Reflections on the Extended Essay

What are reflections?

On top of the extended essay, three mandatory reflections, which should be uploaded on the Reflections and Planning and Progress Form (RPPF) need to be completed. The three are called: the initial reflection, the interim reflection and the viva voce.

This is needed to help guide the examiner through the process of your extended essay, and can be used to check against plagiarism as they outline your thought process while writing the extended essay. These consist of a maximum of 500 words for all three reflection combined.

When should the reflections be completed?

The reflections should be recorded on the RPPF after a ‘reflection session’ meeting with your supervisor which usually lasts between 20 and 30 minutes.

  1. The initial reflection (should happen after considering initial ideas, background reading and your research plan)

  2. The interim reflection (after the first draft of your extended essay has been submitted)

  3. The Viva Voce (after completing the final version of the extended essay)


What can I write about?

You can think about the following:

  • Planning (how you planned & your time management)

  • Research methodology (the ways in which you researched, which sites you used, how long it took you)

  • Research findings (what you found while researching & if there was anything you could not find)

  • Decision making process (which are the main decisions that you took & what would you do differently if given the chance)

  • Setbacks and challenges (what are the main setbacks and challenges that you faced)

  • Areas and actions or improvements (was there anything you thought you did well & anything you believe you could improve)

  • The IB Learner profile (did you learn anything that could correlate to the IB learning profile)


How important are the reflections?

These count for 6/35 marks under the criteria “engagement” and so counts for 17.6% of your final extended essay grade. This is enough to bring your grade down from an A to a C!

Criteria for top marks:

The criteria for top marks as outlined by the IB are shown below.

Engagement is excellent. Reflections on decision-making and planning are evaluative and include reference to the student’s capacity to consider actions and ideas in response to setbacks experienced in the research process. These reflections communicate a high degree of intellectual and personal engagement with the research focus and process of research, demonstrating authenticity, intellectual initiative and/or creative approach in the student voice.