At the beginning of the school year, BSGE 11th graders begin their year-long assignment: the Extended Essay. Although this assignment may sound tedious and intimidating, it is a crucial part of the IB program. “I was overwhelmed at first because it sounded like a really complicated paper,” said Angelica Benares ‘16. This essay, put simply, is a mandatory independent research paper on a topic of interest with a maximum of 4,000 words.
At BSGE, students are required to choose their discipline from one of the three IB Higher Level classes— History of the Americas, English Literature, and Visual Art. However, every year there are a few exceptions to the rule: a very small percentage of students choose Standard Level topics, such as Biology SL or Math SL. The difference between IB HL and IB SL is that HL is generally more difficult and in depth than SL. Because in HL classes students are able to learn more difficult material, they are encouraged to write their Extended Essays on topics belonging to those disciplines. The few exceptions to this rule are students who have very strong interests in the SL subjects and also have extracurricular connections to them. For example, a student who attends a Biology class and lab at a community college every weekend may be able to choose Biology as their discipline for the Extended Essay.