Extended Essay Workshops: A Guide to Self-Directed Research


Melanie Ozuna

Juniors enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program began to develop a research question for their upcoming Extended Essays: a paper they will write during the duration of their junior year.

Melanie Ozuna, Staff Writer

On Monday, Sept. 16, International Baccalaureate coordinator Ms. Van Wyk hosted this year’s first workshop on Extended Essay writing for the class of 2021. The Extended Essay, an important component in achieving the International Baccalaureate diploma, requires students to follow a strict rubric, conduct academic research and obtain a relatively high score. The 2,000-4,000 word essay can be daunting to students who have never written a paper of that magnitude, so Ms. Van Wyk’s Extended Essay workshops aim to provide structure and advice to juniors undertaking this project.

Melanie Ozuna
Juniors gathered to learn about the Extended Essay and receive feedback concerning their possible research questions.

“I mainly wish that the International Baccalaureate students have confidence while writing the Extended Essay. They should each feel that they have a support system here at place, that is always accessible to them. These are made possible for the students to grow in the program and be successful,” International Baccalaureate coordinator Ms. Van Wyk said.

The Coral Gables Senior High magnet program coordinator has arranged a set of after-school workshops for juniors in need of guidance. Ms. Van Wyk plans on working one-on-one with her students and taking the time to assist them in anything associated with the program.

Each presentation will be a total of 60 minutes; the workshop dates include Sept. 23, Oct. 1, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Nov. 5, Jan. 13 and Jan. 21. Students can sign up through the official online classroom, located on Microsoft Teams. Each workshop will cover several aspects of the Extended Essay and break them down. Every after-school event is intended to engage students to put maximum effort into writing their papers.

Melanie Ozuna
Mrs. Van Wyk established the fundamental requirements that students must meet when writing the extended essay.

The introductory workshop of the 2019-2020 school year covered the intensity of papers in various International Baccalaureate subjects. Ms. Van Wyk offered details and valuable recommendations in narrowing down a research question and formatting it in the correct style.

A rubric was presented to the students to assist them in avoiding an Elementary score, a failing grade that disqualifies students from receiving the International Baccalaureate diploma. The students were supplied sample essays to examine and closely analyze how each paper is graded.

“The meeting today was very beneficial. Mrs. Van Wyk provided us with valuable information and resources to aid our understanding regarding the Extended Essay. She was also able to answer some of our questions about our topics, which helped me narrow down which one I am choosing. I would recommend anyone who is confused and needs a little guidance to attend the workshops,” junior Diana Monteagudo.

Melanie Ozuna
Students were granted complete access to past essays and recorded valuable notes on their laptops.

The administration of the International Baccalaureate academy hopes that these workshops will lead the students to prosper in the program and achieve academic superiority. Students who are successful in the challenging aspects of the curriculum will broaden their options for higher education, including earning the Bright Futures Scholarship Program, which is rewarded to the graduates of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.

Every junior enrolled in the program is welcome to attend any of the upcoming meetings. International Baccalaureate coordinator, Ms. Van Wyk, urges the students to attend the conferences to increase their knowledge of the program and gain a better understanding of the process.