Is school due to start in a few weeks? Sorry to remind you if that is the case but how much work have you done on your extended essay (EE?) You did all that research at the end of last term. You dutifully collected all of that data. You spent hours and hours of your free time (and your teachers) carrying out the lab work. What are you going to do with it all?  Don’t let it all go to waste!

Believe me, your fourth term of IB is the busiest term of them all. You will probably have university applications to make. Most (but not all schools) also use this term to insist that TOK essays are submitted and also to hand in the EE’s.

And that’s not including your regular homework, your IA write ups, World Lit and so on and so on.

So the more you can do on your essay now, the easier things will become in that killer term.

Well, what exactly can you do? You may be in the situation where you still need to collect so more data – OK, well if this is the case there is still plenty to get on with.

The key to a successful Chemistry EE is a good, sharp, succinct research question. The way that the essay is marked puts a lot of emphasis on the research question. To me, the research question is king. Get this right and you have laid the foundations of a good EE.

Another valuable piece of information that needs to go in the EE is the abstract. When you analyse the IB mark criteria you should see that three distinct pieces of information are needed in the abstract: the research question (there it is again), the scope of the investigation and the investigations findings. I always tell my students to write a draft abstract early on in the write up process. It may not be the final abstract but it should help you to crystallize your ideas  – I feel that it begins to give the EE some shape.

Finally, get the tone of the EE correct. It needs to be your voice and not the third party. The examiner wants to get a feel for who you enjoyed writing the essay. Tell the examiner how exciting you found the research, how frustrating it was when apparatus didn’t work as if you thought it would or results did not go according to plan. Your passion for your EE needs to come through.

Did I mention references? Well, get these consistent and make sure they are as detailed that you can make them. And please don’t just rely on the internet-  read some books as well!

So here’s to good luck with your write up and hoping that you enjoy the experience!