What Is a Passing Mark in Extended Essay: Explained

It’s a research-based essay of up to 4,000 words that allows students to explore a topic of personal interest in depth. However, completing the essay isn’t enough to secure the prestigious IB diploma. To be considered successful, students must achieve a passing mark, which is determined by the IB organization. This passing mark is set at a minimum of 24 points, and failing to reach this threshold means that students won’t be awarded their diploma. Therefore, it’s crucial for students to strive for excellence in their research and presentation of ideas to ensure they meet or exceed the passing mark requirements.

Is Extended Essay Mandatory?

The extended essay is an essential requirement in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. It offers students a unique opportunity to delve deeper into their chosen subjects and develop critical research and writing skills. Although it may resemble a traditional research paper, it goes beyond that, requiring students to demonstrate independent thinking, analytical abilities, and effective communication.

Through the extended essay, students have the freedom to choose any of the six subjects they’ve studied throughout their IB journey. This offers a unique advantage, as students can explore topics of personal interest or research questions that intrigue them. This freedom and personalization allow students to develop a deep understanding of their chosen subject area and become experts in their own right.

The extended essay isn’t merely a theoretical exercise but an active engagement in primary and secondary research. Students are encouraged to seek out primary sources, conduct experiments, collect data, and analyze findings. This practical approach to research empowers students to apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Completing the extended essay isn’t an easy task, as it requires students to dedicate considerable time and effort. However, the benefits are immense. It prepares students for the challenges of higher education, equipping them with essential skills such as time management, research skills, academic writing, and critical analysis.

How to Choose a Topic for the Extended Essay

Choosing a topic for the extended essay involves identifying a subject that you’re passionate about and have some prior knowledge of. Consider your interests, hobbies, and any subjects that intrigue you. It’s important to select a topic that allows for in-depth research and analysis, as the extended essay is a scholarly endeavor. Additionally, consult with your teachers, as they can provide guidance and help you narrow down your options. Ultimately, choose a topic that you find intellectually stimulating and that you can explore in depth over an extended period.

The maximum point for an extended essay is 34, with the score indicating a band. This assessment is carried out by examiners appointed by the IB.

What Is the Maximum Points for Extended Essay?

The maximum points for the extended essay is 34, which is achieved by meeting all the assessment criteria to an exceptional level. The extended essay is assessed through a process of external marking, where examiners appointed by the IB review and grade the essays.

The assessment of the extended essay is based on several criteria. These criteria include the research question, the methodology used, the analysis and interpretation of the data, the discussion and conclusion, and the overall presentation and organization of the essay. Each criterion is assigned a specific band level, ranging from 0 to 6, with a maximum of 2 marks available for each criterion.

The examiners assess the essays holistically, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of each essay. They consider the evidence provided, the coherence of the argument, the depth of analysis, and the overall quality of the writing. The aim of the assessment is to evaluate the students ability to engage in independent research and to present their findings in a clear and coherent manner.

All extended essays are marked on the same scale, allowing for consistency and comparability between essays. This means that a high-scoring essay in one subject can be compared to a high-scoring essay in another subject. The final score is then determined by adding up the marks awarded for each criterion.

It provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in a specific area of interest, and to engage in the kind of independent research and critical thinking that’s valued in higher education. Ultimately, the extended essay is a valuable learning experience that prepares students for the challenges of university and beyond.

Tips for Achieving a High Score on the Extended Essay

The extended essay is a crucial component of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. To achieve a high score on this essay, students should follow a few key tips. Firstly, they should choose a topic they’re passionate about and have a strong knowledge base in. Secondly, they should carefully plan and organize their time to ensure they’ve ample opportunity for research and writing. Students should also thoroughly research their topic and use a variety of reliable sources. It’s important to critically analyze and evaluate these sources to develop a strong argument. Additionally, students should ensure their essay is well-structured, with a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and a solid conclusion. They should also pay attention to formatting requirements and cite sources accurately using a recognized citation style. Finally, students should consider seeking feedback from teachers or peers and revising their essay accordingly. By following these tips, students can improve their chances of achieving a high score on their extended essay.

Therefore, it’s crucial for students to understand the importance of successfully completing their Extended Essay in order to obtain their IB diploma. Failing to pass the Extended Essay and receiving an E grade, along with an N grade in any other subject, can result in the unfortunate consequence of not attaining the diploma after dedicating two years to the program.

Do You Have to Pass the Extended Essay?

The Extended Essay is a crucial component of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. It challenges students to conduct in-depth research and produce a scholarly paper on a topic of their choice. While it isn’t mandatory to pass the Extended Essay in order to graduate from high school, it’s essential if you want to earn the IB diploma. Failing the Extended Essay can be a devastating blow for students who’ve invested two years of hard work in the program.

In addition to the Extended Essay, students must also pass the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) component in order to earn the diploma. Both the Extended Essay and TOK are graded on an A-E scale, with A being the highest and E being the lowest. If a student earns an E in both the Extended Essay and TOK, they’ll not receive the diploma.

This underlines the importance of completing and submitting the Extended Essay on time.

Tips for Choosing a Topic for the Extended Essay

When it comes to choosing a topic for the Extended Essay, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s important to choose a topic that interests you and that you’ve some knowledge or background in. This will make the research and writing process more enjoyable and manageable. Secondly, consider the availability of resources and materials for your chosen topic. You’ll want to ensure that you’ve access to enough information to conduct a thorough investigation. Additionally, think about the scope of your topic and make sure it’s specific enough to explore in depth, but not too narrow that you run out of things to discuss. Lastly, seek guidance from your supervisor or teacher, as they can provide valuable insights and suggestions based on their expertise.

Source: What Happens if You Fail Your Extended Essay?


In conclusion, the passing mark for the IB Extended Essay is set at a minimum of 24 points. This benchmark is crucial in determining whether a student will be awarded the prestigious IB diploma or not. Scoring below the required threshold of 24 points means that the student's efforts in the Extended Essay didn’t meet the standard expected by the IB. Therefore, it’s essential for students undertaking the Extended Essay to strive for excellence and ensure that their work not only meets but surpasses the minimum passing mark to secure their diploma and showcase their ability to engage in independent research and critical thinking.

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