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International Baccalaureate (IB)


IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.

If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .

IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?

I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:


If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.

What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.

For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one—although there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.

Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.

The IB Extended Essay must include the following:

  • A title page
  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • References and bibliography

Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.

As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.

According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.

The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.

Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :

  • A check on plagiarism and malpractice
  • Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
  • Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process

Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.


We'll help you learn how to have those "lightbulb" moments...even on test day!  

What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?

You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.

It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.

Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:

  • Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
  • Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
  • English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
  • Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
  • Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
  • Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?

You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?


How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips

Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!

#1: Write About Something You Enjoy

You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)

I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.

But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?

Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce—not the field you choose to research within—will determine your grade.

Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.

One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).

#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow

There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.

You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won’t be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps—and the rations provided—were directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.

If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.

I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!

When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.

Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.

If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor—it's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...


Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!

#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic

If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).

For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.

I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.

Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).

The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.

There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.

Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.

Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.

#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best

Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.

Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.

Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better—and you actually take their advice—they'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.

Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.

#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow

The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.

The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.

If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.

#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!

You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.

Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.

Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.

Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):

  • January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
  • February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
  • April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
  • Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know—no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me—this will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
  • August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
  • September/October of Senior Year: Submit the second draft of your EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
  • November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.

Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)

I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!


The early bird DOES get the worm!

How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?

Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .

  • Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
  • Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
  • Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)

How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.

Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on pages 102-103 of this document .

Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate —you should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.

Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin):

How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?

The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.

To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .

This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.


Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .

Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.

Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)

40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme

In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.

  • Business Management 1
  • Chemistry 1
  • Chemistry 2
  • Chemistry 3
  • Chemistry 4
  • Chemistry 5
  • Chemistry 6
  • Chemistry 7
  • Computer Science 1
  • Economics 1
  • Design Technology 1
  • Design Technology 2
  • Environmental Systems and Societies 1
  • Geography 1
  • Geography 2
  • Geography 3
  • Geography 4
  • Geography 5
  • Geography 6
  • Literature and Performance 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mathematics 3
  • Mathematics 4
  • Mathematics 5
  • Philosophy 1
  • Philosophy 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • Philosophy 4
  • Philosophy 5
  • Psychology 1
  • Psychology 2
  • Psychology 3
  • Psychology 4
  • Psychology 5
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 1
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 2
  • Visual Arts 1
  • Visual Arts 2
  • Visual Arts 3
  • Visual Arts 4
  • Visual Arts 5
  • World Religion 1
  • World Religion 2
  • World Religion 3


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September 14, 2021

A Definitive Guide to the IB Extended Essay (EE)

The Extended Essay (EE) is an independent, self-directed academic research, presented in the form of a 4,000-word paper. One component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students. The final work is given a grade from E to A, and makes up part of each student’s final IB score. These are our thoughts on how to do well in the EE:

Step 1: Choosing a Extended Essay (EE) topic

Choosing a good topic for your extended essay can make a huge difference on your final score. Firstly, you should always choose a topic that you are interested in! The writing process becomes much more engaging, and will also be good content you can write in your personal statement for your university applications.

Always be creative and original when choosing your research topic. Think about how you can make your research question and the way you communicate your academic research unique. In addition, if you wish to explore a multidisciplinary field , you could consider writing a World Studies extended essay . This research is analysed through at least two disciplines, encouraging students to apply their knowledge to a problem with global significance. For example, you may want to consider the effects of an electric vehicle subsidy on climate change. This is an exciting opportunity and provides a good insight to an interdisciplinary university degree such as PPE.

Step 2: Framing your research question

Once you know your extended essay subject, your next step is to choose a question. Often, questions will be framed as “To what extent does…”. Exploring multiple perspectives, and critically analysing each of these, are key to success. Therefore, try and shape your question so that more than one point of view can be explored.

Similarly, make sure your question is specific ! Having a focused question will guide your research and show that you can explore one area in detail. For example, here are 2 examples of Economics extended essay questions:

  • To what extent do smartphone companies compete with each other?
  • To what extent do Apple and Samsung operate in a duopoly in the global smartphone market?

The second research question is more focused, allowing for greater in-depth research into which areas they are competing over. You can use secondary data from both companies’ annual reports, competitor websites, and undertake primary research (such as through an Economic survey or personal interview) – Having a research question that allows you to explore a specific area critically will definitely help you to score highly.

how long should the extended essay intro be

Step 3: Meeting your supervisor to establish specific targets

We recommend meeting with your supervisor as early as possible to check whether your research question is appropriate. If it is, this is a great opportunity to explore potential avenues of research. For example, a Physics extended essay on the path of a bowling bowl may look to incorporate several different features, such as force, weight, and air resistance into a model. Whichever subject area you choose, your supervisor is usually your first port of call for any questions you have.

During the meeting, it will be good to establish a timeline for your extended essay. Although this may only be rough, this will give you deadlines to work towards (much like you will need to do for university essays). Similarly, setting specific targets for your next meeting, such as writing an introduction or doing your survey, will also give you definitive targets to meet. Make sure at the end of this meeting you have clear goals to achieve and by your next meeting.

Furthermore, make sure that you are keeping a record of all of your meetings with your extended essay supervisor. 6 of the 36 marks for the EE are from your Reflections on Planning and Progress Form (RPPF) where you reflect on the meetings you have had with your supervisor. These should show that you are engaged with your topic, so discuss the ideas you have considered in response to setbacks whilst writing your extended essay and make sure to use personal pronouns (I, my) to convey your engagement. Detail any changes you made to your research method and demonstrate how you have taken a creative approach to your topic, as these will highlight what you have done to stand out.

Step 4: Starting your EE research

Following the meeting with your supervisor, it is time to begin researching your topic! This does not have to be too detailed to begin with, and we recommend aiming to research enough to write an introduction to your essay. This introduction should outline the main themes you will explore and your line of argument. To reiterate, your main argument may change as your essay develops, so do not worry if it is not perfect when you begin.

Some useful sources of information are your school library or Jstor. Your school librarian may be able to suggest some good books or articles to start reading, whilst using academic sources like Jstor or Google scholar gives you access to a wide range of academic material. When reading books or journal articles, you do not have to read them cover to cover! In fact, you should only read the sections that are relevant to your topic, and reading the introduction and conclusion will often tell you whether a journal article is relevant.

When reading, consistently keep in mind your essay title as this will help you to focus your reading on key sections of texts. For instance, highlight the key sections of the texts to review later. Alternatively, you could make notes in a separate word document; such as Googledocs; or with pen and paper. It is useful to keep everything you do in the same format, however, so you can easily collate it.

Step 5: Writing the essay’s first draft

The most difficult part with the EE is getting the first draft down. Many students struggle o to write the perfect introduction and methodology, and get stuck for weeks in the process. Your introduction and first draft do not have to be perfect but should form the base of your essay moving forward. It is often good to form a plan from your research that contains the key elements of each paragraph. Once you are confident with this and have filled it in with more research, you can turn this into a fully operational first draft.

We recommend breaking down the writing stage into several paragraphs, setting yourself mini-goals to achieve. This will help you to move along faster and make the seemingly daunting task of a 4,000-word essay a lot simpler. Similarly, you should use the research you have to support your ideas. Your research might consist of facts to back up your analysis or other writers’ opinions that agree with your own. Furthermore, you can also use this research to explore multiple points of view, coming to a conclusion as to which one is most appropriate. However, save yourself time whilst doing this by including links to the original article, rather than full references, as it is likely you may change the content of your essay and the references you use as you progress.

Make sure you save your extended essay frequently and to an accessible platform such Dropbox or Google Drive so that if your computer were to crash your progress will be stored!

Step 6: Reviewing your first draft

Your aim when meeting with your supervisor this time is to look over your first draft to see which parts are excellent, which can be explored further and which need to be rethought. This can be split into a number of meetings; for example, I looked at my introduction, then at the 4 sections of my main body, and finally at my conclusion. This reshaped the goals that I had moving forward and gave me specific subsections to work on.

Whilst editing your first draft, do not be afraid to delete, reword or move some parts that you have written, as this will help you shape your extended essay into the finished article. You can, if needed, even slightly alter your question. I changed my question at the start of April, with a June deadline for my essay. However, changing my essay question did not leave me with a whole new essay to write, as I was able to use most of what I had already written, adapting it to focus on the new question. Whatever changes you have to make, they are all moving you towards a complete final version, so stay positive!

Step 7: Refining your Extended Essay

After your meeting, review the changes you have to make to your methodology and research process. You should consider whether you have critically investigated the variables in your RQ and whether it is backed up by a solid methodology. For instance, are there any counter arguments you have not considered? Does your research process flow? Always draw links to each paragraph, so that your essay has a logical flow from its introduction to its argument, counter arguments, responses, and conclusion.

When researching areas in more detail, make use of what you have learnt from your current research. For instance, look at the suggested reading or references in books that you have read or look at articles from the same journal. Furthermore, stay up to date with the news in case you can include new research in your extended essay.

When editing, it is useful to save a new copy of your extended essay (for example, EE draft 2) so that you can track any changes that you make. Also, if anything were to happen to your new copy, you always have the previous copy and notes from the meeting to re-do any changes. We recommend doing this on Googledocs whether changes are saved real-time on the servers so you don’t lose precious work if your computer crashes.

Step 8: Final Notes

Once you are done with your initial drafts, ensure that you have professional presentation, consistent formatting, and proper citations. Make sure that you have included page numbers and a bibliography (if required). Additionally, make the layout justified, font and size, as well as double spaced as per IB requirements. You have to include a cover page with a title, your research question, word count and subject. You also have to meet your supervisor the final time to fill out your viva voce (oral) section of the RPPF before the final submission.

Step 9: Final Submission

When submitting your extended essay, ensure that your name, candidate number and your school’s name are not on the document. This will ensure that your EE is marked fairly without prejudice. Your EE is electronically stamped and the IB can track who it belongs to, as is your RPPF.

We wish you the best of luck with your extended essay and hope you enjoy the process. If you would like help with your extended essay, please take a look at our courses or contact us for more information. We also offer IB tuition for various subjects and University applications mentoring and are more than happy to tailor our classes to your needs and requirements!

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Extended Essay: Writing an EE Introduction

  • General Timeline
  • Group 1: English Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts
  • Interdisciplinary essays
  • Six sub-categories for WSEE
  • IB Interdisciplinary EE Assessment Guide
  • Brainstorming
  • Pre-Writing
  • Research Techniques
  • The Research Question
  • Paraphrasing, Summarising and Quotations

Writing an EE Introduction

  • Writing the main body of your EE
  • Writing your EE Conclusion
  • Sources: Finding, Organising and Evaluating Them
  • Conducting Interviews and Surveys
  • Citing and Referencing
  • Check-in Sessions
  • First Formal Reflection
  • Second Formal Reflection
  • Final Reflection (Viva Voce)
  • Researcher's Reflection Space (RRS) Examples
  • Information for Supervisors
  • How is the EE Graded?
  • EE Online Resources
  • Stavanger Public Library
  • Exemplar Essays
  • Extended Essay Presentations
  • ISS High School Academic Honesty Policy

The most important thing you need to know about writing your introduction is that it should be written LAST.   Although that sounds counterintuitive, that it is the best way to do it. Simply put, there is just no way to know everything that should go into your introduction until you have completed your research. 

Once you have written the bulk of your paper including your reasoned argument and conclusion, you will then have all the info you need to complete your introduction. 

Here are the basic components of what needs to be included in your EE introduction:

  • Academic Context:  You need to show how your question fits into existing knowledge about your topic. 
  • Outline of your argument:  Go through your reasoned argument chronologically – in the order it appears in your paper. 
  • Scope:   How have you approached your RQ? What types of sources were used – did you use any unconventional methods?
  • Worthiness: why is your RQ worthy of investigation?

From the EE Guide:

The introduction should tell the reader what to expect in the essay. The introduction should make clear to the reader the focus of the essay, the scope of the research, in particular an indication of the sources to be used, and an insight into the line of argument to be taken.

While students should have a sense of the direction and key focus of their essay, it is sometimes advisable to finalize the introduction once the body of the essay is complete.

I strongly urge you to read Chapter 5 of the Oxford EE Guide as it gives much more detail about writing your introduction along with examples.

***Remember to state your Research Question clearly in the introduction and remember to do your introduction  LAST ! 

Academic Writing Tips

Formal vs. Informal Writing A chart giving the differences between informal and formal essays in seven areas (author's viewpoint; subject/content (sources of evidence); tone; structure; location of the research question; vocabulary; and purpose. Also included are examples comparing informal and formal writing for essays in English, biology, and psychology.

How to Avoid Colloquial (Informal) Writing   While it may be acceptable in friendly e-mails and chat rooms, excessive colloquialism is a major pitfall that lowers the quality of formal written text. Here are some steps/tips that you can follow to help improve your overall writing.

Elements of Academic Context

  •  Evidence that you’ve carefully considered the subject.
  • A clear, appropriately qualified thesis
  • A response to what others have said
  • Good reasons supported by evidence
  • Acknowledgement of multiple perspectives
  •  Carefully documented sources
  • A confidant, authoritative stance
  • An indication of why your topic matters
  • Careful attention to correctness

From Scotch College

Writing the introduction.

An introduction for an Extended Essay requires students to include the following aspects:

how long should the extended essay intro be

Aside from giving the essay a structural outline that any reader can follow, these aspects also help ensure that expectations for Criterion A (Focus and Method) are met.

Context : Explicitly stating your research question and providing some context that situated your question within existing knowledge is the key to a strong introduction. This does not mean providing detailed background information but rather indicating to an examiner what existing theories, critical approaches , methods or factors have already been suggested or exist to answer your research question.

Outline of the argument : Including the research question in your introduction is a quick way of ensuring you've made clear what you will be focusing on. In addition to this, it allows you to specify which aspects, factors or key features you will be investigating that will help you answer your overall question. Doing this in the order they appear in the main body is advised.

Scope : It is vital that you indicate in your introduction how you've gone about answering your research question. This means indicating to the examiner what source material has been used, or scientific methodologies followed or critical interpretations challenged and so on.

Stating that your essay utilised websites, books and journals is not as good as indicating exactly which authors, theories or methods have been used.

Worthiness : Finally, it is important, to indicate why your research question is worthy of investigation. Using the phrase "this research question is worthy of investigation because..." forces you to consider worthiness by default.

Exemplar of Introduction

Muawiya's accession to the caliphate is a hotly debated topic among historians with some, such as Kennedy, arguing that he owes his elevation to the weakness of opposition as reflected in the figure of Caliph Ali, while others, such as Shaban, arguing that his success owes itself in large measure to the tangible economic benefits that support Muawiya provided the Arab tribes...

... this essay seeks to challenge the orthodox interpretation offered by Kennedy and instead argue that Muawiya's success owes much to the changing socio-economic dynamic among Arab tribesmen within the newly formed Islamic Empire...

... the essay will also simultaneously explore what other factors, including the governorship of Syria, the conflict of Byzantium, the dwindling role of the Ansar, and the role the Kharijites played in helping Muawiya take over the Caliphate while relying on the works of principal historians such as Kennedy, Shaban, Armstrong and Hawting.

... this research question is worthy of investigation because Muawiya's rise to the caliphate marks a significant turning point in the development of the Islamic Empire during the seventh century and beyond. It established the tradition of dynastic and monarchic succession that would become commonplace in the ensuring centuries... the role played by Caliph Ali in supplanting the Rashidun model with a dynastic model is of critical significance to this early medieval period as it created the conditions for the schism between Sunni and Shi'a practices...

Introduction – Roughly 800 words

  • Must include the RQ in bold – preferably in the first paragraph
  • Context: What key aspects can you discuss to ensure you’ve provided some academic context underpinning your research question?
  • For locally based investigations ensure you clearly identify and locate the local context
  • Outline of argument: What features, aspects, factors, theories and so forth will your essay utilize in order to arrive at a conclusion?
  • Give an overview of methodology and scope – how do you plan to answer the question? What authors, scientists, case studies, theories and so on have been consulted to answer your research question?
  • What is the significance of your research? Why is this topic worthy of consideration?

EE Introduction Checklist

→does your introduction include some background information and place the topic in an appropriate context , →is your research question clearly focused, and highlighted in some way (bold, italics, etc), →does your introduction explain the significance and context of your topic (this topic is an important because…), →does your introduction explain why your topic is worthy of investigation , →does your introduction explain how the research question relates to existing knowledge (academic context) , →do you avoid writing lengthy, irrelevant background material, →do you outline a cohesive reasoned argument, →is it clear where your intro ends.

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how long should the extended essay intro be

IB Extended Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

how long should the extended essay intro be

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Extended Essay is a substantial research project that challenges high school students to explore a topic of personal interest within one of the IB's six subject areas. This extended essay, typically around 4,000 words in length, allows students to engage in independent research and develop critical thinking and writing skills. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of completing your IB Extended Essay successfully.

1. Choose Your Subject Area and Topic

- Subject Area: First, select one of the six IB subject areas that you're passionate about and in which you have a strong academic background. These areas include Language and Literature, Language Acquisition, Individuals and Societies, Sciences, Mathematics, and the Arts.

- Topic: Narrow down your subject area to a specific topic or research question that genuinely interests you. Your topic should be neither too broad nor too narrow, allowing for in-depth exploration within the word limit.

2. Develop a Research Question

- Research Question: Create a clear and focused research question that guides your investigation. Your research question should be specific, open-ended, and relevant to your chosen subject area.

3. Conduct Preliminary Research

- Literature Review: Start with preliminary research to gain an understanding of the existing scholarship and literature related to your topic. This will help you refine your research question and identify gaps in the current knowledge.

4. Create a Research Plan

- Timeline: Develop a timeline that outlines key milestones and deadlines for your extended essay. This plan should include research, data collection (if applicable), writing, and revision phases.

5. Collect and Analyze Data (if applicable)

- If your extended essay requires data collection (e.g., experiments, surveys, interviews), conduct this research following ethical guidelines. Ensure that your data collection is well-documented and relevant to your research question.

6. Outline Your Essay

- Structure: Create a clear and organized outline for your extended essay. Typically, your essay will include an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. The body should be divided into sections or chapters that address different aspects of your research.

- Thesis Statement: Develop a strong thesis statement that presents your main argument or hypothesis.

7. Write Your Extended Essay

- Introduction: Start with a compelling introduction that introduces your research question and provides context for your study.

- Body: Present your research findings and analysis in a logical and structured manner. Ensure that each paragraph contributes to your argument and supports your thesis.

- Citations: Properly cite all sources using a consistent citation style (e.g., MLA, APA). Be diligent in avoiding plagiarism.

- Conclusion: Summarize your main findings, restate your thesis, and discuss the significance of your research.

8. Revise and Edit

- Review: Take time to review and revise your extended essay. Check for clarity, coherence, grammar, spelling, and formatting errors.

- Peer Review: Consider having a peer or teacher review your essay for feedback and suggestions.

9. Create Citations and Bibliography

- Generate a comprehensive bibliography that includes all the sources you used in your research. Ensure that your citations are accurate and properly formatted.

10. Submit Your Extended Essay

- Follow your school's guidelines for submission, including deadlines and formatting requirements.

11. Reflect on the Process

- After completing your extended essay, take some time to reflect on your research journey. Consider what you learned, the challenges you faced, and the skills you developed.

12. Celebrate Your Achievement

- Completing an IB Extended Essay is a significant accomplishment. Celebrate your hard work and the knowledge you've gained throughout the process.

The IB Extended Essay is an opportunity for high school students to engage in independent research and develop essential academic skills. By following this step-by-step guide and staying committed to your research and writing, you can successfully complete your extended essay and present a well-researched and well-structured project that demonstrates your academic abilities and passion for your chosen subject area.

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The IB extended essay is a paper of up to 4,000 words that is required for students enrolled in the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program. The extended essay allows students to engage in independent research on a topic within one of the available subject areas.

The extended essay should be an original piece of academic writing that demonstrates the following student's abilities:

Check out this article by StudyCrumb to discover how to write an IB extendend essay properly. We will give you a complete writing guide and critical tips you need for this essay type.

An extended essay is independent research. Usually students choose a topic in consultation with a mentor. It is an integral part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) degree program. This means that you won't receive a degree without a successfully written paper. It requires 4,000-word study on a chosen narrow topic. To get a high score, you should meet all required structure and formatting standards. This is the result of approximately 40 working hours. Its purpose is giving you the opportunity to try independent research writing. It's approved that these skills are critical for student success at university. The following sections explain how to write an extended article with examples. So keep reading!  

IB extended essay guidelines require supervisor meetings, totaling 3-5 hours. They include three critical reflections. A mentor won't write a paper instead of you but can help adjust it. So it is important to consult with them, but no one will proofread or correct actual research for you. In general, initially treat an essay as an exclusively individual work. So your role and contribution are maximal.

Let's take a look at how to write an extended essay outline. In this part, you organize yourself so that your work develops your idea. So we especially recommend you work out this step with your teacher. You can also find any outline example for essay . In your short sketch, plan a roadmap for your thoughts. Think through and prepare a summary of each paragraph. Then, expand annotation of each section with a couple more supporting evidence. Explain how specific examples illustrate key points. Make it more significant by using different opinions on general issues.  

After you chose an extended essay topic and made an outline, it's time to start your research. Start with a complete Table of Contents and make a choice of a research question. Select the subject in which you feel most confident and which is most interesting for you. For example, if at school you are interested in natural science, focus on that. If you have difficulties choosing a research question, rely on our essay topic generator .

In the introduction of an extended essay, present a thesis statement. But do it in such a way that your readers understand the importance of your research. State research question clearly. That is the central question that you are trying to answer while writing. Even your score depends on how you develop your particular research question. Therefore, it is essential to draw it up correctly. Gather all relevant information from relevant sources. Explain why this is worth exploring. Then provide a research plan, which you will disclose further.  

In accordance with extended essay guidelines, it's mandatory to choose and clearly state a methodological approach. So, it will be apparent to your examiner how you answered your research question. Include your collection methods and tools you use for collection and analysis. Your strategies can be experimental or descriptive, quantitative or qualitative. Research collection tools include observations, questionnaires, interviews, or background knowledge.

Well, here we come to the most voluminous part of the extended essay for IB! In every essay body paragraph , you reveal your research question and discuss your topic. Provide all details of your academic study. But stay focused and do it without dubious ideas. Use different sources of information to provide supporting arguments and substantial evidence. This will impress professors. For this section, 3 main paragraphs are enough. Discuss each idea or argument in a separate paragraph. You can even use supporting quotes where appropriate. But don't overcomplicate. Make your extended essay easy to read and logical. It's critical to stay concise, so if you aren't sure how to make your text readable, use our tool to get a readbility test . Following the plan you outlined earlier is very important. Analyze each fact before including it in your writing. And don't write unnecessary information.

Now let's move on to the final part of IB extended essay guidelines. In conclusion, focus on summarizing the main points you have made. No new ideas or information can be introduced in this part. Use conclusion as your last chance to impress your readers. Reframe your own strong thesis. Here you must show all key points. Do not repeat absolutely every argument. Better try to make this part unique. This will show that you have a clear understanding of the topic you have chosen. And even more professional will be recommendations of new areas for future research. One good paragraph may be enough here. Although in some cases, two or three paragraphs may be required.

To write an impressive extended essay, you should focus on appropriate information. You must create a separate page for bibliography with all sources you used. Tip from us: start writing this page with the first quote you use. Don't write this part last or postpone. In turn, appendices are not an essential section. Examiners will not pay much attention to this part. Therefore, include all information directly related to analysis and argumentation in the main body. Include raw data in the appendix only if it is really urgently needed. Moreover, it is better not to refer to appendices in text itself. This can disrupt the narrative of the essay.  

We have prepared a good example of an extended essay. You can check it by downloading it for free. You can use it as a template. However, pay attention that your paper is required to be unique. Don't be afraid to present all the skills you gained during your IB.

In this article, we presented detailed IB extended essay guidelines. An extended essay is a daunting academic challenge to write. It is a research paper with a deep thematic analysis of information. But we have described several practical and straightforward tips. Therefore, we are sure that you will succeed!

  • Formulating a research question
  • Conductig independent investigation
  • Presenting key findings in a scholarly format.

IB Extended Essay: What Is It?

Choosing a mentor for extended essay, extended essay outline, extended essay: getting started, extended essay introduction, extended essay methodology, extended essay main body, extended essay conclusion, extended essay bibliography & appendices, extended essay examples, final thoughts on ib extended essay.

The Extended Essay Step-by-Step Guide

how long should the extended essay intro be

From setting the research question to submitting the Extended Essay, here is an easy-to-follow guide for IB EE students to follow, along with personal anecdotes with tips to apply critical thinking techniques and find success.

Before I started the IB, the thing I was most worried about was the extended essay. I’m pretty sure the reason why I was so worried is because I had no clue what writing it would actually entail.  In this week’s blog, I’ll be going over the basics of the extended essay so you don’t have to worried like I was!

What is an Extended Essay?

The extended essay (often called the EE) is a 4000-word structured essay on a topic of your choice which can take many different forms. Ultimately what your EE ends up looking like depends on the topic you choose.

Some students choose to write their extended essay about literature or history, which means they write a more traditional academic essay.

However, you can choose to conduct an experiment and write up the results if you want to focus on the sciences. Or you can try and solve an arithmetic problem if you are into maths. As long as it takes an academic format, it should be okay!

 What is Included in an Extended Essay?

There are several things that you have to include in your extended essay. As a side note, the requirements for the EE were changed quite drastically in 2016, so it’s important that when you look things up about the EE you are looking at the updated guidelines! You can find out more about this  here .

Based on these new guidelines your EE needs to contain:

  • A research question
  • A cover-page
  • A table of content
  • An introduction
  • A main body
  • A conclusion
  • A bibliography
  • 3 reflections from the beginning, middle and the end of the research process.

The Importance of The IB ee

The extended essay provides each student with the opportunity to investigate a topic of personal interest to them, which relates to either:

-One of the student’s six DP subjects, or

-the interdisciplinary approach of a World Studies extended essay.

Students gain the following skills by writing an extended essay:

-formulating an appropriate research question

-engaging in a personal exploration and critical analysis of the topic

-communicating ideas

-developing an argument

Essentially, the assessment criteria will evaluate the student based on their ability to research a subject, or in the case of the world study extended essay, the two disciplinary perspectives applied. In both examples, you are required to demonstrate knowledge, understanding, and application.

10 Steps to Writing an IB Extended Essay

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to write an extended essay, from research question to complete essay.

1. Define the Topic and Draft the Research Question

2. create a timeline, 3. research sources and expand knowledge about the topic, 4. set deadlines, 5. plan the structure according to the total word count, 6. evaluate your understanding, 7. primary and secondary research and theory, 8. write the extended essay draft to explain what you learnt, 9. analyze and edit, 10. present.

By following the steps above, you should be able to produce a logical and coherent rationale to follow when writing the extended essay for your IB diploma programme.

Can You Get Help for the IB Extended Essay?

Of course you do! In fact, you actually get a lot of help. Your school will assign you a ‘supervisor’. Your supervisor will be an IB teacher at your school and it is their responsibility to meet with you and discuss your research question, your planning and also your first draft.

What are the Next Steps?

In conclusion: your extended essay is typically something you write towards the end of your first year of IB so I wouldn’t worry too much about it right now. However, it’s likely you will have to choose your topic and research question sooner rather than later.

What I would recommend is to start thinking about what subject would interest you enough to write a mini thesis of 4,000 words on it.

Pro Tip: Find an example of an extended essay that is effective so you can see how they applied the tips above and explored their research question.

If you find lots of essays, this suggests to you that this is probably a good topic! If there isn’t very much, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea, but you might want to change the focus a little to make it easier to conduct research and find enough data to work with.

Don’t let the task overwhelm you: the research and writing should be fun! Students who are truly interested in their topics will likely find the most success.

Get Support from a Tutor at Lanterna for the IB Diploma Programme

Lanterna has over 300 tutors who aced the Extended Essay for their courses. They are equipped with the knowledge and experience to help you get an A in your EE. What are you waiting for? Get your own tutor today and learn valuable insights sure to help you succeed.

For more details about your IB extended essay, be sure to check out our blog post with 100 topic ideas to get you started!

It explains how you can find your research topic, formulate a research question and explain it fully in accordance with the assessment criteria, and finally tips on how to write extended essays.

Read part 2: Choose Your Topic

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What Is An Extended Essay & How to Write It?

Read this article for 5 tips to ace your IB Extended Essay. this article shows IB students how to write an Extended Essay for IB Diploma.

What Is An Extended Essay & How to Write It?

Table of content

Introduction , what is ib extended essay, choosing your mentor, how to select your topic, the structure of ib extended essay, research question, table of contents, methodology, the main body, the conclusion, bibliography, ib extended essay checklist.

Introduce and elaborate topic that you are researching in your EE.

  • A crisp description of what you will explore and how you will do so. If you are aiming at a particular firm/industry, discuss the problems and your investigation method.
  • To provide context to your question, you must address the situation from where the question is coming.
  • State your research question and emphasize the importance of answering that question.
  • Please describe how your research is helpful and exciting and how it is valuable to your audience.

This article will reveal helpful information on what your IB Extended Essay (EE) requires. Consider this your IB Extended Essay Checklist, which covers everything you must know about your EE.

Hey! Make sure you listen to Ivy, who will explain what NOT to do on your EE.

These mountains you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb!

Understand that no warrior ever conquered the battlefield with an unhinged mind. We say this because, being past IB students, we have seen and faced what we are about to and have a good knowledge and acquired the ability to differentiate between more enormous beasts and smaller beasts.

IB Extended Essay  is a smaller beast considering that you give it enough time before it becomes more prominent. All you need to do is relax your mind, de-stress and follow a simple procedure explained further in the article. There is no need to panic. Trust us, listen to us, and be like us!

Moving ahead from punny insertions, let us tell you why the IB extended essay can be an easy and exciting mountain to climb:

  • Subject of your choice (Good practice to choose from your HLs)
  • Independence of choosing a topic  
  • Choice of choosing your mentor
  • Continuous feedback and support from your chosen mentor.

IB extended essay (IB EE) is another one of the mandatory requirements of the IB Diploma Programme. It is a mini-thesis that you write under the supervision of a mentor/advisor. Your mentor will be an IB teacher from your school. The students must conduct independent research on a topic of their choice, which must be at most the limit of 4000 words. You begin by choosing a research question as a topic that will be further approved by IBO. It is up to you to either do a typical research paper, conduct an experiment/solve a problem-type EE.

I can write too many paragraphs giving you unnecessary information but let’s cut to the chase and admit the heart wants what it wants. You will go with an advisor/mentor with whom you will connect the most. However, suppose your judgment is clouded between the advisor you want to choose solely because you click with them better and the mentor who is knowledgeable about your chosen topic and can help you improve your research work. In that case, the choice is pretty straightforward: listen to your brain. Get rid of your toxic love and make a wise decision to choose a knowledgeable mentor. If you are lucky, the mentor you connect with and the one with ample knowledge about your chosen topic will be the same person. On that note, consider only two things while choosing your advisor:

  • An advisor who is familiar with your topic 
  • An advisor who will push you to be your best

Before diving into the topic selection and the structure of your IB extended essay, refer to this table to get an insight into the grade breakdown table. This will be helpful in your planning phase.

Moving ahead towards essential aspects of this article. After choosing your mentor, the next step for ‘how to write an EE’ is choosing a topic with the help of your mentor’s input. It is as essential as our  TOK Essay  and  TOK presentation .

Keep the following in mind while selecting your topic:

  • Choose a topic that interests you.
  • A topic that has enough resources and material.
  • Choose a topic that is neither too narrow (so you have enough material) nor too broad (to avoid exceeding the word limit of 4000 words)

Before we dive into the structure, let us make one thing clear, there is a difference between the title and the research question. A title is different from your research question. Your research question is a clear and focused summative statement of your research. For instance, “The Effect of Gender and Age on the photoreceptor cells in the human retina” is a title whereas the following as the examples of research questions:

“Does the efficiency of Rods and cones decrease with age?

“What is the efficiency of L-cone vs M-cone vs S-cone?“

“To what extent are rod cells more efficient than the three cone cells?”

“Does the efficieny of rods and cones differ between genders?”

This will include the following:

  • Introduction

Quick Note: The content on this page will not be included in your essay word count.

NO ABSTRACT REQUIRED. The latest IB guide states that an abstract should not be included in EE anymore.

You should split this section into two major areas to cover all the essential aspects.

  • Section - 1 Explaining your sources
  • Section - 2 Related topics, theories, and arguments that you will use to explore

Quick Note: Ensure that besides giving the readers an insight into the theories, arguments, and resources you plan to use for your research, you also point out the weaknesses and limitations.

Section- 1: Sources

  • Describe each of your major sources of primary and secondary research.
  • Inform the readers how these sources are helpful.
  • To provide the readers with insight into each source's weaknesses or limitations. For example, there may have been room for bias or a limited scope of your research. Or there are other reasons why other data you used could be unreliable or invalid.
  • Some useful sources of secondary research are company annual reports, news articles, magazine articles, business textbooks, and encyclopedias.
  • Mention any adjustments (at least one) you made to your research as you progressed with your EE.

Section- 2: Related topics, theories, and arguments

  • Briefly explain the ideas you will use and why (what are you aiming to support by using these).
  • Address weaknesses or limitations of each addressed topic, theory, or related argument.
  • Mention any changes made to these as you progressed with your EE.

This part of your essay will be the most elaborate. It will concentrate on research, analysis, discussion, and evaluation.

To maintain the flow of your previous section, we suggest splitting this section into two parts, identical to the previous bifurcation, to showcase your understanding of the IB concepts learned in your business management class and the other addressing the insightful material outside of your course.

Section-1: Related arguments, theories, and topics form your course learning

  • Include 4 or 5 of these to help you answer your research question.
  • It is suggested that you include at least one financial element. Address your qualitative tools before the quantitative ones.

Section- 2: Beyond your Course

Take up this section as an opportunity for you to educate your reader/evaluator.

  • Review several related theories and concepts more extensively than the course does.
  • Impress your reader by giving the sense that you know how the particular industry works. Showcase your expertise or knowledge gained through expert opinions in several aspects of your question.
  • Please add some analytical insight in this section rather than just descriptive. Be careful to ensure that all of your theories in this section are really helping you answer your research question.
  • You can use a graph here, but it must link to the research question.
  • Use theories and supportive arguments that apply to your research and are beyond your course (if relevant).

Quick Note: Relate every paragraph to your research question.

This section is self-explanatory. It is time to bind all your areas together.

  • It would help if you concentrated on making your EE sections cohesive.
  • Please address what you have researched and how it helps answer your research question.
  • Keep everything new in your conclusion.
  • Shine through by including mini-conclusions to synthesize your essay.
  • You can include several evaluative insights as well, if applicable.
  • Mention some weaknesses and limitations of your research and their effect on your research. You can even address the inaccuracies these limitations may have caused and state the reason behind them.
  • Explain at least one thing that you would have done differently if you were to do it again.

Quick Note: Don’t include a recommendations section in your EE

This section gives the reader an insight into your research resources. It may include:

  • Books –textbooks, internet resources, journals, academic papers, competitor interviews, etc.
  • Primary Resource (if applicable) –Interview, data (focus group, survey, etc.).

Quick note: The content on this page will not be included in your essay word count.

Take this section as more of an essential formality of showcasing the process of hard work that you have put in.

  • Transcripts from your interviews,
  • The additional analysis you didn't fit in the body of your EE.
  • Any other exciting data which you would like to refer to in the body of your work.

With this, we come to the end of our article on what is an IB extended essay and how to write an extended essay. As we mentioned earlier, it is relatively easy. All you need is dedication, set timelines, and proper research. So, don't worry; no rabbits can pull out your hat today. If you want to score a 36 on 36 your Extended Essay, check out our  Extended Essay Guide , which offers '5 never heard before' tips to help you write a quality essay.

Make an IB Extended Essay Checklist! I cannot emphasize enough on this point. The submission for your EE happens simultaneously when you are expected to take your exams. There will be a million things that you would have to keep track of. There is a high chance of forgetting to make that final edit or perfecting your EE's introduction in the midst of it all. Therefore, an IB Extended Essay Checklist will ensure you do everything. IB Extended Essay Checklist will be your savior during the final submission days.

We want Nail IB to be your virtual companion to hustle through IB. We have many helpful blogs that will help you navigate your way through IB. Apart from our blogs, we offer a "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 ensure you have all the resources you might need to nail IB, we have curated special  student bundles  for your convenience.

IB Resources you will love!

55234 + free ib flashcards, 162 + free ia samples, 3965 + ib videos by experts, 20099 + ib sample practice questions, ib resources for 30 + subjects.


Extended Essay: Step 10. Plan a structure for your essay

  • Extended Essay- The Basics
  • Step 1. Choose a Subject
  • Step 2. Educate yourself!
  • Using Brainstorming and Mind Maps
  • Identify Keywords
  • Do Background Reading
  • Define Your Topic
  • Conduct Research in a Specific Discipline
  • Step 5. Draft a Research Question
  • Step 6. Create a Timeline
  • Find Articles
  • Find Primary Sources
  • Get Help from Experts
  • Search Engines, Repositories, & Directories
  • Databases and Websites by Subject Area
  • Create an Annotated Bibliography
  • Advice (and Warnings) from the IB
  • Chicago Citation Syle
  • MLA Works Cited & In-Text Citations
  • Step 9. Set Deadlines for Yourself
  • Step 10. Plan a structure for your essay
  • Evaluate & Select: the CRAAP Test
  • Conducting Secondary Research
  • Conducting Primary Research
  • Formal vs. Informal Writing
  • Presentation Requirements
  • Evaluating Your Work

How to Write an Outline

One way to plan a structure for your essay is by writing an outline.  An outline breaks down the parts of your thesis in a clear, hierarchical manner. Most students find that writing an outline before beginning the paper is most helpful in organizing one's thoughts. If your outline is good, your paper should be easy to write. Use this worksheet from the Learning & Advising Center at  Philadelphia University to help with writing your own outline.

how long should the extended essay intro be

The basic format for an outline uses an alternating series of numbers and letters, indented accordingly, to indicate levels of importance. Here is an example of an outline on a paper about the development of Japanese theater from the Universtiy at Albany, State University of New York:

"How to Write an Outline." U at Albany, State U of New York. U at Albany, State U of New York, 2011. Web. 5 Dec. 2012 <>. 

how long should the extended essay intro be

Twelve-step Plan for Researching the Extended Essay - Step 10

10.  Plan a structure for the essay.  This may change as the research develops but it is useful to have a sense of direction from the start.

how long should the extended essay intro be

  • << Previous: Step 9. Set Deadlines for Yourself
  • Next: Step 11. Read, Read, Read! >>
  • Last Updated: May 8, 2024 3:48 PM
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Extended Essay Guide: Criteria, Format, Sample EEs

  • Criteria, Format, Sample EEs
  • Annotated Bibliographies
  • DP Research Process
  • Databases & Academic Journals
  • Evaluate Sources
  • Academic Integrity
  • MLA Citation Format
  • CSE Citation Format (Science & Math)
  • Video Tutorials 2024

The Assessment Crtiteria in Detail!

  • Criterion A: Focus and method
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and understanding
  • Criterion C: Critical Thinking
  • Criterion D: Presentation
  • Criterion E: Engagement
  • EE_How to maximize marks for different subjects?

how long should the extended essay intro be

  • Criterion C: Critical thinking

Notes from the IB

RE: Research Question and Title of Extended Essay

Please note the statement below from the EE curriculum manager regarding the need to have both a title and a RQ for all subjects. Previous versions of the EE Guide indicated that the title and the RQ should be the same for History, Business Management and Mathematics. This is no longer the case.  All essays, regardless of the subject, need to have both a RQ and a title.

Hi Kathy, 

To answer your question, I am going to quote directly from a response John Royce provided, on this forum, in October in response to a very similar question: (it was a question about using Spanish sources - hence the mention of Spanish)

It is certainly  permissible to use sources which are not in the language of the essay, but translation into the target language is required , one cannot assume that the reader understands the original language.

It is usual to quote the original as well as presenting the translation.  [Do not put quotation marks around your translation, just around the original]

Umberto Eco argues ("in Mouse or rat?") that direct translation may lose meaning, paraphrase or use of different idioms may be required to get the ideas across. Paul Bellos ("Is that a fish in your ear?") makes a similar argument - direct translation may confound meaning... Direct translation may not be ideal - meaning and understanding are preferred - so, not to worry that your student with her good Spanish cannot present a direct translation.

What  must be made clear is that the translations are those of the student;  these are her understandings. Readers can make of that what they will - and if unsure, are presented with the original - they can seek another translation.  A note in the acknowledgements and/or in the introduction to the effect that all translations are those of the writer is ... essential.

In response to the question about the  Bibliography/Works cited, my preference would be to list the source in its original Thai version, but perhaps with the English in brackets, to help the examiner.

Your bibliography will have the entries in Thai characters first in the document. Any in-text citation to Thai sources will be in (Thai characters [English translation]).

Citation in Thai [English translation]

Works Cited Example:

วงษ์ปัญญา, ธนกร [Wongpunya, Thanakorn]. “โรงงานยาสูบรวยแค่ไหน และเอาเงินไปทำอะไรบ้าง.”  [How rich is the Thailand Tobacco Monopoly and where does the money go?] (candidate translation). The Standard, The Standard, 30 Aug. 2018,

Format of the Extended Essay

Required Formatting

The extended essay should be written in a 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  required:

  • 12-point, readable font (Calibri or Times New Roman);
  • double spacing throughout entire Essay;
  • page numbering - top right corner;
  • no candidate or school name or supervisor name on the title page or page headers.

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 examiners.

Required S tructure

The structure of the essay is very important. It helps students to organize the argument, making the best use of the evidence collected. 

There are six required elements of the final work to be submitted. More details about each element are given in the  “Presentation”  section. Please note that the order in which these elements are presented here is not necessarily the order in which they should be written. 

Six required elements of the extended essay:

  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • References and bibliography -- if MLA "Works Cited" if CSE "References"

1. Required Title Page  

The title page should include  only  the following information: 

  • the title of the essay
  • the research question
  • the subject the essay is registered in (if it is a language essay also state which category it falls into; if a world studies essay also state the theme and the two subjects utilized) 

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

how long should the extended essay intro be

2. Required Contents Page

A contents page must be provided at the beginning of the extended essay and all pages should be numbered. Please note that an index page is not required and if included will be treated as if it is not present.

3. Required Introduction

The introduction should tell the reader what to expect in the essay. The introduction should make clear to the reader the focus of the essay, the scope of the research, in particular an indication of the sources to be used, and an insight into the line of argument to be taken. 

While students should have a sense of the direction and key focus of their essay, it is sometimes advisable to finalize the introduction once the body of the essay is complete.

4. Required Body of the Essay  (research, analysis, discussion, and evaluation)

The main task is writing the body of the essay, which should be presented in the form of a reasoned argument. The form of this varies with the subject of the essay but as the argument develops it should be clear to the reader what relevant evidence has been discovered, where/how it has been discovered and how it supports the argument. In some subjects, for example, the sciences, sub-headings within the main body of the essay will help the reader to understand the argument (and will also help the student to keep on track). In structuring their extended essay, students must take into consideration the expected conventions of the subject in which their extended essay is registered. 

Once the main body of the essay is complete, it is possible to finalize the introduction (which tells the reader what to expect) and the conclusion (which says what has been achieved, including notes of any limitations and any questions that have not been resolved). 

Any information that is important to the argument  must not  be included in appendices or footnotes/endnotes. The examiner  will not  read notes or appendices, so an essay that is not complete in itself will be compromised across the assessment criteria.

5. Required Conclusion

The conclusion says what has been achieved, including notes of any limitations and any questions that have not been resolved. While students might draw conclusions throughout the essay based on their findings, it is important that there is a final, summative conclusion at the end. This conclusion(s) must relate to the research question posed.

6.  Required References & Bibliography

Students should use their chosen style of academic referencing as soon as they start writing. That way they are less likely to forget to include a citation. It is also easier than trying to add references at a later stage. For more information on this, refer to the guidelines in the IB document  Effective citing and referencing.

Writing the essay takes time but if students have used their Researcher's reflection space and reflection sessions in a meaningful way they should be well prepared to develop their arguments.

Extended Essay - Examples & Exemplars

  • Essays from May 2018 with IB marks and commentaries
  • Assessed Student Work & Commentary IB-provided. "Student sample extended essays, corresponding marks and comments from senior examiners are available for the following Diploma Programme disciplines. Please note that in light of not having authentic RPPFs to accompany these essays, they are marked against criteria A – D only, for a total of 28 possible marks. Following the first assessment session in 2018, exemplars will be refreshed with authentic sample material." more... less... Biology English Economics History Studies in language and literature Language acquisition Mathematics Psychology Visual arts World studies extended essay (WSEE)
  • Excellenet Extended Essays Concordian GoogleDoc
  • EngA1_Othello EE Othello 2018 From Click the link to see the score and evaluation.
  • Fifty (50) More Excellent Extended Essays DVD by International Baccalaureate Call Number: HS DVD 808.4 ISBN: 9781906345600 Publication Date: 2011 1 DVD-ROM (1:33 min.)

Past CIS Extended Essays

Available in the library behind the desk are file folders of past Extended Essays by Concordian students and IB EE Exemplars. Feel free to browse the papers which must be kept in the library.

how long should the extended essay intro be

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How to Write an Extended Essay: from Outline to Conclusion

write an extended essay

write an extended essay

As a student, especially those pursuing International Baccalaureate (IB), you will be faced with the challenge of coming up with an extended essay. But few students do not know how to write long essays like an extended essay. That is where we come in.

In this comprehensive guide, I will guide you on the 8 steps to follow when writing a good extended essay and provide you with examples of topics you can use.

As noted by one of our top essay writers for hire , extended essays are not like your ordinary essays. As the name suggests, they are extended versions of essays and it may take longer and a unique approach to writing them.

how long should the extended essay intro be

However, before delving into such details, it is important to first understand what extended essays are.

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What is an extended essay.

An extended essay (EE) is a form of writing that provides learners with a chance to carry out independent research concerning a topic of their interest.

It is part of the requirements for the International Baccalaureate (IB) program and its content is based on a freely-selected topic provided that there is an instructor for the subject in school since candidates should have a supervisor for the subjects.

To be more precise, an extended essay can be regarded as a 4000-word structured piece of writing centered on an International Baccalaureate student’s topic and it may take various forms.

What is meant by “it may take various forms” is that the way it looks depends on the topic selected. The next section will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to write an extended essay. 

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How to Write an Extended Essay

When writing an extended essay, there 8 steps that should be taken to effectively complete it on time. Carefully read through the 8 steps to fully understand how to write an extended essay.

Step 1: Selecting a Topic and Researching on it

Researching extended essay

This is the first step that you should take before writing your extended essay.

As noted, extended essays will allow you to write on the topic of your interest.

However, various topics are provided by your instructor and it is upon you to select the topic that interests you.

You should keep in mind that the topic selected should have enough material and resources to support your topic and the position of your arguments concerning the topic.

Some topics may have limited resources.

At the same time, select a topic that is neither too broad nor too narrow. A narrow topic may lack enough material to have a 4000-word extended essay while a broad topic may require a lot of supporting material that may exceed the 4000-word limit.  

If you find the first step confusing or you find it difficult to tackle it on your own, it is advisable to seek a mentor/advisor. You should select an advisor or mentor with whom you will connect well and the one who understands the topic and what is required when writing extended essays.

Such a mentor will help you select the topic that fits your interest. While helping you select a topic that is not too narrow or broad, they should push you to deliver your best. Mentors/advisors can be your instructors or friends who have completed extended essays. 

Once this is done, research extensively concerning your topic and ensure that the sources of your information are peer-reviewed and credible. They should provide the most recent research or information concerning your topic.

Note the sources of your information so that you can cite and reference them in your extended essay. 

Step 2: Coming up With a Research Question

This is an important step because selecting a research question will provide you with a focused and clear summative statement to be used during your research.

It will act as a roadmap or a guideline that will help you during the writing process. It will also help you formulate a clear and concise thesis statement that will summarize your arguments and the position you will take in your extended essay. 

Step 3: Structuring Your Extended Essay

As aforementioned, extended essays should always take an academic format. This means that it should have an acceptable academic structure.

At the same time, since International Baccalaureate (IB) guidelines are constantly updated, you should follow the latest guidelines so that you can utilize the latest format. 

The acceptable format for your extended essay will include an introduction, methodology, main body, conclusion, bibliography, and appendices.

Writing extended Essay

This will be the general structure for your extended essay.

It should be noted that this structure is not an outline.

What this means is that the structure should be considered when coming up with an outline.

Once you have decided the structure of your extended essay, come up with an outline based on your topic, thesis, and arguments.

An outline will act as a guide during the drafting process and it will save a lot of time.

This is because you will have already outlined your extended essay and what you will be doing is to add content to the points you have highlighted. Ensure that individual points translate to a single paragraph. 

You should also note that the extended essay will have a table of contents. Therefore, the outline will be very important when coming up with your table of contents that is located after the cover page of your extended essay. 

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Step 4: Writing the Introduction

Once you have completed the above steps and you have come up with an outline based on the extended essay’s structure, the next step is to introduce your topic and elaborate it to your target readers.

Writing the Introduction

There are various things you should consider when coming up with an introduction.

First of all, the introduction should be catchy and interesting.

This is because your readers will read it before deciding on whether to continue with the rest of the paper.

The best way to do this is to begin your introduction with something catchy or attention-grabbing sentence.

This will arouse the reader’s curiosity to know more about the topic.

The second thing you should know about the introduction is that it should offer a crisp and clear description of what you are going to talk about and the various strategies you will use to explore the topic. It all depends on the topic.

You can decide to highlight the issues that will be explored and the ways of addressing such issues. It is all about proving some brief background of what you will be exploring in the rest of the paper.

Do you remember that you formulated a research question after researching your topic? While introducing the topic of your extended essay, you should provide the context of your research question where you address the situation or the background from which the question comes.

While doing so, you should state the research question and elaborate on why answering the question is important for the paper’s findings. 

The introduction should also tell the readers why the research you present in your extended essay is important, interesting, and/or valuable to the discipline and the audience.

Finally, you should conclude your introduction by writing your thesis statement. This should be the last sentence of your introduction paragraph(s). 

Step 5: Methodology

This is also a very important step when writing an extended essay. To make sure that all the important aspects of the methodology are covered, you should divide this section into two.

extended essay Methodology

The first section of the methodology explains your sources of information and the second section explores the related theories, topics, and arguments that will be used to explore your topic. 

In the first section, you should describe every primary and/or secondary source used, why the sources are important, and their limitations.

Sources of secondary research can include news articles, annual reports for companies, business textbooks, magazine articles, and encyclopedias. The final thing you should do while in section 1 is to state the adjustments made in your research. 

For the second section, you should provide a brief explanation of the theories that are going to be applied and the reason why they are the most appropriate in explaining your arguments.

Also, give the limitations of each theory, topic, or argument applied. Finally, state the changes made during the research and writing process.

Step 6: Drafting the Main Body

This should be the most elaborate part of your extended essay because you will concentrate on the research, analysis of the research, discussion, and evaluation.

You should try to retain the flow of step 5 that has steps 1 and 2. This will demonstrate that you understand the concepts of the International Baccalaureate while still addressing your topic using the relevant sources. 

In the first section, for each of the theories, arguments, and topics used to address your topic, include about 4 examples of each to help you answer the research question effectively. Also, address the qualitative tools applied before the quantitative tools.

The second section goes beyond the course to educate your evaluator and/or readers concerning your topic. Explore the related concepts and theories deeply while providing different perspectives on the topic.

Remember that you should be evaluating the findings here. Use analytical insight to further explain your arguments and points of view. Graphs and other forms of data presentation can be used. However, they should apply to the research.

Step 7: Writing the Conclusion

In this step, you should sum up your arguments from all your sections. It is important to stipulate what has been researched and how it has helped answer the research question.

It should be noted that no new information should be added in the conclusion. Mention some limitations of the research and their impact, and the reasons behind such limitations.

Finally, state the thing(s) you can do differently if you were to write another extended essay.

Step 8: Bibliography and Appendices

On a different page or the next page after the conclusion, reference your sources of information using the correct format (APA, MLA, Chicago, or Harvard styles). Always remember to arrange the references from A to Z. Bibliography or references are not part of the word count.

The appendices section showcases the extra work you have done such as transcripts of the interviews conducted, additional analysis, and any other data that you found interesting but did not include in the body of your paper. 

Once you are done with writing, thoroughly proofread your work and correct any grammatical or spelling errors made. Make sure that the work is well formatted with all the sections included.

At the same time, make sure that nothing in your paper is copy-pasted because it will be regarded as plagiarism. Always do this before submitting your extended essay. 

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Best Length of an Extended Essay

While there is no universally agreed minimum word count for an extended essay, you should not write less than 3,000 words. This is because lesser than that will demonstrate that you did not adequately research your topic.

Since the acceptable word limit on the upper side is 4,000 words, always strive to write more than 3,500 words. Unlike other types of essays like a GRE Essay that is short, an extended essay is long in terms of word count.

In other cases, the minimum word count is 1,500 words, and the maximum word count is 4,000 words. It is up to the student to decide what their word count should be. It is important not to go over or under the prescribed word count by more than 10%. The upper limit of 4000 words should be a guideline rather than a firm rule.

Can the extended essay be over 4000 words?

Yes, the extended essay may be up to 4000 words in length. The upper limit is 4,000 words for all extended essays. This upper limit includes the introduction, the body, the conclusion, and any quotations, but does not include:

  • the abstract
  • the contents page
  • acknowledgments
  • any diagrams, charts, tables, and graphs
  • the bibliography

How Many Pages is an Extended Essay?

4000 words is 8 pages single spaced, and 16 pages double spaced. The number of pages changes depends on the number of words, the font, and the font size. Usually, the extended essay is 4000 words in length, so it is quite a bit longer than your average essay. Double-space, Times New Roman 12 is pretty much universal, in college anyway.

What are the extended essay minimum and maximum word count?

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12 Examples of Extended Essay Topics

  • What is the effect of age and gender on the photoreceptor cells in the human retina?
  • How is climate change impacting the appearance of coral reefs?
  • An evaluation of how antioxidants work in our bodies?
  • Is there an association between viewing violence on television and the display of violent acts?
  • What motivational climate should a coach employ to achieve optimal performance in athletes?
  • How does the X hormone affect human behavior?
  • How were women treated differently in the 1920s and 1950s Great Britain?
  • What role did economics play in the unification of Germany from 1834 to 1871?
  • How does the sugar concentration affect the refractive index of water?
  • What factors influence the location of industries in country/city X?
  • An investigation into the significance of preserving the quality of water in a continent/country/city?
  • What effect does the coating of aspirin tablets have on the hydrolysis of aspirin?

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can you redo an extended essay.

Yes. You can redo an extended essay if you appeal to the relevant institution about the reason(s) why you failed on the first try. You should provide credible and sensible reasons for you to be considered. It is only then that you are granted a retake. 

Can You Fail an Extended Essay?

Yes. You can fail an extended essay if you do not follow the essay’s requirements, instructions, or rubric. 

What Happens if You Fail an Extended Essay?

If you fail an extended essay, you will not graduate with a diploma. Therefore, if you fail, you should request a retake and do your best to write a good extended essay. 

How many points is the extended essay worth?

The Extended Essay is a 4,000-word essay that you write on a topic of your choice. This counts towards your IB Diploma and it’s worth 3 points of your overall score.

The Extended Essay is often the most rewarding part of the IB Diploma. It gives you the chance to study something that you want to learn about in-depth, and it can be on any topic you choose – as long as there’s an expert to supervise it!

Can I publish my extended essay?

You may publish your extended essay. There are some things to consider before you do though: • Check that the subject of your essay is appropriate for publishing. Some subjects, such as science and math, may not be appropriate for publication because of how quickly the field develops. Also, check that your advisor approves of publishing the essay. • Check that you have gotten all the necessary permissions you need before you publish. • Check with your advisor if you have any doubts about these things.

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Josh Jasen or JJ as we fondly call him, is a senior academic editor at Grade Bees in charge of the writing department. When not managing complex essays and academic writing tasks, Josh is busy advising students on how to pass assignments. In his spare time, he loves playing football or walking with his dog around the park.

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How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)   

essay introduction

The introduction of an essay plays a critical role in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. It sets the stage for the rest of the essay, establishes the tone and style, and motivates the reader to continue reading. 

Table of Contents

What is an essay introduction , what to include in an essay introduction, how to create an essay structure , step-by-step process for writing an essay introduction , how to write an introduction paragraph , how to write a hook for your essay , how to include background information , how to write a thesis statement .

  • Argumentative Essay Introduction Example: 
  • Expository Essay Introduction Example 

Literary Analysis Essay Introduction Example

Check and revise – checklist for essay introduction , key takeaways , frequently asked questions .

An introduction is the opening section of an essay, paper, or other written work. It introduces the topic and provides background information, context, and an overview of what the reader can expect from the rest of the work. 1 The key is to be concise and to the point, providing enough information to engage the reader without delving into excessive detail. 

The essay introduction is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire piece and provides the reader with a roadmap of what to expect. Here are key elements to include in your essay introduction: 

  • Hook : Start with an attention-grabbing statement or question to engage the reader. This could be a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or a compelling anecdote. 
  • Background information : Provide context and background information to help the reader understand the topic. This can include historical information, definitions of key terms, or an overview of the current state of affairs related to your topic. 
  • Thesis statement : Clearly state your main argument or position on the topic. Your thesis should be concise and specific, providing a clear direction for your essay. 

Before we get into how to write an essay introduction, we need to know how it is structured. The structure of an essay is crucial for organizing your thoughts and presenting them clearly and logically. It is divided as follows: 2  

  • Introduction:  The introduction should grab the reader’s attention with a hook, provide context, and include a thesis statement that presents the main argument or purpose of the essay.  
  • Body:  The body should consist of focused paragraphs that support your thesis statement using evidence and analysis. Each paragraph should concentrate on a single central idea or argument and provide evidence, examples, or analysis to back it up.  
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion should summarize the main points and restate the thesis differently. End with a final statement that leaves a lasting impression on the reader. Avoid new information or arguments. 

how long should the extended essay intro be

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to write an essay introduction: 

  • Start with a Hook : Begin your introduction paragraph with an attention-grabbing statement, question, quote, or anecdote related to your topic. The hook should pique the reader’s interest and encourage them to continue reading. 
  • Provide Background Information : This helps the reader understand the relevance and importance of the topic. 
  • State Your Thesis Statement : The last sentence is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be clear, concise, and directly address the topic of your essay. 
  • Preview the Main Points : This gives the reader an idea of what to expect and how you will support your thesis. 
  • Keep it Concise and Clear : Avoid going into too much detail or including information not directly relevant to your topic. 
  • Revise : Revise your introduction after you’ve written the rest of your essay to ensure it aligns with your final argument. 

Here’s an example of an essay introduction paragraph about the importance of education: 

Education is often viewed as a fundamental human right and a key social and economic development driver. As Nelson Mandela once famously said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is the key to unlocking a wide range of opportunities and benefits for individuals, societies, and nations. In today’s constantly evolving world, education has become even more critical. It has expanded beyond traditional classroom learning to include digital and remote learning, making education more accessible and convenient. This essay will delve into the importance of education in empowering individuals to achieve their dreams, improving societies by promoting social justice and equality, and driving economic growth by developing a skilled workforce and promoting innovation. 

This introduction paragraph example includes a hook (the quote by Nelson Mandela), provides some background information on education, and states the thesis statement (the importance of education). 

This is one of the key steps in how to write an essay introduction. Crafting a compelling hook is vital because it sets the tone for your entire essay and determines whether your readers will stay interested. A good hook draws the reader in and sets the stage for the rest of your essay.  

  • Avoid Dry Fact : Instead of simply stating a bland fact, try to make it engaging and relevant to your topic. For example, if you’re writing about the benefits of exercise, you could start with a startling statistic like, “Did you know that regular exercise can increase your lifespan by up to seven years?” 
  • Avoid Using a Dictionary Definition : While definitions can be informative, they’re not always the most captivating way to start an essay. Instead, try to use a quote, anecdote, or provocative question to pique the reader’s interest. For instance, if you’re writing about freedom, you could begin with a quote from a famous freedom fighter or philosopher. 
  • Do Not Just State a Fact That the Reader Already Knows : This ties back to the first point—your hook should surprise or intrigue the reader. For Here’s an introduction paragraph example, if you’re writing about climate change, you could start with a thought-provoking statement like, “Despite overwhelming evidence, many people still refuse to believe in the reality of climate change.” 

Including background information in the introduction section of your essay is important to provide context and establish the relevance of your topic. When writing the background information, you can follow these steps: 

  • Start with a General Statement:  Begin with a general statement about the topic and gradually narrow it down to your specific focus. For example, when discussing the impact of social media, you can begin by making a broad statement about social media and its widespread use in today’s society, as follows: “Social media has become an integral part of modern life, with billions of users worldwide.” 
  • Define Key Terms : Define any key terms or concepts that may be unfamiliar to your readers but are essential for understanding your argument. 
  • Provide Relevant Statistics:  Use statistics or facts to highlight the significance of the issue you’re discussing. For instance, “According to a report by Statista, the number of social media users is expected to reach 4.41 billion by 2025.” 
  • Discuss the Evolution:  Mention previous research or studies that have been conducted on the topic, especially those that are relevant to your argument. Mention key milestones or developments that have shaped its current impact. You can also outline some of the major effects of social media. For example, you can briefly describe how social media has evolved, including positives such as increased connectivity and issues like cyberbullying and privacy concerns. 
  • Transition to Your Thesis:  Use the background information to lead into your thesis statement, which should clearly state the main argument or purpose of your essay. For example, “Given its pervasive influence, it is crucial to examine the impact of social media on mental health.” 

how long should the extended essay intro be

A thesis statement is a concise summary of the main point or claim of an essay, research paper, or other type of academic writing. It appears near the end of the introduction. Here’s how to write a thesis statement: 

  • Identify the topic:  Start by identifying the topic of your essay. For example, if your essay is about the importance of exercise for overall health, your topic is “exercise.” 
  • State your position:  Next, state your position or claim about the topic. This is the main argument or point you want to make. For example, if you believe that regular exercise is crucial for maintaining good health, your position could be: “Regular exercise is essential for maintaining good health.” 
  • Support your position:  Provide a brief overview of the reasons or evidence that support your position. These will be the main points of your essay. For example, if you’re writing an essay about the importance of exercise, you could mention the physical health benefits, mental health benefits, and the role of exercise in disease prevention. 
  • Make it specific:  Ensure your thesis statement clearly states what you will discuss in your essay. For example, instead of saying, “Exercise is good for you,” you could say, “Regular exercise, including cardiovascular and strength training, can improve overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.” 

Examples of essay introduction 

Here are examples of essay introductions for different types of essays: 

Argumentative Essay Introduction Example:  

Topic: Should the voting age be lowered to 16? 

“The question of whether the voting age should be lowered to 16 has sparked nationwide debate. While some argue that 16-year-olds lack the requisite maturity and knowledge to make informed decisions, others argue that doing so would imbue young people with agency and give them a voice in shaping their future.” 

Expository Essay Introduction Example  

Topic: The benefits of regular exercise 

“In today’s fast-paced world, the importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated. From improving physical health to boosting mental well-being, the benefits of exercise are numerous and far-reaching. This essay will examine the various advantages of regular exercise and provide tips on incorporating it into your daily routine.” 

Text: “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee 

“Harper Lee’s novel, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ is a timeless classic that explores themes of racism, injustice, and morality in the American South. Through the eyes of young Scout Finch, the reader is taken on a journey that challenges societal norms and forces characters to confront their prejudices. This essay will analyze the novel’s use of symbolism, character development, and narrative structure to uncover its deeper meaning and relevance to contemporary society.” 

  • Engaging and Relevant First Sentence : The opening sentence captures the reader’s attention and relates directly to the topic. 
  • Background Information : Enough background information is introduced to provide context for the thesis statement. 
  • Definition of Important Terms : Key terms or concepts that might be unfamiliar to the audience or are central to the argument are defined. 
  • Clear Thesis Statement : The thesis statement presents the main point or argument of the essay. 
  • Relevance to Main Body : Everything in the introduction directly relates to and sets up the discussion in the main body of the essay. 

how long should the extended essay intro be

Writing a strong introduction is crucial for setting the tone and context of your essay. Here are the key takeaways for how to write essay introduction: 3  

  • Hook the Reader : Start with an engaging hook to grab the reader’s attention. This could be a compelling question, a surprising fact, a relevant quote, or an anecdote. 
  • Provide Background : Give a brief overview of the topic, setting the context and stage for the discussion. 
  • Thesis Statement : State your thesis, which is the main argument or point of your essay. It should be concise, clear, and specific. 
  • Preview the Structure : Outline the main points or arguments to help the reader understand the organization of your essay. 
  • Keep it Concise : Avoid including unnecessary details or information not directly related to your thesis. 
  • Revise and Edit : Revise your introduction to ensure clarity, coherence, and relevance. Check for grammar and spelling errors. 
  • Seek Feedback : Get feedback from peers or instructors to improve your introduction further. 

The purpose of an essay introduction is to give an overview of the topic, context, and main ideas of the essay. It is meant to engage the reader, establish the tone for the rest of the essay, and introduce the thesis statement or central argument.  

An essay introduction typically ranges from 5-10% of the total word count. For example, in a 1,000-word essay, the introduction would be roughly 50-100 words. However, the length can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the overall length of the essay.

An essay introduction is critical in engaging the reader and providing contextual information about the topic. To ensure its effectiveness, consider incorporating these key elements: a compelling hook, background information, a clear thesis statement, an outline of the essay’s scope, a smooth transition to the body, and optional signposting sentences.  

The process of writing an essay introduction is not necessarily straightforward, but there are several strategies that can be employed to achieve this end. When experiencing difficulty initiating the process, consider the following techniques: begin with an anecdote, a quotation, an image, a question, or a startling fact to pique the reader’s interest. It may also be helpful to consider the five W’s of journalism: who, what, when, where, why, and how.   For instance, an anecdotal opening could be structured as follows: “As I ascended the stage, momentarily blinded by the intense lights, I could sense the weight of a hundred eyes upon me, anticipating my next move. The topic of discussion was climate change, a subject I was passionate about, and it was my first public speaking event. Little did I know , that pivotal moment would not only alter my perspective but also chart my life’s course.” 

Crafting a compelling thesis statement for your introduction paragraph is crucial to grab your reader’s attention. To achieve this, avoid using overused phrases such as “In this paper, I will write about” or “I will focus on” as they lack originality. Instead, strive to engage your reader by substantiating your stance or proposition with a “so what” clause. While writing your thesis statement, aim to be precise, succinct, and clear in conveying your main argument.  

To create an effective essay introduction, ensure it is clear, engaging, relevant, and contains a concise thesis statement. It should transition smoothly into the essay and be long enough to cover necessary points but not become overwhelming. Seek feedback from peers or instructors to assess its effectiveness. 


  • Cui, L. (2022). Unit 6 Essay Introduction.  Building Academic Writing Skills . 
  • West, H., Malcolm, G., Keywood, S., & Hill, J. (2019). Writing a successful essay.  Journal of Geography in Higher Education ,  43 (4), 609-617. 
  • Beavers, M. E., Thoune, D. L., & McBeth, M. (2023). Bibliographic Essay: Reading, Researching, Teaching, and Writing with Hooks: A Queer Literacy Sponsorship. College English, 85(3), 230-242. 

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Extended Essay Guide: The Conclusion

  • Purpose of Guide
  • Writing Your Research Question
  • Finding Resources
  • Research Plan Ouline
  • Drafting Your Paper
  • The Introduction
  • The Conclusion
  • Citations/Bibliography
  • Proofreading Your Paper
  • IB Assessment Criteria/Subject Specific Guides/Exemplars/Etc

Extended Essay Conclusion

A conclusion is not merely a summary of the main topics covered or a re-statement of your research question, but a synthesis of key points and, if applicable, where you recommend new areas for future research. For most essays, one well-developed paragraph is sufficient for a conclusion, although in some cases, a two or three paragraph conclusion may be required.

  • A Brief Guide to Writing an EE Conclusion

Checklist for the Conclusion

Another writing tip.

New Insight, Not New Information!

Don't surprise the reader with n ew information in your conclusion that was never referenced anywhere else in the paper. If you have new information to present, add it to the discussion or other appropriate section of the paper. Note that, although no actual new information is introduced, the conclusion is where you offer your most "original" contributions in the paper; it's where you describe the value of your research, demonstrate that you understand the material that you’ve presented, and l ocate your findings within the larger context of scholarship on the topic, including describing how your research contributes new insights or value to that scholarship.

Conclusions . The Writing Center. University of North Carolina.

Twelve Steps to Writing an Effective Conclusion . 

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5.4: Writing Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs

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  • Athena Kashyap & Erika Dyquisto
  • City College of San Francisco via ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative

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Picture your introduction as a storefront window: You have a certain amount of space to attract your customers (readers) to your goods (subject) and bring them inside your store (discussion). Once you have enticed them with something intriguing, you then point them in a specific direction and try to make the sale (convince them to accept your thesis).

Your introduction is an invitation to your readers to consider what you have to say and then to follow your train of thought as you expand upon your thesis statement.

An introduction serves the following purposes:

  • Establishes your voice and tone, or your attitude, toward the subject
  • Introduces the general topic of the essay
  • Relates the topic to the reader
  • States the thesis that will be supported in the body paragraphs

First impressions are crucial and can leave lasting effects in your reader’s mind, which is why the introduction is so important to your essay. If your introductory paragraph is dull or disjointed, your reader probably will not have much interest in continuing with the essay.

Attracting Interest in Your Introductory Paragraph

Your introduction should begin with an engaging statement devised to provoke your readers’ interest. It should also relate to your stance on the topic. In the next few sentences, introduce your reader to the topic by stating general facts or ideas about the subject. As you move deeper into your introduction, you gradually narrow the focus, moving closer to your thesis. Moving smoothly and logically from your introductory remarks to your thesis statement can be achieved using a funnel technique, as illustrated in the following diagram.


On a separate sheet of paper, jot down a few general remarks that you can make about the topic for which you formed a thesis in Section 5.1, " Developing a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement ."

Immediately capturing your readers’ interest increases the chances of having them read what you are about to discuss. You can garner curiosity for your essay in a number of ways. Try to get your readers personally involved by doing any of the following:

  • Appealing to their emotions
  • Using logic
  • Beginning with a provocative question or opinion
  • Opening with a startling statistic or surprising fact
  • Raising a question or series of questions
  • Presenting an explanation or rationalization for your essay
  • Opening with a relevant quotation or incident
  • Opening with a striking image
  • Including a personal anecdote

Some other ideas are:

  • If the topic is controversial, you can include the current state of the controversy. If there is a lot of history to the topic, you can summarize the history.
  • If you are writing a personal essay, you can begin with a brief personal anecdote.
  • If you are writing an essay that is focused on one or two works (of literature or nonfiction), you can introduce those works with the title(s), author(s), and brief information about those works.
  • Describe a brief event that you think illustrates the overall point you want to make with your essay.
  • State an interesting fact that others may not know.
  • State a shocking but relevant statistic.
  • Compare what people generally think to what the reality is.

The Role of Introductions

Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when students sit down to respond to an assignment, they have at least some sense of what they want to say in the body of the paper. They might have chosen a few examples or have an idea that will help them answer the main question of your assignment: these sections, therefore, are not as hard to write. But these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air at the reader; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to the reader.

The introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport readers from their own lives into the “place” of the writer’s analysis. If the readers pick up a paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition to help them leave behind the world of California, YouTube, e-mail, etc. and to help them temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps readers make a transition between their own world and the issues in the paper, writers give their readers the tools they need to get into the topic and care about what they are reading. (See this handout on conclusions .)

The trick about how general to begin is to think about your audience. Write a first sentence that everyone can both to your topic and they can relate to personally. Now, how you present that topic – be it a question, a humorous statement, an interesting statistic or a shocking fact – depends on what you think is appropriate for your audience.


Image by  Helena Lopes  from  Pexels

Why Bother Writing a Good Introduction?

You never get a second chance to make a first impression . The opening paragraph of a paper will provide readers with their initial impressions of the argument, the writing style, and the overall quality of work. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-wall, or boring introduction will probably create a negative impression. On the other hand, a concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of the writer, his analytical skills, the writing, and the paper overall.

Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper . The introduction conveys a lot of information to the readers. They are introduced to the topic, why it is important, and how the topic will be discussed and developed. It also introduces your tone and stance about the topic. In most academic disciplines, the introduction should contain a thesis that will assert the main argument. It should also, ideally, give the reader a sense of the kinds of information used to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading the introduction, readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of the paper.

Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper . The introduction should capture the readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of the paper. Opening with a compelling story, a fascinating quotation, an interesting question, or a stirring example can get readers to see why this topic matters and serve as an invitation for them to join an interesting intellectual conversation.

Guidelines: Writing Effective Introductions

1. Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer . Your entire essay will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis, and your thesis will be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:

Education has long been considered a major force for American social change, righting the wrongs of our society. Drawing on the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, discuss the relationship between education and slavery in 19th-century America. Consider the following: How did white control of education reinforce slavery? How did Douglass and other enslaved African Americans view education while they endured slavery? And what role did education play in the acquisition of freedom? Most importantly, consider the degree to which education was or was not a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

You will probably refer back to your assignment extensively as you prepare your complete essay, and the prompt itself can also give you some clues about how to approach the introduction. Notice that it starts with a broad statement, that education has been considered a major force for social change, and then narrows to focus on specific questions from the book. One strategy might be to use a similar model in your own introduction —start off with a big picture sentence or two about the power of education as a force for change as a way of getting your reader interested and then focus in on the details of your argument about Douglass. Of course, a different approach could also be very successful, but looking at the way the professor set up the question can sometimes give you some ideas for how you might answer it.

2. Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. In the sample assignment above, the questions are probably at the “state” or “city” level of generality. But the introductory sentence about human beings is mismatched—it’s definitely at the “global” level. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!

3. Try writing your introduction last . You may think that you have to write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process, and only through the experience of writing your paper do you discover your main argument. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a particular point, but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper. The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all of the evidence, and the conclusion reflect the argument you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up all of your evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper and don't run out of time to revise your introduction.

4. Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write some kind of introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.

5. Open with an attention grabber. Sometimes, especially if the topic of your paper is somewhat dry or technical, opening with something catchy can help. Consider these options:

  • an intriguing example (for example, the mistress who initially teaches Douglass but then ceases her instruction as she learns more about slavery)
  • a provocative quotation (Douglass writes that “education and slavery were incompatible with each other”)
  • a puzzling scenario (Frederick Douglass says of slaves that “[N]othing has been left undone to cripple their intellects, darken their minds, debase their moral nature, obliterate all traces of their relationship to mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have sustained the mighty load of a most frightful bondage, under which they have been groaning for centuries!” Douglass clearly asserts that slave owners went to great lengths to destroy the mental capacities of slaves, yet his own life story proves that these efforts could be unsuccessful.)
  • a vivid and perhaps unexpected anecdote (for example, “Learning about slavery in the American history course at Frederick Douglass High School, students studied the work slaves did, the impact of slavery on their families, and the rules that governed their lives. We didn’t discuss education, however, until one student, Mary, raised her hand and asked, ‘But when did they go to school?’ That modern high school students could not conceive of an American childhood devoid of formal education speaks volumes about the centrality of education to American youth today and also suggests the significance of the deprivation of education in past generations.”)
  • a thought-provoking question (given all of the freedoms that were denied enslaved individuals in the American South, why does Frederick Douglass focus his attentions so squarely on education and literacy?)

6. Pay special attention to your first sentence . Start off on the right foot with your readers by making sure that the first sentence actually says something useful and that it does so in an interesting and error-free way.

7. Be straightforward and confident . Avoid statements like “In this paper, I will argue that Frederick Douglass valued education.” While this sentence points toward your main argument, it isn’t especially interesting. It might be more effective to say what you mean in a declarative sentence. It is much more convincing to tell us that “Frederick Douglass valued education” than to tell us that you are going to say that he did. Assert your main argument confidently. After all, you can’t expect your reader to believe it if it doesn’t sound like you believe it!

How to Evaluate Your Introduction?

Ask a friend to read it and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will have. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately and wants to keep reading, you probably have a good introduction.

Guidelines: Avoiding Less Effective Introductions

1. The place holder introduction . When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. If you had something more effective to say, you would probably say it, but in the meantime this paragraph is just a place holder. This may what you write just to get yourself writing, but be sure to go back and revise it.

Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.

2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. The professor or teaching assistant wrote your questions and will be reading ten to seventy essays in response to them—thye do not need to read a whole paragraph that simply restates the question. Try to do something more interesting.

Example: Indeed, education has long been considered a major force for American social change, righting the wrongs of our society. The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

3. The Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. This introduction strategy is on the right track—if you write one of these, you may be trying to establish the important terms of the discussion, and this move builds a bridge to the reader by offering a common, agreed-upon definition for a key idea. You may also be looking for an authority that will lend credibility to your paper. However, anyone can look a word up in the dictionary and copy down what it says—it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment, or if you use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information. If you feel that you must seek out an authority, try to find one that is very relevant and specific. Perhaps a quotation from a source reading might prove better? Dictionary introductions are also ineffective simply because they are so overused. Many teachers will see twenty or more papers that begin in this way, greatly decreasing the dramatic impact that any one of those papers will have.

Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”

4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time. It is usually very general (similar to the place holder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. You may write this kind of introduction when you don’t have much to say—which is precisely why it is ineffective.

Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.

5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book. You might resort to this sort of introduction when you are trying to fill space because it’s a familiar, comfortable format. It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.

Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.

Remember that your diction, or word choice, while always important, is most crucial in your introductory paragraph. Boring diction could extinguish any desire a person might have to read through your discussion. Choose words that create images or express action. For more information on diction, or word choice, see Chapter 11, "Clarity, Conciseness, and Style ."

See a student's introduction below with the thesis statement underlined. What do you think of it?

Play Atari on a General Electric brand television set? Maybe watch Dynasty? Or read old newspaper articles on microfiche at the library? Thirty-five years ago, the average college student did not have many options when it came to entertainment in the form of technology. Fast-forward to the twenty-first century, and the digital age has digital technology, consumers are bombarded with endless options for how they do most everything--from buying and reading books to taking and developing photographs. In a society that is obsessed with digital means of entertainment, it is easy for the average person to become baffled. Everyone wants the newest and best digital technology, but the choices are many and the specifications are often confusing.

If you have trouble coming up with a provocative statement for your opening, it is a good idea to use a relevant, attention-grabbing quote about your topic. Use a search engine to find statements made by historical or significant figures about your subject.

Writing at Work

In your job field, you may be required to write a speech for an event, such as an awards banquet or a dedication ceremony. The introduction of a speech is similar to an essay because you have a limited amount of space to attract your audience’s attention. Using the same techniques, such as a provocative quote or an interesting statistic, is an effective way to engage your listeners. Using the funnel approach also introduces your audience to your topic and then presents your main idea in a logical manner.

Reread each sentence in Andi’s introductory paragraph. Indicate which techniques they used and comment on how each sentence is designed to attract the readers’ interest.

The word conclusion formed on from lettered tiles that are yellow on an aqua blue background.

Image by  Ann H  from  Pexels

Writing a Conclusion

It is not unusual to want to rush when you approach your conclusion, and even experienced writers may fade. But what good writers remember is that it is vital to put just as much attention into the conclusion as in the rest of the essay. After all, a hasty ending can undermine an otherwise strong essay.

A conclusion that does not correspond to the rest of your essay, has loose ends, or is unorganized can unsettle your readers and raise doubts about the entire essay, just like a book with an ambiguous ending. However, if you have worked hard to write the introduction and body, your conclusion can often be the most logical part to compose.

Many times, writers find that they write a stronger main idea at the beginning of a conclusion on their first draft than they wrote initially. Sometimes this main idea would make a better thesis than what you may have originally had.

The Anatomy of a Strong Conclusion

Keep in mind that the ideas in your conclusion must conform to the rest of your essay. In order to tie these components together, restate your thesis at the beginning of your conclusion in other words. This helps you assemble, in an orderly fashion, all the information you have explained in the body. Rephrasing your thesis reminds your readers of the major arguments you have been trying to prove and also indicates that your essay is drawing to a close. A strong conclusion also reviews your main points in general and emphasizes the importance of the topic. It may also look to the future regarding your topic.

Conclusions are almost opposite in structure from introductions. Conclusions generally start off with your main point (a reworded thesis) and then become more general. Many times, in addition to making a final statement about your main ideas, a conclusion will “look to the future” by discussing how the author hopes this topic will be treated in the future. Other times, a conclusion includes a solution if the essay discusses a problem, or what additional study needs to be done about the topic (especially in research papers). It can also discuss how what your essay is about is relevant in other parts of the world or domains of study.

Many writers like to end their essays with a final emphatic statement. This strong closing statement will cause your readers to continue thinking about the implications of your essay; it will make your conclusion, and thus your essay, more memorable. Another powerful technique is to challenge your readers to make a change in either their thoughts or their actions. Challenging your readers to see the subject through new eyes is a powerful way to ease yourself and your readers out of the essay.

  • When closing your essay, do not expressly state that you are drawing to a close. Relying on statements such as in conclusion , it is clear that , as you can see , or in summation is unnecessary and can be considered trite because the reader can obviously see that it's the end of your essay.
  • Introducing new material
  • Contradicting your thesis
  • Changing your thesis
  • Using apologies or disclaimers

Introducing new material in your conclusion has an unsettling effect on your reader. When you raise new points, you make your reader want more information, which you could not possibly provide in the limited space of your final paragraph.

Contradicting or changing your thesis statement causes your readers to think that you do not actually have a conviction about your topic. After all, you have spent several paragraphs adhering to a singular point of view. When you change sides or open up your point of view in the conclusion, your reader becomes less inclined to believe your original argument.

By apologizing for your opinion or stating that you know it is tough to digest, you are in fact admitting that even you know what you have discussed is irrelevant or unconvincing. You do not want your readers to feel this way. Effective writers stand by their thesis statement and do not stray from it.

Exercise 3\(\PageIndex{3}\)

On a separate sheet of a paper, restate your thesis from Exercise 2 of this section and then make some general concluding remarks. Next, compose a final emphatic statement. Finally, incorporate what you have written into a strong conclusion paragraph for your essay.


Please share with a classmate and compare your answers

Andi incorporates some of these pointers into their conclusion by paraphrasing their thesis statement in the first sentence.

In a society fixated on the latest and smartest digital technology, a consumer can easily become confused by the countless options and specifications. The ever-changing state of digital technology challenges consumers with its updates and add-ons and expanding markets and incompatible formats and restrictions–a fact that is complicated by salesmen who want to sell them anything. In a world that is increasingly driven by instant gratification, it’s easy for people to buy the first thing they see. The solution for many people should be to avoid buying on impulse. Consumers should think about what they really need, not what is advertised.

Make sure your essay is balanced by not having an excessively long or short introduction or conclusion. Check that they match each other in length as closely as possible, and try to mirror the formula you used in each. Structural parallelism strengthens the message of your essay.

On the job you may sometimes give oral presentations based on research you have conducted. A concluding statement to an oral report contains the same elements as a written conclusion. You should wrap up your presentation by restating the

purpose of the presentation, reviewing its main points, and emphasizing the importance of the material you presented. A strong conclusion will leave a lasting impression on your audience.

Contributors and Attributions

  • Adapted from Writing for Success. Provided by: The Saylor Foundation. License: CC-NC-SA 3.0
  • Introductions . Provided by: UNC Writing Center. License: CC BY-NC-ND


" Writing Introductions and Conclusions in an Essay ."  Authored by:  Karen Hamilton.  License:  All Rights Reserved.  License Terms:  Standard YouTube license.

This page most recently updated on June 23, 2020.

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How to Write an Essay Introduction

The introduction is arguably the most important part of an essay. It sets the tone for the entire piece, grabs the reader's attention, and lays out the main argument. A good introduction not only engages the reader but also guides them into the heart of your essay. UK Writings is an excellent write my essay company . For students who need help with refining their introduction writing skills, reading a UKWritings review can offer valuable insights into the reputation and reliability of this paper writing service. In this post, we'll explore some key tips and strategies to help you write a compelling and effective introduction for your essays.

Understand the Purpose of an Introduction

Before we dive into the specifics, it's essential to understand the primary purpose of an essay introduction. An introduction serves three main functions:

  • Hook the reader: The introduction should pique the reader's interest, making them want to read further.
  • Provide background information: It should provide context and background information necessary for the reader to understand the topic and the essay's main argument.
  • State the thesis: The introduction should clearly present the essay's main argument or thesis statement.

Start With a Compelling Hook

The first few sentences of your introduction are crucial in capturing the reader's attention. You want to start with a compelling hook that piques their interest and makes them want to continue reading. Here are some effective ways to begin your introduction:

  • Startling fact or statistic : Presenting a surprising or thought-provoking fact or statistic related to your topic can immediately grab the reader's attention. Example: "Every year, over 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans, posing a serious threat to marine life."
  • Rhetorical question: Asking a thought-provoking question that relates to your topic can engage the reader and make them think about the issue. Example: "Have you ever wondered how our reliance on single-use plastics is impacting the environment?"
  • Quotation : Using a relevant quotation from a respected source can add credibility and intrigue to your introduction. Example: "As Jane Goodall famously said, 'What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.'"
  • Anecdote or personal story : A brief, relevant anecdote or personal story can help the reader connect with your topic on a more personal level. Example: "When I was a child, I remember being fascinated by the vibrant colors and intricate patterns of the coral reefs during a family vacation to the Great Barrier Reef."

Set the Context and Provide Background Information

After capturing the reader's attention with a compelling hook, your introduction should provide essential background information and context to help the reader understand the topic and its significance. This background information should be concise and relevant, setting the stage for your main argument without delving too deeply into details.

When providing background information, consider:

  • Historical context: If your topic has a historical aspect, briefly explain the relevant historical events or circumstances.
  • Definitions: Define any key terms or concepts that the reader might not be familiar with.
  • Scope: Clarify the scope of your essay and the specific aspect or angle you'll be exploring.
  • Significance: Explain why your topic is important or relevant and why the reader should care.

Example: "Plastic pollution has become a major environmental concern in recent decades. As our reliance on single-use plastics has increased, so too has the amount of plastic waste ending up in our oceans, landfills, and natural environments. This plastic pollution not only poses a threat to marine life but also has far-reaching consequences for human health and the planet's ecosystems."

State Your Thesis Statement

The thesis statement is the backbone of your essay, and it should be clearly stated in the introduction. Your thesis statement should concisely summarize the main argument or central idea of your essay. It should be specific, focused, and debatable, providing a clear roadmap for the rest of your essay.

When writing your thesis statement, consider:

  • Main argument: What is the main point or argument you'll be making in your essay?
  • Scope: What specific aspect or angle of the topic will you be focusing on?
  • Significance: Why is your argument important or relevant?

Example: "Therefore, it is crucial that we take immediate and decisive action to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics and implement effective strategies to combat plastic pollution in our oceans and natural environments."

Structure and Transitions

While the content of your introduction is essential, the structure and flow are equally important. A well-organized introduction should have a logical progression, guiding the reader smoothly from the hook to the background information and finally to the thesis statement.

To achieve a cohesive structure, use appropriate transitions and signpost words to connect your ideas and guide the reader through your introduction. For example, you could use phrases like "In recent years," "Moreover," "Additionally," or "Therefore" to link your sentences and ideas together.

Example: "In recent years, plastic pollution has become a major environmental concern. Moreover, as our reliance on single-use plastics has increased, so too has the amount of plastic waste ending up in our oceans, landfills, and natural environments. Additionally, this plastic pollution not only poses a threat to marine life but also has far-reaching consequences for human health and the planet's ecosystems. Therefore, it is crucial that we take immediate and decisive action to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics and implement effective strategies to combat plastic pollution in our oceans and natural environments."

Length and Placement

While there is no strict rule on the length of an introduction, a general guideline is to keep it between 10-20% of the total word count of your essay. This ensures that your introduction is substantial enough to provide the necessary background and context without being too long or overwhelming.

It's also important to note that the introduction should be placed at the beginning of your essay, serving as the first section before the body paragraphs and conclusion.

Revise and Refine

Writing a strong introduction is an iterative process, and it's essential to revise and refine your introduction as you write and revise your essay. As you develop your ideas and arguments, you may need to adjust or refine your introduction to better align with the content and direction of your essay.

Don't be afraid to revise your introduction multiple times until you're satisfied that it accurately reflects the focus, tone, and main argument of your essay.

A well-written introduction is the key to capturing your reader's attention and setting the stage for a compelling and persuasive essay. By following these tips and strategies, you can create an introduction that hooks the reader, provides essential context, and clearly states your thesis statement. Remember to start with a compelling hook, provide relevant background information, create a focused thesis statement, maintain a logical structure, and revise and refine your introduction as needed. With a strong introduction in place, you'll be well on your way to writing a successful and impactful essay.


How Long Should a College Admission Essay Be?

Each year, millions of students look forward to joining the college of their dreams. While college essays are a unique chance for candidates to tell their stories and win the hearts of admissions officers, the issue of how long a college essay should be lingers in the minds of many.

Our professional admission essay writers, who double as consultants for the same, have repeatedly advised and written tens of thousands of college application essays. In this article, we share insights, on what an ideal or perfect essay length is for a college essay. We go further in to address the tips to help you reach a balance while telling your stories and meeting the guidelines.

What’s With the Word Limit for College Applications?

Writing a college essay is an important part of the application process, and knowing the appropriate length is crucial to make a strong impression.

Imagine having to read hundreds of thousands of application essays, giving each an equal attention span. That is the big duty that every college admissions officer has each day when assessing college admission essays.

Having a word limit ensures that the officers can assess every essay equally, giving each candidate equal time. Therefore, when you go under or over the limit, you deny yourself the chance to be on a level playing ground like the rest of the candidates.

The strict word count limits for college essays are also a means to axe those who exceed the word count. They risk the chance of being disqualified or being assessed to the wordcount and discarding the excess. Now, what would happens where the forte of your essay lies in the excess words? You deliberately lose the chance for equality.

The word limit is there to test if you can adhere to instructions. It is expected that you will follow the instructions and write an essay that contains information that is not in your recommendation letters, supplemental essays, resume, or test scores.

Additionally, the wordcount helps you be concise and clear. Instead of overwhelming the reviewers with information, you must filter the finest information.

Common Length Requirements of Application Essays

Students write different types of admission essays to gain entry into the colleges of their dreams. Let us examine the ideal length or the common length requirements.

  • Common Application. Would-be college students use common application or common APP essays to apply to multiple colleges, over 800 colleges. Common App platforms typically require personal essays to be between 250 and 650 words. This range provides enough space to tell your story while staying concise and focused.
  • Coalition Essay. A coalition essay is similarly used to apply to multiple colleges—150 colleges, to be precise. The Coalition Application platforms recommend a word length of 500-600.
  • Personal Statement. The word limit for college personal statements is 500-650 words. Some schools might ask for more or less. For instance, some universities such as UT Austin require an essay that is 500-700 words long alongside three short-answer questions that you are required to write 200-300 essay-exam-like answers. The University of California has a prompt with eight questions, four of which are mandatory, each expecting a comprehensive and clear 350-word essay answer.
  • Supplemental Essays. Some colleges often require one to three additional essays, with lengths varying widely. These can range from 150 to 300 words, an average of 250 words, depending on the prompt and the institution's requirements. Always check the specific instructions for each school. The longest we have seen is Cornell College’s, which is capped at 650 words max.
  • Custom college applications. Some colleges and universities have their applications with unique requirements. These can range from short answers of 100-200 words to longer essays similar to the Common App.

Before you write an application essay, read the instructions and identify the word limit. It is always indicated.

Should I Go Under or Over the Word Limit?

Lengthy discussions with admission officers have made us know that if you are attaching the essay as a document, you can exceed the word count by one or two extra words. Do this only if you have re-evaluated, edited, and paraphrased your essay to the limit. You can easily get away with this, as it is a small amount. In fact, some colleges will highlight in the instructions that exceeding the word count by 1-2 words is tolerable.

We advise you against exceeding the word count limit unless the instructions explicitly allow room for it. In many cases, exceeding the word count can limit you when you are pasting to a text box. If you do so, the essay sections above the word count are automatically trimmed, which can affect your evaluation. In addition, noticeably exceeding the word count shows the admissions officer that you never read the instructions. In most cases, they end where the word limit permits. You want to maintain the word limit to show that you can adhere to instructions.

You can get your points across without reaching the ceiling word limit. Although the minimum word limit might not be set, it is always a good idea to stick to the word limit. If you must go under the word count, ensure that you are only short for a few words. Maintain the word range but skew more towards the ceiling. If you are given a limit of 400-500 words range, strive to reach 450 to 480 words. Instead of writing less and missing the points, include more points and leave only a few words short to the maximum limit.

If no word limit is given, check around the website or scour the web and social media for the official word limit. You can also reach out and ask. Sometimes, they give a range using pages instead of word count, so stay keen.

Tips for Creating a Perfect-Length Application Essay

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the ideal length of a college essay. The lengths vary depending on the institutional requirements, which are very volatile.

Check the Word Limit

Although occasionally you might encounter prompts that do not specify a word count, the general rule of thumb is to aim for at least 500 words or 2 pages if you are to upload it as a document. Such a length is enough to share your story, ambitions, and goals while maintaining consistency and conciseness. Ensure that you format your essay in double-spacing and use 12-point font, which translates to 250 -275 words per page. Otherwise, keep writing in the textbox until it cannot take any more words.

Draft Freely and Edit Thoroughly

Start your essay writing process by writing more than you need to explore all the thoughts you might have. Once you have a first draft, trim the unnecessary details to reach the desired word count.

Be Concise and Clear

Avoid bluffing in your essay. Remove all the filler words and redundant phrases. You should go directly to the point and offer specifics to the target audience – the admissions counselor. Highlight your experiences, ambitions, and goals as you reflect. If you have written your essay in Microsoft Word, you can easily see the word count. You can also countercheck the word count through Google Docs, Online word counters or count the words manually to know whether you have achieved the word limit or gone over it and by how many words.

Create an Outline

A perfect college essay should be clear, concise, coherent, connected, and cogent. A good way to achieve this is to plan adequately. Begin by scaffolding your essay and filling the meat for it to make sense. The introduction should be 10% of the word count, the body should be 80%, and the conclusion the remaining 10%. Unless otherwise, you might not need to use citations and references in your personal essay.

Seek Feedback

Before sending your application essay, have someone review it and provide newer perspectives on where you should trim out or elaborate further. When a peer or someone else reviews your essay, they can help you objectively write the essay in a way that pleases the admissions committee.

Carefully Shorten or Lengthen the Essay

If you notice that you have gone under the word limit, chances are that you ran out of ideas, which happens to many students all the time. As a remedy, ensure that you expand your ideas by elaborating on the points. You can also separate ideas, include transition words, include quotes from famous people, and rephrase your essay. This is a narrative essay , and everything has to be concise in the right way.

If you go over the word count, ensure that you remove redundancy, combine similar ideas, make your essay focused, address wordiness, shorten sentences, use shorter synonyms, and use simple language in the essay. You can use many strategies to make your essay longer , but find one that works well with an admission essay.

Hire a Professional.

Websites like Gradecrest have the best application essay writers who will read the prompt, ask you questions, and custom-write an essay that reflects your insights, beliefs, ambitions, and goals. Paying for an admission essay helps you to get a professional perspective that increases your chance of acceptance. If you have written an essay yourself, our professionals can also edit your essay so that you get to the sweet spot. We have peer-reviewed tens of thousands of essays for students who end up getting into the colleges of their dreams. GradeCrest experts are ready to help you perfect your essays. Do not hesitate to place an order, and we will pair you up with the best.

Finally, before you Exit …

Adhering to the specific length restrictions for your college essays puts you ahead of other candidates. Meeting word limits is an important skill that shows you are considerate, understanding, and keen. While meeting the ideal word count limits, ensure that you use the tips above to write an essay that will be passed from one officer to the next, like the famous Costco essay . Be sure to read the college requirements, and if you are writing a coalition or common app essay, plan adequately. Share only the main ideas that align with the prompt without beating about the bush – each word counts, and wasting it is sacrilegious to your college dreams.

If you need expert assistance to unlock your struggles with writing an essay, you can hire an admission essay writer to help you. We have hundreds of seasoned writers who know their professional duty – writing spotless essays for any prompt!

how long should the extended essay intro be

Gradecrest is a professional writing service that provides original model papers. We offer personalized services along with research materials for assistance purposes only. All the materials from our website should be used with proper references. See our Terms of Use Page for proper details.

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  1. How to Write an Extended Essay: The Fullest Guide

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    Yeah that's waaay too much. IIRC I was told that the introduction should be about 10% of the essay, so that's about 400 words tops. My EE supervisor told me it's supposed to be ±400 words. Mine is 380. It was quite a challenge to make it this short.

  22. How to Write an Extended Essay: from Outline to Conclusion

    Step 4: Writing the Introduction. Once you have completed the above steps and you have come up with an outline based on the extended essay's structure, the next step is to introduce your topic and elaborate it to your target readers. There are various things you should consider when coming up with an introduction.

  23. How to Write an Essay Introduction (with Examples)

    2. How long should an essay introduction be? An essay introduction typically ranges from 5-10% of the total word count. For example, in a 1,000-word essay, the introduction would be roughly 50-100 words. However, the length can vary depending on the complexity of the topic and the overall length of the essay.

  24. LibGuides: Extended Essay Guide: The Conclusion

    Extended Essay Conclusion. A conclusion is not merely a summary of the main topics covered or a re-statement of your research question, but a synthesis of key points and, if applicable, where you recommend new areas for future research. For most essays, one well-developed paragraph is sufficient for a conclusion, although in some cases, a two ...

  25. Mastering Essay Introductions: Step-by-Step Guide with Examples

    Now, using this essay writing guide, let's explore how to create a well-structured introduction in ten steps. Each step is crucial in writing an essay introduction that captures attention and presents the thesis. Start with a hook: Begin with something that is engaging. Use a startling fact, a quote from a well-known figure, or a riveting ...

  26. 5.4: Writing Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs

    Exercise 3 5.4.3 5.4. 3. On a separate sheet of a paper, restate your thesis from Exercise 2 of this section and then make some general concluding remarks. Next, compose a final emphatic statement. Finally, incorporate what you have written into a strong conclusion paragraph for your essay. Collaboration.

  27. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Hook the reader: The introduction should pique the reader's interest, making them want to read further. Provide background information: It should provide context and background information necessary for the reader to understand the topic and the essay's main argument. State the thesis: The introduction should clearly present the essay's main ...

  28. Constitution of the United States

    The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States. [3] It superseded the Articles of Confederation, the nation's first constitution, on March 4, 1789. Originally including seven articles, the Constitution delineates the national frame and constrains the powers of the federal government.

  29. The Ideal Length of a College Application Essay (Get the Facts)

    The word limit for college personal statements is 500-650 words. Some schools might ask for more or less. For instance, some universities such as UT Austin require an essay that is 500-700 words long alongside three short-answer questions that you are required to write 200-300 essay-exam-like answers.

  30. Alexander the Great

    Alexander III of Macedon (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος, romanized: Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC - 10/11 June 323 BC), most commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon. He succeeded his father Philip II to the throne in 336 BC at the age of 20 and spent most of his ruling years conducting a lengthy military campaign throughout Western ...