International Baccalaureate Assistance

How to Write an IB Extended Essay from Scratch

The essay writing process - love it or hate it, it's an essential part of your IB education. Learning to write well can open a number of different doors for you in your future, whether you dream of working in a newsroom, as a traveling writer, someone in the communications field, and many, many other fields. Even if you're going into a field which is might seem devoid of literary or journalistic elements, such as the hard sciences, you're going to still need to be able to write your reports and journal your findings if you want to get anywhere.

That's why he IB program offers the extended essay. Writing any essay from scratch may seem difficult, and an IB essay even more so. However, it can be done - and here are a few tips to help you along the way.

The Brainstorming Process

Any good essay begins with a brainstorming process. Here, you're not so much worrying about getting all your ideas in order and crafting a perfect thesis as you are just getting everything out of your head and down on paper. Don't worry if it seems incoherent or messy or disorganized - that's all a problem for latter. You're just throwing mud against a wall and seeing what sticks. (As another free tip - avoid cliches like the one just used above... "throwing mud against a wall," "The dictionary defines X as," and, the bane of every grader's existence, "So, in conclusion." They're cliches, and have no place in any paper period, and certainly not an IB essay.)

The Framework of a Successful Essay

Next, you're going to want to lay out the framework for your essay. If you're the type of person that likes to outline, this is the time to do it; if you prefer making flow charts, using bullets, diagrams, or anything of the sort, that's fine too. The essential point is to get your thesis down - you won't be able to get anything done in terms of actually writing your paper without it. Take the time to go over those ideas that you jotted down during your brainstorming session, and see what ideas might make good fodder for the meat of your essay. In addition, you might want to see if any one or two of those ideas are strong enough to form the core - that is, the thesis - of your essay. Finally, take some time out, and relax for a while before actually sitting down to begin writing your paper. You do not want to start writing immediately after you finish up your brainstorming and framing processes.

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