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Extended Essay vs. Internal Assessment. What is the difference?

EE vs IA

As an IB student, you’ve likely heard of the two academic monsters that loom large in the program’s curriculum: the Extended Essay and the Internal Assessment. While different in scope and style, these projects are equally essential components of the Diploma Program, representing opportunities for you to showcase your intellectual prowess. Let’s compare IA vs. EE.

Extended Essay

At its core, the Extended essay is a 4,000-word exploration of a topic that interests you, undertaken independently over your final two years of high school. The essay is a chance to flex your research and writing skills, working with a supervisor to guide you along the way. 

While the task of selecting a topic may feel daunting, it is also exhilarating as you have the freedom to choose a topic that you genuinely care about, from the arts to the sciences.

The Extended essay is an opportunity for you to dive deep into the research process, examining primary and secondary sources, conducting interviews and surveys, and analyzing data to arrive at insightful conclusions. 

This is your chance to hone your critical thinking and investigative skills, building confidence as a researcher and writer. You can also ask for expert assistance from our IB IA writers team.

Internal Assessment

The Internal Assessment, on the other hand, is a more structured assignment that is completed in class under the guidance of your teacher. It is a way for you to demonstrate your understanding of the course material and apply it to real-life situations. 

Depending on the course, you may be asked to complete a lab report or deliver an oral presentation, working with classmates to develop your interpersonal skills and gain a global perspective.

While the Internal Assessment may feel more manageable than the Extended essay, it is still a challenge that requires discipline, creativity, and attention to detail. 

In addition, the assignment provides an opportunity to learn from and collaborate with peers, developing crucial skills, teaching you to follow the rubric, and increasing the critical thinking that will serve you well in the future.

Need help with your IB EE?

You can also use our extended essay writers team’s services if you need assistance selecting a topic. Furthermore, we can also help you write your IB extended essay from scratch or edit your draft following the IB criteria.

Ultimately, both the Extended Essay and Internal Assessments represent essential components of the IB program, providing opportunities for you to explore your intellectual interests and challenge yourself academically. 

Whether you choose to dive into a self-directed research project or work collaboratively with your classmates, both projects are sure to help you grow and develop as a scholar and a person.

Main Differences Between IA and EE

Let’s sum up the main differences if we compare IB IA vs EE, because the differences between the Extended essay and the Internal Assessment are significant. Still, both projects are designed to help you develop critical academic skills. 

  • Independance
  • Lenght
  • Supervision
  • Freedom
  • Timing

Let’s discuss each of the main differences in detail:


The Extended essay is a self-directed project, while the Internal Assessment is more structured and typically completed during class time.


The Extended essay is a 4,000-word research project, while the Internal Assessment is usually shorter (up to 2200-2500 words) and more focused on a specific topic or assignment.


You’ll work closely with a supervisor on the Extended essay, while the Internal Assessment is usually supervised by your teacher.


The Extended essay gives you more freedom to choose your own topic and approach, while the Internal Assessment is more structured and focused on specific course material.


The Extended essay is usually completed over several months, while the Internal Assessment is completed over a shorter period of time, typically during class.

Despite these differences, both the Extended Essay and the Internal Assessment are critical components of the IB program. They provide you with opportunities to develop research and writing skills, demonstrate your understanding of course material, and showcase your academic abilities. 

They also prepare you for the rigors of college and beyond, where you’ll need to be able to conduct research, analyze data, and communicate your findings effectively.

Wrap Up!

While the Extended Essay and the Internal Assessment may sound similar on the surface, there are significant differences between the two, especially when it comes to writing. 

Nevertheless, they both represent essential opportunities for you to demonstrate your academic abilities and help you develop important skills that will serve you well in college and beyond. 

As an IB student, you should approach both of these projects with enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and use them as opportunities to grow and develop as a scholar.

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