3. Extended Essay: Applying criteria A - D

It is important for your students to get to see the criteria at the start of the Extended Essay process and that they understand how these criteria apply to writing an essay in History.

The new criteria for the Extended Essay are as follows:    

A: Focus and Method                        6 marks

B: Knowledge and understanding     6 marks

C: Critical Thinking                         12 marks

D: Formal Presentation                     4 marks

E: Engagement                                 6 marks

What do the criteria A - D mean for history?

A: Focus and Method

  • Topic must be of a meaningful nature (not in last 10 years)
  • Topic must be expressed as a research question
  • Students must establish the historical context and significance of the topic and explain why it is worthy of investigation
  • Students must demonstrate that they have selected a suitable range of sources

B: Knowledge and Understanding

  • Research question must be placed in historical context
  • Historical terms and concepts should be used with confidence throughout to show understanding

C: Critical thinking

  • There should be critical engagement with the sources
  • There needs to be development of an argument supported by evidence (stated and then developed through to conclusion
  • The conclusion must be consistent with evidence and must answer the question
  • There should be evaluation of the sources used

D: Presentation

  • There must be consistent formatting throughout

For students it will be helpful to give these pointers as a checklist. these are attached as a handout for students below in the form of a grid so that they can check off each point.

A: Focus and Method

  • Is your choice of topic appropriate and not in the last ten years?
  • Have you a focused research question which can be answered within 4000 words?
  • Have you given the historical context for your topic and explained why it is worth investigating?
  • Do you have an appropriate range of relevant sources, both primary and secondary, which will provide enough material to allow you to answer the question?

B: Knowledge and Understanding

  • Have you placed your research question in the broader historical context?
  • Have you accurately and confidently used historical concepts and terms relevant to your topic?
  • Have you used your sources effectively to help you analyse and answer your question?

C. Critical thinking

  • Have you developed an argument that will answer your research question?
  • Are your points supported with evidence from your sources?
  • Are all of your points and evidence relevant to the question?
  • Is your conclusion consistent with the evidence that you have presented and does it answer the question?
  • Have you evaluated the sources that you have used to show an awareness of their value and limitations?

D: Formal Presentation

  • Are your sub-headings clear and relevant to the essay?
  • Have you used a consistent method of referencing and acknowledged all information from other sources?
  • Do you have a bibliography correctly presented in alphabetical order?
  • Do you have a title page, table of contents and page numbering?
  • Is the essay within the limit of 4,000 words?

E: Engagement

  • Are your reflections on your decision-making and planning evaluative? (i.e. not just descriptive)
  • Do your reflections communicate a high degree of intellectual and personal engagement with the research process?
  • Have you indicated where you faced challenges and how you overcame these challenges?
  • Have you indicated where your conceptual understanding has developed or changed?
  • Have you indicated what you might do differently if you did this task again or what questions you still have unanswered?

Checklist for students for Extended Essay


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