IB English HLE Explained

Free introductory guide to IB English Higher Level Essay (HLE) by IB44 and IB45 graduates Lareina Shen and Saesha Grover.

In this guide, LitLearn students (and 2022 IB grads!)  Lareina Shen and Saesha Grover share their wisdom on how to conquer the IB English Higher Level Essay (HLE).

Lareina achieved an IB44, and Saesha achieved an IB45 as well as the coveted IB7 in IB English Literature HL, so you are in safe hands.

Meet your instructor Jackson Huang, Founder of LitLearn. His mission is to make IB English as pain-free as possible with fun, practical lessons. Jackson scored an IB45 and was accepted to Harvard, Amherst, Williams Colleges, and full scholarships to University of Melbourne & Queensland.

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What is IB English HLE?

The HL Essay (HLE) is a 1200-1500 word essay about a text studied in the IB English course. For Lang Lit, the work you choose to analyze can be literary or non-literary, but for IB English Literature the text must be literary.

The HLE will make up  25% of your final IB English HL grade , and it is graded externally. You must choose your own line of inquiry   (i.e. a question that you will answer in your HLE–more on this later).

How do I choose my text for HLE?

Do NOT choose the “easiest” text. Life is always better when you do things you're interested in, and that advice applies to the HLE, too. Choose the literary / non-literary work that interests  you the most, so that you can (semi?)-enjoy the HLE planning and writing process.

You could start by thinking of a theme that you find particularly interesting and determining which text studied in class demonstrates this theme well.

How do I choose my line of inquiry for HLE?

The line of inquiry is the core question that you will answer in your essay. A quick example might be:

"To what extent is masculinity undermined by the characterisation of Little Thomas?"

Now, it's your job to forge your destiny and come up with your own line of inquiry. But it's not a complete free-for all! There are rules. The main rule is that your line of inquiry must fall under one of the 7 main concepts of IB English (see below for a quick summary).

This summary is vague, so let's go in-depth on a couple of these concepts to really show you what you should be doing in the HLE.

Identity is what makes you, YOU. Here are some questions the concern your own personal identity:

  • What is your favourite colour? And why is it your favourite?
  • What makes you different from others? Why do you think these qualities came to be?
  • How would someone describe you in three words?

Now apply this same logic to characters within your text.

  • How would you describe this character in three words?
  • How do their actions within a text influence your view of their identity?
  • How has the author crafted this character to make you view the character in a certain way?

Let's take a look at a concrete example of how we might choose evidence and quotes for a HLE on cultural identity. This example is based on a Vietnamese work in translation “Ru” by author Kim Thúy. For context, “Ru” is an autobiographical fictional account which explores Kim Thúy's move from Vietnam to Canada as an immigrant and her consequent struggles. The structure of her novel is largely lyrical and poetic.

Let's look at a section from her novel that may help us come up with an essay idea based on the concept of Identity. When she returns to Vietnam, she attends a restaurant, however this becomes a major awakening for her in terms of how she views her own personal identity. Kim narrates within her novel:

The first time I carried a briefcase, the first time I went to a restaurant school for young adults in Hanoi, wearing heels and a straight skirt, the waiter for my table didn't understand why I was speaking Vietnamese with him. Page 77, Rú

This is a perfect quote for the Identity concept. Can you see why? Let's think through it together…

Why would the waiter be confused if Kim, a “briefcase”-carrying individual in “heels” and a “straight skirt”, was speaking Vietnamese with him?

What does being “Vietnamese” look like to the waiter? Why does Kim not conform to his expectation? Was it perhaps due to what she was wearing?

Now, if we look at the section which follows this in the novel, we are able to see the impact this had on the character of Kim's sense of identity.

the young waiter reminded me that I couldn't have everything, that I no longer had the right to declare I was Vietnamese because I no longer had their fragility, their uncertainty, their fears. And he was right to remind me. Page 77, Rú

Here, we can clearly see that this character is now questioning her Vietnamese cultural identity. This is just one example that demonstrates the concept of Identity.

Culture seems to be this confusing thing.  Does it have to do with religion? Race? Beliefs? What does it mean? Does the monster from Frankenstein fit into a certain culture?

The easiest way to put it is this:  Culture is the way someone lives. It is their “way of life.” Think of it as an umbrella term. “Culture” can include so many different things; the list just goes on, for example religion, values, customs, beliefs, cuisine, etc.

Now think, how would I form an essay from this concept?

  • When you read a text in class, you will notice that authors let you form an opinion on the culture of certain characters or groups within a text, but how is this done?
  • How does the author represent the culture of a certain community?
  • What types of patterns in daily routines are discussed?

It seems odd writing an essay about “creativity” because… like… how can anyone definitively say what ‘counts' as being creative–or not? When I say the word creativity , I think of new inventions, or maybe those weird and wacky art installations living inside those ‘modern art' museums. But hey, what's creative to me might not be creative to you!

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

When formulating a HLE on the concept of creativity we have two main pointers for you. Look for:

  • Interesting + Unique techniques or literary devices used within a text by the author. You can learn more in the  Learn Analysis section of LitLearn.
  • Recurring stylistic choices by the author

Now, for this concept, let's look at how we might select supportive evidence and quotations for a HLE on creativity within the narrative style of author Mary Shelley in “Frankenstein”. The narrative style uses  epistolary narration . This is a narrative technique in which a story is told through letters. This was something that I found both interesting and recurring within Frankenstein, which I believe worked to create a personal touch within the novel.

Additionally, Mary Shelley allows different characters to narrate Frankenstein during different volumes. Let's investigate this! I have written out different character profiles of the narrators below:

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

These 3 characters, each relate a part of the novel Frankenstein. This is an example of a creative authorial choice that allows us, as readers to explore different points of view within the text. This is just one example of a creative aspect of a text which you can analyze for your HLE.


Representation is all about how something is  portrayed, conveyed, shown, described, illustrated, depicted . There are many different things that can be ‘represented' within a text, and it doesn't have to be tangible.

For instance, you can look at how a belief, idea or attitude is depicted within a text through different characters or devices.

Again, let's explore a concrete example to make things clear: this time the graphic novel “Persepolis”. We'll consider an HLE on how a text  represents the  impact of political turmoil on society .

Chapter 10 of “Persepolis” highlights societal changes occurring due to the Iranian Revolution. The panels below list the authorial choices relevant to the negative representation of political change in a society. When looking at the techniques highlighted in the slides below, think about how you feel when you look at the panels below. Can you sense a more positive or negative feeling?

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

Cool, but what do we do to turn all this into an actual HL essay? Here is a sample response. The introduction might begin like this:

In the captivating graphic novel “Persepolis,” the author Marjane Satrapi explores the social and political impacts of the Iranian revolution. In particular, Satrapi conveys a disapproving viewpoint on political turmoil within the text. Throughout the graphic novel, Satrapi carefully represents how social isolation, hypocrisy and confusion is experienced by a young girl living in Tehran, as a result of political turmoil.  Example HLE Introduction

Then, in a body paragraph, on one of the key ideas mentioned above, we could analyze the different literary techniques. For example, Panel 1 is a great representation of the experience of confusion in the midst of political turmoil:

Marji is the younger girl pictured in the panels above. While her parents appear quite concerned by the news on the TV, she appears to not be in full comprehension of the cause for their distress. This is demonstrated by the visual imagery and dialogue, in panel 7, for instance, if you observe the facial expressions by each of the characters. Example of analysis in body paragraph

This is just a short example from one particular text. To help you unpack any text, try look for the following when analyzing chapter to chapter:

  • What is the main idea of the chapter?
  • Why did the author write it? What purpose does it serve?
  • What do you believe is the overarching importance of the passage?

Brainstorming Tips

If you're having trouble picking your text and line of inquiry, then use this simple 20-minute process to brainstorm potential questions for your HLE:

  • For each text / non-literary work, go through each concept in the table below.
  • Write down a question for each of the two prompts for each category.
  • Repeat for all of your texts.
  • Pick the question-text combination that has the greatest potential for strong analysis.

How do I ensure my HLE question has a good scope?

Choosing a question with good scope is extremely   important, and it's one of the biggest challenges in the HLE. Here's why:

  • If your scope is too broad , you may have too much to write about in order to answer the question, and therefore you won't be able to write deep analysis (which is super important–more on this later…)
  • If your scope is too narrow , you may not have enough to write about and end up overanalyzing unnecessary and obscure details. Also something to avoid!

So, to help you get the balance just right , here are three examples of HLE questions, specifically for the concept of  Identity which we mentioned in the table above (by the way, the example is a made-up novel for illustration purposes).

  • Too broad: “How does Irene Majov in her novel  Deadly Men effectively make her narrator a powerful mouthpiece?”
  • Too narrow: “How does Irene Majov in her novel  Deadly Men effectively make her narrator a powerful mouthpiece for the concerns of Asian-Americans toward discrimination in the workforce in the 21st century?”
  • Just right: “How does Irene Majov in her novel  Deadly Men effectively make her narrator a powerful mouthpiece for the concerns of Asian-Americans in the 21st century?”

How to get a 7 on IB English HLE

There are many things that contribute to a 7 in your HLE and your IB English grade overall. But if we had to boil it down to one secret, one essential fact… then it'd have to be this: Get really good at analysis .

Analysis is the key to a 7 in IB English. It doesn't matter if it's Paper 1, Paper 2, HLE, IO… You must learn how to analyze quotes at a deep level, and structure your analysis in a way that flows and delights your teachers and examiners.

Start with the basics

Start with the basic foundations of analysis for free inside LitLearn's Learn Analysis course.

Our free and Pro resources have helped IB English students skyrocket their grade in weeks, days and even overnight...   Learn Analysis for IB English , the simplest guide to a 7 in IB English.

Basic Analysis

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Level up to Advanced Analysis

Since you're in HL, you'll also be needing Advanced Analysis skills if you want to impress your examiner. We've got all of that covered inside our Pro lessons.

Advanced Analysis

Finding Quotes

Also, you'll need to find good quotes for your text. Some good sources where you can find relevant quotes include  Goodreads , SparkNotes ,  LitCharts , and Cliffnotes . Of course, you could just find quotes yourself directly–this will ensure your quotes are unique.

Understanding the IB English HLE rubric

An essential step to getting a high mark on the HL Essay is understanding the rubric! It is SO important that you know what IB English examiners are looking for when grading your essay, as this helps you to shape the content of your essay to match (or even exceed) their expectations.

The IB English HL Essay is graded out of 20 marks . There are 4 criteria, each worth 5 marks.

Use the checklist below to make sure you're not making simple mistakes! Note that this is not the official marking criteria, and I strongly recommend that you reading the official rubric provided by your teacher.

Criterion A: Knowledge, understanding, and interpretation

  • Accurate summary of text in introduction
  • Focused and informative thesis statement
  • Effective and relevant quotes
  • Relevant and effective summary and ending statement in conclusion

Criterion B: Analysis and evaluation

  • Relevant analysis of a variety of stylistic features 
  • Relevant analysis of tone and/or atmosphere
  • Relevant analysis of broader authorial choices i.e. characterization, point of view, syntax, irony, etc.

Criterion C: Focus, organization, and development

  • Introduction, body paragraphs, conclusion
  • Organized body paragraphs – topic sentence, evidence, concluding statement/link to question
  • Appropriate progression of ideas and arguments in which evidence (i.e. quotes) are effectively implemented

Criterion D: Language

  • Use expansions (e.g. “do not”) instead of contractions (e.g. “don't”)
  • Use of a variety of connecting phrases e.g. “furthermore”, “nonetheless”, “however”, etc.
  • Complete sentence structures and subject-verb agreement
  • Correct usage of punctuation
  • Appropriate register – no slang
  • Historic present tense : the use of present tense when recounting past events. For example, we want to write “In  The Hunger Games , Peeta and Katniss work   together to win as a district” instead of using the word “worked”.
  • Avoid flowery/dictionary language just to sound smart; it is distracting and difficult to read. As long as you concisely communicate your message using appropriate language, you will score a high mark under this criterion.

Here's everything we discussed:

  • IB English HLE is tough work! Start early.
  • Brainstorm using the table of concepts to come up with a strong HLE question. Don't give up on this!
  • Analysis is the key to a 7 in IB English HLE (and in fact all IB English assessment). Check out LitLearn's course  Learn Analysis for IB English   for immediate help on the exact steps to improve in IB English analysis.

Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor 💪


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Higher Level Essay

Crash course on HLE basics.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

Higher Level Essay

Whether you are an HL Literature student or HL Lang/Lit student, the HLE requires some special attention.  The good thing about this assessment is that it’s a processed – rather than on-demand – piece of writing.  This means you can take your time, put in the work, and produce something that you love and makes you proud.  Our students crush this assessment!  Use the same resources they do and enjoy your success.

HLE Writing Guide

Writing this assessment doesn’t have to be challenging.  In fact, we think it can be fun and rewarding!  Let us guide you through the entire writing process, from line of inquiry to the last word of your conclusion.  Our students do well on this assessment, and so can you.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

Part of our  IBDP English A Student Toolkit , this resource includes:

  • 100-page course book with guidance on films, photos, cartoons, and many other non-literary BOWs
  • 5 sample papers across genres
  • Examiner scores and comments
  • Line of Inquiry guidance
  • Step-by-step approach to building the HLE in small and manageable chunks
  • Complete set of graphic organizers to guide students from start to finish

Developing a Line of Inquiry and Thesis

The Line of Inquiry (LOI) and thesis are the cornerstone of the assessment, so don’t proceed until these are under control.  Sadly, many students get off to a poor start with this step, and this means they end up writing either a shallow essay or one that doesn’t really satisfy the requirements of the task.  These videos should help you unlock the task.

Start with a text you love and work toward developing a literary or linguistic perspective. Watch this video and start your pathway to success.

How To Write the Line of Inquiry

If the first method didn't work for you, please try another approach.

How to Write the Line of Inquiry (part 2)

Turn that LoI into a clear, precise, and insightful thesis statement that will drive the essay.

HLE Sample Thesis Statements and Writing

The HLE Complete Course from Start to Finish

We feel this is some of our best work.  Teachers and students around the world have commented that this HLE series gets the job done and results in some powerful writing that makes students proud.  Please take the time and work through the videos sequentially.  Work along side with us.  Let us guide you to HLE success!

Choose your text and write the LOI.

Student planning doc

Model Student planning doc

Time for brainstorming and outlining.

Student Organizer

Completed Sample Organizer

Master the intro and conclusion.

Sample Intro and Conclusion

Learn how to write strong HLE body paragraphs.

Sample Body Paragraphs

Learn to revise, edit, and polish the final product.

Final instructions before submission

Dave’s complete sample HLE

Some Sample Papers

Sometimes it’s easier to just look at a final product, break it down, and see how other students have approached the HLE.  That’s why Dave and Andrew selected some strong papers, highlighted them, and discussed their strengths and weaknesses.  We’ve examined tons of these things, so listen carefully.  Lots of tips and tricks in these videos to help you pick up some extra points and crack into that mark band you want and deserve.  Understand the task.  Work hard.  Defeat the HLE and allow yourself to beam with pride.  Go ahead, you’ve earned it.

You’ve probably noticed that Andrew and Dave love drama. Dialogue, stage directions, props…they’re amazing! Watch our student crush this HLE on Death and the Maiden by Dorfman. What can you steal from this essay in terms of ideas, organization, and overall approach? Document: HLE Student Sample – Drama

Poetry anyone? Andrew and Dave love poetry for the HLE. They are complete “mini works” with a clear beginning, middle, and end. They are rich in techniques. They are complex and have deep meaning. In short, they rock. Just remember that for the HLE, “short texts need friends.” Document: HLE Student Sample – Poetry

Looking For More Support?

Hey, nobody said this thing would be easy.  No worries.  We’ve got you covered.  Perhaps you want to see some more student writing?  Check.  We’ve got that.  Perhaps you want to know some key points to include?  Check.  We got that too.  You’re almost there!  Finish these last two videos, add some finishing touches to your work, and submit that baby in with pride and confidence.

So you watched the videos above but are still concerned about “showing deep thinking” on the HLE? It’s ok – we know this is tough. Check out this video to see several samples of how to build big thinking into your writing. Document: Showing Deep Thinking in the HLE

We know, we know. The content is overwhelming and it’s just too much at times. You just want the top ten tips for success? Fine. Here you go. But don’t forget to go back and watch the rest of these videos when you’re feeling more energy. They’re a set. Watch them all and ace the HLE.

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how to write a conclusion for hl essay

The Higher Level (HL) essay is a formal academic essay of between 1,200 - 1,500 words. It is, obviously, a task that is only completed by HL students. Based on what you study in your course, the essay gives you the opportunity to choose an area that is of particular interest to you and, with guidance from your teacher, write a focused essay that shows an understanding of a literary work or a non-literary body of work you have studied. This website has been written to help you gather and formulate your ideas, and to draft and write an excellent academic essay.

Essential Questions

What are the requirements for the Higher Level Essay?

On what stimulus material should the higher level essay be based, can i write the higher level essay on a single non-literary text, how do i design a suitable line of inquiry for the higher level essay, what does a really good higher level essay look like.

This section will:

  • Give you a more detailed insight into the requirements and expectations of the assessment;
  • Help you with how to choose a topic - an essential requirement and the difference between success and failure;
  • Share student work with you, and allow you opportunity to assess and see examiners' comments.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

This page provides you with a clear and basic introduction to the HL Essay, an academic essay based on literary works or non-literary texts studied during your course. Later pages provide you with tips, models, and activities to help you...

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

For Higher Level students, the fourth assessment component is the Higher Level essay. What to choose for a topic is the biggest challenge.

HL Essay - Student Samples

 Here you will find examples of real student HL Essays. Take a read and, using the marking criteria, grade them. You can compare your marks with those of the examiner.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

Being able to see really good model examples is essential to learning skills. All the better if those models are truly assessed by examiners as part of a session, and if they adhere to our guidelines for organising and structuring an excellent...

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HL Essay Student Resources and Sample Work

These resources are ready to hand to students. They offer a description of the assignment and take students through a step by step process to complete a draft of their HL Essay.

Literature Course

Language and literature course, a note about the resources.

Step 5 of the resources asks students to write their inquiry question on a shared Google document that all students have editing rights to. The Google doc uses a “Red, Yellow, Green” tracking system so that students know when their inquiry question has been approved as “Green” or “good to go”. The transparent nature of the document not only holds students accountable for their submission, it also allows other students to learn from their peer’s approaches to developing and writing inquiry questions. The transparent nature of the document also ensures variety as the specific topics and inquiry questions are on a “first come, first approved” (traceable through the revision history of the document). While students may feel a bit self conscious about the transparent nature of the document, they ultimately appreciate the insights gained from the experience and appreciate the development of the line of inquiry as an iterative process. Once students are “Green-lit”, those inquiry questions can serve as models and examples for other students. A sample tracking document, with sample HL Essay lines of inquiry, is provided below. Additionally, there is a Word template of the tracking document that can be uploaded to Google Docs; it should easily convert.

HL Essay Sample Lines of Inquiry and Tracking Document

Sample hl essays.

Below are a range of sample essays that are all “good” to “excellent” and would be marked in the 5-7 range. At the end of each essay are holistic comments by criterion that identify the strengths and limitations of the essay against each of the IB Language A HL Essay assessment criteria.

The HL Essays below have been externally marked by the IBO on the HL Essay Rubric; final marks are provided in leui of holistic comments.

Marks A:5 B:5 C:5 D:5

Marks A:4 B:4 C:4 D:4

Related Posts

IB English A Literature: HL Essay Assessment Considerations
IB English A Language and Literature: HL Essay Assessment Considerations

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DP Language A Language and Literature

HL essay – the process

Check the Subject Guide and with your teacher for official information about the HL essay.

There are a number of different ways to develop an HL essay. Consider the following outline; it isn’t 100% comprehensive but it covers the key elements.

Preparing for the HL essay

  • Carefully read through the HL essay requirements and criteria.
  • Analyze HL essay samples. Make sure you understand how a particular HL essay sample addresses the requirements and criteria.
  • Work very hard on your schoolwork and school assessments. Although you may not realize it early on, these are designed to build the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful on your HL essay.
  • You will probably start working on your individual oral before your HL essay. The bodies of work and works you use on your individual oral CANNOT be used on your HL essay.
  • As you work through bodies of work and works in your class, put a list together of ones you are considering using for your HL essay. Keep adding notes / details about the works and bodies of works on your list as you go through the course.
  • Consider a few different topics (e.g. one of the course’s concepts) for your HL essay. Keep adding notes / details about the topics on your list as you go through the course.
  • Once you narrow down your list of possible bodies of work and work for your HL essay, go through them and annotate them specifically for the HL essay. Your HL essay will need evidence to support your arguments – start collecting it early on.

Creating your HL essay

  • Evaluate your different options, consult with your teacher and then choose a final work OR body of work that will be the focus of your HL essay. Remember that the work or body of work that you choose cannot be used for another IB assessment.
  • If you are considering using a short literary text (e.g. a short story) for the HL essay check the requirements on page 43 of the Subject Guide.
  • Evaluate your different options, consult with your teacher and then choose a final topic for your HL essay. The Subject Guide states that the topic you choose, “should enable a broad literary or linguistic focus for the essay. In achieving this, the course’s seven central concepts may be a helpful starting point for students in generating or determining a topic for the essay” (43).  
  • Create an outline of your essay. The basic outline can start with a clear thesis statement and topic sentences.
  • Early in the development process make sure your ideas / arguments / evidence meet the requirements and criteria for the HL essay.
  • Periodically re-read review sample HL essays.
  • As you put together your first draft, make absolutely sure that all of your sources are cited properly. If you wait too long to do this properly you will drastically increase the chances of making a mistake.
  • You must put together the best possible first draft. Better first draft = better feedback from your teacher.
  • Your teacher will give you feedback on your first draft but the feedback is somewhat limited. Page 44 of the Subject Guide provides additional information.
  • As you get closer to finishing the final draft, double check that your HL essay follows all of the IB requirements and addresses the terms in the criteria.
  • Before submitting your final essay make absolutely sure that all of your sources are cited properly.
  • Submit your final draft to your teacher / IB according to the instructions you have been given. Each school has a slightly different process.

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  • HL Essay: Exemplar 3 (George Monbiot)
  • Higher level essay
  • HLE sample work

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

Sample HL Essay

Sample hl essay with teacher's comments.

So much is at stake in writing a conclusion. This is, after all, your last chance to persuade your readers to your point of view, to impress yourself upon them as a writer and thinker. And the impression you create in your conclusion will shape the impression that stays with your readers after they've finished the essay.

The end of an essay should therefore convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, its implications: the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.

To establish a sense of closure, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude by linking the last paragraph to the first, perhaps by reiterating a word or phrase you used at the beginning.
  • Conclude with a sentence composed mainly of one-syllable words. Simple language can help create an effect of understated drama.
  • Conclude with a sentence that's compound or parallel in structure; such sentences can establish a sense of balance or order that may feel just right at the end of a complex discussion.

To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:

  • Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you're writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point. For example, you might conclude an essay on the idea of home in James Joyce's short story collection,  Dubliners , with information about Joyce's own complex feelings towards Dublin, his home. Or you might end with a biographer's statement about Joyce's attitude toward Dublin, which could illuminate his characters' responses to the city. Just be cautious, especially about using secondary material: make sure that you get the last word.
  • Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might end an essay on nineteenth-century muckraking journalism by linking it to a current news magazine program like  60 Minutes .
  • Conclude by redefining one of the key terms of your argument. For example, an essay on Marx's treatment of the conflict between wage labor and capital might begin with Marx's claim that the "capitalist economy is . . . a gigantic enterprise of dehumanization "; the essay might end by suggesting that Marxist analysis is itself dehumanizing because it construes everything in economic -- rather than moral or ethical-- terms.
  • Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, or involve, or suggest? For example, an essay on the novel  Ambiguous Adventure , by the Senegalese writer Cheikh Hamidou Kane, might open with the idea that the protagonist's development suggests Kane's belief in the need to integrate Western materialism and Sufi spirituality in modern Senegal. The conclusion might make the new but related point that the novel on the whole suggests that such an integration is (or isn't) possible.

Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay:

  • Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
  • Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up." These phrases can be useful--even welcome--in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You'll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
  • Resist the urge to apologize. If you've immersed yourself in your subject, you now know a good deal more about it than you can possibly include in a five- or ten- or 20-page essay. As a result, by the time you've finished writing, you may be having some doubts about what you've produced. (And if you haven't immersed yourself in your subject, you may be feeling even more doubtful about your essay as you approach the conclusion.) Repress those doubts. Don't undercut your authority by saying things like, "this is just one approach to the subject; there may be other, better approaches. . ."

Copyright 1998, Pat Bellanca, for the Writing Center at Harvard University


Choose Your Test

Sat / act prep online guides and tips, the complete ib extended essay guide: examples, topics, and ideas.

International Baccalaureate (IB)


IB students around the globe fear writing the Extended Essay, but it doesn't have to be a source of stress! In this article, I'll get you excited about writing your Extended Essay and provide you with the resources you need to get an A on it.

If you're reading this article, I'm going to assume you're an IB student getting ready to write your Extended Essay. If you're looking at this as a potential future IB student, I recommend reading our introductory IB articles first, including our guide to what the IB program is and our full coverage of the IB curriculum .

IB Extended Essay: Why Should You Trust My Advice?

I myself am a recipient of an IB Diploma, and I happened to receive an A on my IB Extended Essay. Don't believe me? The proof is in the IBO pudding:


If you're confused by what this report means, EE is short for Extended Essay , and English A1 is the subject that my Extended Essay topic coordinated with. In layman's terms, my IB Diploma was graded in May 2010, I wrote my Extended Essay in the English A1 category, and I received an A grade on it.

What Is the Extended Essay in the IB Diploma Programme?

The IB Extended Essay, or EE , is a mini-thesis you write under the supervision of an IB advisor (an IB teacher at your school), which counts toward your IB Diploma (learn more about the major IB Diploma requirements in our guide) . I will explain exactly how the EE affects your Diploma later in this article.

For the Extended Essay, you will choose a research question as a topic, conduct the research independently, then write an essay on your findings . The essay itself is a long one—although there's a cap of 4,000 words, most successful essays get very close to this limit.

Keep in mind that the IB requires this essay to be a "formal piece of academic writing," meaning you'll have to do outside research and cite additional sources.

The IB Extended Essay must include the following:

  • A title page
  • Contents page
  • Introduction
  • Body of the essay
  • References and bibliography

Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories , or IB subject groups, which are as follows:

  • Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature
  • Group 2: Language Acquisition
  • Group 3: Individuals and Societies
  • Group 4: Sciences
  • Group 5: Mathematics
  • Group 6: The Arts

Once you figure out your category and have identified a potential research topic, it's time to pick your advisor, who is normally an IB teacher at your school (though you can also find one online ). This person will help direct your research, and they'll conduct the reflection sessions you'll have to do as part of your Extended Essay.

As of 2018, the IB requires a "reflection process" as part of your EE supervision process. To fulfill this requirement, you have to meet at least three times with your supervisor in what the IB calls "reflection sessions." These meetings are not only mandatory but are also part of the formal assessment of the EE and your research methods.

According to the IB, the purpose of these meetings is to "provide an opportunity for students to reflect on their engagement with the research process." Basically, these meetings give your supervisor the opportunity to offer feedback, push you to think differently, and encourage you to evaluate your research process.

The final reflection session is called the viva voce, and it's a short 10- to 15-minute interview between you and your advisor. This happens at the very end of the EE process, and it's designed to help your advisor write their report, which factors into your EE grade.

Here are the topics covered in your viva voce :

  • A check on plagiarism and malpractice
  • Your reflection on your project's successes and difficulties
  • Your reflection on what you've learned during the EE process

Your completed Extended Essay, along with your supervisor's report, will then be sent to the IB to be graded. We'll cover the assessment criteria in just a moment.


We'll help you learn how to have those "lightbulb" moments...even on test day!  

What Should You Write About in Your IB Extended Essay?

You can technically write about anything, so long as it falls within one of the approved categories listed above.

It's best to choose a topic that matches one of the IB courses , (such as Theatre, Film, Spanish, French, Math, Biology, etc.), which shouldn't be difficult because there are so many class subjects.

Here is a range of sample topics with the attached extended essay:

  • Biology: The Effect of Age and Gender on the Photoreceptor Cells in the Human Retina
  • Chemistry: How Does Reflux Time Affect the Yield and Purity of Ethyl Aminobenzoate (Benzocaine), and How Effective is Recrystallisation as a Purification Technique for This Compound?
  • English: An Exploration of Jane Austen's Use of the Outdoors in Emma
  • Geography: The Effect of Location on the Educational Attainment of Indigenous Secondary Students in Queensland, Australia
  • Math: Alhazen's Billiard Problem
  • Visual Arts: Can Luc Tuymans Be Classified as a Political Painter?

You can see from how varied the topics are that you have a lot of freedom when it comes to picking a topic . So how do you pick when the options are limitless?


How to Write a Stellar IB Extended Essay: 6 Essential Tips

Below are six key tips to keep in mind as you work on your Extended Essay for the IB DP. Follow these and you're sure to get an A!

#1: Write About Something You Enjoy

You can't expect to write a compelling essay if you're not a fan of the topic on which you're writing. For example, I just love British theatre and ended up writing my Extended Essay on a revolution in post-WWII British theatre. (Yes, I'm definitely a #TheatreNerd.)

I really encourage anyone who pursues an IB Diploma to take the Extended Essay seriously. I was fortunate enough to receive a full-tuition merit scholarship to USC's School of Dramatic Arts program. In my interview for the scholarship, I spoke passionately about my Extended Essay; thus, I genuinely think my Extended Essay helped me get my scholarship.

But how do you find a topic you're passionate about? Start by thinking about which classes you enjoy the most and why . Do you like math classes because you like to solve problems? Or do you enjoy English because you like to analyze literary texts?

Keep in mind that there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing your Extended Essay topic. You're not more likely to get high marks because you're writing about science, just like you're not doomed to failure because you've chosen to tackle the social sciences. The quality of what you produce—not the field you choose to research within—will determine your grade.

Once you've figured out your category, you should brainstorm more specific topics by putting pen to paper . What was your favorite chapter you learned in that class? Was it astrophysics or mechanics? What did you like about that specific chapter? Is there something you want to learn more about? I recommend spending a few hours on this type of brainstorming.

One last note: if you're truly stumped on what to research, pick a topic that will help you in your future major or career . That way you can use your Extended Essay as a talking point in your college essays (and it will prepare you for your studies to come too!).

#2: Select a Topic That Is Neither Too Broad nor Too Narrow

There's a fine line between broad and narrow. You need to write about something specific, but not so specific that you can't write 4,000 words on it.

You can't write about WWII because that would be a book's worth of material. You also don't want to write about what type of soup prisoners of war received behind enemy lines, because you probably won’t be able to come up with 4,000 words of material about it. However, you could possibly write about how the conditions in German POW camps—and the rations provided—were directly affected by the Nazis' successes and failures on the front, including the use of captured factories and prison labor in Eastern Europe to increase production. WWII military history might be a little overdone, but you get my point.

If you're really stuck trying to pinpoint a not-too-broad-or-too-narrow topic, I suggest trying to brainstorm a topic that uses a comparison. Once you begin looking through the list of sample essays below, you'll notice that many use comparisons to formulate their main arguments.

I also used a comparison in my EE, contrasting Harold Pinter's Party Time with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger in order to show a transition in British theatre. Topics with comparisons of two to three plays, books, and so on tend to be the sweet spot. You can analyze each item and then compare them with one another after doing some in-depth analysis of each individually. The ways these items compare and contrast will end up forming the thesis of your essay!

When choosing a comparative topic, the key is that the comparison should be significant. I compared two plays to illustrate the transition in British theatre, but you could compare the ways different regional dialects affect people's job prospects or how different temperatures may or may not affect the mating patterns of lightning bugs. The point here is that comparisons not only help you limit your topic, but they also help you build your argument.

Comparisons are not the only way to get a grade-A EE, though. If after brainstorming, you pick a non-comparison-based topic and are still unsure whether your topic is too broad or narrow, spend about 30 minutes doing some basic research and see how much material is out there.

If there are more than 1,000 books, articles, or documentaries out there on that exact topic, it may be too broad. But if there are only two books that have any connection to your topic, it may be too narrow. If you're still unsure, ask your advisor—it's what they're there for! Speaking of advisors...


Don't get stuck with a narrow topic!

#3: Choose an Advisor Who Is Familiar With Your Topic

If you're not certain of who you would like to be your advisor, create a list of your top three choices. Next, write down the pros and cons of each possibility (I know this sounds tedious, but it really helps!).

For example, Mr. Green is my favorite teacher and we get along really well, but he teaches English. For my EE, I want to conduct an experiment that compares the efficiency of American electric cars with foreign electric cars.

I had Ms. White a year ago. She teaches physics and enjoyed having me in her class. Unlike Mr. Green, Ms. White could help me design my experiment.

Based on my topic and what I need from my advisor, Ms. White would be a better fit for me than would Mr. Green (even though I like him a lot).

The moral of my story is this: do not just ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor . They might be a hindrance to you if they teach another subject. For example, I would not recommend asking your biology teacher to guide you in writing an English literature-based EE.

There can, of course, be exceptions to this rule. If you have a teacher who's passionate and knowledgeable about your topic (as my English teacher was about my theatre topic), you could ask that instructor. Consider all your options before you do this. There was no theatre teacher at my high school, so I couldn't find a theatre-specific advisor, but I chose the next best thing.

Before you approach a teacher to serve as your advisor, check with your high school to see what requirements they have for this process. Some IB high schools require your IB Extended Essay advisor to sign an Agreement Form , for instance.

Make sure that you ask your IB coordinator whether there is any required paperwork to fill out. If your school needs a specific form signed, bring it with you when you ask your teacher to be your EE advisor.

#4: Pick an Advisor Who Will Push You to Be Your Best

Some teachers might just take on students because they have to and aren't very passionate about reading drafts, only giving you minimal feedback. Choose a teacher who will take the time to read several drafts of your essay and give you extensive notes. I would not have gotten my A without being pushed to make my Extended Essay draft better.

Ask a teacher that you have experience with through class or an extracurricular activity. Do not ask a teacher that you have absolutely no connection to. If a teacher already knows you, that means they already know your strengths and weaknesses, so they know what to look for, where you need to improve, and how to encourage your best work.

Also, don't forget that your supervisor's assessment is part of your overall EE score . If you're meeting with someone who pushes you to do better—and you actually take their advice—they'll have more impressive things to say about you than a supervisor who doesn't know you well and isn't heavily involved in your research process.

Be aware that the IB only allows advisors to make suggestions and give constructive criticism. Your teacher cannot actually help you write your EE. The IB recommends that the supervisor spends approximately two to three hours in total with the candidate discussing the EE.

#5: Make Sure Your Essay Has a Clear Structure and Flow

The IB likes structure. Your EE needs a clear introduction (which should be one to two double-spaced pages), research question/focus (i.e., what you're investigating), a body, and a conclusion (about one double-spaced page). An essay with unclear organization will be graded poorly.

The body of your EE should make up the bulk of the essay. It should be about eight to 18 pages long (again, depending on your topic). Your body can be split into multiple parts. For example, if you were doing a comparison, you might have one third of your body as Novel A Analysis, another third as Novel B Analysis, and the final third as your comparison of Novels A and B.

If you're conducting an experiment or analyzing data, such as in this EE , your EE body should have a clear structure that aligns with the scientific method ; you should state the research question, discuss your method, present the data, analyze the data, explain any uncertainties, and draw a conclusion and/or evaluate the success of the experiment.

#6: Start Writing Sooner Rather Than Later!

You will not be able to crank out a 4,000-word essay in just a week and get an A on it. You'll be reading many, many articles (and, depending on your topic, possibly books and plays as well!). As such, it's imperative that you start your research as soon as possible.

Each school has a slightly different deadline for the Extended Essay. Some schools want them as soon as November of your senior year; others will take them as late as February. Your school will tell you what your deadline is. If they haven't mentioned it by February of your junior year, ask your IB coordinator about it.

Some high schools will provide you with a timeline of when you need to come up with a topic, when you need to meet with your advisor, and when certain drafts are due. Not all schools do this. Ask your IB coordinator if you are unsure whether you are on a specific timeline.

Below is my recommended EE timeline. While it's earlier than most schools, it'll save you a ton of heartache (trust me, I remember how hard this process was!):

  • January/February of Junior Year: Come up with your final research topic (or at least your top three options).
  • February of Junior Year: Approach a teacher about being your EE advisor. If they decline, keep asking others until you find one. See my notes above on how to pick an EE advisor.
  • April/May of Junior Year: Submit an outline of your EE and a bibliography of potential research sources (I recommend at least seven to 10) to your EE advisor. Meet with your EE advisor to discuss your outline.
  • Summer Between Junior and Senior Year: Complete your first full draft over the summer between your junior and senior year. I know, I know—no one wants to work during the summer, but trust me—this will save you so much stress come fall when you are busy with college applications and other internal assessments for your IB classes. You will want to have this first full draft done because you will want to complete a couple of draft cycles as you likely won't be able to get everything you want to say into 4,000 articulate words on the first attempt. Try to get this first draft into the best possible shape so you don't have to work on too many revisions during the school year on top of your homework, college applications, and extracurriculars.
  • August/September of Senior Year: Turn in your first draft of your EE to your advisor and receive feedback. Work on incorporating their feedback into your essay. If they have a lot of suggestions for improvement, ask if they will read one more draft before the final draft.
  • September/October of Senior Year: Submit the second draft of your EE to your advisor (if necessary) and look at their feedback. Work on creating the best possible final draft.
  • November-February of Senior Year: Schedule your viva voce. Submit two copies of your final draft to your school to be sent off to the IB. You likely will not get your grade until after you graduate.

Remember that in the middle of these milestones, you'll need to schedule two other reflection sessions with your advisor . (Your teachers will actually take notes on these sessions on a form like this one , which then gets submitted to the IB.)

I recommend doing them when you get feedback on your drafts, but these meetings will ultimately be up to your supervisor. Just don't forget to do them!


The early bird DOES get the worm!

How Is the IB Extended Essay Graded?

Extended Essays are graded by examiners appointed by the IB on a scale of 0 to 34 . You'll be graded on five criteria, each with its own set of points. You can learn more about how EE scoring works by reading the IB guide to extended essays .

  • Criterion A: Focus and Method (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion B: Knowledge and Understanding (6 points maximum)
  • Criterion C: Critical Thinking (12 points maximum)
  • Criterion D: Presentation (4 points maximum)
  • Criterion E: Engagement (6 points maximum)

How well you do on each of these criteria will determine the final letter grade you get for your EE. You must earn at least a D to be eligible to receive your IB Diploma.

Although each criterion has a point value, the IB explicitly states that graders are not converting point totals into grades; instead, they're using qualitative grade descriptors to determine the final grade of your Extended Essay . Grade descriptors are on pages 102-103 of this document .

Here's a rough estimate of how these different point values translate to letter grades based on previous scoring methods for the EE. This is just an estimate —you should read and understand the grade descriptors so you know exactly what the scorers are looking for.

Here is the breakdown of EE scores (from the May 2021 bulletin):

How Does the Extended Essay Grade Affect Your IB Diploma?

The Extended Essay grade is combined with your TOK (Theory of Knowledge) grade to determine how many points you get toward your IB Diploma.

To learn about Theory of Knowledge or how many points you need to receive an IB Diploma, read our complete guide to the IB program and our guide to the IB Diploma requirements .

This diagram shows how the two scores are combined to determine how many points you receive for your IB diploma (3 being the most, 0 being the least). In order to get your IB Diploma, you have to earn 24 points across both categories (the TOK and EE). The highest score anyone can earn is 45 points.


Let's say you get an A on your EE and a B on TOK. You will get 3 points toward your Diploma. As of 2014, a student who scores an E on either the extended essay or TOK essay will not be eligible to receive an IB Diploma .

Prior to the class of 2010, a Diploma candidate could receive a failing grade in either the Extended Essay or Theory of Knowledge and still be awarded a Diploma, but this is no longer true.

Figuring out how you're assessed can be a little tricky. Luckily, the IB breaks everything down here in this document . (The assessment information begins on page 219.)

40+ Sample Extended Essays for the IB Diploma Programme

In case you want a little more guidance on how to get an A on your EE, here are over 40 excellent (grade A) sample extended essays for your reading pleasure. Essays are grouped by IB subject.

  • Business Management 1
  • Chemistry 1
  • Chemistry 2
  • Chemistry 3
  • Chemistry 4
  • Chemistry 5
  • Chemistry 6
  • Chemistry 7
  • Computer Science 1
  • Economics 1
  • Design Technology 1
  • Design Technology 2
  • Environmental Systems and Societies 1
  • Geography 1
  • Geography 2
  • Geography 3
  • Geography 4
  • Geography 5
  • Geography 6
  • Literature and Performance 1
  • Mathematics 1
  • Mathematics 2
  • Mathematics 3
  • Mathematics 4
  • Mathematics 5
  • Philosophy 1
  • Philosophy 2
  • Philosophy 3
  • Philosophy 4
  • Philosophy 5
  • Psychology 1
  • Psychology 2
  • Psychology 3
  • Psychology 4
  • Psychology 5
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 1
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 2
  • Social and Cultural Anthropology 3
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 1
  • Sports, Exercise and Health Science 2
  • Visual Arts 1
  • Visual Arts 2
  • Visual Arts 3
  • Visual Arts 4
  • Visual Arts 5
  • World Religion 1
  • World Religion 2
  • World Religion 3


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Your Compass in Literature and General Paper.

  • Sep 15, 2023

IB Lang Lit SL/HL Paper 2 Comparative Essay: Journey

A critical commentary responding to a IB Lang Lit Paper 2 prompt comparing Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll House on their use or presentation of journey/s.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

The Question: Journey

Referring to two works you have studied, discuss how the writers portray the significance of a journey..

Some questions will have philosophical quotes to open the question , functioning as a frame for your thinking and interpretation of the literary/dramatic texts you choose to compare. Luckily (or perhaps unluckily), this question does not have such a feature . This means you will need to frame the topic/motif word, "journey", yourself.

Identify specific instances or moments and/or motifs/symbols in the literary texts for a sharper , more targeted comparison .

Ensure that the question/prompt/topic you choose should be quite clearly or easily seen/noticed in the texts of your choice.

Of course, this could be after allowing yourself some time to reframe/slightly re-define the topic . For instance, a journey is an act of travelling , it includes a starting point and a destination , or multiple destinations . It takes you from place/space/state to place/space/state . It involves some forms of movement or even displacement . To do so, agency is often required . You could examine both physical/literal journeys/movements and spiritual/metaphorical ones. So feel free (of course with restraint and discretion), to redefine or reframe the prompt/concept word such that it allows more space and applicability to your texts . However, do exercise discretion when doing so. Ensure that you are not distorting the topic or the prompt into something unrecognisable!

Do be acutely sensitive to the similarities or differences in literary form and structure of the texts you have studied. Even if they are of similar form (prose, drama, poetry), there are often differences or nuances to their styles , and the socio-historical and literary contexts in which the texts have been produced, shaped and situated .

The Essay for IB Lang Lit Paper 2

The characters in Death of a Salesman (henceforth Salesman ) by Arthur Miller and A Doll’s House (henceforth Doll) by Henrik Ibsen undertake various journeys of great significance. On the surface, these journeys symbolise immense promise, fundamentally altering the course of characters’ lives toward fortune and success. However, this potential is deeply deceptive. For both Willy Loman and Nora Helmer, these journeys represent their deepest insecurities and fears as well, embodying their greatest failings in the eyes of society. At the end of the two texts, both characters embark on final journeys to leave their lives behind definitively. While Willy’s last journey into death is a culmination of his empty life of failure and broken dreams, Nora’s departure represents a fresh beginning for her, journeying away from her old life of restriction and dependence toward a new future of freedom.

Both Salesman and Doll have significant journeys at their core, travelling to faraway lands in pursuit of fortune and salvation. In Salesman , Miller employs Willy’s older brother Ben’s journey to Africa, where he made his fortune discovering diamond mines, as a potent symbol of the American Dream. When Ben first appears to Willy, Miller’s stage directions describe him as “a stolid man, in his sixties, with a moustache and an authoritative air”, painting a striking portrait of his confident stature and presence. Indeed, he is “utterly certain of his destiny, and there is an aura of far places about him” – his commanding, well-travelled presence embodies respect, power, and wealth to Willy, wholly encapsulating his ultimate conception of consummate success. Indeed, Ben’s journey into the jungle with its diamonds is a repeated motif throughout Salesman . Existing as a figment of Willy’s imagination, Ben and his journey symbolise the American Dream, feeding into the pipe dream of rags-to-riches success that Willy has chased his whole life. Willy’s belief that, “the jungle is dark but full of diamonds” demonstrates his unwavering faith and hope in an exotic journey to lead him towards the glittering promise of precious diamonds, delivering him the fortune and fulfilment that he desperately desires.

In Ibsen’s work, it is the Helmers’ journey to Italy to cure Torvald’s illness that forms the foundation of their life of bliss and luxury thereafter, serving as a central symbol of Nora’s love and commitment to her role as Torvald’s wife and their happy life together. Nora explains to Mrs Linde, “It was to me that the doctors came and said that [Torvald’s] life was in danger, and that the only thing to save him was to live in the south.” Indeed, the life-threatening stakes of the journey are evident, underscored by the absolute “only” suggesting its sheer importance for Torvald’s survival. As such, she tells Mrs Linde that “I too have something to be proud and glad of. It was I who saved Torvald’s life.” Her repetition of the personal pronoun emphasises her role and agency in saving her husband, evincing the magnitude of her happiness and sense of achievement in her efforts. Indeed, the journey is Nora’s greatest triumph. Just as Ben’s journey is a symbol of the riches and success that Willy dreams of, the Helmers’ journey is likewise a symbol for Nora of their good fortune, single-handedly saving her beloved and ensuring the future of their “beautiful happy home”.

However, these journeys harbour deeper, darker significances as well. These journeys serve as portentous symbols of betrayal and deceit in the texts, burdening the characters with their heavy, leaden weight. In Salesman , while both Willy’s father’s journey to Alaska and Ben’s journey to Africa represent their pursuit of great riches and success, they are also painful symbols of the betrayal and abandonment he suffers. As Willy reminisces, “Dad left when I was such a baby and I never had a chance to talk to him and I still feel– kind of temporary about myself” – the polysyndeton adds a plaintive, child-like quality to his speech, emphasised by his forlorn admission of his feelings of “temporar[iness]”, demonstrating his deep sense of hurt and betrayal from his father’s journey to Alaska. Similarly, Willy “longingly” pleads “Can’t you stay a few days” as Ben moves to leave the scene, desperately trying to get Ben to remain with him. For Willy, these expeditions are traumatic reminders of his father’s and brother’s betrayals of him, leaving him behind to fend for himself in the dust, revealing the dual significance of their journeys.

For Doll , it is Nora’s act of deceit and subterfuge that forms the core of the Helmers’ journey to Italy. Not only was her forgery to borrow the money for the trip a criminal act, but her deception of doing so behind Torvald’s back represents a massive transgression against the societal expectations of female obedience and financial dependence. As such, the significance of her betrayal and deceit lies in her desperate attempts to conceal her disgraceful secret, lest it ruin the Helmers’ happiness and reputation it had brought about. In criticising Krogstad’s own act of forgery, Torvald unknowingly comments on his wife’s own situation, saying, “A fog of lies like that in a household, and it spreads disease and infection to every part of it. Every breath the children take in that kind of house is reeking of evil germs.” Ibsen employs the metaphor of infection to describe perceived moral bankruptcy, proliferating and eating away at all in its vicinity. Powerfully, he even adopts the idea of an all-consuming “fog” that envelopes everyone in its shroud, invasively entering the “breath” of children and thoroughly corrupting them. The Helmers’ journey to Italy is one such act of deceit, suggesting that in Nora’s greatest act of love and salvation lies a symbol of her deepest disgrace and betrayal of society’s conventions and expectations of her.

Damningly, the two playwrights also demonstrate the ultimate hollowness of the fortunes promised by these journeys. In Salesman , Miller deflates the symbol of the American Dream with the sharp pin prick of reality, exposing the beguiling riches and fortune of exotic journeys as empty promises. When Willy asks Linda about the “diamond watch fob” that Ben brought back from Africa for him, Linda reminds him that he “pawned it… for Biff’s radio correspondence course.” The symbolic riches of Ben’s journey to Africa are undermined by the harsh reality of the Lomans’ poverty, exposing the hollowness of the lofty fortune and success that Ben’s journey promised. Moreover, Willy’s own journeys as a salesman are a far cry from the exciting, fortune-filled adventures of Ben’s expedition, with his dull, dreary travels earning him a paltry income that barely supports his family. When Willy initially recounts his business journey to Linda, he proudly declares that he made “five hundred gross in Providence and seven hundred gross in Boston”. Yet, these inflated boasts are quickly punctured as Linda works out his actual earnings of a meagre “seven dollars and some pennies”, only worsened by the overwhelming cumulative list of mounting debts in “…nine-sixty for the washing machine… for the vacuum cleaner there’s three and a half due on the fifteenth. Then the roof, you got twenty-one dollars remaining”. Far from the alluring promise of wealth and adventures embodied by the “diamonds” , Willy’s own journeys merely offer the mundane reality of broken household appliances and indigent poverty, exposing the drab truth belying the glittering journey towards the American Dream.

Likewise, Ibsen demonstrates the inherent hollowness of the blissful family life gleaned from the Helmers’ journey. Just as Willy realises that the promise of Ben’s epic journey is a mere pipe dream, it becomes evident that the apparent good fortune of love and happiness brought about by the Helmers’ trip is a lie, with their marriage built primarily on Torvald’s desire for respect, control, and reputation, rather than any genuine feeling. Upon discovering Nora’s secret, Torvald’s reaction is not one of gratitude but instead of deep reproach and fury, exposing his preoccupation with social approval above all else. He tells Nora, “The thing must be hushed up at all costs”, only able to refer to her act of selfless sacrifice obliquely as “the thing”, and even demanding continued secrecy around the truth of their journey to the extent of the absolute in “at all costs”, demonstrating the intensity of his shame and emasculated humiliation. Cruelly, he declares, “All we can do is save the bits and pieces from the wreck, preserve appearances…”. The ideal life of a loving husband and happy family crumbles as Torvald reveals his true colours, callously referring to Nora’s greatest act of love as a disastrous “wreck”, leaving behind the ruined remnants of “bits and pieces” from their former, blissful façade. Instead, he is focused on the maintenance of “appearances”, suggesting his prioritisation of his social image over any true affection or love for Nora. As such, Ibsen demonstrates the superficiality of their love, exposing their joyful domestic life together, made possible by their trip to Italy, to be lacking in true happiness and only possessing frivolous, foolish “merry”.

Ultimately, both plays end with their respective protagonists’ departure from their old lives. For Salesman , Willy takes his car and commits suicide, embarking on a tragic final journey into the “dark jungle” of death. In the Requiem, Linda tells Willy, “I made the last payment on the house today. Today, dear. And there’ll be nobody home”. Despite the fulfilment of one of the Loman’s life goals, the “diamonds” reaped are completely hollow, without any happiness, family, or meaning behind it. We are confronted with the inherent meaninglessness of the various journeys of Willy’s life, as well as the ultimate emptiness of his final journey into death, demonstrating the yawning chasm between reality and the grand symbolism of Ben’s journey and the American Dream. In the closing moments of Salesman , the stage is filled with the enchanting “music of the flute”, alluding to the tantalising journey into the wilderness that eluded Willy all his life. Even in death, he is haunted by the glimmering potential of what could have been, leading away towards riches and success just out of reach.

Conversely, Nora’s flight is much more empowering and hopeful. While Willy’s death is merely the final meaningless journey of a long life of meaningless journeys, Nora’s departure stands in contrast to the Helmers’ trip that catalyses the play. The woman who embarked on that initial journey, naïve and wholly self-effacing in the face of her husband’s needs, is different from the woman who leaves her husband at the end of the play, independent and free from the restrictions of his patronising iron fist of control. The play ends with “the sound of a door shutting”, with its resounding note of finality ringing out across the stage in a decisive end to her old life of dependence and captivity.

While both plays employ journeys as a glimmering symbol of reward, promising great fortune and fulfilment, Miller and Ibsen recognise the deceptive quality of these false promises. In time, these journeys come to harbour darker significances of deceit and betrayal for the characters, with their apparent promises of happiness and riches exposed to be hollow illusions. At the end of each play, both protagonists embark on final journeys to leave their old lives behind. While Willy’s final journey into death encapsulates a lifetime hopelessly spent chasing dreams just out of reach, Ibsen illuminates a brighter, hopeful future for Nora as she begins her new life.

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Your Best College Essay

Maybe you love to write, or maybe you don’t. Either way, there’s a chance that the thought of writing your college essay is making you sweat. No need for nerves! We’re here to give you the important details on how to make the process as anxiety-free as possible.

student's hands typing on a laptop in class

What's the College Essay?

When we say “The College Essay” (capitalization for emphasis – say it out loud with the capitals and you’ll know what we mean) we’re talking about the 550-650 word essay required by most colleges and universities. Prompts for this essay can be found on the college’s website, the Common Application, or the Coalition Application. We’re not talking about the many smaller supplemental essays you might need to write in order to apply to college. Not all institutions require the essay, but most colleges and universities that are at least semi-selective do.

How do I get started?

Look for the prompts on whatever application you’re using to apply to schools (almost all of the time – with a few notable exceptions – this is the Common Application). If one of them calls out to you, awesome! You can jump right in and start to brainstorm. If none of them are giving you the right vibes, don’t worry. They’re so broad that almost anything you write can fit into one of the prompts after you’re done. Working backwards like this is totally fine and can be really useful!

What if I have writer's block?

You aren’t alone. Staring at a blank Google Doc and thinking about how this is the one chance to tell an admissions officer your story can make you freeze. Thinking about some of these questions might help you find the right topic:

  • What is something about you that people have pointed out as distinctive?
  • If you had to pick three words to describe yourself, what would they be? What are things you’ve done that demonstrate these qualities?
  • What’s something about you that has changed over your years in high school? How or why did it change?
  • What’s something you like most about yourself?
  • What’s something you love so much that you lose track of the rest of the world while you do it?

If you’re still stuck on a topic, ask your family members, friends, or other trusted adults: what’s something they always think about when they think about you? What’s something they think you should be proud of? They might help you find something about yourself that you wouldn’t have surfaced on your own.  

How do I grab my reader's attention?

It’s no secret that admissions officers are reading dozens – and sometimes hundreds – of essays every day. That can feel like a lot of pressure to stand out. But if you try to write the most unique essay in the world, it might end up seeming forced if it’s not genuinely you. So, what’s there to do? Our advice: start your essay with a story. Tell the reader about something you’ve done, complete with sensory details, and maybe even dialogue. Then, in the second paragraph, back up and tell us why this story is important and what it tells them about you and the theme of the essay.


Don’t! Don’t try to tell an admissions officer about everything you’ve loved and done since you were a child. Instead, pick one or two things about yourself that you’re hoping to get across and stick to those. They’ll see the rest on the activities section of your application.


If you can’t think of another way to end the essay, talk about how the qualities you’ve discussed in your essays have prepared you for college. Try to wrap up with a sentence that refers back to the story you told in your first paragraph, if you took that route.


YES, proofread the essay, and have a trusted adult proofread it as well. Know that any suggestions they give you are coming from a good place, but make sure they aren’t writing your essay for you or putting it into their own voice. Admissions officers want to hear the voice of you, the applicant. Before you submit your essay anywhere, our number one advice is to read it out loud to yourself. When you read out loud you’ll catch small errors you may not have noticed before, and hear sentences that aren’t quite right.


Be yourself. If you’re not a naturally serious person, don’t force formality. If you’re the comedian in your friend group, go ahead and be funny. But ultimately, write as your authentic (and grammatically correct) self and trust the process.

And remember, thousands of other students your age are faced with this same essay writing task, right now. You can do it!

Grand Island mayor awards students for writing essays on how to improve city

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele awarded 12 sixth grade students with pins to the city on Monday for their work on essays about how they would improve Grand Island.

The students were tasked with writing a 400 word essay about how they would improve their city and what they would like to see added.

Many students wrote about how they want more kid focused businesses in the area, but the focus of the winner of the contest, Saybel Raez Almaguer, focused his essay on safety.

“My priorities were for the people, all for the people,” Raez Almaguer said. “I think that’s a major priority, for our city to be safety. Because without safety, our city will be out of control and nobody will want to live here, and I want to have all the citizens take care of each other, help each other.”

The winners are listed below.

1) Saybel Raez Almaguer, Grand Island Public Schools

2) Jacob Theisen, Trinity Lutheran

3) Abigail Meyer, Trinity Lutheran

4) Kollin DeLaet, Northwest Public Schools

5) Tenleigh Sawyer, Grand Island Public Schools

6) Madhurisha Yuvaraju, Grand Island Public Schools

7) Simon Gustafson, Trinity Lutheran

8) Eleanor Koch, Northwest Public Schools

Honorable Mentions

Brianna Reyes, Grand Island Central Catholic

Harper Bennett, Trinity Lutheran

Karim Magallan, Grand Island Public Schools

Jillian Verba, Northwest Public School

Each student was awarded a certificate, a pin to the city, and some cash or gift cards courtesy of the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce. The winner was also proclaimed a mayor for the day.

The contest will now be a yearly part of the curriculum at the schools who participated.

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Copyright 2024 KSNB. All rights reserved.

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how to write a conclusion for hl essay

Opponents say discipline is ‘Orwellian,’ ‘re-education’

New York University students who were arrested at a recent anti-Israel encampment must write “reflection” essays as part of their discipline, according to the campus Faculty and Staff for Justice in Palestine.

The university’s Office of Student Conduct issued the punishments last week for students who were arrested April 22 in connection with a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus, according to a news release .

The pro-Palestinian group referred to the disciplinary measures as “Orwellian” in the release.

One punishment, a five to six page “reflection paper,” must include “a clear, well-developed response that demonstrates that you have thought about all aspects of the issue/decision/behavior that resulted in your involvement with the Office of Student Conduct,” according to a university instructions sheet .

The instructions sheet states the paper “cannot serve to justify your actions, evaluate the actions of others, or challenge a conduct regulation.”

In the essay, students also must describe their personal values and consider how their actions affected other people, including the university and “society as a whole.” Additionally, the instructions tell students to consider what they need to do to “make things right.”

NYU is requiring other student protesters to write “dozens of writing assignments” through its Ethos Integrity Series Modules , according to the news release. The series is supposed to help students develop “moral reasoning” and “ethical decision-making skills.”

In addition to writing essays, some students were banned from campus and university activities, according to the group.

Middle Eastern studies Professor Sara Pursley, a member of the pro-Palestinian group, criticized the disciplinary measures in the news release.

“Since they can’t write anything justifying their action, students seem to be banned from writing about personal values that might be relevant here, such as a belief in freedom of expression, the responsibility to oppose genocide, or the duty of nonviolent civil disobedience under certain circumstances,” Pursley said. “This seems rather ironic in an essay on integrity.”

On X, conservative Princeton University law Professor Robert George said while he believes students should be disciplined for unlawful activities, NYU’s specific essay requirements are concerning.

“Students who engage in disruption, harassment, or other unlawful activities – no matter the cause they are seeking to advance – should be subject to disciplinary proceedings and appropriate sanctions, but they should not be subjected to thought reform or re-education,” George wrote .

Police in riot gear arrest dozens of NYU students and faculty who refused to leave a makeshift anti-Israel encampment in late April, The Fix reported .

Police said the protesters were arrested for “disorderly conduct” and unlawfully blocking traffic, according to the Washington Square News , NYU’s student newspaper.

MORE: Jewish NYU student kicked out of campus leadership post for opposing Hamas terrorism reinstated

IMAGE: Freedom News TV/YouTube

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Expert Tips for Excelling in WASSCE English Essay Writing

  • The West African Senior School Certificate Examination will start in May, and candidates have been worrying about what else remains for them to note in the dying minutes
  • Regardless of department, all students will take English Language as it is the country's official language
  • One of the most technical aspects of the examination is the theory section, where students will be required to choose either an essay or a letter to write

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After the nation was left in a state of shock following the mass failure recorded in the recently released results of the 2024 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), with less than 500,000 candidates scoring above the average mark of 200, the attention has now been shifted to the impending West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), which also bears a lot on how better students are placed in getting admission into Nigerian universities.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

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English language is a very crucial and important subject. It is mandatory for all students to register and sit for its examination, regardless of department - be it science, commerce or art - ambition in the future as even students aiming to study Yoruba , Igbo or Hausa language in the University are required to take English test.

Candidates inside WAEC examination hall

The English Language needs extra attention because it dictates the fate of other subjects. One may ace all others, but if English is deficient, the result will be inadmissible anywhere.

Hence, the rationale for the spotlighting. In this piece, tips on how to ace the essay part of the examination will be discussed.

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WASSCE's English Language Theory section always has five questions containing essay and letter writing topics, with the students free to choose one of the topics they feel they are most proficient in.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

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Below are tips to note to ace essay topics if you are choosing the essay question:

What type of essay

It might be impossible to guess what type of essay will be written for the examination as there are different types. There is a narrative essay, which is always reported in the past, except for where someone is being quoted or special grammatical exceptions like when a verb follows 'to' or the modal verbs.

Argumentative essays or debate questions might require a student to take a stance either for or against a given topic. While partly the same, the latter requires greeting and acknowledgement of the participant.

Barring informal letters , all other forms of essay questions require a heading. Whether it is an expository, argumentative, narrative, or formal essay, the heading is compulsory.

In letters, the heading always comes after the salutation - not before it.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

“It is confirmed”: UK embassy sets new visa rules for Nigerian students planning to relocate with family

It is important to note that the question can never be the heading. It is wrong to rewrite the question verbatim as the subject of the letter or essay.

Read the question well

Don't just jump into writing. Read and understand the question thoroughly. Ensure you have gotten all that the examiner is seeking. For the part where you are required to write about causes and effects, don't be too carried away in the causes that you forget the effect part.

Make an Outline

It is very advisable that you jot down points somewhere at the back of your booklets—points that you will later develop when you start writing. Jot the points down in the order you want them in paragraphs, and let them be your guiding light.

Brief Introduction

At most, three paragraphs. The introduction should not be too long. And remember to declare your intention or goal in the introduction.

how to write a conclusion for hl essay

Soldier, Poet, King quiz meaning: What's behind the TikTok quiz?

Body of the paragraph

This is where you start to develop the points you have noted down before you begin the writing. You make it a point per paragraph. All are linked together by conjunctions like firstly, secondly, however, moreover, in conclusion, etc. Also, remember to input the topic sentence in each paragraph. The topic sentence states the key point of the whole paragraph.

This, like the introduction, should be brief and straightforward. Summarise all that you have written in the body of the piece.

Many excel 2023 WASSCE

Legit.ng had earlier reported that the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC) had said 84.38% of the candidates who sat the 2023 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates in Nigeria obtained credits.

The examination body stated that 84% got credits and above in a minimum of any five WAEC subjects.

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    At the time of writing (April 2020), we have published a range of materials on the work of George Monbiot. Put his name into the website's search engine and up they will pop. Just like that. We have also, to date, published two Higher Level (HL) Essays. This is the third HL essay to be published, and it is based on the essays of Monbiot.

  17. Ending the Essay: Conclusions

    Finally, some advice on how not to end an essay: Don't simply summarize your essay. A brief summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long--more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas. Avoid phrases like "in conclusion," "to conclude," "in summary," and "to sum up ...

  18. The Complete IB Extended Essay Guide: Examples, Topics, and Ideas

    Conclusion. References and bibliography. Additionally, your research topic must fall into one of the six approved DP categories, or IB subject groups, which are as follows: Group 1: Studies in Language and Literature. Group 2: Language Acquisition. Group 3: Individuals and Societies. Group 4: Sciences.

  19. IB Lang Lit SL/HL Paper 2 Comparative Essay: Journey

    The Essay for IB Lang Lit Paper 2. The characters in Death of a Salesman (henceforth Salesman) by Arthur Miller and A Doll's House (henceforth Doll) by Henrik Ibsen undertake various journeys of great significance. On the surface, these journeys symbolise immense promise, fundamentally altering the course of characters' lives toward fortune ...

  20. How to Write a Solid Level 7 English Essay for Paper 2

    8 Reasons Why You Should Take IB Over AP. With good preparation, a few memorized quotes, and a solid knowledge of the themes of your novels, it is very much possible to score a 7 on the English Paper 2 Examination. I'm going to give you a basic outline of how to structure your essay and also tell you a nice way to organize your quotes for t.

  21. How To Write A Great Admission Essay: A Step-by-Step Guide

    The same applies to essay writing. Once you've brainstormed and gathered your ideas, you know what you want to communicate, but it's crucial to organize how you will express it. Construct an outline that organizes the essay into distinct sections. Structuring Your Story. Organize your essay to include an introduction, body, and conclusion.

  22. Recycling Essay Example: A Sustainable Approach to Environmental

    Such an essay about recycling can also inspire readers to start recycling or practice conscientious waste management. How to write a recycling essay introduction. Writing an introduction for an essay on recycling is crucial to grabbing readers' attention and setting the tone for the rest of the paper. Here are some useful steps: Start with a ...

  23. Your Best College Essay

    Prompts for this essay can be found on the college's website, the Common Application, or the Coalition Application. We're not talking about the many smaller supplemental essays you might need to write in order to apply to college. Not all institutions require the essay, but most colleges and universities that are at least semi-selective do.

  24. Dreams essay: What you need to know about it

    In this case, use the first paragraph of your essay to discuss the overall role of dreams in people's lives and how symbolism and interpretation influence their perception of this phenomenon. Think ahead about dreams essay ideas you want to include in your paper. One of the most essential dreams essay tips is creating a detailed outline.

  25. Grand Island mayor awards students for writing essays on how to improve

    The students were tasked with writing a 400 word essay about how they would improve their city and what they would like to see added. Many students wrote about how they want more kid focused businesses in the area, but the focus of the winner of the contest, Saybel Raez Almaguer, focused his essay on safety.

  26. NYU forces anti-Israel protesters to write essays as punishment

    NYU is requiring other student protesters to write "dozens of writing assignments" through its Ethos Integrity Series Modules, according to the news release. The series is supposed to help ...

  27. Expert Tips for Excelling in WASSCE English Essay Writing

    Argumentative essays or debate questions might require a student to take a stance either for or against a given topic. While partly the same, the latter requires greeting and acknowledgement of the participant. Heading. Barring informal letters, all other forms of essay questions require a heading. Whether it is an expository, argumentative ...

  28. Report Writing Format with Templates and Sample Report

    2. Follow the Right Report Writing Format: Adhere to a structured format, including a clear title, table of contents, summary, introduction, body, conclusion, recommendations, and appendices. This ensures clarity and coherence. Follow the format suggestions in this article to start off on the right foot. 3.