Predicting population extinction risk is a fundamental application of ecological theory to the practice of conservation biology. Here, we compared the prediction performance of a wide array of stochastic, population dynamics models against direct observations of the extinction process from an extensive experimental data set. By varying a series of biological and statistical assumptions in the proposed models, we were able to identify the assumptions that affected predictions about population extinction. We also show how certain autocorrelation structures can emerge due to interspecific interactions, and that accounting for the stochastic effect of these interactions can improve predictions of the extinction process. We conclude that it is possible to account for the stochastic effects of community interactions on extinction when using single-species time series.