As part of theory of knowledge (TOK), each student chooses one essay title from six issued by International Baccalaureate®(IB).
The titles change in each examination session.
Upcoming and past questions include:
- “To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past? Consider with reference to two areas of knowledge.”
- “'There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.' To what extent do you agree with this statement?”
- “There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.”
- “'The task of history is the discovering of the constant and universal principles of human nature.' To what extent are history and one other area of knowledge successful in this task?”
Further guidance on the TOK essay and exhibition can be found in the IB’s Programme Resource Centre (PRC) .
Materials in the PRC are only available to existing IB World Schools. These materials are free.
There are a number of resources on TOK in the IB Store , which are available to everyone.
Find out how to become an IB World School .
TOK essay PPF
TOK Home > Free TOK notes > TOK essay guidance > TOK essay PPF
Uploading your essay & PPF
Completing and uploading your Presentation Planning Form (PPF) means that you’ve done the hard part of writing your essay, and are nearly at the end of the process.
Check out our short video explainer for the TOK essay; you can find more explainers about other aspects of the course in our TOK explainer playlist .
Writing your TOK essay PPF
The three PPF comments are a record of what you discussed during the three . Your comments will not be assessed directly, but they should be taken seriously! They provide evidence that you have spent time and effort on your essay, and approached it in a systematic, planned way. We strongly recommend that you write your PPF comments as soon as you have had your interactions with your teacher. This will mean that it will be fresh in your mind, and much easier to records – rather than having to remember what you talked about several months down the line. We also recommend using a platform like ManageBac to record your thoughts – this will make your life a lot easier. Bullet points are perfectly acceptable for your PPF – indeed, this is a clearer way of recording the different points you covered in the interactions than writing full paragraphs. Try to get close to the word limit – it’s 689 characters for each interaction.
TOK essay pages
The TOK essay rubric
Learn about how the essay is marked, and the skills you are expected to demonstrate in order to succeed. Read more here .
Choosing your TOK essay title
Find out how to evaluate the six prescribed essay titles, and decide on which one will work best for you. Read more here .
The three TOK essay interactions
Learn about the three interactions with your TOK teacher, and what you should be discussing in each one. Read more here .
Writing your TOK essay
Gain a few tips on how to structure your TOK essay, how to articulate your ideas, and ways to justify your claims. Read more here .
Find out about how to fill in the essay PPF, and why this is an important indication of your engagement with TOK. Read more here .
More support for the TOK essay
Make sure that your TOK teacher has given you access to all the documents and online material that support the essay. These include the TOK Subject Guide, the TOK essay rubric, and exemplar TOK essays (found in ‘MyIB’, which is accessible to teachers). Make sure you go through our other pages on writing the TOK essay. You’ll find help on understanding what the is looking for, that works for you, what each of the should focus on, how to an effective TOK essay, and how to fill in your . If your school is a member of theoryofknowledge.net, we have designed a series of lessons on the essay, with two formative assessment tasks. These will familiarize you with the essay rubric, knowledge questions, real-life situations, how to deal with perspectives and implications, and structuring an essay. If you are signed into the site, you can access these lessons here . You can also find out our thoughts on the TOK essay (and the TOK exhibition) in several webinars that we have delivered. The main one is the TOK Assessment 2022 webinar, but we also consider this form of assessment in our free webinars on the 2022 course. You can see these webinars on this page of the site.
FAQs about the TOK essay PPF
Is my ppf marked.
No, but it is a mandatory part of the TOK essay task. Writing a thorough PPF gives a great impression about your essay, and shows that you have followed the right process in planning, structuring, and writing it.
How do I submit my PPF?
You should add your comments to the official TK/PPF form, and upload it with your TOK essay. This is all done on the IB dashboard, which is quite user-friendly. Ask your TOK teacher or DP coordinator to help you if you’re not sure.
How to write a TOK essay: webinar
This 80-minute webinar video and presentation gives you a clear, engaging, step-by-step guide to the task, helping you to understand the assessment rubric, choose the right PT, and produce an essay that hits all the assessment targets.
The video is supported by a presentation, and a Q&A debrief answering some of the most common questions asked about writing a TOK essay. Purchase your ticket here .
Get real with TOK by subscribing to the newsletter
Step into the real and unpackaged world by subscribing to our unique monthly TOK newsletter. You’ll receive links to great media sources from all over the world that place the TOK themes and areas of knowledge into an authentic context.
You’ll meet great thinkers and ideas, hone your understanding of key TOK concepts, and build up a library of examples for the essay and exhibition. Subscribe HERE !
How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023
Ace your ToK Essay with our expert tips & tricks! Get the latest and greatest techniques on "How To Write A ToK Essay" and impress the IB examiners.📝💡
Table of content
Purpose of tok, assessment of tok, the game plan, execution of the gameplan, planning for tok essay, structure of tok essay, introduction, conclusions, bibliography.
How to write a TOK Essay?
To answer that, you must familiarise yourself with what a TOK Essay is about.
Before you start reading this article, Amanda has some excellent TOK tips for you!
Theory of Knowledge is one of the most meta subjects that IB offers. Despite its complexity, TOK helps in providing a base for holistic learning and allows students to have a multidisciplinary experience.
To understand TOK is to understand the essence of IB, a task that most people consider unattainable.
But not for you!
Thank your lucky stars who made you land on Nail IB. How exactly will Nail IB help you?
Well, nailing International Baccalaureate is something we will discuss later.
Let's focus on cracking your TOK essay, shall we?
TOK demonstrates how students can apply their knowledge with greater awareness and credibility .
Big words, huh?
Now that we know that we cannot just slide through the Theory of Knowledge, let's understand how we can conquer this battle all guns blazing.
ToK essay’s primary objective is to answer the why behind our studies.
It makes one aware of the real-life implications of their subjects. The students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions and appreciate the diversity of different perspectives. It helps the students find their unique perception, a prerequisite for excelling in the IB TOK essays.
Before we dive into our gameplan, let’s overview the rules of the game.
There are two assessment tasks in the TOK: an essay and a presentation . While a presentation encourages students to explore a real-life situation through the lens of TOK, an essay is written on the basis of the various questions provided by the International Baccalaureate Organisation.
- The presentation is to assess a student’s ability to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation whereas IB TOK essay is more conceptual.
- The essay is externally assessed by IB and must be on any one of the prescribed TOK essay titles issued by the IB for each examination session.
- Word limit of a TOK essay is 1600 words ( excludes extended notes, footnotes, bibliography).
Now that we have unleashed the game, let’s move ahead towards the gameplan of acing both, your presentation and your essay.
One of the fundamental tasks of TOK is to examine different areas of knowledge and find out their similarities and differences.
The TOK essay requires the students to investigate two Areas of Knowledge (AOK) and two Ways of Knowing (WOK) . AOKs and WOKs are investigated via questions such as:
- How do we know what we know? (WOK)
- What counts as evidence for X? (AOK)
- How do we judge which is the best model of Y? (WOK)
- What does theory Z mean in the real world? (AOK + WOK)
The aforementioned are Knowledge Questions which help combine the Areas of Knowledge and the Ways of Knowing that they are using. This eliminates the superficial way of learning and makes an individual sensitive to the nature of the information. Our acquisition of Knowledge can be broadly divided into Shared Knowledge and Personal Knowledge.
Shared knowledge: What WE know It is the product of more than one individual. Although individuals contribute to it, shared knowledge does not solely depend upon the contributions of a particular individual—there are possibilities for others to check and amend individual contributions and add to the body of knowledge that already exists.
Personal knowledge: What I know It is essentially dependent on the experiences of a particular individual. Also known as procedural knowledge, it is gained through experience, practice and personal involvement and is intimately bound up with the particular local circumstances of the individual such as biography, interests, values, and so on.
The best hack to ace TOK essay is to develop a habit of making connections between the construction of knowledge, its acquisition and its relevance in the real world.
After that one needs to develop an interest in understanding the difference between diversity and cultural perspectives and personal assumptions.
One also needs to critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives.
Yes, this is what you signed up for. It may sound a little intimidating but once you get the hang of it you will be able to see the matrix and understand this beautiful world a little better.
Understand that to provide the best version of your writing, it will take you more than one or two drafts. First and foremost, you need to pick your essay topic diligently. Try to choose an essay topic that best interests you. The topic should also allow you to explore the Areas of Knowledge towards which you are naturally inclined. Here are a few sample questions:
a) 'Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.' To what extend do you agree with this statement?
b) With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape their personal knowledge.
c) How can we know if knowledge is produced more through 'Passive Observation' or 'Active-Experiment' within the Human and Natural-sciences under a Mathematical-Perspective?
d) "The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives". Assess the validity of this statement.
Great things take time. It took me more than a couple of weeks to finalize this TOK essay guide. It is completely okay if the first few drafts may not look pleasing or award-winning to you. You will require sharpening your perspective towards the topic each time you polish your draft. Your writing journey from a dull draft to a masterpiece will be a whole process that you will have to be patient with. Have faith in yourself and proceed stepwise.
You need to consider the opinions of others who have devoted hours of research and a lifetime of dedicated studying the topic that surrounds your writing. Unravelling the realms of your mind palace is so Sherlock but let’s not deny the fact that at times, Watson is the one whose expertise helps Sherlock through pretty difficult times. I mean even Batman needs a Robin. In support of my awesome sauce examples, the point I am trying to make is that finding support for our claims and counterclaims through research is a good thing .
Use real-life examples to support your claims and counterclaims. These examples need to be documented researched examples like studies, experiments, articles, presentations by well-known people, etc. Examples that stem from your diploma subjects are highly encouraged, but those will need to be supported by research as well.
It is suggested that you choose a title, stick to it, tackle it and not be afraid. Do not change your mind unless there is a good reason. Also, try choosing Areas of knowledge that you truly enjoy. You know slaying a known devil is much easier than an unknown one. Allot a TIMELINE to your essay. Start with creating an outline of your essay. This will help you to track your progress and accomplish your goals
You can use tools like Trello to organize your ideas and plan your TOK essay.
Areas of Knowledge (AOKs): TOK distinguishes between eight areas of knowledge. They are mathematics, the natural sciences, the human sciences, the arts, history, ethics, religious knowledge systems, and indigenous knowledge systems. It is suggested that students study and explore six of these eight.
Ways of knowing (WOKs): TOK identifies eight specific WOKs- language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory. It is suggested that studying four of these eight in-depth would be appropriate. WOKs underlie the methodology of the areas of knowledge and provide a basis for personal knowledge.
Moving ahead, let us discuss the structure of your TOK essay.
Your essay will consist of 4 broad segregations
Before breaking down further on the pillars, keep the following in mind
- Please note what the TOK essay title is asking you. (Read it a couple of times. We highly recommend that you brainstorm ideas with your TOK coordinator)
- Make sure you understand the command term and the question it is asking.
- What kind of knowledge is being elicited?
- When choosing your areas of knowledge (AoK) and ways of knowing (WoK) make sure that you are able to draw contrasts and comparisons, that is, you are able to find evidence that supports as well as challenges your claims.
- Identify key terms in your TOK essay title. Make sure you define them. Your essay will gravitate around them. Key terms/words in your titles are your essay anchors. Your response should be built around them.
- Your writing skills come in handy while you work on your IB TOK essay. Like any other essay make sure you have proper thesis statements and topic sentences to guide the evaluator through your work.
- Respect the TOK essay title. Rephrasing the topic is not encouraged . Your main job is to address the title.
Introduce your topic accurately and state your thesis statement for the essay carefully. A thesis statement is like a teaser to your entire essay wherein you define your key terms and introduce your interpretation of the question. Make sure that you do not reword the prescribed title in your thesis. Instead, it needs to, as the word says, INTRODUCE your readers to what your essay is about. A strong introduction allows the reader to deduce what knowledge question(s) you are trying to answer.
So, in a nutshell
- Write interesting things about the given TOK essay title .
- Define key terms
- Narrow in on the particularly interesting aspect
- State your thesis statement . This will be your short answer to your given title if you don't know how to write a killer thesis statement check out this blog from SparkNotes .
- State your Roadmap. This will help the readers in understanding the direction of your essay.
The body can be mainly divided into 3 segments.
Body (1st Segment)
- AoK Claim: Here you investigate your first Area of Knowledge and draw parallels between your AoK and the question. This is done by stating your claim. Claims can be general in nature and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. They help you shape your essay and investigate the question further.
- Evidence: Example of a real-life situation, describe thoroughly and accurately, which supports your stated claim. (AoK)
- Counter-Claim: State your counter-claim: like claims, those can be general and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. Counterclaim helps you show the other side the coin and gives your essay a holistic nature.
- Evidence: A referenced real-life situation/example. Describe thoroughly and accurately, show how this supports your counterclaim (AoK ).
- Don’t forget to weave in your WoKs: You need to take into account the source of your knowledge. Here you can also investigate if your nature of acquiring the knowledge has, in any way, affected it. It is good practice to question if your knowledge would be different had it been acquired through a different source/method
- Mini-conclusion: Here you analyze your examples in reference to your claims and counterclaims. You must connect to your thesis statement and the prescribed title. How does your proposed argument, in this particular part of the body, connect to the prescribed title and the knowledge questions you are trying to answer?
Body (2): Follow the above process for your second AOK.
- Use this part of your essay to compare and contrast your varying AoKs. You need to connect them to your thesis and your prescribed title clearly showing how your arguments respond to the PT.
Your conclusion section will make your essay come together. It is the glue that will make your essay stick together. Herein, you need to
- Reiterate your thesis (initial response).
- Use your mini conclusions to write a final conclusion.
- Tell the reader what the significance is for knowing what we know in this particular PT.
- Discuss implications as well.
- Offer another perspective, how will the perspective of a different person affect the claims/counterclaims you make in the essay?
- Don’t forget to make the end strong.
We recommend all the ib students use the citation machine (It's FREE) to organize or generate a bibliography for your TOK essay. Please go through this extensive guide provided by the IB before you start working on your citations.
If you are still struggling heaps with your TOK essay feel free to subscribe to our tok notes bundles or get access to more than 500+ IBDP notes and past papers here .
Nail IB is your virtual companion that helps you hustle through your diploma and provide you with the right resources at the right time. To know more about acing IB, click here .
I hope this article will become the foundation for figuring out how to write a TOK Essay.
Remember to have faith in yourself.
I hope you NAIL your TOK essay!
Quoting the great Napolean Hill
"Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
IB Resources you will love!
Nan + free ib flashcards, -1 + free ia samples, nan + ib videos by experts, -1 + ib sample practice questions, ib resources for nan + subjects.
- PRO Courses Guides New Tech Help Pro Expert Videos About wikiHow Pro Upgrade Sign In
- EDIT Edit this Article
- EXPLORE Tech Help Pro About Us Random Article Quizzes Request a New Article Community Dashboard This Or That Game Popular Categories Arts and Entertainment Artwork Books Movies Computers and Electronics Computers Phone Skills Technology Hacks Health Men's Health Mental Health Women's Health Relationships Dating Love Relationship Issues Hobbies and Crafts Crafts Drawing Games Education & Communication Communication Skills Personal Development Studying Personal Care and Style Fashion Hair Care Personal Hygiene Youth Personal Care School Stuff Dating All Categories Arts and Entertainment Finance and Business Home and Garden Relationship Quizzes Cars & Other Vehicles Food and Entertaining Personal Care and Style Sports and Fitness Computers and Electronics Health Pets and Animals Travel Education & Communication Hobbies and Crafts Philosophy and Religion Work World Family Life Holidays and Traditions Relationships Youth
- Browse Articles
- Learn Something New
- Quizzes Hot
- This Or That Game New
- Train Your Brain
- Explore More
- Support wikiHow
- About wikiHow
- Log in / Sign up
- Education and Communications
How to Write a TOK Essay
Last Updated: December 28, 2023
This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been viewed 250,119 times.
The International Baccalaureate (IB) Theory of Knowledge essay is a 1200–1600 word essay on prescribed topics or titles created by the IB. As the name suggests, your Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay should focus on knowledge issues (what is knowledge? why and how do we know things?) and link to other areas of knowledge as well. About two-thirds of your final TOK grade is determined by your score on your TOK essay.
Choosing Your Essay Title
- Natural sciences
- Human sciences
- Religious knowledge systems
- Indigenous knowledge systems
- “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge.”
- “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?”
- Do you understand the keywords or concepts in the title? You may not be clear on what a title is asking you to do. Go through the title and highlight any words or concepts you are unsure about. Some titles will use keywords from TOK courses, such as “belief”, “knowledge” “truth”. You may want to check back on your class notes and consider what these words mean in the context of the title.
- Do you have a strong interest in the title? The title should play to your interests and you should feel you can write about the title with care and diligence. For example, if you are skilled or interested in the arts, you may choose a title like “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge” and pick the arts as one area of knowledge. Keep in mind, however, you should balance your passion for the title with an objective perspective.
- Do you have something relevant to say about the title? It’s important that you relate the question to the ideas you have covered in your TOK course, as well as the topics you have studied in class, and your own personal experiences or thoughts. The essay should have an objective tone, but you will still need to inject it with personality, passion, and clarity.
- For example, in a title like: “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?”, you may rephrase it into two sentences. The title refers to three AOK: mathematics, history, and science. It is then asking you to compare and contrast the way these three AOK use explanation as a way of knowing about a topic or issue.
- By breaking down the title into short sentences, you now have a clearer picture of what the title is asking you to do and how you might go about answering the title sufficiently.
Structuring the Essay
- Understanding the knowledge issues: your essay must be focused on the knowledge issues, link and compare at least two knowledge issues, show relevancy between at least two knowledge issues, and demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the knowledge issues.
- Knower’s perspective: your essay must demonstrate independent thinking, self-awareness, at least two different perspectives, and several supporting examples.
- Analysis of the knowledge issues: your essay must show insight and depth, justify your main points, present arguments and counter-arguments, and explore any assumptions and implications of your topic.
- Organization of ideas: your essay must be well structured, explain key concepts, be factually accurate, and cite references where applicable.
- You may also be asked “to what extent” or “in what way” a statement is justified. You will then need to present for and against arguments for the statement.
- If you are asked a direct question, your essay should address to what extent or in what ways you are for and against an argument or position.
- Start by doing a general, open brainstorm. Write down everything that comes to mind when you think about the title without passing judgement on any of the ideas, or stopping to read over your brainstorm.
- After five minutes of brainstorming, read over your notes. Identify ideas that relate to each other or that contradict each other. If you are evaluating or assessing a claim in the essay title, create a for column and an against column. Group your brainstorming ideas into either column. Create a third column for grey area ideas, or ambiguities, and place ideas in that column.
- Note any examples of the ideas that you wrote down. For example, you may be addressing a title like: “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?” You may create a brainstorm for each area of knowledge (mathematics, history, science) in relation to the idea of explaining something. You may then use examples of “something” that can be explained in each AOK: a mathematical equation, a historical moment in a battle or a trial, and a scientific theory.
- You should also identify the areas of knowledge you will be discussing in your essay. For example, for a title like: “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge” you may choose two AOK: the arts and science. You may then compare and contrast the function of “reason” and “imagination” in the arts and in science.
- Paragraph 1: Introduction. You would provide an explanation and interpretation of the title and identify the key terms in the title. You would also state your thesis and explain or identify a knowledge issue related to the title.
- Paragraph 2: First Area of Knowledge. For example, the arts. Discuss how the arts answers the title and provide supporting examples. You should also note any counter-arguments against the title or any limitations of the supporting examples.
- Paragraph 3: Second Area of Knowledge. For example, mathematics. Note how mathematics answers the title and provide supporting examples. You should also note any counter-arguments against the title or any limitations of the supporting examples.
- Paragraph 4: Third Area of Knowledge (if applicable)
- Paragraph 5: Conclusion. Summarize your main ideas and restate your thesis. Conclude by answering the title fully, taking into account the counter arguments and limitations of the areas of knowledge.
- You may also decide to structure your essay based on a main argument and a main counter-argument. Your outline may contain four paragraphs total:
- Paragraph 1: Introduction and explanation of the knowledge issue.
- Paragraph 2: Main argument, with justification and one to two supporting examples.
- Paragraph 3: Main counter-argument, with justification and one to two supporting examples.
- Paragraph 4: Conclusion.
- Some students find it useful to draft their thesis statement once they have finished writing a first draft of the essay. By this point, you will likely have a better sense of the main arguments in the essay and be able to write a clear, concise thesis statement.
- For example, you may need to create a thesis statement for this title: “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge.” You have chosen two AOK: the arts and mathematics. Consider how reason and imagination function in the arts and in mathematics, as well as the different ways they function in each AOK. Your thesis may be: “Through reason and imagination play an important role in both mathematics and the arts, the imaginative thoughts of mathematicians must be provable, while the imaginative thoughts of artists need only be reasonable.”  X Research source
Writing the Essay
- You may want to also refer back to your brainstorming notes to identify the supporting examples for your two areas of knowledge, or your main argument and your main counter-argument.
- For example, you may be discussing the use of reason and imagination in the arts. Rather than discuss a familiar artist, like Picasso, or a familiar example of imaginative thinking, like the Sistine Chapel, use supporting examples that feel original and insightful. Though the essay should be objective in nature, it should also feel reflective and personal. Using a supporting example that you feel passionate about, like Pollack’s kinetic movement paintings, or Rodin’s sculptures, will show you have taken the time to explore unique examples.
- Reference surprising or little known claims, but not well known facts or commonly held opinions. For example: “The sun is the center of the solar system” is a well known fact you will not need to cite. But “Rodin was a traditionally-schooled artist and had a craftsman-like approach to his work” will require a citation as it is maybe a little known fact.
- Reference any sentences or sections where you are closely following someone else’s train of thought or argument, even in your own words.
- Reference exact quotes, and use quotation marks.
- Be consistent with your citations and the way you reference certain sources.
- As you read your essay out loud, make sure there are no vague or abstract sentences or terms. You want to ensure you use your 1600 word count in a clear and concise way. Every word will count in your TOK essay.
- Confirm you have addressed knowledge issues in your essay. Your essay should answer the question “How do you know?” and assess the strengths and weaknesses of knowledge claims in at least two areas of knowledge. You should also use arguments and counter-arguments to support your thesis statement, as well as strong supporting examples.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ http://www.dirk-solies.de/TOK/how%20to%20write%20a%20ToK%20essay%20cambridge.pdf
- ↑ http://www.toktalk.net/2009/11/20/starting-and-planning-the-tok-essay/
About This Article
To write a TOK essay that compares several areas of knowledge, start with an introductory paragraph that explains your title and states your thesis. Then, write 2-3 main body paragraphs, discussing in each a single area of knowledge and how it relates to your title. Try to provide supporting examples in each case, and address any potential counter-arguments, as well. Finally, end your essay with a conclusion that summarizes your main ideas and restates your thesis. When you’re done, check to be sure that you’re within the 1,200-1,600 word limit for the essay. To learn from our English reviewer how to choose an essay title and create your thesis statement, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No
- Send fan mail to authors
Reader Success Stories
Sep 28, 2018
Did this article help you?
Jan 10, 2017
Jan 16, 2017
Apr 6, 2017
- Do Not Sell or Share My Info
- Not Selling Info
Don’t miss out! Sign up for
How To Write a ToK Essay IBDP – Step-By-Step Guide
- Created on October 3, 2019
- Blog , IBDP , Learning Tips
Let’s learn how to write a ToK Essay with Tutopiya. The IB ToK Essay contributes to the overall score of a student’s IB Diploma. The award of points for the IB ToK Essay is in conjunction with the extended essay. A maximum of three points is awarded according to a student’s combined performance in both the TOK and Extended Essay.
Tutopiya will help and guide our IB Diploma students on the following:
- How to Start a ToK Essay
- Cover the ToK Essay Structure
- How to Write a ToK Essay Conclusion
- Analysis of a ToK Essay Example
Choosing Your Essay Title
Before you can dive into structuring or writing your essay, you will need to spend time to decide on a topic you wish to write on. For the IB ToK Essay, you are required to compare and contrast different ways of knowing through perception, language, reason, emotion with different areas of knowledge (AOK).
1 – Selecting your prescribed title and knowledge question
Before you hastily decide on a title you wish to write, take some time to read each title carefully on the list and brainstorm ideas.
Tip #1: Brainstorming
Get some initial ideas you have of each and every title/ question down on paper. Ask yourself some simple questions when brainstorming for each title.
Am I confident to write an essay about this? Is the question asking what I am thinking? Do I understand the keywords or concepts in the title?
You may not be clear on what the title is asking you to do. Go through the title and highlight any keywords and concepts you are unsure about or may have missed out.
Do you have a strong interest in the title? We recommend that you should at least be interested since you will be spending time and effort on researching this topic, pick something you are willing to research more about!
Can you relate anything to the title? Though the IB Tok Essay should be as objective as possible, you can always inject the essay with personality and character.
You can always do so by adding in ideas or topics you have learned or studied in class or even personal experiences.
Tip #2: Understanding the question in your own words
The titles of these essay questions can sometimes be long and difficult to grasp when you first read them so before you write the IB ToK Essay, consider paraphrasing the question in your own words.
You may struggle to understand the keywords and concepts in the title, you may even be unsure about the perspective, comparison and contrast of the title.
To help our IB students, we recommend breaking down the question/ title by first, understanding the keywords in the title. Then, put the title together and understand what they are asking.
This way, you will be able to understand the title more in-depth than before and able to answer the title sufficiently.
Structuring your Essay
1 – knowing the assessment criteria .
2 – Theory of Knowledge Essay
The rubrics require students to be able to understand the knowledge questions and their quality of analysis of knowledge questions. View the TOK Essay Mark Scheme here .
You will have to choose two Areas of Knowledge (AOK) to explore.
There are 8 different Areas of Knowledge are as follows:
- Natural Sciences
- Humane Sciences
- Religious knowledge systems
- Indigenous knowledge systems
You can also use Ways of Knowledge (WOK) in your essay and the are as follows:
- Sense Perception
Analysis of a Sample Essay
Question: “Doubt is the key to knowledge (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?
Important Keywords in the Title
“To what extent”
When keywords like this appear, note that you need to present 2 different perspectives to the question, a for and against argument in your essay.
Paragraph 1: Introduction
You would provide an explanation and interpretation of the title and identify the key terms in the title. You would also need to state your thesis and explain or identify the areas of knowledge you will be exploring in your essay.
1 – Start the essay by saying something relatable or interesting
By doing that, you can capture the reader’s attention and make them want to read more by evoking a sense of curiosity to find out more about your essay.
2 – Your Thesis/ Stand
You can also state your thesis (that is different from mainstream ideas – to capture the reader’s attention). You can make the decision to be a for or against stand in your essay. If you decided
In your own words , give an interpretation of the title and show that you are able to identify the key terms of the question.
“The problem with doubt as the key to knowledge is that doubt isn’t a way of knowing. Doubt is an emotion we feel that motivates us to seek knowledge.”
3 – Outline of the paragraph
Give the readers an idea of what you will be going through in your body paragraphs , a sentence that gives the readers a preview. Let the readers know which AOKs you will be exploring, making it easier for the examiner to know what to look for.
“However this motivation can manifest itself differently in contrasting areas of knowledge like Mathematics and Religion.”
Your introduction should not be too long, use around 150 to 200 words for your first paragraph would be sufficient.
Paragraph 2: First Area of Knowledge.
1 – begin your paragraph with a claim or topic sentence.
This helps you to outline your argument about the title.
“Mathematics is an area of knowledge that is only concerned with reason.”
2 – Explain and Elaborate
Now, give explain and elaborate on your topic sentence/ claim.
“In a right-angled triangle a²+b²=c² and that’s it. There are no alternative answers or personal interpretations. An answer to a mathematical problem is either right or wrong. This is because the main way of knowing in math is reason and evidence is required for a mathematical statement to be true or false.”
3 – Give an example with an explanation
This helps you to further elaborate and explore your topic sentence or claim.
The example you give should be personal, specific, precise and real.
This way you can make your claim believable and relatable in some sense. This also helps to evoke a sense of authenticity in your essay.
“When we first learned about negative numbers in math class it made no sense to me. How could a bigger number have a lower value than a smaller one? It was illogical and it contradicted all the math I had learned before that day….. Either the previous mathematical information was wrong or the new information about negative numbers were wrong. But he explained the concept of a number line with a central point 0 and that they were both right.”
4 – Linking back
Remember to link back to your claim and the question after you are done exploring this example.
“My doubt led to understanding and was the key to my knowledge.”
Paragraph 3: Counter
1 – state your counterclaim.
This paragraph would focus on counterclaim . You are supposed to discuss 2 different perspectives to your claim, a for and against. You are to argue against your claim above this paragraph.
“On the other hand, doubt in mathematics can be detrimental to education.”
2 – Give an Example and Explanation
Add in an example and explanation to support your counterclaim.
“For example, after I do a question from the International Baccalaureate mathematics textbook I always look at the back in order to check if my answers are correct because it has answers in the back. If I do not have the book and I am in class then I ask my mathematics teacher for the correct answer. I do this when I am uncertain of my answer to a question and my doubt allows me to gain knowledge i.e. whether my answer is wrong or right. My doubt also helps me to assess how much of the mathematical concept I have understood by marking myself. However, this can be detrimental to progress because I started to become dependent on the answers at the back of the book or my mathematics teacher. Every time I do a question I feel like I have to verify my answer with an authoritative source which I have now come to understand leaves no room for exploration or the development of my own methods.”
3 – Linking back
Link back to your prescribed title and your claim of this paragraph.
“My doubt caused a loss of confidence in my mathematical abilities and dependence on authoritative sources.”
Now, follow this format and carry on writing for the next two body paragraphs, exploring on another Area of Knowledge, in this case, this student will have to write one more AOK on Religion and a counterclaim for it.
Aim to write a maximum of 600 words for each Area of Knowledge (Paragraph 2 and 3, Paragraph 4 and 5).
Paragraph 4: Second Area of Knowledge
- Topic Sentence
- Example + Explanation
Paragraph 5: Counterclaim
- Topic Sentence (Counterclaim)
- Example + Explanation
- Link to prescribed title and your initial claim of this Area of Knowledge
Finally, write your ToK Essay conclusion in one paragraph totalling 200 to 250 words .
Paragraph 6: Your conclusion
Explain the different insights you have gained or have come out of this essay.
“As illustrated by the example of dependence on authoritative sources in mathematics doubt can be detrimental and cause a loss of confidence. Similarly, doubting conjectures has also proven to be unfruitful. However, within mathematics individual doubt can lead to the acquisition of knowledge.”
Implications and significance
Tell the readers why it is important to know that and how does it matter that they understand this when you write your IB ToK Essay.
Perspectives and Extension
If you can, try to input a very different perspective on your conclusion. Perhaps recognizing a different way of approaching the question, which could have resulted in different insights.
You can mention the limitations of your essay saying there are one or two unresolved questions that this essay has revealed. It’s about showing the readers that the conversation is not over yet. And that, there is more to the question and more rooms that you can explore.
“Furthermore, in areas like religion where we do not yet have the tools to prove it one way or the other simply doubting something by itself is a step towards acquiring knowledge because by suggesting that certain view is not absolute it makes room for new knowledge.”
A Quick Tip for writing a ToK Essay
Tip: try not to use dictionary definitions in your essay.
You want to show the examiners that you are writing a reflective essay, not a textbook definition heavy essay. Don’t rely too much on dictionary definitions to prove your argument or support a counterclaim. This will demonstrate that you did not engage with the topic and bypassed complexities around the topic.
Instead of using standard answers or cliche examples, you can try to use your own personal experiences to make it original and insightful for your readers. Though the essay should be objective, your essay should still have a personality and character.
Try Getting Expert’s Help
Tutopiya is a 1-1 Live Online Tutoring for all students aged 8 to 18 years old. Tutopiya offers the IB Diploma Program curriculum to all students, visit our IB curriculum page to find out more about the subjects we teach here. We also have a blog full of useful IB resources for our students, why not read another sample essay for IB TOK ?
Interested to try our online learning with our expert IB tutors? We provide FREE 60 minutes trial lesson to all new students. You can sign up or simply fill up a trial form application here to begin learning with Tutopiya! Come learn how to write a ToK essay with Tutopiya today!
I am currently a full-time student studying at a local university in Singapore while freelancing as a writer. I enjoy writing and sharing useful education-related tips with my fellow studying peers. During my leisure time, I enjoy doing creative arts and volunteering work. I am passionate about sharing my experience as a student! ☺
See author's posts
- How to Stay Calm and Confident in IGCSE Exams
- Avoid These 7 Common IGCSE Exam Mistakes for Better Grades: Tutopiya
- IGCSE in Singapore: Expat Guide to Top Education & Tutopiya’s Support
- How to Manage Time during IGCSE Preparation: Overview, Importance, Study Schedule
- Unlocking the Alchemy of Education: Dr. Hemlata Tewari’s Inspiring Journey
- Top 10 Secrets for IGCSE Exam Success: Expert Training and Guidance
- Ace Your IGCSE Exams in 4 Months: Ultimate Guide & Study Plan
- IGCSE Maths Tutor Online in Hong Kong
- IGCSE Home and Online Tuition: Subjects, Pricing, Online Resources
- IGCSE Unlimited Learning: A Guide to Success in 4 Months: 1 to 1 Online IGCSE Tutoring
SIngapore O Level Tuition
Singapore A Level Tuition
Additional Math Tuition
English Literature Tuition
Business Studies Tuition
Computer Science Tuition
22 Changi Business Park Central 2, #02-08, Singapore, 486032
All rights reserved
Come to those who subscribe to our Newsletters!
No thanks, I’m not interested!
ToK Essay: How to Choose and Explain Real-Life Examples
Finding the right real-life examples for the TOK essay can be difficult and time-consuming. Searching the web mindlessly often leads to no avail! I will share some of my experiences, both the good and bad, to help you easily find the right examples for your essay.
From the top band of the TOK mark scheme: ‘arguments… effectively supported by specific examples.’ – this shows that examples are an important element in the essay! They show the marker that the claims you make are not just theoretically true, but have real-world applications, allowing you to appreciate the interconnectedness between what you learn and the world we live in.
Real-life examples/situations (RLS) are examples that you can find in the real world to support your claims. Generally, you would be using a few key ideas from the RLS to show how your chosen claim is valid.
A. Choosing a real-life example
You want to find an RLS which well… exemplifies the point that you are making. Certain key ideas in the RLS need to be relevant and of course, fit in with your point. Avoid having an RLS which only mildly covers your claim, where you end up having to ‘force-fit’ them into your essay.
A.1 Searching the web
When you google: ‘History RLS’, the results you are going to get will be from the many TOK websites out there. Most of them are filled with basic examples, probably not relevant to your point. Similarly, there are many over-used and general real-life examples that you should avoid. What you should do instead is to go back to your point and look for key ideas the example should have. For one of my claims on the AOK (area of knowledge) of History, I already had an idea about the type of RLS that I wanted to include and in my case: one with conflicting historical accounts, in which neither could be rejected. Thus I went to google looking for historical events. It took me quite a while but only once I put ‘various narratives’ into the search engine did I finally get somewhere.
My advice: have an idea about the key points you need in the RLS, then look for specific types of examples rather than just any RLS in the AOK so that it will be more relevant and applicable to support that claim.
A.2 Using examples from your own academic subjects
You take so many subjects other than TOK in the IBDP, do not let all that knowledge go to waste during TOK. Using things you have learnt from other DP subjects is a quick way to find an RLS. Additionally, using your IA or EE experiences as RLSs is possible. Personally, I used the uncertainty results in my Physics IA and Schrodinger’s atomic model (from the HL Physics syllabus) to explain my points. I saved time researching and found it easy to incorporate them into the essay since I already had a good understanding of these RLSs.
My advice: look through your academic work, to see if there are any RLSs you can use for your arguments. Using your own projects as RLSs can even add an element of originality to your essay!
B. Explaining your real-life examples
Firstly, ensure that you fully understand your RLS. Do not choose an RLS that is too complicated and make sure ample research is done. You do not want to be in a situation where you selectively bring in points and ignore others. Very rarely, the worst-case-scenario would be that your examiner is well versed with your topic, and manages to point out flaws in your arguments.
Next, give a brief overview of the RLS. 1 or 2 sentences would suffice to prevent you from wasting words. Get a friend who has not heard about your RLS to read it. If they can understand the gist of it without being confused, you have done a good job. Adding images can also aid in the marker’s understanding of the RLS. I included an image of Schrodinger’s model to give a visual of the density cloud of electrons. It was difficult to explain this in words, so a visual worked well for me.
After this, link key ideas in your RLS to TOK concepts and your claim. Your RLS should be evidence supporting your claim. It should help the examiner understand that your claim is credible and supported.
Final advice: Keep a log of all the used sources and the dates that you have accessed them in a separate document. Personally, I added an additional column with a brief summary of the points I was using from each source. As such, while doing references, I would know where I had used a source and have all the information necessary.
I hope that you have a better idea about how to search and explain appropriate real-life examples in your essay. It may not be easy finding RLSs, but it’s okay! All students go through it! Just take your time finding examples that are most appropriate and interesting to you!
You may also like…
- Elena’s Overview of the TOK Essay .
- Vansh’s Overview of the TOK Exhibition .
Leave a reply cancel reply, discover more from iblieve.
Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.
Type your email…
- Have your assignments done by seasoned writers. 24/7. Contact us:
- +1 (213) 221-0069
- [email protected]
How to write a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Essay: Full Guide
Guide For a Theory Of Knowledge Essay
A Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay entails reflecting on the nature of the topic you are writing about and how best you know it. However, you cannot wake up and get started with the TOK essay. There is a need to do thorough planning from start to finish.
This will ensure that you choose the right topic and come up with an essay that meets International Baccalaureate (IB) standards.
How to Write Theory of Knowledge Essay Reflections
Unfortunately, it can be a daunting procedure to write TOK essay reflections .
But here is a guide to help students write a TOK essay that will guarantee them a good TOK grade.
1. Understand the Title
You need to know what the title is all about. This means that you have to read the question and understand it.
Get to know what the title requires of you and what keywords to use. In this connection, you will need to have known areas of Knowledge (AOK) and ways of knowing (WOK).
They will help you get an in-depth understanding of the question and make short notes and, comparisons, and contrasts with a lot of ease.
However, there is a catch. You ought to be clear about the areas of knowledge you choose. Unlike math and history, you have to understand the title, define keywords and create a brilliant response. You have to understand the terms and TOK questions.
2. Pick a Title
Picking the right title can be a challenge, but that does not mean it is beyond your reach. You have to pick a title with an AOK you are interested in or familiar with. There is no choosing a topic just because it looks appealing or straightforward.
You have to go through all the available titles and choose the one you can easily hack.
The teacher will provide you with a list of TOK essay titles to choose from. Usually, the IB creates the titles. Once you have options at your disposal regarding titles, it is upon you to compare and contrast.
At this juncture, there are many questions to ask yourself. Doing such an assessment allows you to pick a fully understood title. You know which concepts or keywords to use. If unsure about the meaning of words or concepts, make sure you check your class notes to get the hang of them.
Most importantly, you need to have a strong interest in the title you choose. For instance, if you pick a title in history or arts, you must be passionate about it. Besides, the title needs to have an objective perspective.
This entails relating the title to what you learned during the TOK course, your personal thoughts, and topics covered in class. The TOK essay should be clear and reveal the passion of the topic or title you pick.
3. Time to Rewrite the Title
Understanding the title of your choice can be a challenge. This is normally the case when you read it for the first time. That being the case, you should take the time to demystify and rephrase the title. It helps you know what the title requires of you.
In fact, it will be easier to get a clear picture of the question you are tackling and how best you can answer it. As such, you should not be in a hurry when it comes to rewriting the title you choose.
4. Know the Grading Criteria
Once you write your TOK essay, it has to go through a grading system. The IB uses a four-part criterion when it comes to assessing your essay.
The first step gauges the knowledge issues. It involves ensuring your essay does focus on the issues on a comprehensive level.
Then, you have to develop to adopt an interdependent mindset.
Once you have done so, it will be the right time to analyze the knowledge issues. Have an in-depth understanding of the issues, raise arguments, and demystify your main points.
It helps you create a structured, accurate, factual essay with well-researched references.
5. Read and Understand the Instructions
You will need to read the instructions provided. The essay might require you to assess the claim in question. Understating the instructions allows you to justify your statement by providing supporting arguments.
This might not be an easy undertaking since you will have to eliminate any uncertainties.
You have to follow all the instructions to the latter to support your statements.
Reading the instructions also lets you familiarize yourself with some terminologies that go into the TOK essay. You have to use vocabulary and definitions to offer you a chance of scoring a higher grade.
Also, challenging personal biases is something you will need to do. That means you have to know what the essay requires of you through the instructions provided.
6. Go through Your Ideas
Definitely, you will need to have an outline of your essay. So, come up with a list of ideas you need to incorporate in your essay. Once you note them down, you have to go through them.
Brainstorming allows you to analyze your topic and separate chaff from the wheat. Identify the ideas that support your claim and those that do not. Also, you can identify any ambiguities so that you can get rid of them as soon as possible.
Writing Theory of Knowledge Essay in Whole
How to write a TOK essay as a whole requires a lot of seriousness and attention to detail. Once you have noted your ideas well, it is high time to get down to work. Following the instructions, you have to come up with an essay that is structured properly.
Your ideas need to make sense and define your understanding of your topic.
You have to make an outline of your essay and perform in-depth research by reading various TOK essays.
This will help you navigate the entire process of writing your essay.
There are mistakes you will have to avoid while writing your essay. For instance, desist from using dictionary definitions.
Ensure that your essay is reflective and not just copy-pasting textbook definitions.
Above all, you must convince the assessment committee that you understood the topic, researched it, and obtained relevant references.
Therefore, overcoming the complexities that come with writing a TOK essay is something you need to be good at.
Proofreading is important to eliminate any grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. You can bring on board a professional to do the editing and necessary corrections so that you have an error-free essay. However, not just anyone can do the job.
The professional should have a good grasp of how to write a TOK essay. Therefore, ensure you assess the available experts in this field before making your selection.
Examples of Theory of Knowledge Essay Interactions
When writing TOK essays, interactions are crucial to your process. With these interactions, a student can be able to work in collaboration with the teacher. The teacher’s work assists the student in developing the ideas at hand.
Below are examples of TOK essay interactions;
- A discussion of the title can be the premier interaction of your essay. The discussion should give reasons for choosing the title and explain its meaning. A description of all the phrases in it and AOKs that can help tackle the questions should not be missed. In short, the end of this discussion should have certainty of the choice of title.
- A second interaction gives an in-depth explanation of how ideas are progressing forward. Here, reference to the ideas and essential thinkers needs to be explained. Also, emphasize more on points of view that have come up in your discussion. This should include possible problems you have come across so far. With these explanations, the construction of a good essay plan will not be difficult. It paves the way for writing a comprehensive draft TOK essay.
- In your third interaction, reflect on your teacher’s observations on your draft essay. It makes it easy to not only comprehend your teacher’s comments but also make full implementation. Completing your third interaction means you are now fully ready to write the final essay.
When it comes to writing a TOK essay, there are guidelines you will need to learn by heart. Those steps will help you create an essay that guarantees you the perfect score. You need to pick the right title, know which keywords to use, have an outline of your essay, and eliminate any grammatical issues through proofreading.
To be honest, you will have to be careful so that you write an essay that is not only engaging but also has relevant ideas regarding the question at hand. So, you need to show commitment and prepare thoroughly so that you can pass your TOK essay.
Dissertation Thesis Length
How Long is a Dissertation or Thesis: In Words or Structure
Mathswatch Answers: 2022 Hacks for your GCSE/ KS3 Tests
Can you reuse papers in college
Can you Reuse Papers in College? Submit and get away with it
- Customer Reviews
- Extended Essays
- IB Internal Assessment
- Theory of Knowledge
- Literature Review
- Essay Writing
- Research Writing
- Assignment Help
- Capstone Projects
- College Application
- Online Class
Ace Your IB TOK Essay With This Detailed Outline
by Antony W
October 22, 2023
The Theory of Knowledge essay is a mandatory test given to all IB diploma (IBDP) candidates, one that causes a lot of unfounded terror.
The fact that it is so different from many of the essays you are likely to do makes it all the more exciting, albeit with a bit of hard work.
While the IB TOK exam is split into two parts, 67% of the points come from the essay and the rest from the exhibition project . You need to ace the essay if you are to get respectable marks.
As the TOK IB essay rubric shows, what is being tested is how well you use the concepts of the nature of knowledge to critically explore how we know, using arguments for and against a real-life situation of your choice.
As such, official guidelines do not define a TOK essay structure, but you won't get anywhere without one. It takes skillful manipulation to get through it, and we will show you to pass your IB TOK essay assessment.
Help for Assessment has a collection of some of the most highly qualified academicians willing to help you ace the TOK essay.
Think of masters and Ph.D. holders, IB gurus, and even professors in various disciplines willing to write your essay at the most affordable rates in town.
If an impending TOK IB essay is giving you the shivers, don’t worry. Click the button below and let us help you get the essay done in time. Quality and confidentially guaranteed.
Still, you might want to learn all there is to know about the TOK essay requirements, its recommended structure, and how each part should be written.
If so, settle down somewhere comfortable and off we go. Along the way, we will also suggest some proven tactics to help you pass the TOK essays.
You Need to Know How to Write the Essay
A good TOK essay starts with a good approach. Before you get into the actual writing, you will need to select a topic, understand it, redefine it using your own words, and construct an appropriate knowledge question.
Our guide on how to write a compelling TOK essay can point you in the right direction.
Selecting a TOK Essay Topic
The essay usually comes with several prescribed titles (PT), from which you're supposed to pick one and run with it. For example, Do good explanations have to be true was one of the prescribed title for May 2019.
You can follow these simple steps to choose an appropriate topic for your TOK essay .
- Brainstorm: Go through the list of topics and let the ideas for potential topics flow, writing each down. How interested are you in each? How knowledgeable are you in each?
- Interest: How do you relate to each topic? Ultimately, you will be required to use real-life examples and explanations to support your arguments. Choose a topic to which you have a personal connection and interest.
- Understanding : Make sure you understand the depth and scope of each topic to be able to make an informed decision. Any topic that seems ambiguous or too difficult for you may be passed on. However, it is also fun to choose one that is challenging to help you learn along the way.
For our purpose in this essay, suppose we choose to explore: "Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not" .
Understand the Question and Redefine It in Simple Words
Ideally, the title you pick should be one you can understand, but they are usually convoluted and confusing. Make sure you understand your chosen topic fully, look up any terms that are new to you, and define any new terminology. As you probably know by now with TOK, things aren’t always what they seem.
Once you have understood what the essay is about, paraphrase with simple, direct language. Set out the perspective, contrast, and comparison in the title clearly enough for a nonprofessional to understand. You can do this by first breaking it down into parts and then putting it together again.
For our chosen PT, we gather that it is asking how new knowledge is acquired. Is it by asking 'why?' or 'why not?' Which method is more reliable, and why? Answering this question will give the substance of the essay.
Once you have your title understood in depth, put it at the top of your document, centered and in bold. You are now officially on your way to a great TOK essay.
Set a Knowledge Question
From your topic and in the simplest language you can master, create your knowledge question (KQ). This is the question that your topic is going to answer, put together by words and phrases from the topic.
It is always best to work with an open-ended question that leaves you lots of room to explore different viewpoints and allows you to have a bang in the conclusion. It usually starts with, ‘to what extent’. As in:
“With regard to religious systems, does asking ‘why?’ limit our knowledge of what actually is, or does it protect us from fallacious faith?”
Set Out Your WOK and AOK
Explore the prescribed title and your knowledge question to discover what way of knowing (WOK) and areas of knowledge (AOK) you are working with. You will need 1 WOK and at least 2 AOK - 2 is the recommended number because one is too few, and 3 or more would not allow you to explore any one area thoroughly enough within the word count of 1600 words.
There are 8 ways of knowing , which are the ways we make sense of the world and in this case, we make sense of and understand the prescribed topic.
TOK recognizes 8 areas of knowledge . We’ve outlined and explained each on the Help for Assessment Blog.
Once you have picked one WOK and 2 AOK, you are ready to set out your TOK essay structure.
For our example, you can easily see that religious knowledge systems are one of our AOKs. To set contrast, let us pick out ‘Natural Sciences’ for the second AOK and ‘faith’ as a way of knowing.
Let’s check out one of our recommended formats.
TOK Essay Outline
As with most essays, the Theory of Knowledge essay outline is quite simple in theory. It consists of an introduction, a body, and a conclusion.
However, the logical distinctions made between the parts are very different, so that is what we shall focus on. The recommended TOK format is designed to inspire your thinking, give form to your ideas, and present the result neatly and acceptably in a readable format.
Before you check out the TOK essay format, a word of caution: this is not a definite structure that you have to use. Instead, it is meant to be a guideline.
As stated before, there is no official format, but using this proven outline will get help to get you all three points if you do it right.
Parts of a TOK Essay
A Theory of Knowledge essay is about exploring how we know what we know .
Again, like most essays, you can think of yourself as a smart lawyer trying to convince a judge of something. Only in this case, you will be presenting both claims and counterclaims against your argument, picking out its strong and weak points, and supporting them with evidence.
The essay will have 7 paragraphs, totaling 1600 words. They consist of an introduction and conclusion each taking up about 200 words, and the rest split between 5 paragraphs for your claim and counterclaim.
The body will have 2 'divisions' for each AOK.
Paragraph 1: say something interesting about the prescribed topic, designed to hook the reader’s attention. You can give a twist to the topic to make it uniquely yours, and this twist will be what you will be addressing. E.g.,
‘Many people dismiss faith on the grounds that it offers little datum for belief, yet this criticism might be closing our understanding to so much more that could be.’
Use this chance to define any new, ambiguous, or complex term in the PT. Even if you know what the terms mean, the person marking your essay might not be working with the same definition. Thus, use it to bring them to the same page. In this case, you might define ‘faith,’ ‘datum,’ ‘criticism,’ and ‘understanding.’
In the same paragraph, give your thesis statement on the topic. Try to make it different from mainstream ideas on the same to keep things interesting. Since we have already picked a combative approach to our topic, this will be easy:
‘Faith as a way of knowing is taken to completely disregard or overlook reason and logic. Yet, science has much evidence that could form the basis of faith even with a purely logical approach.’
Tell the reader what you plan to discuss. Narrow your focus and state which WOK and AOKs you will use. From this point on, decide whether you are for or against your argument.
Body: First AOK
Paragraph 2: Just like all the paragraphs in the body, the second paragraph should begin with a topic sentence that describes clearly what your main claim or counterclaim here is. In this case, we might open it with,
‘From astronomy to biology, scientific datum shows that there is a lot yet to be understood.’
- It is then followed by an explanation/elaboration, where you clarify your claim to show what you mean.
- Give a real-life example as evidence from your own experiences, and make sure that it actually supports it. A poor example would be picked apart by an opposing lawyer. Remember, the defense is smart (if not smarter).
- Link back to the claim and question you are trying to answer to provide flow and coherence to your essay. 'E.g. 'thus, the observable phenomena in the universe is clear evidence that there is so much more than what scientific reason tells us.'
Paragraph 3: Set out a strong counterclaim to your argument in paragraph 1. You will be following the same TEEL format where you start with a strong topic sentence, explain, give an example, and link back.
Body: Second AOK
Paragraph 4 : With a focus on the second AOK, set out your claim using the same format.
Paragraph 5 : Set out your counterclaim to the claim in paragraph 4.
Paragraph 6 : conclusion. Explain what insights you have gathered from your discussion on the PT. You will also describe the implications and significance of what you have uncovered. Why do you think we (the audience) should know it? Why does it matter that we understand what you are saying?
Paragraph 7 : Perspectives and extensions. You are not closing the case in your conclusion, rather, show your audience that the discussion is still open. The goal is not to defend or refute the thesis statements, although you will also prove or disprove it here. Rather, it is to show your method of knowing.
You can acknowledge one or two questions that remain unaddressed or unresolved. Better still, adopt a different perspective from what your essay has uncovered and show you are open to new discussions.
That is the outline that can help you write an excellent TOK essay.
However, the ones marking will not be looking at the format. What will they be looking at?
The IB TOK essay rubric uses a list of descriptors to judge your essay on various points.
Since it is up to the examiner to decide how well your essay fits the descriptor tags given, make it easy for them to realize how good your essay is. Here is what they are looking for when marking the IB Theory of Knowledge essay.
1. Essay on a prescribed title
How well have you understood the prescribed title chosen? How comprehensive and cogent is your point of view on the topic? Your essay should demonstrate that you understood the topic and can draw contrasts as well as parallels in AOKs and WOKs.
You should also demonstrate that you recognize your own perspective or biases upon the subject and can analyze them as objectively as possible.
Analysis of knowledge questions
This criterion tests how thoroughly you have explored claims and counterclaims in your essay. Your main points should be well justified and your arguments compelling enough to sway your audience. You should also thoroughly explore the main counterclaims and identify any assumptions made in the process.
How well do you make your point?
More to the point, how effectively do you use real-life examples to make a point for your claims and counterclaims?
Your findings and insights should be used to extend the relevancy of these claims (or counterclaims) to other real-life situations.
What do you think, are you up to exploring your own knowledge systems and present them coherently and persuasively in a TOK essay? One unique feature of the essay is that it largely disregards fluency and quality of writing unless it impedes understanding or is too flowery to prove actual understanding.
Nevertheless, you can see that getting all three points will be a tall order. With the right essay and a respectable presentation, you can do it. Let Help for Assessments handle the essay portion for you and assure you of the 67% of points given for it. Our experts are all it takes to ace the IB Theory of Knowledge essay, thanks to our ground-breaking format and years of experience.
We will also help with other IB assessments as well as high school, college undergraduate and postgraduate coursework assignments and projects. Explore our services today to make your order. As always, we are the one-stop-shop for affordable quality and reliability, complete with 100% confidentiality.
About the author
Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.
Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
The TOK essay Planning and Progress Form (TK/PPF)
The TOK essay Planning and Progress form (TK/PPF) must be submitted by all TOK students along with their essay. Essays can only be sent to the IB for marking if the TOK essay Planning and Progress Form is filled out and submitted.
The form plays no role in the marking of a student’s essay. However it is used by the IB in case there are academic honesty issues raised. The form also ensures that students have three interactions with their teacher about their set of prescribed titles.
Filling out the form should not take a lot of time. Get it done as early as possible – you do not want to be scrambling at the last minute. Every time you have one of the three formal interactions with your teacher fill in the relevant part of the document.
Once you have filled out your sections of the form you will have to submit it to your TOK teacher who will add comments etc. to the last page of the document. The form must be uploaded to the IB website along with your essay. Check with your TOK teacher for information about this process.
IB TOK Exhibition examples
Type a search phrase to find the most relevant TOK Exhibition examples for you
Not sure what to search for? You can always look through our example Internal Assessments below for inspiration.
All TOK Exhibition Examples
Filter exemplars, how can we distinguish between knowledge, belief and opinion, how important are material tools in the production or acquisition of knowledge, want to get full marks for your tok exhibition allow us to review it for you 🎯, how is current knowledge shaped by its historical development, should some knowledge not be sought on ethical grounds, is bias inevitable in the production of knowledge, fast track your coursework with mark schemes moderated by ib examiners. upgrade now 🚀, 材料工具在产生或获取知识中有多么重要, who owns knowledge, why do we seek knowledge, to what extent is certainty attainable, what is the relationship between knowledge and culture, what challenges are raised by the dissemination and/or communication of knowledge, does some knowledge belong only to particular communities of knowers, what challenges are raised by the dissemination and/or communication of knowledge, how can we know that current knowledge is an improvement upon past knowledge, who owns knowledge, how important are material tools in the production or acquisitions of knowledge, are somethings unknowable, does some knowledge belong only to particular communities or knowers concept: culture, what are the implications of having, or not having, knowledge, what is the relationship between personal experience and knowledge, can new knowledge change established values or beliefs, what constraints are there on the pursuit of knowledge, who owns knowledge, is bias inevitable in the production of knowledge, what is the relationship between personal experience and knowledge, ¿qué desafíos plantea la difusión o la comunicación del conocimiento, what counts as a good justification for a claim, to what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use discuss with reference to history and one other area of knowledge., on what grounds might we doubt a claim.