "big things" for a lack of a better phrase. This includes the research process, the writing process, the learning that took place, and any/all the changes, complications, and problems that the student faced. It's also a time for me to check for plagiarism if I suspect it. Finally, I tend to end on this question: how has the researching and writing of the EE prepared you for university and why?

And you're welcome for the support! That's why we're here.


Frankie Gill 13 November 2017 - 20:32

Dear Tim,

I have a student who is asking if they might do a Language study of rap music and slang use for their Extended Essay.

I want to ask whether this topic is appropriate/if this topic has been attempted before and if so, whether it is more appropriate for a Language or a Literature study?



Tim Pruzinsky 13 November 2017 - 23:43

Hi Frankie,

This would be a Category 3 EE. The IB doesn't differentiate between Lit or L/L for EE's. They just provide categories and students in either course can do whatever category they want.

As for the topic, I'm sure rap music/lyrics have been studied and researched in an EE before. While I haven't read one myself, I have no doubt this has been attempted. I would shy away from "slang" and have the student explore something else. What that something else is, I don't know, but I think slang is difficult, complex, and the student would be setting himself or herself up for a long slog of a linguistic process.

Have him or her go back to the drawing board. Maybe one rap artist. Maybe one album. Maybe a compare/contrast. I'm not sure, but have a chat and see what he or she thinks can be re-worked here.


elizabeth smith 16 November 2017 - 18:16

Hello Tim
Thank you for your help regarding the viva voce this helped me to understand the process. As my student prepares to fill in her final viva voce I wondered if you had any general advice/guidance for what I should write for my final supervisor's comments? Will what I write heavily influence the marks my student gets awarded for criterion E?

elizabeth smith 16 November 2017 - 18:25

Hello Tim

I don't suppose you know where I can find some exemplar student and supervisor's final comments on the Reflections and Planning Sheet? These are the ones that take place post the viva voce and test criterion E.

Best Wishes


Tim Pruzinsky 16 November 2017 - 23:37

Hi Elizabeth,

Let's see if I can answer both questions.

1. Your comments should be honest, but also helpful to the examiner in terms of the student's engagement, work ethic, and overall skills that were learned in the process of writing the EE. I think it varies by examiners how much they look at a supervisor's comments; however, I think it's important to give the student the benefit of the doubt without inflating our comments.

2. Exemplar work - which I didn't find particularly helpful - can be found on the OCC (merging soon to MY IB) - in the EE section. Click around in that space and you will find it.

It's our first time through the new process and so we don't know yet how things will exactly pan out for students. I like to think good writing is good writing no matter the criteria.


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