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Extended Essay

A guide for the extended essay in the DP.

Biology Sample B

Extended Essay: Exemplar Commentary



If applicable, theme for WSEE


If applicable, category for language essays


If applicable, subjects used for WSEE


Title of essay

The effectiveness of whey as a muscle-developing dietary supplement

Essay number


Examination session


Assessment of extended essay


Mark awarded


A: Focus and method



The research question is a bit convoluted and unclear. It is too broad for all aspects of this question to be adequately addressed in 4,000 words.The purpose of the research is not clearly expressed.

The number of and quality of sources used was limited. The method itself has significant deficiencies.

There is no evidence of an informed selection of sources or methods. Holistically, the evidence provided by the essay means it achieves the top end of the 1-2 band.

B: Knowledge and understanding



There is some understanding demonstrated and the source materials are mostly relevant.

The use of terminology and concepts is just about adequate.

Marking positively, the essay just about provides enough evidence to achieve the 3-4 band, but certainly at the lower end.

Some appropriate sources are consulted and some knowledge is demonstrated, but links to the research question and the topic of infant malnutrition seem weak. There is a general lack of academic context to the essay, even though a lively interest is conveyed. Sources are quite well-chosen, but not explained or evaluated. Subject-specific terminology is used quite well in a descriptive context. No concepts or theories are explained. The appropriate markband is again 3-4.

C: Critical thinking



The research is very weak in this essay. The method selected is apparently completely uncontrolled and the research question is not addressed in a scientific manner.

Apart from this major flaw, the other elements of this criterion are adequately addressed.

There is analysis that is relevant to the research question and there is a consistent discussion, although both are superficially applied.

Best fit—the lowest level of the 4-6 band.

D: Presentation



The presentation is acceptable, but not good. Required lay-out elements are present but the order and presentation are somewhat informal. The bibliography is not alphabetical. There is inconsistent referencing. The use of graphics is ineffective.

Under the new requirements this essay must be referred as a possible case of academic misconduct due to incorrect and inconsistent citing and referencing.

E: Engagement


(not included)


Although not the most evaluative of reflections, they do show a high level of engagement with the subject area researched.

Total marks awarded


Summative comment

From a scientific perspective, this investigation was very weak. However, the extended essay product was generally satisfactory with most aspects being addressed adequately. The candidate has clearly shown engagement and this criterion score pulls the essay up—it clearly shows the potential value of strong reflection and engagement.

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