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The EE guide for Physics clearly states the following: Students should choose a well-focused, well-defined and realistic topic that allows for an in-depth treatment.
The work is often inappropriate and although there are some signs that the student did actually put some effort into this, the marks are significantly compromised because of this.
It should be remembered that the IB Physics course has a lot of focus on the experimental (or empirical) aspects of the subject and very little which actually supports the role of theoretical investigation.
Amazingly, many students feel that it is appropriate to only have 3 values for their independent variable.
Further, some students feel that non-numeric input variables are fine when in fact, they usually produce data that cannot be systematically analysed.
Graphs with dot-to-dot or curvy dot-to-dot links between the points should be avoided.
There was also a lack of the input-output graphs, with students simply going for the graph to show the variation they expected!In such a situation, it will of course, compromise the marks they achieve.These EEs are a good example of why the role of the supervisor at the beginning of the EE is crucial.The student has obviously put in some effort here, but this was an inappropriate piece of research that was never going to work.Often when this happens, the student usually does not seem to see this, and that can compromise the conclusion and evaluation marks.Also, by definition, some topics are not suitable for an extended essay in physics, which is an experimental science with a specific approach and techniques.As such, it should be stated that in the majority of cases, students that produce such EEs are ill-advised and if there were more guidance and a stronger hand in saying ‘no – that will not work and therefore, will no score well’, they might be better.Having just completed the marking of 59 Physics extended essays for the IB, I am compelled to write this post about the appalling quality of them.Of the 59, only a handful scored over 20/36 – which is pretty poor.The main reasons are: Some extended essays are theoretical.Whilst these are allowed (and I have seen a few good ones over the years), in general they do not score well.