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What I learned from messing up my biology extended essay

Each year we invite IB alumni to share their experiences, interests and advice with our global community in the  graduate voices  series. We welcome Diploma Programme (DP) graduate Lim Hui Yuan to share some tips and advice to DP students completing their extended essays after completing her DP education at Hwa Chong International School .

Scientific accessories on the table. Education and science concept.

By Lim Hui Yuan

I’m sure all the current and past IB students know the hardship of completing an Extended Essay (EE). And for those who are not familiar with EE, it is actually “ an independent, self-directed piece of research ”, which culminates into a 4,000-word paper.

To many (including me), EE was a real boot camp training because of the effort and tenacity it requires one to possess. Well, it was quite daunting a time for me, BUT—I have to admit that I learned a lot from messing up my project. Looking back, the nine months I spent on my EE was indeed an endurance experience.

Here are my takeaways from almost failing my Biology EE. Some of them might be relevant to other EE subjects, but they mainly revolve around the challenges I personally faced.

Knowing what you’re interested in isn’t always that easy

They always say, “follow your heart”

“Pick a project topic that you are interested in.”

Sometimes, we might not even know what our heart wants and where our interests actually lie. We students face a dilemma when choosing an EE subject or topic in the same way we are confused when standing at the junction of deciding which university path to choose.

There is a plethora of topics that we could work on, but not all of them could keep us motivated for more than half a year. I chose, “The Efficacy of Natural Plant Extracts and Commercial Disinfectants in Reducing Bacterial Growth.”

I like to think of it like becoming a gardener. Your project starts off small, you have to nurture it, and once the research topic is settled, it just keeps growing. In the end, you’ll have an EE that has grown from just a tiny seed into a big plant you are really proud of.

Nevertheless, I came to realise that no matter what topic you choose, as long as you pour your heart into it, you will not regret the outcome.

Asking yourself, “ why do I want to do this project?” helps to keep you on the right track (even if the answer was “to get a good grade”).

Failing is more common than succeeding

After diving into my biology EE, I realised how easy it was to carry out experiments in class compared to conducting your research project. There’s no lab manual you can simply refer to. Instead, you have to create your own recipe , adapting from previous work. And since it’s your own custom-made experiment, you can never predict how the results will turn out.

As much as you try to fix the controlled variables, it seems like you can’t control the outcome of the study.

In my case, I expected some of the plant extracts to show antibacterial properties. However, I underestimated how mischievous the bacteria can be, contaminating all my plant samples.

I took the success of the experiment for granted.

This bump went on for over five months. At one point, I was so traumatised by the lack of progress that I couldn’t bring myself into the lab. Frustrated and drained, I was on the verge of giving up.

Here’s when you should take a breather to flush away the negative emotions and reset everything—including your impression of the project itself.

Learn to move on

Just as the wise Ryan Higa mentioned, “ here’s a bridge; now, get over it ”.

Whatever will happen has happened and all you can do is to move on.

After getting yourself ready for a fresh start, you should turn on troubleshoot mode and make amendments to your procedures. Try to pinpoint the problem and then search for plausible solutions to tackle it. The trial and error method is the only way!

Imagine beginning to piece a puzzle together; you usually know what the big picture looks like first before connecting the parts. The same applies to your EE. Plan ahead.

Set mini-deadlines as you draft your action plan. The timeline is essential so that you don’t feel too overwhelmed by a load of work (especially when you have a month left to write your EE after getting your results, which was exactly my case).

Be careful not to be too optimistic with the progress of your experiments. I expected and planned that mine would take at most two months to finish, but I completely neglected some time factors such as time needed for the bacteria to incubate, to make the agar plates, the opening hours of the lab (which leaves me only a few hours after school), and of course , failures.

You may have a supervisor to nag you about your EE progress. However, once you’re out of high school, nobody will be there to alarm you and snoozing off will cost you more than just your grades.

You’re not alone on this

If it weren’t for my EE supervisor and friends, I would’ve given up.

My EE supervisor kept encouraging me and taught me how to endure an initial lack of results, and I’ve learned since then that this is actually a norm of scientific research . One of my best friends, who was also doing a biology EE, took his time to teach me how to write a biology EE amidst his busy schedule (you know who you are, thank you!).

Remember to discuss your difficulties to your advisor or friends; they’ll be your pillar of support.

EE is not only here to prepare you for undergraduate research, but also provide a resilient attitude for life, in general.

Honestly, I’m quite grateful that I faced so many problems during the process. It feels like playing a game with many obstacles and overcoming each hurdle leads you to a higher-level ranking. I am, by no means, a “Legend”, but I’ve certainly passed the “Rookie” level.

P.S. Remember to pat yourself on the back after completing your EE. After all, you’ve shed blood, sweat and tears into raising your seedling into a plant.

yuan square

Lim Hui Yuan is a graduate of Hwa Chong International School , Singapore. She is currently pursuing her degree in science, specifically a major in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, at the University of Hong Kong. She likes to experiment with new things and loves dancing and cooking. Also, you can find her binge-watching dramas most of the time.

To hear more from Diploma Programme (DP) graduates check out these  IB programme stories. If you are an IB grad and want to share your story, write to us at [email protected].  We appreciate your support in sharing IB stories and invite you to connect with us on LinkedIn , Twitter and now Instagram !

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International Baccalaureate (IB)


IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.

If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .

IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?

I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:


If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.

What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.

For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one—although there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.

Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.

The IB Extended Essay must include the following:

  • A title page
  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • References and bibliography

Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.

As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.

According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.

The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.

Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :

  • A check on plagiarism and malpractice
  • Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
  • Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process

Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.


We'll help you learn how to have those "lightbulb" moments...even on test day!  

What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?

You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.

It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.

Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:

  • Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
  • Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
  • English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
  • Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
  • Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
  • Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?

You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?


How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips

Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!

#1: Write About Something You Enjoy

You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)

I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.

But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?

Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce—not the field you choose to research within—will determine your grade.

Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.

One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).

#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow

There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.

You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won’t be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps—and the rations provided—were directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.

If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.

I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!

When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.

Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.

If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor—it's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...


Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!

#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic

If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).

For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.

I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.

Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).

The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.

There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.

Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.

Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.

#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best

Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.

Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.

Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better—and you actually take their advice—they'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.

Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.

#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow

The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.

The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.

If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.

#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!

You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.

Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.

Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.

Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):

  • January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
  • February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
  • April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
  • Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know—no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me—this will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
  • August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
  • September/October of Senior Year: Submit the second draft of your EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
  • November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.

Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)

I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!


The early bird DOES get the worm!

How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?

Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .

  • Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
  • Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
  • Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)

How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.

Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on pages 102-103 of this document .

Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate —you should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.

Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin):

How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?

The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.

To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .

This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.


Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .

Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.

Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)

40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme

In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.

  • Business Management 1
  • Chemistry 1
  • Chemistry 2
  • Chemistry 3
  • Chemistry 4
  • Chemistry 5
  • Chemistry 6
  • Chemistry 7
  • Computer Science 1
  • Economics 1
  • Design Technology 1
  • Design Technology 2
  • Environmental Systems and Societies 1
  • Geography 1
  • Geography 2
  • Geography 3
  • Geography 4
  • Geography 5
  • Geography 6
  • Literature and Performance 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mathematics 3
  • Mathematics 4
  • Mathematics 5
  • Philosophy 1
  • Philosophy 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • Philosophy 4
  • Philosophy 5
  • Psychology 1
  • Psychology 2
  • Psychology 3
  • Psychology 4
  • Psychology 5
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 1
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 2
  • Visual Arts 1
  • Visual Arts 2
  • Visual Arts 3
  • Visual Arts 4
  • Visual Arts 5
  • World Religion 1
  • World Religion 2
  • World Religion 3


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Biology Extended Essay: The Complete Guide for IB Students

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by  Antony W

March 13, 2023

biology extended essay

Biology Extended Essay is an assignment that requires you to explore biological issue relevant to you and your environment.

Your focus should be on a particular biological emphasis within a broader context of scientific investigation. Given that the focus is on a biological system, you’ll have to make an analytical argument as you write the essay.

In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what you need to know about the IB Biology Extended Essay . Our goal with this lesson is to give you the most important information about the subject so that you can get the assignment done right.

What is Biology in an IB Extended Essay?

Biology in IB Extended Essay is the examination of living organisms and their life processes. The assignment integrates biological theories and examines the nature of the subject.

While you can approach a Biology EE from varying viewpoints, the treatment of the material used in your investigation must be 100% biological.

IB Biology Extended Essay Topics

The topic you choose to explore in your IB Biology Extended Essay shouldn’t be too broad or too narrow. Make sure you choose a focused topic that’s easy to investigate and easy to explain.

Your teacher expects you to explain how you arrived at your research question, and the best way to do that is to outline the aspects you wish to consider in the essay.

You may also have to formulate one or more hypothesis based on the research question.

The EE guide on the subject recommends that you choose your topics carefully, making sure you refrain from inappropriate topics such as those that are likely to inflict pain, involve the use of dangerous substances, or linked to safety concern.

You should avoid topics whose outcome are either obvious or already well known and documented in textbooks.

Doing Research for Your IB Biology Extended Essay

You will need to do primary and secondary research for your Biology Extended Essay.

1. Primary Research

For primary research, you can collect data from fieldwork, surveys, biological drawings, and biological observations.

If you’ve picked topic that requires practical work, you may have to conduct multiple, extensive fieldwork or do lab tests. In such a case, you will have to provide a detailed explanation of the experimental research procedures sued.

2. Secondary Research

When it comes to secondary research, you get data or information from literature.

Some students restate the information they collect from secondary sources, but doing so often adds little or no value to a Biology Extended Essay.

Therefore, the right approach is to analyze the data or information in an original way to add a new dimension and value to your research and to the essay at large.

Whether you do primary research, secondary research, or a combination of both, you need to make sure you have access to enough data or information to answer your research question.

How Do You Write an IB Biology Extended Essay?

The first step to writing a comprehensive, 4,000-word essay in Biology EE is to use the right scientific techniques to analyze the data you collect during research.

You then have to present your argument or evaluation based on the analysis you’ve completed.

You can include graphs, tables, and diagrams, and make sure you point out their significance in the essay so they’re easy to understand.

As with any other EE, your Biology essay should have a good structure and demonstrate a logical progression. Feel free to use headings and subheadings in the essay because it imposes a concise structure.

Your evaluation of the research questions should demonstrate that you not only understand the results from your experiments but also can explain their significance in a wider academic context.

Since you aren’t sure about what to expect from biological experiments, you may have to account for anomalies or unexpected results in your investigation.

In such a case, you have to provide explanations for the expected outcome and give an alternative explanation for such findings.

The subject also allows you to propose slight or major changes to the hypothesis presented in the essay, in which case you will have to suggest relevant approaches to testing the new changes.

Evaluation of Your Biology EE

Writing your EE in Biology also requires that you undertake a critical evaluation of the work that you have already done.

The evaluation helps you to identify and explain the limitation of your research by a number of factors including the reliability and validity of statistics, the precision of experimenting equipment and the reliability of sources.

You also need to consider biological limitations of your research. Such limitations are likely to arise from the inability to generalize based on a single form of an organism or problems of control and repeatability when using living organisms in your research.

Biology Internal Assessment vs Biology Extended Essay

It’s important to keep in mind that a Biology Extended Essay is not an extension of the Internal Assessment in the same subject. There are a few differences that set the two assignments apart, and it’s important to know them before you start working on the essay.

Get Extended Essay Writing Help

Do you need help with your Extended Essay in Biology? Our team of IB experts is here to help you write the 4,000-word essay, even if it’s on a complex topic. You can click here to learn more.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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Is a biology EE really that much more difficult?

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By alext November 7, 2015 in Extended Essay

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I have just started the whole process of EE and am fairly certain I will do it on something in Biology (it was between that and Economics).  

However I have heard from the 2nd years at my school and from various places online that a Biology EE is tenfold harder to complete and score highly in than a subject such as Economics or English.   What's your verdict on this?  

I'm keenly interested in both Eco and Bio but do plan to study medicine once I get to uni - should this factor in?

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I did my EE in biology... and will hand in my final draft on 16th NOV.... So i think i can help answer your concern. 


A science EE is just an extended version of lab report I think, but a science EE needs much more scientific background research, and your title should always have its significance (eg. how does your research contributes to the society?). And you need to work very hard to do extra lab work (eg. a pilot study) out of your science subjects. Maybe that's why people say it's hard to do a Biology EE. 


But i think the 'quite important' factor to a good EE is a good supervisor....  

Nothing is hard if you work hard. Seriously. Some get D (for now) for Economics in my school because they didn't take their first draft seriously and maybe they had a 'not so good' supervisor. The English EEs in my school do not get high marks though. I do not know why. Maybe because there is no clear line for a good language EE. But science is different -- if you make a logical judgement followed up by scientific cross references, it's not hard to get high marks! 

That's my verdict. 


A lot depends from supervisor. Without a good supervisor its harder to complete a good EE. I think all subject EE's are doable, but you should have interest in your subject or it turns into a living nightmare.

Also your own strenghts count. If you are good at analyzing fiction and seeing beyond what others see when they read piece of a novel, then literature EE could be way to go. You never read book voluntarily? Not so much way to go. Are you analytical and interested in science? Then do science EE. Etc.


I'm doing my EE on Biology!

To be honest, it is kind of a nightmare come to life.  I'm the only student doing their extended essay in Biology and my year is the first graduating class... so you can imagine the surprise of my supervisor when I first asked to do my EE in biology.

My first problem was finding a topic that I wanted... The guidelines for a science EE are beyond restricting and since I wanted to go into biological anthropology, I was looking for a human-oriented practical.  This was unrealistic as I didn't want to mess with the guidelines and my supervisor told me to just completely rule out anything with humans or animals.  So... I decided to do mine on microbiology!  I was super stoked and loved my idea.  My supervisor and I were extremely excited and she ordered in the bacteria immediately. Problem: the supplier kept on delaying the ordering process day after day after week after month until pretty soon the first draft was due! 

If you need any help... Let me know! I'd be more than glad to be of any assistance.


I guess the decision for EE subject was abit childlish ("Mad Scientists are cool"), but you feel REALLY good after doing it!

One of my major struggle was the choice of topic. I spent the first three month on researching and finding an interesting topic which can be done in our school's lab (the school is small) without the need to order a bunch of stuff. The lesson which I have learned from this process is to READ INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY! I didn't read the EE guide carefully during the fist time, so I thought that it can be a literary review and spent one month researching topics to review! it's also very important to constantly speak with your supervisor... Many of my useless works are the result of lack of communication.

My supervisor was very responsible (was to leave the school) and had high standards. Took it very seriously and now i start to be really greatful to have a strict teacher. I was so fustrated on one point that I was thinking to change to economics, had the topic for econ EE ready but didn't want to give up because I have already done 4 month of work on bio EE. My supervisor  would only let me do the actual experiment part if I had outline for my entire EE so I needed to find published papers and books for discussion beforehand. Even though I was in a hurry to do the experiment before summer and had my method and data tables written, my supervisor still demanded the first part of the EE to be finihsed (introduction+method). Luckily I worte all the stuff supervisor demanded and finished the experiment one day before summer.

The animal policy also limits you. So basically what you can do is on bacteria, fungi, plants or dead organism not killed for experimental purpose (e.g. meat from the market). Of course humans can also be used as test subjects but basically what you can do are on respiration/sport.

It seems for me that bio EE is basically an extended lab report, as other users have posted before.


mine was chemistry but sciences are usually much more complicated & much more work! because with the other subjects, the research is enough, but sciences you have to research, do the experiment (not likely to score high if you don't do lab work), analyse the data, conclusion, evaluation...I got predicted an A, but I really think they are a bit more difficult to do. Kind of like: normal EE + science IA = science EE! That's from what I've seen anyway, have never done a non-science EE so I probably don't have much insight to it.

The best thing to do (in my opinion) is do all the research + planning of experiment in year 11, and actually carrying it out in year 12. I did everything in year 12 but it's a bit more stressful

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  • Extended Essays - overview

What is the Extended Essay?

biology extended essay reddit

Key points about Biology Extended Essays

Great things about the Extended Essay in an IB diploma

  • Students get some choice in their topic and can follow a personal interest.
  • It really is a useful learning experience for anyone going to university as the formal structure resemble a dissertation.
  • It's a great opportunity to teach academic honesty, use of citations and referencing. Ref: IB guidance on Effective citing and referencing .
  • The reflection sessions can help students to become aware of their own thinking and learning strengths and weaknesses.
  • Students are often proud of their work, and have a sense of achievement once it's completed.

Schools are required by the IB to provide an Extended Essay Supervisor to each student . The roles of the supervisor include.

  • To guide the student in the choice of topic and research question.
  • To give a structure to the three reflection sessions and encourage students to think critically about the writing process.
  • To oversee students writing comments, each of approximately 150 words, in the same language as the essay) on the 'Reflections on planning and progress form', RPPF.
  • To comment on one full draft of the essay.
  • To carry out a viva voce with the student
  • To confirm authenticity of the work.
  • To write a final supervisor's comment on the RPPF.

Particular hurdles for Biology Extended Essays

  • The choice of extended essay subject and it's treatment in the essay must be biological.
  • Collecting data can sometimes take more time than expected.
  • Finding data from secondary sources is often quite challenging, especially demonstrating controlled variables.
  • Ethical and animal experimentation guidelines, IB Guidelines for the use of animals in IB world school should be followed in any extended essay.
  • No experiments can be planned that cause pain or suffering to any animal.
  • Written consent must be given by participants of any experiment involving humans.
  • The extended essay is marked out of 34
  • There are five criteria; Focus and method, Knowledge and understanding, Critical thinking, Presentation and Engagement.
  • A grade is awarded from E to A
  • The grade boundaries for grade D is 7 marks, grade C is 14 marks and grade A is 27.

Resource for teachers and students

  • The IB Extended Essay Website / Guide for 2018 is a must for students and supervisors.
  • Biology subject specific information pages begin here
  • There is practical advice and some helpful guidance on assessment in the Extended essay teacher support material ,
  • Many schools produce their own support documents for the students in the form of a booklet.

Guidelines for the use of animals

The guidance says that in all IB work we should consider, replacing the animal with a simulation, refine the experiment to alleviate any stress on the animal or reduce the number of animals involved.

"Any investigation involving animals should initially consider the replacement of animals with cells or tissues, plants or computer simulations. If the animal is essential to the investigation, refinements to the investigation to alleviate any distress to the animal, and to reduce the numbers of animals involved, should be made.

Experiments involving animals must be based on observing and measuring aspects of natural animal behaviour. No experimentation should result in any cruelty to any animal—vertebrate or invertebrate. Therefore, experiments that administer drugs or medicines, or those that manipulate the environment or diet beyond that which can be regarded as humane, are unacceptable in IB schools."

IB Guidelines for the use of animals in IB world school

Suitable topics for Extended Essays in Biology

An essay in Biology needs to be based on some experimental data, either collected through a student designed investigation or primary data provided from another source. Students should avoid super-sophisticated university laboratory-based experiments as the examiner is likely to suspect that the design of the investigation, the process of data collection and interpretation of the data is not that of the student. Actually, simple investigations that students can do at home can be very successful. Descriptive essays will not be appropriate for earning higher marks.

The topic of the essay must lie clearly within Biology and not lean into other subjects. So what does this mean? Biology is the study of life,so the essay must deal with living organisms. Biochemical topics can be pursued but must be focussed on the effects on the living thing not the chemical aspects. For example, a study of enzymatic kinematics falls under chemistry but the factors that affect enzymes and how this impacts on the ecological niche of an organism becomes a Biology topic. An Essay which deals with how organisms learn to negotiate a maze is more likely to be considered as Psychology but if the behaviours are related to the survival of the organism then this falls towards Biology.

To read more about choosing a topic for the extended essay in Biology read the InThinking page  Extended Essay titles.


Extended Essay: Sciences: Biology

  • Step 1 - Choosing a Subject
  • Step 2 - Choosing a Topic
  • Step 3 - Draft a Research Question
  • Step 4 - Finding Sources
  • Step 5 - Evaluating Information
  • Step 6 - Bibliography & Citation
  • Step 7 - Organizing Information
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  • Assessment Criteria

Extended Essay in Biology

Extended Essays in Biology

Choosing a topic

Choosing a Topic

Biology is the science that deals with living organisms and life processes. A biology EE should incorporate biological theory and emphasize why it is relevant today.

The topic must relates specifically to biology. Many topics can be approached from different viewpoints, but for an EE in biology the treatment of the topic must be clearly biological. For example, an EE in an interdisciplinary area such as biochemistry will, if registered under the subject of biology, be judged solely on its biological content.

Disease, for example, could be considered through many different lenses. A biology paper about diseases would focus on their impact on particular organisms or life processes, and not on medical treatment, or the economic effects of the disease on society.

Approaches to research

Primary Research

Essays in biology may be based on data collected by the student through:

Essays that involve lab work, or fieldwork, should include a clear and concise description of the experimental procedure. Students taking an experimental approach must also consult secondary sources.

Secondary Research

Students can base their essays on data or information obtained from literature (secondary studies). However, in this case they should use the data in an original way. Essays that simply restate facts or data taken directly from the sources are of little value.

Biology Sources

Even students doing primary research will still need to reference secondary sources. And students relying entirely on secondary sources will need to find sources not only of written information but also experimental data which they can analyze.

Writing the Essay

biology extended essay reddit

An essay in the sciences requires is more than just generating and presenting data. Analysis of the data is also essential. The main body of the essay should consist of an argument or evaluation based on the data or information presented . You can gather your own data through a variety of methods, or rely on secondary data. You should use graphs, tables, or diagrams to point out the significance of your findings.

You should ensure that the main body of the essay is well structured and has an obvious logical progression. You can use numbered and headed paragraphs to impose a clear structure. Your evaluation should show that you understand the the data they have collected and its significance to the world.

In your analysis, you should also describe and explain the limitations imposed on the research by factors such as

  • the suitability and reliability of the sources accessed
  • accuracy and precision of measuring equipment
  • sample size
  • validity and reliability of statistics

Students  should also consider biological limitations such as:

  • those arising from the problem of repeatability and control when using living material
  • the difficulties of generalizing from research based on a single type of organism or environment.

Exceptions for Safety and Academic Honesty

biology extended essay reddit

Safety and Ethics in Choosing a Topic

In all cases where human subjects are used as the basis for an investigation, clear evidence of informed consent must be provided in accordance with the IB guidelines.

Some topics may be inadmissible because their means of investigation are unethical. For example, investigations that:

  • are based on experiments likely to inflict pain on, or cause stress to, living organisms
  • are likely to have a harmful effect on health, eg culturing micro-organisms at or near body temperature (37°C)
  • involve access to, or publication of, confidential medical information.

Some topics may be unsuitable because of safety issues. Adequate safety apparatus and qualified supervision is required for experiments involving dangerous substances such as:

  • toxic or dangerous chemicals
  • carcinogenic substances
  • radioactive materials.

Other topics may be unsuitable because the outcome is already well known and documented in standard textbooks.

Assessed Student Work

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Biology Extended Essay Topics and RQs for IBDP


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It’s time for our exploration of Biology extended essay topics, a resource designed to spark your curiosity and guide your research interests in the vast and vibrant field of biology. 

Whether you’re fascinated by the intricate workings of ecosystems or intrigued by the complexities of cellular processes, this article offers a diverse range of topics collected by expert academic writers to suit your interests. 

NB! If you need assistance with your Biology assignments, you can use our biology essay writing service , which will surely assist you. Now, let’s get back to the main question of the article – BIO EE topic ideas.

Bio EE topic categories

List of biology extended essay topic categories I’ll cover in this article.

  • Impact of Urban Development on Local Ecosystems – Investigating the effects of urban expansion on biodiversity in a specific area.
  • Marine Biology and Ocean Acidification – Studying the impact of changing pH levels on marine life.
  • Invasive Species and Their Impact on Biodiversity – Analyzing how a particular invasive species has affected native wildlife.
  • Conservation Efforts for Endangered Species – Evaluating the effectiveness of current conservation strategies for a specific endangered species.
  • Climate Change and Its Effects on Ecosystems – Researching how a particular ecosystem has been impacted by climate change.
  • Nutrition and Diet’s Impact on Human Health – Exploring the effects of a specific diet on human health.
  • Exercise Physiology – Investigating how different types of exercise affect a particular aspect of human health.
  • Neurobiology of Sleep – Studying the effects of sleep patterns on cognitive functions.
  • Genetic Factors in Diseases – Exploring the role of genetics in the susceptibility to a specific disease.
  • Impact of Environmental Factors on Allergies – Analyzing how environmental changes have influenced the prevalence of allergies.
  • Gene Expression in Cancer Cells – Investigating how gene expression differs in cancerous versus normal cells.
  • Protein Synthesis and Its Regulation – Studying the regulation of protein synthesis in a specific organism or cell type.
  • Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine – Exploring the potential of stem cells in treating a specific condition.
  • Viral Replication and Host Interaction – Examining how a particular virus replicates and interacts with its host.
  • DNA Repair Mechanisms – Investigating the efficacy of different DNA repair mechanisms under various conditions.
  • Photosynthesis Variations Among Plant Species – Comparing photosynthetic efficiency in different plant species.
  • Impact of Climate Change on Plant Growth – Studying how changing climates affect the growth of a specific plant species.
  • Medicinal Properties of Plants – Investigating the medicinal properties of a specific plant.
  • Plant Defense Mechanisms Against Pathogens – Exploring how a particular plant species defends itself against pathogens.
  • Genetic Modification and Crop Improvement – Analyzing the impacts of genetic modification on a specific crop’s traits.
  • Social Behavior in Insects – Studying the social structures and behaviors of a specific insect species.
  • Bird Migration Patterns – Investigating the factors influencing migration patterns of a specific bird species.
  • Physiological Adaptations in Marine Mammals – Exploring adaptations that enable marine mammals to survive in their environments.
  • Impact of Environmental Stressors on Animal Behavior – Analyzing how specific stressors affect the behavior of a particular animal species.
  • Endocrine Regulation in Animals – Studying how the endocrine system regulates processes in a specific animal.
  • Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria – Investigating the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in a specific bacterial strain.
  • Use of Microorganisms in Bioremediation – Exploring the use of microorganisms in cleaning up environmental pollutants.
  • Genetic Engineering and Its Applications – Analyzing the applications and implications of genetic engineering in a specific field.
  • Role of Microbiome in Human Health – Studying how the human microbiome influences health and disease.
  • Yeast Fermentation and Its Industrial Applications – Investigating the fermentation process in yeast and its uses in industry.
  • Evolutionary Adaptations to Environmental Changes – Exploring how a particular species has adapted to environmental changes over time.
  • Genetic Diversity and Population Health – Studying the impact of genetic diversity on the health of a specific population.
  • Molecular Basis of Inheritance – Investigating the molecular mechanisms of inheritance in a specific organism.
  • Speciation and Genetic Drift – Analyzing the role of genetic drift in the speciation process.
  • Human Evolutionary Biology – Studying aspects of human evolution, such as the development of specific traits.

Every category and its subcategories provide a comprehensive overview, from the microscopic wonders of microbiology to the grand scale of evolutionary biology. 

With the help of our IB writers team, I have managed to collect all these ideas for you, so I hope you will be enjoying this. I aim to inspire your investigative spirit and help you select a topic that  satisfies the IB criteria  and aligns with your passion for biology. 

IB Bio extended essay topics

bio ee topics

So, let’s begin with a list of IB Biology EE topics list.

Ecology and Environmental Science

I’m stoked to talk about Ecology and Environmental Science . It’s all about how living things interact with each other and their surroundings. Think of it like a complex dance of life, where every move affects the whole scene. 

From the hustle and bustle of city ecosystems to the quiet, yet dynamic, world of marine biology, we’ll explore how these interactions shape our planet. We’ll also explore the hot topics of invasive species and their impacts, the heroic efforts in conservation, and the big elephant in the room – climate change. 

So, let’s get ready to explore the intricate tapestry of life that makes our world fascinating!

Impact of Urban Development on Local Ecosystems

  • Research Question: How does the presence of urban green spaces affect bird species diversity in [City Name]?
  • Research Question: What impact do urban heat islands have on the behavior and distribution of [Specific Animal Species] in [City Name]?

Marine Biology and Ocean Acidification

  • Research Question: How does ocean acidification affect coral bleaching events in the [Specific Coral Reef Location]?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of increasing ocean acidification on the shell growth and survival of [Specific Shellfish Species]?

Invasive Species and Their Impact on Biodiversity

  • Research Question: What has been the impact of the invasive Zebra Mussel on native species in the Great Lakes?
  • Research Question: How do invasive plant species [Specify Species] affect the growth and survival of native plants in [Specific Region]?

Conservation Efforts for Endangered Species

  • Research Question: How effective have conservation strategies been in increasing the population of the Giant Panda in China?
  • Research Question: What are the impacts of anti-poaching measures on the survival of Rhinoceros populations in Africa?

Climate Change and Its Effects on Ecosystems

  • Research Question: How is the melting of Arctic sea ice affecting the habitat and migration patterns of polar bears?
  • Research Question: What are the effects of rising global temperatures on plant and animal life in the Alpine ecosystems?

Transitioning from the external world of Ecology and Environmental Science, we now turn to the internal intricacies of Human Physiology and Health. 

This shift brings us from exploring external ecosystems to understanding our body’s inner workings, a world where lifestyle choices meet biological responses.

Human Physiology and Health

Let’s chat about Human Physiology and Health, the amazing science of how our bodies work and how we keep them ticking. We’re diving headfirst into the world of nutrition and diet – what you eat isn’t just about taste, it’s about your health too! 

Then, we’ll check out how exercise, that thing we all know we should do more of, affects our bodies in awesome ways. Ever wondered about the science of sleep and how it messes with your brain when you don’t catch enough Z’s? We’ll cover that, along with the mysteries of genetics in diseases, and how our environment plays a sneaky role in triggering allergies. 

It’s going to be an eye-opening ride through the wonders of our bodies!

Nutrition and Diet’s Impact on Human Health

  • Research Question: How does adherence to the Mediterranean diet affect cardiovascular health indicators in adults?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of a long-term vegan diet on nutrient absorption and health in teenagers?

Exercise Physiology

  • Research Question: How does HIIT affect cardiovascular fitness in young adults?
  • Research Question: What are the effects of regular yoga practice on stress and anxiety levels in college students?

Neurobiology of Sleep

  • Research Question: How does sleep deprivation impact cognitive performance and memory in high school students?
  • Research Question: What is the relationship between sleep patterns and academic performance in IB students?

Genetic Factors in Diseases

  • Research Question: How do specific genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
  • Research Question: What is the contribution of genetics to the onset of Type 2 Diabetes in populations with high prevalence rates?

Impact of Environmental Factors on Allergies

  • Research Question: What is the correlation between air pollution levels and the prevalence of respiratory allergies in urban children?
  • Research Question: How has climate change influenced the prevalence and severity of allergic diseases in [Specific Region]?

Moving from Human Physiology and Health, we zoom into the realm of Cellular and Molecular Biology. 

Here, we swap the broader human health perspective for a closer look at life’s building blocks, delving into the microscopic universe that operates within every living being.

Cellular and Molecular Biology

Ready to geek out on Cellular and Molecular Biology? This is where we get down to the nitty-gritty of life – the cells and molecules that make up every living thing. 

We’re talking about the big bad world of cancer cells and what makes them tick, the fascinating process of how our cells make proteins, and the cutting-edge stuff like stem cell research and how viruses play a game of cat and mouse with our bodies. 

Meanwhile, make sure also to check our article with biology research paper topics for all students.

Plus, we’ll unravel the mysteries of how our cells fix their own DNA. It’s like being a detective, but for biology. Trust me, it’s cooler than it sounds!

Gene Expression in Cancer Cells

  • Research Question: How does gene expression in breast cancer cells differ from that in normal breast tissue?
  • Research Question: What role do specific oncogenes play in the development of colorectal cancer?

Protein Synthesis and Its Regulation

  • Research Question: How is protein synthesis regulated in response to physical exercise in human muscle cells?
  • Research Question: How do bacterial cells regulate protein synthesis under environmental stress conditions?

Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine

  • Research Question: What is the potential of stem cell therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease?
  • Research Question: How can stem cells be used to repair damaged heart tissue?

Viral Replication and Host Interaction

  • Research Question: How does HIV replicate within human cells, and what is its impact on the immune system?
  • Research Question: How does the Influenza virus adapt to host immune responses over time?

DNA Repair Mechanisms

  • Research Question: How do DNA repair mechanisms change as human cells age?
  • Research Question: How effective are DNA repair mechanisms in skin cells exposed to different levels of UV radiation?

After diving into the microcosm of cells and molecules, we transition to Plant Biology. 

This shift steers us from the foundations of life at the cellular level to the diverse world of plants, exploring how these organisms harness and embody basic biological principles.

Plant Biology

Let’s dive into the world of Plant Biology! Plants are not just pretty to look at; they’re the backbone of all life on Earth. 

We’ll be talking about how they turn sunlight into food – a process that’s as important as it is fascinating. Ever wonder how plants are coping with our changing climate or what superpowers medicinal plants have? We’ve got that covered. 

We’ll also explore the secret life of plants, how they defend themselves against enemies, and the science behind making them stronger and better through genetic modification. 

It’s time to get our hands dirty and uncover the secrets of the plant world!

Photosynthesis Variations Among Plant Species

  • Research Question: How does photosynthetic efficiency compare between C3 and C4 plants under varying light conditions?
  • Research Question: What is the effect of varying light intensities on the rate of photosynthesis in [Specific Aquatic Plant Species]?

Impact of Climate Change on Plant Growth

  • Research Question: How are Arctic tundra plants adapting their growth patterns in response to global warming?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of elevated atmospheric CO2 levels on the growth of [Specific Plant Species]?

Medicinal Properties of Plants

  • Research Question: What are the anti-inflammatory properties of [Specific Medicinal Plant] and how can they be harnessed?
  • Research Question: What is the antioxidant capacity of different herbal teas, and how does it affect human health?

Plant Defense Mechanisms Against Pathogens

  • Research Question: How do [Specific Plant Species] defend themselves against fungal infections?
  • Research Question: What role do secondary metabolites play in the defense mechanisms of [Specific Plant Species] against herbivores?

Genetic Modification and Crop Improvement

  • Research Question: How effective are genetically modified crops in resisting drought conditions compared to traditional varieties?
  • Research Question: What is the impact of genetic modification on the nutrient content of [Specific Crop]?

From the stationary life of plants, we now step into the dynamic world of Animal Behavior and Physiology. This change of scene introduces us to the complex behaviors and physiological adaptations of animals, offering a contrasting perspective to plant biology.

Animal Behavior and Physiology

Let’s jump into the wild and wonderful world of Animal Behavior and Physiology. This is where we get to spy on the animal kingdom and learn about their secret lives. 

From the social gossip of insects to the globe-trotting adventures of migratory birds, animals have some amazing stories to tell. 

We’ll also look at how marine animals have adapted to their deep and mysterious homes, how animals respond when their environment goes bonkers, and the hormonal soap operas that dictate their lives. 

It’s like being a fly on the wall in the most interesting nature documentary ever!

Social Behavior in Insects

  • Research Question: How does the social structure of honeybee colonies affect their survival and productivity?
  • Research Question: What are the primary communication mechanisms used in ant colonies, and how do they impact colony efficiency?

Bird Migration Patterns

  • Research Question: How has climate change affected the migration routes of [Specific Bird Species]?
  • Research Question: How do magnetic fields influence the migration patterns of [Specific Bird Species]?

Physiological Adaptations in Marine Mammals

  • Research Question: What physiological adaptations allow sperm whales to dive to extreme depths?
  • Research Question: How do polar bears regulate their body temperature in the Arctic environment?

Impact of Environmental Stressors on Animal Behavior

  • Research Question: How does underwater noise pollution affect the behavior and communication of dolphins?
  • Research Question: What are the effects of urban light pollution on the nocturnal activities of [Specific Nocturnal Animal Species]?

Endocrine Regulation in Animals

  • Research Question: How do hormones regulate the reproductive behaviors in [Specific Bird Species]?
  • Research Question: How do stress-induced cortisol levels affect the behavior of [Specific Wild Animal Species] in their natural habitat?

Leaving the observable world of animals, we enter the less visible but equally important sphere of Microbiology and Biotechnology. This transition takes us from larger life forms to the microscopic, where tiny organisms significantly impact our health, environment, and technology.

Microbiology and Biotechnology

Alright, microbe hunters and tech wizards, it’s time to zoom in on Microbiology and Biotechnology. This is the world of the tiny, where bacteria and viruses hang out, and where science meets innovation . 

We’re going to explore the battleground of antibiotic resistance, how we can use tiny organisms to clean up our messes, and the mind-blowing possibilities of genetic engineering. 

Ever thought about how your gut buddies – the microbiome – affect your health? We’ll get into that too, along with the yeast party that’s behind some of your favorite bread and beverages.

Antibiotic Resistance in Bacteria

  • Research Question: What factors have contributed to the rise of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in hospitals?
  • Research Question: What are the primary mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Escherichia coli strains found in [Specific Environment]?

Use of Microorganisms in Bioremediation

  • Research Question: How effective are specific bacterial species in the bioremediation of oil spills?
  • Research Question: What is the effectiveness of using fungi in the phytoremediation of soils contaminated with heavy metals?

Genetic Engineering and Its Applications

  • Research Question: What is the potential of CRISPR-Cas9 technology in preventing genetic diseases?
  • Research Question: How has genetic engineering been used to enhance the nutritional quality of [Specific Crop]?

Role of Microbiome in Human Health

  • Research Question: What is the relationship between the gut microbiome and obesity in adults?
  • Research Question: How does the diversity of the human microbiome affect immune system functioning?

Yeast Fermentation and Its Industrial Applications

  • Research Question: How efficient is yeast fermentation in the production of biofuels compared to traditional methods?
  • Research Question: How do different yeast strains affect the flavor profiles in beer brewing?

Finally, we shift from the practical applications in Microbiology and Biotechnology to the historical narrative of Evolution and Genetics. This move links present-day biological understanding to the historical journey of life, unraveling how genetic heritage and evolutionary processes shape all living things.

Evolution and Genetics

Ready to unravel the tales of Evolution and Genetics? This is where we figure out how life on Earth got to be as diverse and fantastic as it is. We’ll be exploring the incredible adaptations organisms have made to survive and thrive, how genetic diversity is crucial for the health of species, and the molecular secrets behind inheritance. 

Ever pondered how new species come into being or what genetics reveal about our own ancient history ? Well, you’re in for a treat. We’re about to walk through time and genes to discover the roots and branches of the tree of life. Buckle up!

Evolutionary Adaptations to Environmental Changes

  • Research Question: What evolutionary adaptations have enabled cacti to thrive in harsh desert environments?
  • Research Question: How have Galápagos finches undergone adaptive radiation in response to their environment?

Genetic Diversity and Population Health

  • Research Question: How does genetic diversity affect the health and survival of animal populations on isolated islands?
  • Research Question: How can conservation genetics be used to enhance the survival prospects of [Specific Endangered Species]?

Molecular Basis of Inheritance

  • Research Question: What is the molecular basis of inheritance for Sickle Cell Anemia?
  • Research Question: How can mitochondrial DNA be used to trace maternal lineage in human populations?

Speciation and Genetic Drift

  • Research Question: What role has genetic drift played in the speciation of cichlids in Lake Victoria?
  • Research Question: How does genetic drift affect the genetic diversity of small, isolated animal populations?

Human Evolutionary Biology

  • Research Question: What evolutionary factors contributed to the development of bipedalism in early humans?
  • Research Question: What are the key genetic adaptations that enable humans to live at high altitudes?

These topics and questions aim to inspire in-depth exploration and research, allowing students to delve into various aspects of biology, from molecular to ecosystem levels. 

Use them as an inspiration for your future Ib extended essay.

Select your topic wisely!

The world of biology is rich with diverse topics suitable for an Extended Essay. From the tiny intricacies of cellular biology to the broad complexities of environmental science, each area offers a unique perspective and a chance for in-depth exploration . 

The key to a successful essay is choosing a topic that not only interests you but also challenges your analytical and research skills.

Need Extra Support?

If you’re seeking guidance with your topic selection, or if you need assistance in writing or editing your Biology Extended Essay , our team at Writing Metier is here to help. 

biology extended essay reddit

Our experienced IB writers are equipped to provide the support you need to refine your ideas and enhance your writing. Contact us for personalized assistance, or simply fill out our online order form with details of your IB EE and ensure your essay is a reflection of your best efforts.

Free topic suggestions

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Vasyl Kafidoff is a co-founder and CEO at WritingMetier. He is interested in education and how modern technology makes it more accessible. He wants to bring awareness about new learning possibilities as an educational specialist. When Vasy is not working, he’s found behind a drum kit.

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  • Jul 8, 2019

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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Extended essay

The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper.

One component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students.

Read about the extended essay  in greater detail.

You can also read about how the IB sets deadlines for the extended essay , find examples of extended essay titles from previous DP students and learn about the world studies extended essay .

Learn more about the extended essay in a DP workshop for teachers . 

DP subject briefs

Find out about what each subject offers within the Diploma Programme (DP).

Our DP subject briefs—for both standard and higher level—contain information about core requirements, aims and assessment.

  • Explore the DP subject briefs


biology extended essay reddit

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Extended Essay Writers

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Biology EE Topics | 40 Ideas

Biology EE Topics

Luke MacQuoid

There are many potential topics for a biology Extended Essay (EE) in the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.

Topic Ideas

Some possibilities include the following:

  • The effects of pollution on a particular species or ecosystem.
  • The genetic basis of a specific disease or trait.
  • The comparative physiology of a specific mammal and bird.
  • The effects of climate change on a particular species or ecosystem.
  • The impact of human activity on the evolution of a species.
  • The physiology of a specific plant species.
  • The efficacy of a specific medicinal plant.
  • The comparison of the anatomy and physiology of a specific animal species in captivity and in the wild.
  • The impact of a specific invasive species on an ecosystem.
  • The effect of different fertilizers on the growth and development of a specific plant species.
  • The study of the symbiotic relationship between specific species.
  • The effect of different light conditions on the growth and development of a specific plant species.
  • The impact of different temperature conditions on the physiology of a specific microorganism.
  • The study of the genetic diversity within a specific species.
  • The study of the effects of different pH levels on the growth and development of a specific plant species.
  • The impact of human activity on the population dynamics of a specific species.
  • The study of the effects of different soil types on the growth and development of a specific plant species.
  • The study of the impacts of different pesticides on the physiology of a specific species.
  • The study of the effects of different water conditions on the growth and development of a specific plant species.
  • The study of the impact of ocean acidification on the physiology of a specific marine species.
  • Studying the Effects of Acid Rain on Local Flora.
  • The Role of Gut Microbiota in Obesity.
  • Influence of Insecticides on Honey Bee Population Decline.
  • The Effects of Microplastics on Aquatic Food Chains.
  • The Role of Genetics in Determining Human Lifespan.
  • Influence of Habitat Loss on the Genetic Diversity of a Specific Species.
  • The Effects of Light Pollution on Nocturnal Animals.
  • A Comparative Study of Photosynthesis Rates in Different Plant Species.
  • The Impact of Noise Pollution on Avian Communication.
  • Analysis of Biological Controls for Invasive Species.
  • The Effects of Diet on the Gut Microbiota.
  • Understanding the Effect of Climate Change on Disease Vectors.
  • Exploring the Role of Genetics in Athletic Performance.
  • Effects of Pharmaceuticals on Aquatic Ecosystems.
  • The Impact of Urbanization on Local Bird Species.
  • Understanding the Relationship Between Sleep and Immune Function.
  • Studying the Effects of Air Pollution on Lichen Species.
  • The Role of Epigenetics in Aging.
  • The Effect of Vegan and Vegetarian Diets on the Human Body.
  • Investigating the Biological Mechanisms of Meditation and Mindfulness.

It’s important to note that these are just examples of topics for your IB EE in Biology . You should choose a topic that interests you and that you can find enough information on.

biology extended essay reddit

Need help with your Biology extended essay?

From research and analysis to structuring and editing, our skilled mentors will be by your side, helping you craft an exceptional extended essay that not only meets the stringent IB criteria but also reflects your passion for Biology studies.

Additionally, it’s essential to consult with your supervisor to make sure the topic meets the requirements of the Extended Essay and that you have access to the necessary resources to complete the research.

Students can use these themes in their essays by researching and analyzing the specific topic, providing evidence and examples to support their claims, and discussing the implications and potential solutions to the issue at hand.

For example, in an essay on the effects of pollution on a particular species or ecosystem, a student could research the specific pollutants that are affecting the species or ecosystem, analyze the effects those pollutants are having, and discuss potential solutions to mitigate the pollution and its effects.

These are experiments students can use for Biology EE topics:

  • Looking at how pollution impacts a certain type of animal or plant: This would involve checking out pollution levels in a specific place, then watching to see how it affects your chosen species.
  • Understanding how certain genes affect a disease or characteristic: This would mean doing genetic tests to identify the genes involved, and potentially using genetic engineering techniques to change those genes and see what happens.
  • Comparing how a mammal and a bird work: You’d do experiments to see how your chosen mammal and bird are similar or different. You could look at things like brain structure, behaviour, and thinking abilities.
  • Exploring how climate change impacts a certain animal, plant, or ecosystem: This could involve experiments to see how changes in temperature, rain patterns, or CO2 levels affect your chosen species or ecosystem.
  • Studying how people’s actions affect how a species evolves: This might mean looking at how things like habitat destruction, hunting, or pollution impact a species’ genetic diversity and population.
  • Looking at how a certain plant works: You’d do experiments to see how the plant responds to things like light, temperature, or water.
  • Studying how well a medicinal plant works: You’d do experiments to see how good the plant is at killing or slowing the growth of microbes, or reducing pain or inflammation.
  • Comparing a certain animal in captivity and in the wild: You’d look at how being in captivity affects the animal’s body and how it works, and how it behaves.
  • Seeing how an invasive species affects an ecosystem: You’d study how your chosen invasive species impacts the growth, reproduction, and health of native species.
  • Studying how different fertilizers affect a plant: This could involve testing different types of fertilizers to see how they affect the plant’s growth rate, leaf size, and health.
  • Looking at how certain species interact: You’d do experiments to understand the relationship between the species. This could involve seeing what happens when you remove one species, or how different environments affect the relationship.
  • Studying how light affects a plant: This might mean doing experiments to see how different light conditions affect the plant’s growth, leaf size, and health.
  • Looking at how temperature affects a microorganism: You’d do experiments to see how different temperatures impact the microorganism’s growth rate, metabolism, and health.
  • Studying genetic diversity in a species: This could involve using genetic markers to identify genetic variations in the species, and then seeing how these variations affect the organism.
  • Looking at how pH levels affect a plant: You’d do experiments to see how different pH levels impact the plant’s growth, leaf size, and health.
  • Studying how people’s actions affect a species’ population: This might mean looking at how things like habitat destruction, hunting, or pollution impact the species’ population size, growth rate, and health.
  • Looking at how soil types affect a plant: This could involve doing experiments to see how different types of soil affect the plant’s growth, leaf size, and health.
  • Studying how pesticides affect a species: This might mean doing experiments to see how different pesticides impact the species’ growth, reproduction, and health.
  • Looking at how water conditions affect a plant: You’d do experiments to see how different water conditions (like availability, salt levels, or temperature) affect the plant’s growth, leaf size, and health.
  • Studying how ocean acidification affects a marine species: This could involve doing experiments to see how increasing acidity levels impact the species’ growth, reproduction, and health.

Additionally, in an essay on the comparative psychiatry of a specific mammal and bird, a student could research and compare the brain structures, behaviors, and cognitive abilities of the two species and discuss any similarities and differences found.

A student can ask for help from a writing service if they need assistance with their essay. This can bring several benefits to the student, such as:

  • Professional guidance . Writing services often have experienced writers and editors who can provide guidance on the essay topic and structure, as well as help with research and editing.
  • Improved quality . A writing service can help improve the overall quality of the essay, including grammar, punctuation, and formatting.
  • Better grades . With the help of a writing service, a student’s essay is likely to be of higher quality, which can lead to better grades.
  • Time-saving . A writing service can help save time as the student can focus on other responsibilities while the writing service works on the essay.
  • Customization . Writing services can also provide a customized service that can be tailored to the student’s specific needs and requirements.
  • Originality . Professional writers will provide original work that is free from plagiarism, which is important in academic writing.

It is important to note, however, that a student should always ensure that the writing service they use is reputable and that they review and understand the work they receive before submitting it as their own.

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Luke MacQuoid has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language in Japan, having worked with students of all ages for over 12 years. Currently, he is teaching at the tertiary level. Luke holds a BA from the University of Sussex and an MA in TESOL from Lancaster University, both located in England. As well to his work as an IB Examiner and Master Tutor, Luke also enjoys sharing his experiences and insights with others through writing articles for various websites, including blog

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biology extended essay reddit

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​Researching and writing an IB Extended Essay in Biology

biology extended essay reddit

Mr James Fraser, Head of Science at  Scarborough College , shares some of the Extended Essay topics that he's had the pleasure of supervising.

The Extended Essay is a compulsory component of the IB Diploma. Students are tasked with writing four thousand words on a topic of their choice relating to one of the subjects they are studying for their Diploma. Every student is allocated a supervisor who will guide them through the process. It is not an exaggeration when I say that supervising students completing their Extended Essay in my subject has been the most rewarding part of my teaching role at the College.

I have had the privilege of supervising more than thirty students since the IB was introduced at the College more than ten years ago. When I cast my mind back, some topics and essays immediately spring to mind. For instance, the research undertaken by a student to investigate the response made by the tiny C. elegans worm to being tapped on the head. After we had acquired the worms from the University of Chicago, the student designed an ingenious device to tap the head of the worms using her own eyelash. I am sure the experience of conducting research for her Extended Essay in the College laboratory was an instrumental reason for her choosing to read for an immunology degree at the University of Glasgow before doing a PhD at Melbourne University.

More recently, a student now studying medicine at university, designed an investigation to genetically modify bacteria cultured in the lab with a gene originally obtained from jellyfish. The gene taken up by the transgenic bacteria caused them to fluoresce when exposed to ultraviolet light. The gene was prepared in a number of different ways to see if this had an effect on its uptake by the bacteria.

biology extended essay reddit

Our current Upper Sixth students have recently submitted their Extended Essays. A variety of topics were chosen for investigation by biologists this time around including the effect of hair washing on the strength of hair and the frequency of visits to a bird feeder by House sparrows during the day.

Another essay written by Ksenia Ivanova focussed on the potential for the effect of an antibiotic to be enhanced when used in conjunction with a variety of different plant extracts. I asked Ksenia what advice she would give a student choosing a topic for their essay. She replied that 'Whichever topic you decide to explore, the key is to choose something that you really like and care about, so that your work would never be boring.'

The essays themselves are awarded a grade from A to E. Together with the grade for the Theory of Knowledge course, upto three additional IB Diploma points can be included in their overall IB Diploma score. However, the emphasis throughout the process is not solely on the outcome. Many former students have been in touch over the years to tell me how much their Extended Essay experience helped them when completing assignments and dissertations at university. They always comment on the head start they had over their peers who had studied for ‘A’ Levels who had no experience of academic writing at school.

Returning to my current students, they have discovered that the frequency of hair washing does NOT have an effect on its strength, House sparrows visit garden feeders more in the morning and early evening than at other times of day, and are much more likely to be male than female, and the growth of bacteria was inhibited more when an antibiotic was used together with either clove oil or clary sage extracts than when it was used on its own.

  • Statistical Anaylsis
  • ESS Topic 1.1: Environmental Value Systems
  • ESS Topic 1.2: Systems and Models
  • ESS Topic 1.3: Energy and Equilibria
  • ESS Topic 1.4: Sustainability
  • ESS Topic 1.5: Humans and Pollution
  • ESS Topic 2.1: Species and Population
  • ESS Topic 2.2: Communities and Ecosystems
  • ESS Topic 2.3: Flows of Energy and Matter
  • ESS Topic 2.4: Biomes, Zonation and Succession
  • ESS Topic 2.5: Investigating Ecosystems
  • ESS Topic 3.1: Introduction to Biodiversity
  • ESS Topic 3.2: Origins of Biodiversity
  • ESS Topic 3.3: Threats to Biodiversity
  • ESS Topic 3.4: Conservation of Biodiversity
  • ESS Topic 4.1: Introduction to Water Systems
  • ESS Topic 4.2: Access to Fresh Water
  • ESS Topic 4.3: Aquatic Food Production Systems
  • ESS Topic 4.4: Water Pollution
  • ESS Topic 5.1: Introduction to Soil Systems
  • ESS Topic 5.2: Terrestrial Food Production Systems and Food Choices
  • ESS Topic 5.3: Soil Degradation and Conservation
  • ESS Topic 6.1: Introduction to the Atmosphere
  • ESS Topic 6.2: Stratospheric Ozone
  • ESS Topic 6.3: Photochemical Smog
  • ESS Topic 6.4: Acid Deposition
  • ESS Topic 7.1: Energy Source and Security
  • ESS Topic 7.2: Climate change – Causes and Impacts
  • ESS Topic 7.3: Climate change – Mitigation and Adaptation
  • ESS Topic 8.1: Human Populations Dynamics
  • ESS Topic 8.2: Resource Use in Society
  • ESS Topic 8.3 Solid Domestic Waste
  • ESS Topic 8.4 Human Population Carrying Capacity
  • ESS IA Context
  • Secondary Data - Data Bases
  • ESS IA Results, Analysis & Conclusions
  • ESS IA Discussion and Evaluation
  • ESS IA Application
  • ESS IA Communication
  • ESS Personal Skills in IA
  • ESS Extended Essay
  • IB Command Terms
  • Official IB ESS Glossary
  • IB ESS Revision
  • Group 4 Project
  • Topic 1.1 Introduction to Cells
  • Topic 1.2 Ultra-Structure of Cells
  • Topic 1.3 Membrane Structure
  • Topic 1.4 Membrane Transport
  • Topic 1.5 Origin of Cells
  • Topic 1.6: Cell Division
  • Topic 2.1:Molecules to Metabolism
  • Topic 2.2 Water
  • Topic 2.3: Carbohydrates and Lipids
  • Topic 2.4: Proteins
  • Topic 2.5: Enzymes
  • Topic 2.6: Structure of DNA and RNA
  • Topic 2.7: DNA Replication, Transcription and Translation
  • Topic 2.8 Cellular Respiration
  • Topic 2.9: Photosynthesis
  • Topic 3.1: Genes
  • Topic 3.2: Chromosomes
  • Topic 3.3: Meiosis
  • Topic 3.4: Inheritance
  • Topic 3.5: Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology
  • 4.1 Species, Communities and Ecosystems
  • 4.2 Energy Flow
  • 4.3 Carbon Cycle
  • 4.4 Climate Change
  • Topic 5.1 Evidence for Evolution
  • Topic 5.2 Natural Selection
  • Topic 5.3: Classification of Biodiversity
  • Topic 5.4: Cladistics
  • Topic 6.1: Digestion and Absorption
  • Topic 6.2: The Blood System
  • Topic 6.3: Defense Against Infectious Disease
  • Topic 6.4: Gas Exchange
  • Topic 6.5: Neurones and Synapses
  • Topic 6.6: Hormones, Homeostasis and Reproduction
  • Topic 7.1 DNA Structure and Replication
  • Topic 7.2 Transcription and Gene Expression
  • Topic 7.3 Translation
  • Topic 8.1 Metabolism
  • Topic 8.2 Cell Respiration
  • Topic 8.3 Photosynthesis
  • Topic 9.1 Transport in the Xylem of Plants
  • Topic 9.2 Transport in the Phloem of Plants
  • Topic 9.3 Growth in Plants
  • Topic 9.4: Reproduction in Plants
  • Topic 10.1: Meiosis
  • Topic 10.2: Inheritance
  • Topic 10.3: Gene Pools and Speciation
  • Topic 11.1 Antibody Production and Vaccination
  • Topic 11.2: Movement
  • Topic 11.3: The Kidney and Osmoregulation
  • Topic 11.4: Sexual Reproduction
  • D1: Human Nutrition (Core)
  • D2: Digestion (Core)
  • D3: Function of the Liver (Core)
  • D4: Function of the Heart (Core)
  • D5: Hormones and Metabolism (HL)
  • D6: Transport of Respiratory Gases (HL)
  • Internal Assessment Personal Engagement
  • Internal Assessment Exploration
  • Internal Assessment - Analysis
  • Internal Assessment Evaluation
  • Internal Assessment - Communications
  • IB Biology Revision
  • GR 10 Topic 1: Gas Exchange and Cellular Respiration
  • GR 10 Topic 2 Muscles and Energy
  • GR10 Topic 3: Homeostasis and Thermoregulation
  • How Much Is That Kidney
  • Grade 9 Topic 1: Life Processes
  • GR9 Topic 2: Cells
  • GR 9 Topic 3: Macro Molecules
  • GR9 Topic 4 Cellular Movement
  • GR 9 Topic 5: Transport In Plant
  • GR 9 Topic 6 Enzymes
  • MYP Laboratory Guidance
  • What Are You Eating
  • Get Organized
  • Day Before the Exam
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extended essay in biology


  • i. e.g. an essay which is based on Biochemistry must emphasis the Biology not the Chemistry.
  • ii. e.g. essay which looks at human disease must emphasis the Biology not with the diagnostic or treatment of a disease. 


  • It isn't easy, but it is important!
  • Decide on a subject in which to write the essay
  • Check the list of available subjects here
  • Read the IB's criteria for your subject
  • Read an exemplar essay in your subject
  • Decide on a topic within this subject
  • Explore some possible research questions relating to this topic
  • This means you will need to do some research!
  • Discuss these with your adviser


​​Interpreting the assessment criteria

  • A good research question will readily allow hypothesis to be formed.
  • Written as statement that can be tested (not a question)
  • A directional or non-directional hypothesis along with a Null hypothesis can be stated
  • It will normally be a single sentence, no more than two.
  • It must contain a reference to the effect of the independent variable on the dependant variable
  •  If possible this should be followed by a predictive graph with appropriate axis labels. 
  • When you are researching what’s already written on research topic, explain why you choose particular texts or authors
  • rather than others.
  • Explain how your research topic fits into the bigger picture of research and theory in Biology.
  • Show some evaluation of your sources; how you know that the author is a credible source of information
  • Explain your choice of experimental methods rather than other techniques.
  • Explain your choice of statistical tests (justify your choice).
  • Quote sources that support the direction of your research topic.
  • Write long technical regurgitation of known theory.
  • Leave out citations and references. 


Self assessment


biology extended essay reddit

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2016-2017 IB Extended Essay: Sample IB EE's

  • Workshop 1: Getting started
  • Workshop 2: EE Options
  • Workshop 3: Selecting a topic
  • Workshop 5: Reflections
  • Finding Books & Ebooks
  • Primary Sources
  • Citation Guide
  • Subject guidance
  • Sample IB EE's
  • Biology (2018 new rubric)
  • Biology Light Intensity
  • Does Age Have an Effect on Short-term Memory of 6 to 18 Year Old Students?


  • Chemistry 1
  • What are the Alternative Fuels for the Depleting Fossil Fuels and which is the Best Fuel in Accordance with the Energy Output?
  • A Copper Ions
  • Chemistry 3

Design Technology

  • Does Hull Trim and Balance Affect the Speed of a Boat?

Individuals & Society:

  • Market Form of the Retail Petroleum Supply Industry in Parklands
  • Economics 1
  • Economics 2
  • Economics 3

I have an exemplar but the file is too big to upload.  If you are interested in this topic I can share the essay with you.

  • Geography 2
  • History EE (2018 new rubric)
  • To What Extent was the Establishment of the State of Israel in Palestine in 1948, Influenced by Theodor Herzl?

Information Technology in a Global Society

  • Philosophy 1
  • Philosophy 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • Philosophy 4
  • Psychology EE (2018 new rubric)
  • Applied Behavior Analysis and Early Intervention: The Extent of Recovery from Autism
  • Psychology 1
  • Psychology 2
  • Psychology 3

Social & Cultural Anthropology

  • Social & Cultural Anthropology 1
  • Social & Cultural Anthropology 2

World Religions

  • To What Extent do the Core Scriptural Teachings of Sikhism Permit them to Marry Outside of the Religion?
  • World Religions 1
  • World Religions 2

Language Acquisition:

  • French: Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Literature & Language 

  •   Journeys in the Inferno and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz   
  •   Toni Morrison 


  •   Cryptography and Rubik's Cube: An Investigative Analysis   
  •   Pascal's Triangle 

Visual Arts: 

  •   How Does the work of Yinka Shonibare Illustrate the Changing Role of African Art in a Global Society? 
  • Ballet's Accessibility and Costumes Affecting Society's View of the Art Form
  • Visual Arts 1
  • Visual Arts 4

Interdisciplinary Essays:

Environmental Systems & Societies

  • ESS Extended Essay (2018 new rubric)

World Studies

  • World Studies EE History, Economics, & Politics  (2018 new rubric)
  • Does the Production of Dairy and Meat from Dairy Cows in the United States affect the Environment and Well Being of Animals and Humans?
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  • Last Updated: Feb 8, 2024 11:57 AM
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IB Biology EE examples

Filter exemplars, how do different concentrations of punica granatum extracts: peel, flower and leaves (10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 mg/ml) affect the rate of reaction of α-amylase and compare with metformin (anti-diabetic drug) as measured by a spectrophotometer at 587nm, to what extent do extracts of allium sativum (garlic) and zingiber officinale (ginger) reduce antimicrobial activity and how effective it is compared to antibiotics, want to get full marks for your ee allow us to review it for you 🎯, to what extent does performing the dance styles, cha cha, viennese waltz, and modern contemporary affect human fitness levels as measured by oxygen consumption (vo2) and maximum heart rate (bpm), how effective is the cone repair technique when treating ebstein’s anomaly in comparison to other treatments, how does juice from garlic allium sativum cloves prepared in different ways (fresh raw, crushed one day prior, cooked, kept in oil, fermented in brine and fermented (black garlic)) affect the growth of a non-pathogenic strain of escherichia coli, fast track your coursework with mark schemes moderated by ib examiners. upgrade now 🚀, to what extent does the presence of acetaminophen (tylenol), polymixin b (polysporin), and diphenhydramine hydrochloride (benadryl) in the growth medium of cotoneaster acutifolius affect the average change in leaf length over a period of 15 days in five different concentrations, to what extent do different concentrations of magnesium nitrate (10, 20, 30, 40, 50 mm) affect the concentration of chlorophyll a and b in ocimum basilicum at 645 nm and 662 nm wavelength using spectrophotometer, what is the effect of salinity stress (0, 50, 100, 150, 200 mm nacl) measured through microscopic (stomatal aperture) and morphological (leaf area, leaf dry mass, and root length) characteristics on pre-treated radish (raphanus sativus) seeds with magnetopriming (48 hours), how is the number of errors made by participants when attempting to distinguish between the temperature of two different water baths influenced by the hours slept within a 24-hour period, to what extent do different species of chili pepper consumption biologically affect the rate of lipid digestion in terms of ph change within 30 minutes, to what extent do phytochemicals such as resveratrol, glyceollin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (egcg) possess comparable antibacterial effects against staphylococcus aureus bacteria to a non-prescription otitis externa (oe) treatments such as ciprofloxacin using bacillus subtilis as a prokaryotic model organism, to what extent is blood pressure related to the development of alzheimer’s disease in people in age above 50, to what extent do bioinformatic tools such as cb dock 2 and chimera help in the analysis of phytochemicals (calotropone, quercetin, thymoquinone) compared to allopathic drugs (gemcitabine, olaparib, fluorouracil) against target receptors of pancreatic cancer (human glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase 1 (got1), threonine-protein kinase bub1, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma), to what extent does inhaling e-cigarettes affect the lungs’ vital capacity of high school students in jakarta, estudio sobre el efecto de la crema dental utilizada para el cepillado de los dientes como inhibidor en la actividad enzimática de la alfa amilasa salival, how can the frameshift mutation caused by a deletion that affects the human body's melanocortin receptor gene (mcr) and leptin receptor gene (lepr) induce monogenetic obesity, to what extent does high intensity interval training (hiit) effect the maximum oxygen uptake (vo2max) in sedentary populations, investigating the effects of oil spillages on plants, to what extent does varying the duration (0 mins, 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins, 20 mins, 25 mins) at which a 25% solution consisting of ethanol-dissolved ayurvedic spices (curcumin and black cumin) is maintained at 60°c affect the antimicrobial activity of these spices against a k12 strain of escherichia coli, what effect do differing concentrations of the growth hormone gibberellic acid, have on the growth and mortality rates of pulses, common beans (phaseolus vulgaris l.) and common peas (pisum sativum l. (partim)), how do different concentrations of two cytokinin hormones: kinetin (0.5, 1 and 1.5 mg/l) and 6-benzylaminopurine (1.5, 2 and 2.5 mg / l) affect the growth of lactuca sativa, measured by height, number of leaves and dry mass, separately and combined over 5 weeks, to what extent is frequent consumption of ultra processed food related to prevalence of overweight and obesity among high school and college students, in poland and in thailand, how does the pollution of oestrogens into freshwater systems affect the biological processes of fathead minnows, to what extent does the abundance of hormosira banksii influence biodiversity at different positions on the intertidal rocky shore, how does the duration of exposure time to ultraviolet light affect the growth of saccharomyces cerevisiae, to what extent do various concentrations of piper betle extract (1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, 5%) affect the enzymatic activity of the digestive enzyme amylase, protease and lipase on their substrates (starch, casein and milk) in the the process of digestion and the estimation of vitamin c concentration in piper betle, ¿cómo los cambios en la luminosidad con niveles de 0, 2 500 y 5 000 lux, en focos de 25 y 50 watts respectivamente, afectan a la fijación de dióxido de carbono (co2) en la sansevieria trifasciata zeylanica biología nm, knowing that fingerprints are always different, but the core is identical, to what extent is it possible to see other similarities between the minutiae of close family members, to what extent does irrigation with carbonated water affect the ferric ion (fe3+) nutrient content of brassica oleracea ‘black tuscany’ microgreens, ¿cómo se estudia el angioedema hereditario, su diagnóstico, tratamiento, síntomas y etiología en humanos, to what extent does the efficiency of lactase enzyme found in different types and brands of dietary supplements (vitaplus innolact lactase dietary supplement film-coated tablet, millandjoy lactase enzyme chewable tablets, lactase comfort drops, dr. chen soft capsule, sanct bernhard lactase enzyme capsule) differ if the prescribed dosage used, measured as the amount of glucose produced after being treated with different supplements in a given time period (30sec, 60sec, 90sec, 120sec, 150sec), how do different concentrations of salicylic acid (1mm and 1m) affect growth of radishes (raphanus sativus), under drought, osmotic and cold stress, as well as normal conditions, the impact of ph on chlorella vulgaris, the effect of sucrose concentration on the percentage change in carbon dioxide during ethanol(yeast fermentation), to what extent does animal rennetassist lactic acid bacteria in the fermentation of milk during the production of cheese curds, what is the effect of seawater mixture (0%, 5%, 10%) on the germination of black chickpeas (cicer arietinum), green gram (vigna radiata) and fenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecum) for 5 days and their subsequent growth when watered using tap water for 10 days where growth was measured by plant height (±0.05 cm) and dry mass (±0.001 g), the digestion rate of oatmeal after different pre-soaking treatments and its correlation to glycemic index, how do different nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium (npk) ratios (1:1:1, 2:1:1, 2:2:1 and water) in aqueous fertilisers affect growth (as measured through a mitotic index) of the onion (allium cepa), over a 5- week period, in a hydroponics set up, to what extent does varying concentrations of the hormone progesterone promote the short term growth of egeria densa.


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    biology extended essay reddit

  2. 🏷️ Biology extended essay guide. Sciences: Biology. 2022-10-26

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  5. Extended Essay

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  6. Biology EE Topics: How to Choose, Plus Good Examples

    biology extended essay reddit


  1. Biology Extended Essay tips. : r/IBO

    Biology Extended Essay tips. Hey there guys, I just written a couple of pointers hoping it would be of use for anyone doing their extended essay in Biology. Firstly before the tips I just want to tell you about the two ways you can go about your essay Using data from previous research papers and experiments

  2. Biology extended essay : r/IBO

    Biology extended essay Hello everyone. I'm the first year of the IB, and I'm started to write the draft of EE. I have a couple of questions about my EE. I already founded the topic: Effect of BMI to the surface skin temperature in different body areas with more subcutaneous fat on the rate of recovery once exposed heat.

  3. Everything you need to know about Biology Extended Essay : r/TYCHR

    The extended essay is graded out of 34 points according to a rubric. There are 5 grades that you may receive for your extended essay and then the not submitted condition (N): A - [30-36] (Excellent) B - [25 - 29] (Good) C - [17 - 24] (Satisfactory) D - [9 -16] (Mediocre) E - [0 - 8] (Elementary) N - (Not Submitted)

  4. What I learned from messing up my biology extended essay

    By Lim Hui Yuan I'm sure all the current and past IB students know the hardship of completing an Extended Essay (EE). And for those who are not familiar with EE, it is actually " an independent, self-directed piece of research ", which culminates into a 4,000-word paper.

  5. Biology Extended Essay

    View community ranking In the Top 1% of largest communities on Reddit. Biology Extended Essay - Advice wanted :) ... Hi I'm writing a biology extended essay and I was wondering if people could provide me some examples of there's and what grade they got? I looked online but there's not too much that I could find, and I really need help on ...

  6. The Complete IB Extended Essay Guide: Examples, Topics, and Ideas

    The IB Extended Essay, or EE, is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide). I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.

  7. Biology Extended Essay: The Complete Guide for IB Students

    Biology Extended Essay is an assignment that requires you to explore biological issue relevant to you and your environment. Your focus should be on a particular biological emphasis within a broader context of scientific investigation. Given that the focus is on a biological system, you'll have to make an analytical argument as you write the essay.

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  10. Is a biology EE really that much more difficult?

    Plus if you are thinking to apply medschool, then a biology EE would definitely benefit you (eg. do some research on ... let's say hormone.) This way you can demonstrate your interest in health to the university admission officers! But i think the 'quite important' factor to a good EE is a good supervisor.... Nothing is hard if you work hard.

  11. DP Biology: Extended Essays

    Key points about Biology Extended Essays Great things about the Extended Essay in an IB diploma Students get some choice in their topic and can follow a personal interest. It really is a useful learning experience for anyone going to university as the formal structure resemble a dissertation.

  12. Sciences: Biology

    Primary Research Essays in biology may be based on data collected by the student through: Essays that involve lab work, or fieldwork, should include a clear and concise description of the experimental procedure. Students taking an experimental approach must also consult secondary sources. Secondary Research

  13. Biology Extended Essay Topics and RQs for IBDP

    January 25th, 2024 IB Topics It's time for our exploration of Biology extended essay topics, a resource designed to spark your curiosity and guide your research interests in the vast and vibrant field of biology.

  14. Biology Extended Essay Topic : r/IBO

    Biology Extended Essay Topic I need help with coming up with some possible questions, the deadline is approaching soon and i dont know what i exactly want to experiment. Ive narrowed down to physiology but i dont know how to make a reliable experiment on physiology, As there are too many variables to consider in a human experiment.

  15. 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 ...

  16. Extended essay

    The extended essay is an independent, self-directed piece of research, finishing with a 4,000-word paper. One component of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core, the extended essay is mandatory for all students. Read about the extended essay in greater detail.

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    ORDER NOW Biology EE Topics | 40 Ideas Explore the intricacies of living organisms & their processes in our comprehensive guide to Biology Extended Essay topics. Perfect for IB students

  18. Tanglin LibGuides: IB Extended Essay (EE): Biology

    Excellent Extended Essays - Biology. Are commercial methods of oral rinse (mouthwash) more effective than the traditional methods of oral hygiene (tea, sesame oil, baking soda, myrrh) in preventing the growth of Micrococcus luteus? (2012) A study on the effect of Indole acetic acid, a growth hormone, on the growth of crop plants, rice (Oryza ...

  19. PDF IB BIOLOGY: Extended Essay Assessment Criterion A: Focus and Method 6

    BIOLOGY All extended essays are externally assessed by examiners appointed by the IBO. All extended essays are marked on a scale from 0 to 34. For each criterion, examiners are instructed to identify the level descriptor that is most appropriate (i.e. the best match) for the extended essay under consideration.

  20. Researching and writing an IB Extended Essay in Biology

    The Extended Essay is a compulsory component of the IB Diploma. Students are tasked with writing four thousand words on a topic of their choice relating to one of the subjects they are studying for their Diploma. Every student is allocated a supervisor who will guide them through the process. It is not an exaggeration when I say that ...

  21. Biology Extended Essay

    An extended essay in biology provides you the student with an opportunity to apply a range of skills while researching a topic of personal interest in the field of biology. The nature of an extended essay in biology is characterized by a particular biological emphasis within the more general context of a scientific investigation. Choice of topic

  22. John R. Lewis Library: 2016-2017 IB Extended Essay: Sample IB EE's

    Extended Essay Research Guide; Class of 2025 - Sample Extended Esssays; Science. Biology. Biology (2018 new rubric) Biology Light Intensity Does Age Have an Effect on Short-term Memory of 6 to 18 Year Old Students? Biology 1 Chemistry: Chemistry 1 What are the Alternative Fuels for the Depleting Fossil Fuels and which is the Best Fuel in ...

  23. IB Biology EE examples

    EE Biology B. Fast track your coursework with mark schemes moderated by IB examiners. Upgrade now 🚀. Promoted. Advertise with Clastify. To what extent does varying the duration (0 mins, 5 mins, 10 mins, 15 mins, 20 mins, 25 mins) at which a 25% solution consisting of ethanol-dissolved ayurvedic spices (curcumin and black cumin) is maintained ...