Formatting An Extended Essay Contact Me
Maths & Statistics

This is a basic guide to writing the Extended Essay in Biology and includes detail on formatting and presentation. It is not an exhaustive guide and some aspects of presentation will change depending on the piece of work you have created. When you start writing it, stick to these guidelines.

General instructions:

  • Pages have to be numbered with the 1st page being the one after the title page
  • EVERYTHING written must be in the 3rd person, no “I”, “me”, “my” etc…
  • Fonts to use include
    • Arial
    • Corbel
    • Times New Roman
    • Calibri (this is probably the best)
  • Font size should be
    • Section Title (14)
    • Sub section title (12)
    • Writing (11)
  • The text should be double spaced and justified.
  • Each time you do a new section, go to a new page.
  • Referencing can be done in two ways but always following the Harvard method. The important thing is that if you reference a book, the page number is vital so if you reference different pages of the book, you have different references.
    • You either write a number in square brackets like so [2] and then number the references in your bibliography to match
      [1] Book information X; pages 210-211
      [2] Book information X; pages 195-196
    • Or you do the traditional method of doing a foot note
    • Please note though that most pieces of work done in science follow the 1st method
  • EVERY single piece of information that is not your theory or data (you refer to data) has to be referenced or you will be done for plagiarism.
  • You reference what is in the appendix, you don’t put it in brackets in the text.
  • The reference and bibliography only applies to the information contained in the main body of the extended essay; everything in the appendix should be footnoted.
  • All tables, graphs and diagrams must have a title. The title should be enough for them to understand what the table is showing without actually seeing the table.
  • Tables, graphs and diagrams must be numbered before the title.
  • The style of writing must be clear, concise and succinct (clinical if you want), there are no marks for style and you will probably waste your word count on pretty sentences.
  • Make sure that everything follows a logical order that is easy to follow.
  • Titles, tables, graphs etc... do not count for the word count nor does the abstract.
  • The following is a link that shows how the title page should look and be formatted.


This is only a rough guide and yours may differ slightly from this layout depending on the investigation.

Try to stick to the word allocation as much as possible but it is slightly flexible depending on the needs of your piece of work. The bulk of the words though must be in the conclusion as it is there you are answering your research question.

  • Abstract (300 words)
    • What you did
    • How you did it
    • What you found
  • Index
    • Every part and section of your essay (including sub-sections) must be listed here
    • This must also show the appendix if you have included one
    • Don't forget to include page numbers
  • Introduction (700 words)
    • Research Question
    • Background information about:
      • Topic
      • Science involved
  • Aim and Hypothesis (200 words)
    • Aims:
      • What you are looking at
    • Hypothesis:
      • What you think the outcome of the experiments will be
      • Supported by pre-experiment if applicable
      • Supported by science in the introduction
  • Planning (500 words)
    • Includes specific methods
    • What you are doing / looking at
    • Talk about the pre test and what it lead you to (if applicable)
    • What you are going to be doing
  • Data and Analysis (600 words). The approach depends on the type of data you have (we'll discuss it) and how it is linked but you must include:
    • Processing
    • Analysis
    • Report any anomalous data (if it is always the same one that is anomalous then you can just talk about it once, if they different between sections then leave them with the processed data)
  • Conclusion (2000 words)
    • Errors/problems/uncertainties
    • Discussion of whole results:
      • Use analysis to guide you (follow order of analysis)
      • Refer to data
      • Refer to scientific knowledge used in the introduction and the appendix if applicable
    • Answer the research question
    • Address the hypothesis
      • Were you right / wrong
      • Why
    • Overall conclusion of the Extended Essay
  • Appendix
    • This is where you put anything that does not fit in to the main body of your Extended Essay and word hungry sections that you feel need to be present but that you can referenced instead of included
    • Each appendix should be lettered and each one should contain the same sort of information
    • Examples of things that can be included in the appendix:
      • How calculations are done
      • Raw data
      • Pre investigation (If applicable)
        • Information
        • Method
        • Data
        • Analysis
        • Conclusion