3 Common Mistakes To Avoid While Writing Your IB EE

Learn About The 3 Common Mistakes Which Should Be Avoided While Writing Your IB EE

13 OCT 2021
ib ee

Extended Essay (EE) is an integral part of your IB diploma. It is equally essential for you to do an excellent job while writing it or else all your efforts will go in vain. This task can be overwhelming, given the number of criteria for writing an outstanding Extended Essay. In this article, we have broken down the three common mistakes that IB students make while writing their IB EE.

Avoiding these mistakes will not only help you get a better grade but also make the process of writing efficient and smooth.


  1. Not Understanding the Elements of Your IB EE

  2. Using The Wrong Schedule For Writing Your IB EE

  3. Not Understanding The Responsibilities For Your IB EE


Extended Essay has a lot of ambiguous criteria.

These ambiguous terms include the likes of:


  1. Research Question

  2. Abstract

  3. Introduction

  4. Investigation

  5. Knowledge

  6. Understanding of the Topic Studied

  7. Reasoned Argument

  8. Application of Analytical and Evaluative Skills Appropriate to the Subject

  9. Use of Language appropriate to the subject

  10. Conclusion

  11. Formal Presentation

  12. Holistic Judgement


A clear understanding of these terms mentioned above will ensure that you score well on your Extended Essay. 

Before we break down these terms, it is essential to note that an Extended Essay is not a report. Instead, it is an academic essay.  Although the distinction might be obvious, a student needs to be mindful of it while writing their EE. An easy way to do so is by understanding that the narrative of your Extended Essay is built around your point of view. Your point of view is the hypothesis which is used as the foundation to develop your Essay. The entire point of your EE is to either prove or disprove your hypothesis.

Research Question

A research question embodies your hypothesis and helps your report in taking shape. While writing your research question, you need to make sure that it is focused on a specific topic, yet it is not too narrow. It would help if you hit the right spot where the research question is not too broad, yet it has enough scope for a thorough investigation.


A good practice for writing your research question is the Taper Down Methodology. Your research question should be constructed in such a way that it tapers down and highlights the area of focus for your Essay. Look at this sample question ‘To What Extent does Kanban helps Company X improve its efficiency in the Production Demand’. This made-up question first talks about Kanban, which is a comprehensive lean methodology and then ties it to a very niche and limited topic of production in Company X. This research question can be ideal for an Extended Essay in Business Management. Let’s walk through this example. Like the research question suggests, the report will start with talking about what Kanban is. Then it will elicit the relevance of Kanban in Company X. From there, the student will further narrow down the report to the production of Company X. Here the student will bring up the report’s hypothesis, that is, a statement conveying whether or not the student believes if Kanban Methodology can help the Company’s production. The entire report, after that, will be dedicated to interpreting data to support the hypothesis. Think of your IB EE as a treasure hunt. Proofing or disproving your hypothesis is like finding the hidden treasure. Your Research Question is your map which gives you a crisp outline to help you navigate. And the body of your IB EE is the story of your quest


Another way to look at the taper down effect is via the means of a funnel. It would help if you examined a broad terminology through the lens of a narrow scope. The elements related to the scope will help you in your investigation. Bring back our sample question, the broad methodology is ‘Kanban’, the scope is Company X, and the elements which allow the methodology's investigation through your scope is production.



Once you understand this, writing a research question will be a cakewalk. However, it is recommended that you write at least 5 versions of your research question so that you hit the nail at the right spot. If you wish you learn more about writing a good research question and integrating IB terms in it then may we recommend you check out our latest guide: 'The Art Of Buillshiting: Learn How To Write Academic Reports Like A Pro'.  Make sure you follow us on Instagram @nailib_com so that we can keep you posted about other IB resources


Now back to the mistakes which you must avoid while writing your IB EE! The second criterion which IB students mess up is the Abstract. Let me be loud and clear, THE ABSTRACT IS NOT THE INTRODUCTION TO YOUR IB EE.' While it is true that chronologically, an abstract supersedes the introduction, it must be written after you have finalised your report. Why you ask, well, think of your Abstract as a trailer for your IB EE. One cannot make a trailer without shooting the entire movie. If one tries to do so, they may be unable to give a proper gist of their film. An abstract is supposed to be a glimpse of the approach you took to write your IB EE. It is a 300 word summary for the entire content of your essay. Just like a good movie trailer, your Abstract should be clear and concise and must keep your reader wanting for more. 


Note: As of 2018, the Abstract is not required in writing the Extended Essay. However, if you do include an abstract in your essay then it will be counted in the word limit.


Other criteria are equally important as the Research Question and Abstract. We have decoded them in-depth and given you tricks to handle them elegantly in our extensive guide: The Art Of Bullshitting. Be sure to check it out before starting your IB EE.

Using The Wrong Schedule For Writing Your IB EE

Most students wait for some sort of inspiration before they begin writing. The reality is that there is no such thing as having the right inspiration for writing your IB EE. Those who wait for it are delusional, and you must share this blog to save them! So how should one proceed to write their IB EE? A prevalent way is to write the first draft and share it with your mentor. Then you edit it to make it better. Get it reviewed by your mentor again. Then you submit it hoping that your examiner will be in a good mood while reading your IB EE. While there is nothing wrong with this method, it can be further broken down into smaller milestones. By doing so, not only will you have more explicit targets to achieve, but you will also build a momentum which will keep you motivated throughout.

Here is how you can break down the process of writing your IB EE:


  • Make a rough outline for your IB EE

  • Write a quarter of your IB EE

  • Meet with your mentor to discuss the way ahead

  • Finish the first draft of your IB EE 

  • Allow your mentor to review your IB EE

  • Add the required changes to your IB EE

  • Design and Format your IB EE 

  • Finish the final draft of your IB EE

  • Submit and do 45 Hail Marys


You can break the process as per your convenience and understanding. The outline mentioned above is one of the ideal ways to do it. The more you breakdown the process, the easier it will be for you to track it. You will also be mindful of not slacking off while writing your Extended Essay. This method has been used by almost all of our subscribers who were able to get that perfect score of 36/36. On that note, did you happen to check out our The Sample Extended Essay which got a 36/36? You must! 

Not Understanding the Responsibilities For Your IB EE

This is by far the most critical point for writing your IB EE. There are certain expectations that IBO has from its students while they write their Extended Essay. Since IBO is all about empowering students and making them a global scholar, the last thing it encourages it spoon-feeding. The same is true for your IB EE. While writing your EE, you must expect the least amount of help from your mentor. Your mentor is there to guide you, but it is your responsibilities to extract as much help as you can from them. It is your responsibility to meet your mentor at least once a month and show them the progress that you have made. The mentor can only help if you have something to get reviewed. Thus it is ideal that you stick to your breakdown of writing your IB EE and schedule meetings as and when you meet your milestones.


Furthermore, you must acknowledge all the sources of information and ideas in an approved academic manner. IB takes plagiarism very seriously. You cannot expect a good grade even if you have done extensive research and interpreted your finding but have failed to do citation properly. Once again, we have compiled a comprehensive IB writing-related guide called The Art of Bullshitting. Our writers have put in their blood and sweat to help you with citations and other IB EE related challenges. The guide also breaks out all the criteria which ought to be met if you wish to score well on your IB. Make sure to get access to The Art Of Bullshitting now. Feel free to dm us on Instagram @nailib_com, in case you are unable to find 'The Art Of Bullshitting: Learn How To Write Academic Reports Like A Pro.


We want Nail IB to be your virtual companion and make IB worth it! We have a lot of helpful blogs which will help you navigate your way through IB. Apart from our blogs, we offer "Take A Test' module, which allows IB students to evaluate their level in the IB Program. Make sure to try a test and see your strengths and weaknesses. And finally, to make sure that you have all the resources that you might need to nail IB, we have curated exclusive student bundles for your convenience.



Quality IB Videos & Resources
996+ Videos, 1180+ PDF Files, 5858+ Sample questions. Access them all!
IB EE Guide


This FREE guide reveals the most powerful information for boosting your extended essay score and opening the floodgates to that sweet 45! Get for free what others have paid $100’s in tuition classes to learn/preach!