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5 Tips for writing a Biology Extended Essay

5 Tips for writing a Biology EE

Biology is a popular subject for the IB extended essay and is great preparation for any student hoping to major in a science at university, as there will be plenty of lab reports (and eventually a thesis/dissertation!) in the future that will be structured quite similarly to the EE!

Here are 5 main tips to guide you in writing a Biology EE:

1. Choose the right topic and scope.

- It needs to be beyond the scope of the IB curriculum but not so complicated that you won’t be able to understand the concepts!

- Remember, you’re not expected to find anything groundbreaking, but you also can’t investigate something that a standard textbook can easily answer!

- Half of the battle is making sure your scope is neither too broad nor too specific - remember, 4000 words isn’t a lot when you want to write in detail and depth

- Brainstorm topics that you are interested in, or questions that you are personally curious about, then make sure your school/area has the resources to pursue this idea!

2, Be organised, but be realistic about your goals

- It might be helpful to create a timeline, for example, deciding on deadlines for:

- Finishing data collection

- Finishing your introduction

- When you need to hand in your first draft

- When you need to hand in your final draft

-Being organised is extremely important given that you will have many other projects and subjects you will have to work on while doing your EE!

3. Keep it simple

- Don’t carry out extremely complicated experiments with lots of different variables

- And mind the time; how long will the experiments take, including waiting time and repeats? - Does anything need time to grow?

- Remember that your supervisor sadly cannot write the EE for you, so make sure you choose a topic that you will be able to understand.

4. Justify yourself

- Where possible and within reason, explain your decisions e.g. changes you’ve made to the method, certain species you’ve used, why you’ve chosen one question over another, why you’ve chosen certain chemicals.

- Examiners like to see that you have thought carefully not just about the how and what but the WHY behind the process of answering your research question!

5. Mind your language!

- Don’t use too much scientific jargon, but be clear and specific

- Don’t be too wordy, but be detailed

- It’s a difficult balance, but here you’ll need to use your intuition: does your essay read smoothly? Would someone be able to read through all 4000 words in more or less one go?

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