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I can't do an experiment for my Chemistry EE

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My EE question is "To what extent does the substituent group on a benzene ring affect the absorption of UV light?" and my supervisor and I were planning on using a uv/vis spectrometer to see which wavelengths of light different molecules that contained a benzene ring would absorb.

I firstly had a problem waiting for the equipment to be available for use, as the mirror was lost and they had to order a replacement. After waiting for ages, I find out (last week) that the spectrometer doesn't work in the UV region so I can't actually do my experiment :( My supervisor found a government website that gives me the raw data that I need (and extra that I wouldn't be able to get at school), which I've been gathering. I asked him if this would affect my grade and he said it shouldn't do, and that he would explain the situation in his comment on my essay, but I'm scared because it says in the science EE guide that essays that do not contain experiments are more likely to get a lower grade. I completely trust my supervisor though, he is the IB Coordinator at our school and he also happens to be one of my Chemistry HL teachers, but I'm just worried.

Also, we break up from school for summer this Wednesday, and he said that I should hand in a completed draft in September so that it's out of the way, and I haven't even been able to do a first draft :(

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...do you know anybody at any other schools which might let you borrow the equipment?

As you rightly identified, EEs without your own experiment don't tend to do well. I've never heard of the Supervisor writing an explanation for that on the letter to know whether that will help or not, but if it does help then it can only really affect the 'holistic judgement' element of the mark scheme. They can't very well give you marks for the bits you haven't done which are factual and not simply holistic elements, at least it makes no sense to me that they would. So sorry that I can't re-assure you, because I'm not sure. I would do my utmost to acquire the equipment to be honest, just to erase all the worry. If you live near a University, contacting them and asking if you could come in to do some experiments might also be an idea.

Alternatively, change your topic slightly. I mean, what other things might be altered by the substituent on a benzene ring which you DO have the ability to measure? It's a pain to change the topic when you're so far down the road, but sometimes it's better to backtrack than to go down a road which you're not confident is going to work. If you can keep some of the basic method like sticking with the benzene substituents, then at least part of your research should still come in handy.

Ignore anybody who tells you about deadlines, you're relatively unusual in that you've contemplated your EE in IB1. We didn't even get told about it until IB2 and I can tell you that the final deadline is somewhere around Jan/Feb time of your IB2. I know this because that's how I spent my New Year's Eve 2009 :P So don't stress about time. If you plan it all out properly, you may even be able to fit some experiments in over the summer if your school is open (or bug your supervisor to come in and help you open it for a few days - they promised you faulty equipment so in a strange not-really-but-it-might-help way, they have some responsibility for you being stuck!).

Good luck!

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