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3 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Your IB Chemistry EE

The Extended Essay (EE) is one of the fundamental components of the IB diploma. It is essentially an independent and self-directed research piece, concluding with a 4,000-word paper. You will find that EE is a mandatory submission regardless of the subjects you select, including IB Chemistry. Since EE is a vital part of the IB programme, you must submit a well-written piece to ensure you obtain a good grade.

However, writing an EE is no mean feat, particularly for a subject like IB Chemistry. Given the stringent criteria for writing an EE, many students often produce mediocre or half-baked essays because they fail to comply with the standards. As a result, they fail to score the maximum 2 points allocated for their EE. Consequently, it decreases their chances of obtaining a maximum of 45 points for their IB exams.

This issue is something our tutors have observed multiple times throughout their tenure teaching IB Chemistry tuition. To prevent this from happening to you and to ensure you obtain a good grade for your IB Chemistry, let us share the common mistakes to avoid when writing your IB Chemistry EE.

Mistake #1: Failing to understand the various elements of the IB EE

Failing to understand the various elements of the IB EE

You must have an excellent comprehension of each element of your research paper to craft a brilliant EE. The hypothesis is arguably the most vital element of the piece, as it is basically the statement of expectation or prediction that your research will test and determine. Remember, the IB Chemistry EE is a research essay, not a narrative or description essay. As such, you will need to substantiate your hypothesis effectively.

It is also crucial to understand the theory behind the experiment you have chosen for your IB Chemistry EE, as you have to convincingly explain your findings in your essay, If you are struggling to comprehend the concepts, do not hesitate to approach your tutor during your IB Chemistry tuition class for assistance.

Other integral elements of your IB Chemistry EE to focus on include the following:

1. Introduction

The research question/statement of purpose/hypothesis of your EE must be clearly stated and explained in the introduction. Your introduction should also provide relevant background information and a description of your EE’s “problem”, which is the basis of your research piece. Lastly, the introduction should contain a detailed exploration of the Chemistry involved in your experiment, meaning you must include the necessary equations and explanations leading to your hypothesis.

2. Methodology

The procedures in your IB Chemistry EE should not be too convoluted. Instead, keep your methodology clear and concise and detail the steps you take to reach your conclusion. Do not neglect to show your considerations in keeping the independent variables constant while changing the dependent variable.

3. Data processing

You need to display a consistent trend with the data processing for your IB Chemistry EE, demonstrating proper sample calculations and uncertainty propagation. Any graph included in the essay must contain error bars and maximum/minimum curves.

4. Discussion and conclusion

The discussion and conclusion in your essay should build upon the data trends you obtained in your IB Chemistry EE experiments and whether they agree or disagree with your hypothesis. You should also include suggestions on possible errors and uncertainties resulting from your experiment, as well as any possible improvements that can be made to your IB Chemistry EE procedure.

If you have trouble coming up with a topic/hypothesis for your EE, we recommend consulting your tutor during your IB Chemistry tuition class. Given their in-depth knowledge of the IB Chemistry guide and understanding of the EE criteria, they are well-equipped to advise you accordingly.

Mistake #2: Lack of planning

Lack of planning

Planning the right way to approach your IB Chemistry essay is essential to scoring well for your EE. Unfortunately, many students underestimate the scope of the task. As a result, they end up procrastinating. When they realised that they are behind schedule, they proceed to cram their papers, resulting in a half-baked EE.

Remember, every student is only allocated a fixed amount of time to spend in the laboratory. Therefore, it might be wise to plan ahead by devising a schedule for your experiment. Plan out the timeframe needed to ready your sample, standardise your reagents where necessary, prepare a calibration curve, and conduct a preliminary investigation on your reaction. Doing so will ensure you have sufficient time to return to the lab to redo any procedures or gather additional data.

If you wish to excel in your IB Chemistry EE, you must begin crafting it early and methodically. It is recommended to settle on a topic and draft a rough outline before sharing it with your tutor during your IB Chemistry tuition class. Subsequently, have your EE proposal and report reviewed and edited several times until you are satisfied with the result and ready to submit your work. Lastly, it is vital to have a good understanding of your methodology and the procedure involved in your IB Chemistry EE experiment.

Mistake #3: Not referencing your sources correctly

Not referencing your sources correctly

You must always cite your sources when crafting your IB Chemistry EE. So if you incorporate the work or idea of another in your essay, you must acknowledge the author(s) using a standard and consistent referencing style. Failing to do so is considered plagiarism, and you will be penalised accordingly.

Here are the common criteria to note when referencing your sources in your EE:

  • Acknowledge every source you used in your essay;
  • Utilise a standard and consistent referencing style for all your sources;
  • Differentiate your own words and those of your references by using quotation marks or indentation followed by a proper citation;
  • You must include the author’s name, the title of the source, page numbers, publication date, access date, and URL when citing your sources, regardless of the referencing style you use.

If you are unfamiliar with the citation process, check your work with your tutor during your IB Chemistry tuition class.

Understanding the pitfalls of writing an essay and avoiding these mistakes is only one half of the equation if you wish to score well for your IB Chemistry EE. You will also require the guidance of an experienced tutor familiar with the IB Chemistry syllabus. At Studious Minds, our tutor, Mr Alex Toh, possesses over 10 years of experience teaching IB Chemistry. Do not hesitate to contact us today to learn more about our IB Chemistry tuition classes and IB tuition rates if you require further guidance in the subject.

Learn More: 4 Tips To Help Your Child Prepare For Their IB Chemistry Exam


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