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Extended Essay: Presentation - IB Requirements

A guide to the research process involved in your EE.

The extended essay should be written in...

...clear, correct and formal academic style, appropriate to the subject from which the topic is drawn. Given that the extended essay is a formally written research paper, it should strive to maintain a professional, academic look.


To help achieve this, the following formatting is suggested.

  • the use of 12-point, readable font
  • double spacing
  • page numbering
  • no candidate, supervisor, or school name on the title page, page headers, appendices or acknowledgment pages
  • the file size must not be more than 10 MB. (Note that the RPPF is uploaded separately and is not part of the overall file size of the essay.)


Submitting the extended essay in the required format will help set the tone of the essay and will aid readability for on-screen assessment by examiner

Specifics of Presentation

The upper limit is 4,000 words for all extended essays.

Please note: Examiners are instructed not to read or assess any material in excess of the word limit. This means that essays containing more than 4,000 words will be compromised across all assessment criteria. Given the holistic nature of the assessment criteria, students who write in excess of the word limit will self-penalize across all criteria. For example, in criterion B, any knowledge and understanding demonstrated beyond the 4,000-word limit will be treated as if it were not present; in criterion C, analysis, discussion or evaluation made beyond the 4,000-word limit will be treated as if the point had not been made.

Supervisors and students should be aware that the e-upload of extended essays will facilitate the automatic recognition of a cut-off point for assessment. Students should ensure that they remain within the word limit and should edit accordingly.

Please refer to the following guidance on what content should be included in the word count.

checkmark Included in the word count cross Not included in the word count
The introduction The contents page
The main body Maps, charts, diagrams, annotated illustrations
The conclusion Tables
Quotations Equations, formulas and calculations
Footnotes and/or endnotes that are not references Citations/references (whether parenthetical, numbered, footnotes or endnotes)
  Works Cited (or bibliography)
  The Reflections on planning and progress form

A note for students writing in Chinese and Japanese:

Students writing their extended essay in Japanese or Chinese should use the following conversions.

  • Japanese: 1 word = approximately 2 Japanese characters (upper limit 8,000 characters)
  • Chinese: 1 word = approximately 1.2 Chinese characters (upper limit 4,800 characters)

When typing in Chinese, word processing software is likely to include the number of characters and punctuation in the word count. Students are asked to not include punctuation in the word count for assessed work. The word count should only take into account the number of characters typed.

A note about acknowledgments and dedications:

An acknowledgment/dedications page may be included in the EE if this is important to the student, but it must contain no “identifiers”, for example, people should not be detailed in any way that makes the student’s school identifiable. An acknowledgment/dedications page is not a formal requirement of the EE, so it does not contribute to either the word count or assessment

Presentation and overall neatness are important, and it is essential that illustrative material, if included, is well set out and used effectively. Graphs, diagrams, tables and maps are effective only if they are clearly labelled and can be interpreted with ease.

Any labelling should contain the minimum information to ensure the examiner understands the significance of the map, chart, diagram or illustration. It must not include commentary, as this will be considered as part of the essay discussion and thus included in the word count.

All such material that is incorporated into the extended essay must be directly related to the text and acknowledged where appropriate. The use of photographs and other images is acceptable only if they are captioned and/or annotated and are used to illustrate a specific point made in the extended essay. Students should be advised to use illustrations with caution as excessive use may detract from the discussion in the essay. They should only be used if they are relevant and appropriate to a point being made as part of the argument of the essay.

The use of tables should be considered carefully and are only really appropriate in certain subjects. Tables must not be used in an attempt to circumvent the word limit.

Students may wish to use the header function for their research question, so that it appears on each page. This may help retain focus.

Footnotes and endnotes may be used for referencing purposes and if this is the case will not be included in the word count of the essay. If information is contained in a footnote or endnote and is not a reference, this must be included in the word count. In order to avoid confusion and unwittingly exceed the word limit, students are advised to avoid using footnotes or endnotes other than for referencing purposes unless it is appropriate.

One appropriate use of footnotes is for the placement of the original quotation (where the original quotation is in a language other than the language of registration).

As footnotes and endnotes are not an essential part of the extended essay students must take care to ensure that all information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and evaluation of their essay is contained in the main body of it.

An essay that attempts to evade the word limit by including important material in footnotes or endnotes will be compromised across the assessment criteria. Please note that footnotes and endnotes are added to the word count as they are encountered.

Appendices are not an essential part of the extended essay and examiners will not read them, or use any information contained within them, in the assessment of the essay. Students must take care to ensure that all information with direct relevance to the analysis, discussion and evaluation of their essay is contained in the main body of it. Appendices should therefore be avoided except in the following instances:

  • an exemplar of a questionnaire or interview questions
  • an exemplar of permission letters
  • group 1, category 1 essays: copies of poems or short stories (of less than three pages)
  • group 1, category 3 essays: excerpts from newspapers, advertisements and transcripts of speeches
  • language acquisition, category 1 and 2: excerpts from newspapers, advertisements, transcripts of speeches, etc
  • language acquisition, category 3: excerpts or copies of poems or short stories (less than 3 pages)
  • an external mentor letter, where one has been used
  • raw data or statistical tables for experimental sciences (this should not include any analysis or conclusions).

Students should not continually refer to material presented in an appendix as this may disrupt the continuity of the essay and examiners are not required to refer to them.

Irrespective of the subject, the extended essay should be a complete piece of independent research, modeled on an academic journal/research paper, which can exist and be understood on its own, without the need to access external links, such as hyperlinks, or accompanying material such as DVDs.

Examiners will not access any material contained in an external source when assessing an essay. Material that is pertinent to the argument being made must be contained in the essay itself to be considered by examiners in their assessment of it.

As with appendices, if information central to the argument is included in the external link, it is treated as though the point has not been made and as such could affect different criteria, for example, criterion C (critical thinking), depending on the quality of the other analyses.

Specimen materials used in, or produced by, investigations do not form part of the extended essay and must not be submitted. Photographic evidence may be submitted in place of such material.