The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

The Extended Essay; University standard at a school age

The transitions that the boys make are often a point of focus at Scotch College. As staff we discuss the first day of Junior School, the transition into Middle School, the shift through the underpass to Senior School. We have enjoyed supporting these transitions in the past month.

A major focus for the College is, of course, the final transition; out of school. Yet it is perhaps the most unknown, for as a College when the boys leave Year 12 and go onto to their different pursuits, we receive little information about what happens next. We may find out the University they go to and even the course they are studying, perhaps what job they eventually move onto.

However, the unknowns far outweigh the known. Apart from anecdotal conversations, we do not know how well these young men settle into first year university, we do not know how they perform across their chosen first year units, we do not know if they pass or fail in their first pursuits beyond schooling.

It is not that we are not interested, quite the opposite, it is a fact that gathering this information becomes a great deal more challenging.

What we are particularly interested in, is our capacity to provide as much support as possible in the time preceding this transition to ensure success is likely in their chosen field; preparing boys for life.

One facet the College provides those who elect to study the IB Diploma in Years 11 and 12 is the opportunity to complete the 4000 word Extended Essay.

Our current Year 12 Diploma students are busily preparing their final drafts for this years extended essay submissions.

Consider the complexitity of these five extended essay topics:

  1. To what extent did the India/Pakistan partition of 1947 have the best interest and motives of India at heart from an economic and geopolitical viewpoint?
  2. To what extent did the Special Economic Zones affect China's economic direction from 1978 to 1992?
  3. How does Alfred Hitchcock visually guide viewers as he creates suspense in films such as ''The Pleasure Garden'', 'The Lodger'', ''Strangers on a Train'' and 'Psycho''?
  4. Assess the role of United States ongoing intervention to sustain the Democratic Federation of Northern Syria between 2013 - 2017.
  5. What is the relationship between the kinetic energy of an impacting body and the size of the crater created and how can an understanding of this be used to predict the environmental impact of such collisions?

The Extended Essay is an opportunity for students to conduct independent research into a topic they are personally interested in and allows them to become fully engaged in what they are discovering. Boys can elect any field of research which relates to one of the subject areas in their Diploma course. The Extended Essay is designed to help students to develop the skills essential to progress from a largely prescriptive academic environment to the independence and self-motivation required to become a successful tertiary student.

For more information on the extended essay parents can visit

Opportunities such as this, as well as an array of other learning experiences, give us confidence that once the boys transition out of the College they shall be well prepared.

Mr Peter Allen
Director of Teaching and Learning