Interim Reflection Extended Essay Guide

How To Write IB Extended Essay Reflections

As you already know, the new extended essay criteria include 6 marks for “Engagement.” These 6 marks are almost enough to bring you from a C to an A. We don't know the exact difference between a C and an A yet, but my guess is 7 or 8 marks.

I want to give a sense of what the rubric is asking for and how to show these things in your writing. (You will be writing your reflections on the new "Reflections on Planning and Progress Form").

In short, the reflections will be about your decision-making and your planning as you do your EE. And you will try to show that you’re taking “an intellectual approach” and have a lot of “personal engagement.”

Here's what the they (the IB big-shots) DON’T want, what they DO want and HOW to do it:

1) They don’t want you to simply describe what you’ve done already.

Instead:

  • Let us understand your thinking processes
  • Reflect on decisions you’ve already made. What decisions were hard to make or made poorly so far and how have you dealt with these?
  • Have you found it hard (or easy) to make good decisions? 
  • Discuss something you could have done differently or better.

2) They don’t want you only doing Google searches and using whatever information comes up first.

Instead:

  • Show that you have been careful about choosing your sources. 
  • Show us that you have taken time to think creatively about what kind of information will be required to answer your question and then that you’ve taken the time to try to find this exact information. (Some tips on doing advanced EE research).
  • Reflect on your planning so far. Have you under-planned (or over-planned?) or not planned for the right aspects of your work so far?
  • Have you found it hard (or easy) to plan your work? 
  • What set-backs have you faced in your planning and how have you dealt with these? What would you do differently, in your planning, next time you do research like this?

3) They don’t want you just going through the motions, thoughtlessly doing things only because your teachers told you to.

Instead:

  • Show that you have really taken the lead on this research. (Some tips for getting started with your EE, if you aren't sure where to start).
  • Show us that you see this research as interesting and important, in a genuine way. 
  • What sub-questions have you been asking yourself as you did your research? (These would be questions that would help you answer your main research question). 
  • What do you find interesting about this topic? 

4) They don’t want students who think they’re already perfect.

Instead:

  • Show us some of your mistakes and what you’ve learned from them. 
  • What have you learned about yourself already, as a result of doing this work? 
  • What has proven more difficult than you expected and how have you dealt with this?


Here is the top mark-band from the rubric. The 4 rules above will help you producing reflections that can be described by this 5-6 mark band.

The IB encourages students to reflect throughout the research process - not just at the end after your paper is finished!

You will meet with your supervisor a number of times while you are working on your EE, for a total of 3 to 5 hours.  Three of those sessions will be "reflection sessions", meaning that following these meetings you will be required to submit a 150-175 word reflection on the research and writing process of your EE to the EE Coordinator.  Your reflections will be submitted to IB by WSA's IB Coordinator, using the Reflections on Planning and Progress Form (RPPF).

The 'Initial Session' in the spring of your junior year.  The remaining reflection session take place in your senior year:  one 'Interim Session' in September, and one 'Final Session' (also know as 'Viva Voce') in December.

Your three reflections will count for 19% of your final EE grade from the IB examiner.

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