The extended essay is a compulsory, externally assessed piece of independent research into a topic chosen by the student and presented as a formal piece of academic writing. The extended essay is intended to promote high-level research and writing skills, intellectual discovery and creativity while engaging students in personal research. This leads to a major piece of formally presented, structured writing of up to 4,000 words in which ideas and findings are communicated in a reasoned, coherent and appropriate manner.
Students are guided through the process of research and writing by an assigned supervisor (a teacher in the school). All students undertake three mandatory reflection sessions with their supervisor, including a short interview, or viva voce, following the completion of the extended essay.