Are you an IB student preparing to embark on the Extended Essay (EE) journey? We understand that organizing your thoughts can feel overwhelming, but fear not! In this blog post, we will guide you on how to transform all your hard work into a concrete plan, ensuring your ideas are clear and concise.
Know your destination
Before diving into the writing process, it’s crucial to have a clear destination in mind. While your research question serves as a starting point, your conclusion should take your argument a step further. Consider how your evidence has shaped your personal perspective on the topic and define your concluding statement.
Exercise: Summarize your conclusion in one sentence. This will help you stay focused and guide your essay-writing journey.
Define your ideas
To keep your essay well-structured, it’s important to identify and organize the core ideas you want to include. Take a step back and free your mind from all the details, facts, quotes, and data. What is the underlying argument you are trying to make? How does each idea contribute to your overall thesis? Jot down all your points in a mind map, list, or word document, ensuring no concept is left behind.
Exercise: Write down all the ideas you want to include, so you have a clear overview of your essay’s major points. This will serve as a reference for organizing your thoughts and flow naturally.
Filter your evidence
With an abundance of research at hand, it’s essential to filter and select only the most relevant and compelling evidence. Use your research question as a guide, allowing it to dictate which pieces of evidence make the cut. Every quote, fact, or data point you include should actively answer your question. Remember, quality over quantity.
Exercise: Highlight the clearest and most informative research you’ve gathered. Take each piece and write a concise one-sentence summary describing how it relates to your question. This will strengthen your arguments and ensure coherence in your essay.
Constructing your EE outline
When it comes to structuring your essay, there are various techniques to choose from. We recommend the Bullet-Point Outline, the Post-it Note Outline, or the Spreadsheet Outline. Each method offers a unique approach to organizing your paragraphs effectively.
The Bullet-Point Outline: Start small and expand outward. Summarize each paragraph into one defining sentence, followed by two bullet points: evidence and its relevance to the idea. Add additional relevant ideas to expand your arguments further.
The Post-it Note Outline: For visual learners, break down paragraphs into defined pieces using physical post-it notes, cards, or digital note-taking apps. This flexible method allows you to rearrange your ideas until you find the best order for your essay.
The Spreadsheet Outline: Ideal for those who thrive on structure, use a spreadsheet to break each paragraph into clear sections. Compare paragraphs in terms of length and content, and even color-code your sheet for a comprehensive overview.
The key is to have a holistic view of your essay. Choose the method that resonates with you and allows your ideas to flourish.
The Bones of a Good Essay
Now that you have a solid outline in place, it’s time to write your essay. Just as strong bones make a strong body, a well-structured essay begins with a sturdy foundation. Start with a clear thesis, supported by strong, clear facts, details, and examples. Ensure your thoughts flow logically, and consider your audience throughout the writing process.
Exercise: Strengthen your essay by adding specific details to bring your writing to life. Write expressively rather than impressively, using vivid words that allow readers to paint mental pictures. Finally, check that your essay achieves its purpose by connecting with your audience.
Cool Your Cranium and Check it from Head to Toe
After the initial writing phase, take a break to let your essay sit for a while. This short intermission allows you to return with fresh eyes, ready to revise and improve your work. Remember that 90% of writing is revising and editing. Use the ARMS technique (Adding, Removing, Moving, and Substituting) to revise your essay, ensuring each sentence contributes to your overall argument. Then, edit for proper capitalization, usage, punctuation, and spelling (CUPS).
By following these steps and constructing a robust outline, you’ll be well on your way to writing an exceptional IB Extended Essay. However, if you find yourself in need of expert guidance, don’t hesitate to reach out to our vetted IB teachers and examiners. Send us a message via WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, or fill out this form. We’re here to support you on your journey to success.