International Baccalaureate Assistance

IB Extended Essay Topics: How To Make Your Paper Stand Out

Extended essays are necessary to obtain most International Baccalaureate (IB) degrees, and they are a kind of paper many students have not experienced before. Learn how to make a winning extended essay through a proper topic choice.

  • Keep your paper requirements in mind.
  • Your extended essay should be in a subject that was part of your IB studies. Choose a topic you would feel comfortable exploring. Keep it broad enough. For example, a comparative study of a particular theme in two novels would be better than to focus on a single novel.

  • Do background reading.
  • Before you start brainstorming for topic ideas, read books and articles about your broad area of interest. Such readings may suggest some topics you can use. Choose a single idea. It does not need to be perfect - you need it as a starting point for the next step.

  • Use the Idea Wheel technique.
  • Write your topic in the center of a sheet of paper. Surround it with associations or related sub-topics that it brings to your mind. Draw lines between the topic and subtopics. Then, make similar "wheels" around each sub-topic. This exercise can help you choose a specific focus of your paper that will be both manageable and original.

IB Extended Essay Topic Examples: English

  • The role and significance of dance in Jane Austen's Emma and Pride and Prejudice.
  • The presentation of racial conflicts in James Baldwin's Go Tell It on the Mountain and Richard Wright's The Outsider.


  • The effects of sulfur dioxide and ozone levels in the atmosphere on the growth of lichens.
  • The effectiveness of commercially available antibacterial agents for controlling the growth of E. coli.


  • The effects of the concentration of a common salt solution on the ratio of gases released during its electrolysis.
  • The impact of the time of tea-brewing on the amount of caffeine in the drink.


  • Using the astronomical observation of stars to determine the existence and mass of a black hole in the Milky Way.
  • The energy efficiency of electromagnetic lamps.


  • The market form of the petrol supply industry in your local area.
  • The effects of the fall in the USD exchange rate on the tourism industry in Florida.


  • Changing views on the Cuban Crisis through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
  • The comparative study of the political and medical theories that explain the Salem Witch trials.

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