Extended Essays: No Need to Panic!Thursday, May 13th, 2010
Writing an extended essay is easier than it seems
Most of the times, students don’t choose the extension of their works, but it is up to the teacher to decide the essay word count. And many times, as students we may need to deal with the challenge of writing a really extended essay. But, even if at first the number of required words or pages frighten you, don’t panic. Actually, sometimes the real challenge is writing a significant essay of no more that five paragraphs. In fact, extended essays allow you more freedom, although they require a proper organization.
Organizing your work
A proper organization is a must for successful extended essays –as well as for very short ones, in which you have to say a lot with few words-. And that means writing an essay sketch or plan. First establish the topic, and then, once you get to write, remember you should always start your essay with an introduction, in where you delimit your field, establish your hypothesis and write about your research methodology.
You may then delimit body paragraphs by writing subtitles. Another good idea at this stage of the task is planning is the bibliography. Search through every article and find appropriate quotations you may want to include in your essay (and always remember to quote their author). And remember that any good essay should finish with a conclusion, so save some words for it.
But, how much more can I add?
As a student, you are probably familiarized with this situation: just when it seems you have written the perfect essay, with quotations, references, plenty of examples and a full conclusion with many new ideas, somehow, you check the essay word count in your textbook processor and you find out you have written only a small fraction of what you were supposed to write. How important is the amount of words, really? If you have important points to make, does it really matter if you write too few words?
The truth is you shouldn’t write less words than required by the teacher. If you think about it from the examiner’s point of view, a student who writes less than required has very little to say. And that won’t really get your mark any higher. It doesn’t matter if you really wrote your best. An essay word count below required always leaves a bad impression.
How to reach your word count
Extending an essay is easier than it seems! If you feel you’ll never reach the appropriate word count on your own, follow these tips. Try extending the quotations: instead of quoting a sentence, why not quoting the whole paragraph? In that way, you will be writing more words without even having to think about them! Another good idea is to write a longer introduction or conclusion, since in these sections of your essay, you are allowed to paraphrase other parts of the paper. Always remember to use synonyms to avoid repetitions. Finally, you can always rewrite some secondary ideas you left behind in the essay plan and add them now to the final version of the extended essay.