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Should I do an EE in a subject I'm planning on doing in university? Watch

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    For university, I'm planning to apply for courses within the Life Sciences field, (something like Biochemistry or Biomedical Sciences). Is it recommended that I do an EE in this field, i.e. an EE in either Biology or Chemistry?

    I take both Biology and Chemistry HL, so there's no worry about not having enough background knowledge in the topic. But the thing is, my IB coordinator doesn't look favourably upon EEs in the sciences, because in his experience, he says these EEs don't usually get high grades as easily as in, say, a group 3 subject.

    I myself am not very confident in writing a 4,000 word lab report either. I'd much rather spend that time doing a Group 1 or 3 essay, which is much easier to get sources for and less time consuming as well. Furthermore my Science department head/Science EE coordinator isn't that great and I dont want to ruin my chances of getting those bonus points.

    So I'm just asking is it necessary that I do an EE in my chosen field in uni? Will it give me any advantages over other candidates? I'm planning to apply to universities in the UK and US btw.
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    (Original post by nicholasflamel)
    For university, I'm planning to apply for courses within the Life Sciences field, (something like Biochemistry or Biomedical Sciences). Is it recommended that I do an EE in this field, i.e. an EE in either Biology or Chemistry?

    I take both Biology and Chemistry HL, so there's no worry about not having enough background knowledge in the topic. But the thing is, my IB coordinator doesn't look favourably upon EEs in the sciences, because in his experience, he says these EEs don't usually get high grades as easily as in, say, a group 3 subject.

    I myself am not very confident in writing a 4,000 word lab report either. I'd much rather spend that time doing a Group 1 or 3 essay, which is much easier to get sources for and less time consuming as well. Furthermore my Science department head/Science EE coordinator isn't that great and I dont want to ruin my chances of getting those bonus points.

    So I'm just asking is it necessary that I do an EE in my chosen field in uni? Will it give me any advantages over other candidates? I'm planning to apply to universities in the UK and US btw.
    I had the same dilemma a few months ago. I've just finished IB1 and I want to study Chemical Engineering in uni. At first I wanted to do a Physics/Chemistry EE, because I thought it would give an advantage, but then heard how Group 4 EEs are difficult to score highly in. I really need the bonus points for my dream schools so I thought I shouldn't take any chances. In the end I chose Spanish B instead of a science. I think I made the right choice because most of the science people are predicted B or below while I'm predicted an A. I think it depends on what unis you want to apply to and how badly you need the bonus points. My opinion is that there are other ways to show interest in a subject, like work experience, summer/uni courses, relevant reading etc. so getting the extra points should be the main purpose of your EE. However, I'm not in uni yet, so I don't know if any of what I said is "correct". Regardless of your decision, good luck!

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    Hi You don't have to do your ee in a relevant subject, but it can help. Originally I was down to do history (for a good grade) but realised I didn't have that much for my personal statement about chemistry, so I switched. Science extended essays are really easy to show off to the unis, and although its not like anything else you'll ever have done, I loved being able to plan my own experiment and write up about it. Furthermore, when talking to an ee examiner of 20 years (who now runs advice sessions for all subject areas), I was told the big mistake people make is thinking they know how to write a group 1/3 essay, only to find its graded in a totally different way. Therefore, I'd say if possible, do it in biology or chemistry.

    I don't think it's worth letting your coordinator put you off - if you enjoy the subject, choose well, follow the marks guide a closely as possible and are fairly competent in biology or chemistry (which you must be if they're two of your HLs), you should be able to get a B, which will be fine for unis. The problem is if your supervisor isn't great, but then its supposed to be an independent project with only a few hors of help. Mine was next to useless, but I got through it eventually! The final consideration you haven't mentioned is how much lab access you can get, and how helpful your school will be in providing advice for apparatus (and then letting you use it).

    Overall, I'd say do one relevant to the degree you want to do, but if you feel more comfortable with a more traditional essay it's not the end of the world - just make sure you have enough to put in your personal statement. Hope this helps


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    I was in pretty much the same situation as you last year so I hope this advice is helpful. Firstly, don't worry about getting 4000 words out of a lab report. Explaining the background science in depth and looking at sources of error etc. soon gobbles up the word count so that's no problem. In fact, many of my friends said they had wished they had done science EEs as you already know the structure so well and so it's quite easy to write in that respect whilst writing a group 3 essay is completely different to the ones you normally would do.
    Secondly, don't worry about having a teacher who isn't that interested, I barely talked to mine until the very end, they are their just to guide you and if you follow the exemplars and the markscheme then I'm sure this won't be a problem for you.
    Finally, if you are looking to to do a degree in Life Sciences then it is extremely helpful so have done something like this. I found that having done my extended essay in Biology was fantastic for interviews/personal statement. It gave me something individual to talk about, especially as it's hard to find really good work experience for science subjects. It makes sense to pick your extended essay - your chance to do independent research - in a subject you actually want to continue, and it looks odd to not do so.
    Your EE is one of the things that makes the IB stand out to universities, and so it's worth making the most of it.
 
 
 
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