Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Bishup

Extended Essay - Do you have to do one in Biology or Chemistry?

Today at school we had our very first Extended Essay seminar and a piece of information that came up towards the end of the seminar was that 'if you want to go into medical school you need to write an Extended Essay related to what you want to do, most likely being Biology.'

For a while now I've wanted to do it in Chemistry Looking at how Nitrogen can be absorbed by muscle tissue and the blood under pressure and how that leads to decompression sickness. Meanwhile this idea was contested with a possibility to go on a 4 week Scientific project where I applied to carry out some research to something related to stem cells or DNA. The school told us that this project called the 'Nuffield Bursary' means that your Scientific Extended Essay is basically done, which is great. BUT...

My question is what should I do in the meantime, what if I don't get on this 'Nuffield Bursary'? Should I do my Chemistry Extended Essay or should I do an extended Essay in French or Swedish?

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You don't have to do one in that they won't discriminate against you if you don't (at least, I didn't do one). Being honest, they may not even ask you about your Extended Essay unless you bring it up yourself in an interview, even if you drop it into your personal statement. However I know plenty of people do an EE in Chemistry or Biology so they can apply :hug:

For a while now I've wanted to do it in Chemistry Looking at how Nitrogen can be absorbed by muscle tissue and the blood under pressure and how that leads to decompression sickness.

I think this would actually be a Biology EE title...? Presuming you're looking at the way the Biological system is designed to take up gases and the way pressure affects the up-take of gas, as it's less to do with Chemistry and quite a bit more to do with Physiology and Physics. If it was Chemistry I think you'd have to do something more along the lines of actually testing people's blood with nitrogen etc. under particular conditions, which would be very difficult partly because it's difficult to control pressure like that, partly because it wouldn't mimic the reality of a human lung/blood/muscle and then partly because you're not allowed to use things like human blood in EEs. All in all it would be very difficult to do an experiment on this topic (and 99.9% of the time, science essays only score highly if they have an experimental aspect - I've never heard of a non-experimental essay achieving the top grade). Perhaps discuss this with your Biology (or Chemistry, but I'm pretty sure this is a Biology topic) teacher?

Your Nuffield thing sounds like an easy way to do your EE, but I do know some people who've done the Nuffield thing (and didn't use it for their EEs, admittedly) and the impression I got from them was that it wasn't so much about independent research as the environment, working in a lab. etc., which I may have wrong or I may not, but you should double check just in case, I reckon. Be on the safe side! :)

All in all, it's a decision you have to make re: weighing up whether you'd rather have it as a possible thing to impress with, presuming they ask you about it in your interview, or whether you'd rather get more bonus points. As a rule, science essays are reasonably difficult to do well in, and language essays are easy to do well in, so if those are your other options, it might ultimately help your final point total. Only you will know how confident you feel and therefore where you want this trade-off to lie, however :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wrote my Extended Essay in French and got an offer from Oxford for Engineering. I felt that writing my EE in French would benefit me most as French (B SL) is my weakest subject and consequently devoting a lot of time to it would lead to improvement in the subject itself.

I didn't bring up my Extended Essay in my interviews or personal statement, and I doubt it would negatively affect you if you didn't do it in Bio or Chemistry. However, it could positively affect you if you choose to do it in one of those two, particularly if you demonstrate a deep interest in the subject you investigate in your EE.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if you're interested in pursuing something related to Biology or Chemistry (like medicine) having an EE in the subject could be a way of showing that you 1) are passionate/skillful enough in the subject to choose to do your EE in it and 2) have experience conducting your own research experimentation at a level beyond just simple experiments planned by the teacher to demonstrate something that's already in the textbook. But like Sandwich said, the interviewers might not even bring it up. So perhaps you should choose based on what you love more/what you know you will excel in, and the Bio/Chem thing could just be an additional benefit. I'm doing a Chemistry EE even though I'm not so interested in going into a scientific field at university/for a job, just because I love the subject and I think I have a chance of doing well in it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My Chemistry HL teacher told me that apparently it was a lot harder to achieve a good IB mark on EE's on a science than it is for other subjects, such as psychology. Is this generally true, or is this just because my school hasn't had many students write EE's on any of the sciences or something =/?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites