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Extended Essay

The Extended Essay is defined as an in-depth study of a limited topic within a subject. Its purpose is to provide students with an opportunity to engage in independent research at an introductory level and in a topic of their choice.

The length of the Essay should be about 4000 words and it is intended to represent about 40 hours of individual student work. There are clear guidelines to help in the choice of a topic for the essay and in the way the essay is presented.

Each student will have a supervisor, who is a teacher from the school and who will give overall guidance on all aspects of the essay.

Some examples of titles of Extended Essays written by students in the past are:

  • La langue parlée au Mali connaît ses propres principes.
  • Staging Jean-Paul Sartre’s ‘The Flies’: An Existential Reading.
  • The Effect of the Depreciation of the Indonesian Rupiah on Selected Indonesian Based Companies.
  • The Portrayal of Malay Characters and Culture in Anthony Burgess’ ‘The Malayan Trilogy’.
  • The Factors Influencing the Housing Choices of BSJ Expatriate Families in Jakarta.
  • An Evaluation of Coconut Milk as an Emergency Plasma Replacement.
  • Factors Affecting the Demand for Jamu in Jakarta.
  • The Experience of Women and Children in Japanese Concentration Camps during the Second World War.
  • Prime numbers in cryptography.
  • How Has Lombok Pottery Changed and What Has Caused Its Development?
  • Does the frequency of light affect the resolution of the eye?
  • An Investigation into the Use and Effectiveness of Domestic Solar Heating Systems in Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • The Significance of the Holocaust in the Establishment of an Independent Jewish State.

At BSJ, preparation for the Extended Essay will commence at the beginning of the IB Programme in the form of generic skill building. Focused work with supervisors commences at the beginning of the second term. The period from conceptualisation to handing in the essay runs for roughly six months.


The Essay will be marked externally, according to published criteria which are made known to the students and their supervisors before the commencement of work on the essay. Each essay is accompanied by a supervisor’s report which makes clear the circumstances in which the essay was written.

Up to a maximum of 3 bonus points can be gained from the combined standard of the student’s work in Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and the Extended Essay.

Skills Gained

Through the research process for the extended essay, students develop skills in:

  • formulating an appropriate research question
  • engaging in a personal exploration of the topic
  • communicating ideas
  • developing an argument.

Participation in this process develops the capacity to analyse, synthesize and evaluate knowledge. (IBO, 2015)

For more information on the benefits of the Extended Essay for students, follow this link.


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