IB Extended Essay Is An Extended Headache


Lenox Johnson

The Extended Essay has us dead.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is already hard enough. Along with all the IAs, extra assignments and the moral integrity we are forced to keep as students due to our agreement with the IB standards, we want to keep somewhat of a social life, do extracurriculars and get sleep. The IB officials know this, and they also know how rigorous the IB program is, so one would think they’d ease up on giving us tons of alternative academic requirements. That maybe they’d cut us a break. Some slack. Whatever.

But no.

The Extended Essay is a way for IB students to prepare for the rigor and difficulty of college research papers that we have in every class. This is understandable, and technically speaking, it’s a very good idea. Especially because the author of said paper can choose, within set parameters, whatever they want to write about. Environmental science, European history, physics — anything. So, in theory? Very cool. But in execution? The extended essay is the worst thing to happen ever.

The Extended Essay has many internal assignments that are all turned in through the Managebac system. This is highly frustrating and requires a great deal of struggling through multiple tabs and windows before finally getting to the right one, all while braving the dinosaur-like speed of the Managebac system. “It’s so frustrating,” said junior Jake Churchill. “There are much better ways to turn in assignments. Teachers are using Google Classroom and Drive.”

The Extended Essay assignments are also conveniently always due around other major deadlines. Source analysis were due around midterms and finals, respectively, and over breaks. Not to say we couldn’t have been working on them well before the deadlines, of course, but perfecting and editing takes a long time, and when one also has immediate and more short-term deadlines on their plate, priorities come into play. “It’s so easy to forget about Extended Essay, even though it’s technically this massive, year-long project,” junior Sam Wilson said. “In light of everything else we do on a daily basis, it’s hard to remember all these small assignments, and then suddenly you have this massive thing right on your shoulders.”

    Extended Essay is a hefty obstacle to get over, but then again, growing up requires endless obstacles as well, and without strict guidelines that IB gives us. And we understand that this research paper is fundamental for our preparation for college, blah, blah… but college requires us to think creatively, and to focus our energy on topics we are fascinated with. Although the extended essay allows us to do exactly that (…to a fault), combining it with eight thousand other projects and papers and reports makes the EE into just another stress-inducing, long, insignificant assignment.