How Long is Extended Essay? Minimum and Maximum Word Count

The International Baccalaureate Extended Essay is a challenging, independent research project that allows students to explore a topic of their choice within the context of one of the six available subject areas. This essay provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate the depth of their knowledge and understanding on an individual topic, and to develop their critical and independent thinking skills.

Extended essays are an essential part of the IB Diploma, since they allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding on a certain topic. Students must be aware of the criteria and guidelines for each subject before starting their research and writing.

  • The main components of an IB Extended Essay are:
  • Formulating a research question
  • Gathering evidence from reliable sources
  • Organizing evidence into a coherent argument
  • Drawing conclusions based on facts
  • Presenting the essay in a structural format

Students should also be aware of the assessment criteria which will be used to grade their work. This includes criteria such as focus and purpose, organization and structure, as well as content, referencing and accuracy.

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How Long is Extended Essay? Minimum and Maximum Word Count

Overview of Requirements for Extended Essays

Writing an International Baccalaureate Extended Essay can be a daunting task. This essay is an important part of the IB Diploma Program and can have a significant impact on your overall score. To help you succeed, it’s important to understand the requirements for a successful Extended Essay.

There are certain guidelines and criteria that you must adhere to in order to successfully complete your essay. The most important guideline is the word count limit, which states that the essay should be between 1500 and 4000 words. This includes all text, headings and citations.

It is also important to structure your essay correctly. The essay should include a title page, an introduction and a conclusion, as well as two to four body sections describing and analyzing the topic you’re writing about. Each body section should contain evidence from at least two sources, such as scholarly articles, books or official websites.

When writing the essay, it is important to present your arguments clearly and concisely. Break up your text with headings that clearly identify each section. Additionally, use good grammar, short sentences and paragraphs – no longer than three to five lines.

Last but not least, make sure to cite all sources used accurately and consistently. While MLA format is generally preferred, it is also important to check with your teacher which citation style they prefer.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your Extended Essay meets the requirements and stands out from the crowd. Good luck!

Word Count:

An IB Extended Essay should have a minimum of 1,500 words and a maximum of 4,000 words. It is important to stay within the specified word count, as going over the limit can lead to lower grades.

When writing your extended essay, it is important to make sure that each paragraph is well structured and contains only relevant information. Each paragraph should be around 200-300 words in length, and include evidence from reliable sources.

It is also important to keep track of your word count throughout the writing process. This way you can make sure you are not exceeding the limit or leaving out any key points.

Finally, when you have finished writing, make sure to read through your essay one more time and edit it for typos, grammar, punctuation and spelling mistakes. This will help to ensure that your essay is being assessed according to the correct criteria.

By following these tips, you can make sure that your IB Extended Essay meets the specified word limit and has a clear structure which allows it to be easily understood by readers.

Paragraph Length and Word Count

Writing an IB Extended Essay can be a challenging and complex task. One of the main components is the word count. It is crucial to understand why word count matters, and how long paragraphs should be in order for your essay to be successful.

Word count is necessary because it allows you to stay organized and plan out your ideas. If paragraphs are too short or too long, readers may lose focus and not understand your argument properly. Additionally, having too many short paragraphs can make your essay appear disorganized, while having too many long paragraphs can make it tedious and difficult to read.

The ideal paragraph length is around 5-7 sentences. This will help keep the reader’s attention and provide enough detail to explain your point. However, the length of each paragraph may vary depending on the content, so use your best judgement. Also, make sure that all of your paragraphs are related to the topic, focus on one main idea, and have a clear conclusion.

In conclusion, when writing an IB Extended Essay, it is important to understand why word count matters and how long paragraphs should be. Aim to have paragraphs of around 5-7 sentences, and make sure they are related to each other, focus on one main idea, and have a clear conclusion.

Research for an IB Extended Essay

Conducting research for your IB Extended Essay is a key component of the writing process. The essay should include around 8-12 sources, and they can be either primary or secondary sources. Primary sources are first-hand accounts of an event or topic, while secondary sources are accounts written by someone who is not directly involved.

When selecting sources, make sure they are credible and up to date. Consider sources such as academic journals, books, websites, newspaper articles and other reliable sources. Your sources should be balanced, so include a variety of perspectives on your topic.

When citing sources, use the citation format required by your school and the IB. Making sure to cite your sources will help you avoid plagiarism, which is a serious offense that can cost you points on your final grade.

Once you’ve found some good sources, it’s important to use them effectively. Distinguish between facts and opinions in the sources, and ensure that you are using enough evidence to support your thesis. In addition, don’t forget to cross check and verify any claims made in the sources.

Overall, the research process for an IB Extended Essay requires time and effort, but following these tips will help you find the sources that best fit your topic.

Structure of an IB Extended Essay

An IB Extended Essay requires a clear structure for it to be successful and achieve the highest grades. In order to effectively outline the structure of your extended essay, you need to understand what is expected from each component.

The standard structure for an IB Extended Essay comprises four components – introduction, body, conclusion, and bibliography. Each component is important and must be included in the essay.


The introduction should provide an overview of the topic and the main argument or thesis statement. It should also introduce the research question and explain any background context or definitions that are relevant.


The body of your extended essay needs to be structured according to your research question. This can vary depending on the focus of your essay, but generally you will use evidence to back up your arguments and assertions throughout the body. Make sure you cite all sources you use in the text in order to avoid any issues with plagiarism.


The conclusion should summarise your findings and provide a brief explanation of the implications of the research. You should also discuss how your essay has addressed the research question and wrap up any loose ends.


The bibliography is the final component of your extended essay and should include full citations for all sources used in the body and conclusion. Make sure you follow the guidelines of your citation style (e.g. Harvard) when listing the sources.

By outlining the structure of your essay, you’ll ensure that it flows logically and can be easily understood by readers. This will help you make sure that your essay is effective and achieves the highest possible grade.

Time Management for IB Extended Essay Writing

Writing an IB Extended Essay can be an intimidating endeavor, but with the right planning and organization, students can effectively manage their time and produce a quality essay. Creating a timeline, setting deadlines, and following a structure are key components of writing a successful extended essay.

Setting a Timeline & Deadlines

Creating a timeline for completing your essay is critical for staying on track and meeting deadlines. Start by determining how much time you need to do the research, write, and proofread your essay. Break it down into smaller chunks of time so that you can focus on one task at a time. Set realistic deadlines that you can meet and document them somewhere you can reference them.

Staying Within the Word LimitOne of the main requirements of the IB Extended Essay is that it must be within a certain word limit. This limit is between 1,500 and 4,000 words depending on the subject you choose. To ensure that you stay within the word limit, you should refer back to the limit regularly and adjust your essay accordingly.

Structuring & Organizing

Structuring your essay in advance gives you a blueprint for the essay which should help you avoid getting off track and make sure that each of the necessary components is included. A good essay should include an introduction, a body with multiple paragraphs, and a conclusion. Be mindful to use topic sentences, transitions, and other writing techniques to organize your thoughts effectively.

Proofreading & Editing

  • Allow sufficient time to proofread and edit your essay.
  • Reread your essay several times and make revisions as necessary.
  • Make sure that your essay is organized and flows well.
  • Look for typos, incorrect grammar, punctuation errors, and awkward phrasing.
  • Ensure that all sources are correctly cited.


Completing an IB Extended Essay on time is possible with careful planning and organization. Establishing a timeline, setting deadlines, and organizing your work are essential steps in writing a successful extended essay.

Resources to Help Structure and Write Extended Essays

Writing an extended essay can be a daunting task. Fortunately, there are numerous resources available online to help you get started.


Using a template can be a great way to ensure that your extended essay follows the IB standards. Templates provide structure to an extended essay, making it easier for students to organize their thoughts. Many websites offer a variety of templates for extended essays, which can be edited to suit the specific requirements of your essay.

Sample Essays

An excellent way for students to learn about the structure and writing process of an extended essay is by reading sample essays. These essays can provide invaluable insight on the expectations of a quality extended essay. By reading samples written by peers, or viewing examples from international baccalaureate assessment sites, students can get an idea of what a successful extended essay looks like.


Mentorship can be invaluable when it comes to completing an extended essay. Organizations like the International Baccalaureate have advisors that can provide help and guidance on the structure of your essay. Additionally, depending on your school, you may have access to teachers or peers who have already completed the extended essay, and who can share their experiences and ideas.


Writing an extended essay can be a daunting task, but with the right resources and support, it can become a rewarding experience. By using templates, reading sample essays, and seeking mentorship, students can develop a successful extended essay that meets the IB standards.

Technical Considerations

Writing an IB Extended Essay is a task that requires precision and accuracy. It is critical to not just be aware of the requirements for your particular topic and school, but also to pay attention to technical details. This includes proofreading, formatting, and plagiarism awareness.


Proofreading is the process of reading and correcting errors in written work. It is important to carefully review all writing for mistakes in grammar, spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure. It is helpful to read your essay out loud to check for awkward phrasing or run-on sentences. Additionally, it is important to have someone else look over your essay and provide feedback.


Formatting plays an essential role in any extended essay. Every school has different specifications regarding font size, alignment, layout, and page number placement. It is important to check the instructions and adhere to the approved format. Additionally, it is beneficial to double-check that all elements such as hyperlinks and images are placed properly.

Plagiarism Awareness

Plagiarism is a serious issue, and can have serious consequences if found in an IB Extended Essay. It is essential to give credit to any sources used, and ensure that all quotes are indicated with quotation marks. Additionally, it is important to paraphrase information instead of copying word-for-word. If unsure, it is best to check with your school to make sure that your essay is free from plagiarism.

By paying close attention to technical details such as proofreading, formatting, and plagiarism awareness, you can ensure that your extended essay is professional and accurate. As a result, you will be well on your way to achieving a high score!

Grading Criteria for an IB Extended Essay

When it comes to writing an IB extended essay, it is important to remember that it is not just about how much you write, but how well you write. Your extended essay will be graded based on various criteria, and your grade will depend on how well you meet these criteria.

Below are the key components of an extended essay that graders look for:

  • Organization: Does the essay have a clear structure and logical flow?
  • Content: Does the essay have sufficient evidence or research to support its argument?
  • Style: Is the essay written in a formal and academic tone?
  • Language: Is the essay free from spelling and grammar mistakes?
  • Punctuation: Does the essay use punctuation correctly?
  • Formatting: Is the essay formatted correctly in accordance with the requirements?

Remember that meeting these criteria is essential for passing your extended essay. In addition to being aware of the grading criteria, it is also important to make sure that you proofread your essay multiple times and cite all sources correctly to avoid plagiarism issues.

By following these tips and understanding the grading criteria, you can rest assured that your extended essay will get the grade you deserve!


Writing an IB Extended Essay can be a daunting task. You need to understand the requirements of the paper and make sure you meet the criteria in order to get a good grade. Luckily, you now have all the information you need to start writing your essay!

The most important points to remember are that an IB Extended Essay must have a minimum of 1500 and a maximum of 4000 words, must include research from at least 8 sources, must have a clear structure, and should be proofread and formatted correctly. Additionally, it’s important to make sure you manage your time well and stay within the word limit.

To help you with your essay, there are several resources available online such as templates and sample essays. By understanding the grading criteria, you’ll know exactly what you need to focus on in order to achieve a good grade.

We hope this guide has been informative in helping you write the best IB Extended Essay possible. Good luck, and don’t forget to get help if you need it

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's "Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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