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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 251,423 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

Step 1 Understand the structure of a TOK essay.

  • Mathematics
  • Natural sciences
  • Human sciences
  • Religious knowledge systems
  • Indigenous knowledge systems

Step 2 Ask your teacher for the prescribed titles for the TOK essay.

  • “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?”

Step 3 Select a title carefully.

  • 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.

Step 4 Put the title in your own words.

  • 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

Step 1 Note the assessment criteria.

  • 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.

Step 2 Read the essay instructions.

  • 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.

Step 3 Brainstorm ideas around the essay title.

  • 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.

Step 4 Identify the knowledge issue in the essay title.

  • 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.

Step 5 Create an outline.

  • 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.

Step 6 Create a thesis...

  • 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.” [5] X Research source

Writing the Essay

Step 1 Use your essay outline as a guide.

  • 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.

Step 2 Avoid using dictionary definitions in your essay.

  • 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.

Step 3 Cite all external sources using MLA style citations.

  • 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.

Step 4 Read your essay out loud.

  • 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.

Step 5 Correct any spelling or grammatical errors.

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  • ↑ 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

Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA

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

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How to Write a TOK Essay: A Clear and Knowledgeable Guide

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay is crucial to the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum. It is designed to test students’ critical thinking skills and ability to analyze and evaluate different ways of knowing. The essay also explores the relationship between knowledge and the other areas of knowledge (AOK).

The TOK essay is worth 67% of the total TOK grade, making it an essential part of the curriculum. It requires students to choose one of six prescribed titles and develop a response to it. The essay should be well-structured, with a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. 

Additionally, students must demonstrate their understanding of the different ways of knowing and the AOKs by using examples and arguments to support their claims.

Table of Contents

Choosing The Right Prescribed Title

Selecting the right prescribed title is pivotal in crafting a TOK essay. It’s crucial to pick a topic that resonates with your interests, making the writing journey enjoyable. However, ensuring the topic aligns with the IB’s prescribed title and criteria is equally vital.

Importance of understanding and selecting the right prescribed title

Choosing the right prescribed title is crucial because it sets the tone for the essay. It is essential to understand the prescribed title and its requirements thoroughly before selecting a topic. 

The prescribed title provides a framework for the essay and determines the scope of the discussion. Therefore, selecting a topic that does not align with the prescribed title can result in a low score.

Tips on brainstorming and initial idea generation

Brainstorming is an essential step in selecting the right prescribed title. It is necessary to spend time generating ideas and considering different perspectives. Some tips on brainstorming include:

  • Read the prescribed title carefully and identify the key terms and concepts.
  • Consider different perspectives and areas of knowledge.
  • Jot down any ideas that come to mind, even if they initially seem unrelated.
  • Discuss your ideas with classmates or teachers to gain different perspectives.

Ensuring alignment with the title throughout the essay

Once you have selected a topic, ensuring that it aligns with the prescribed title throughout the essay is crucial. 

The essay should address the prescribed title directly and provide a clear and concise argument. Using examples and evidence to support your argument and demonstrate your understanding of the topic is also essential.

Incorporating Areas Of Knowledge (AOKs)

In the TOK essay, Areas of Knowledge (AOKs) are an essential component that helps students demonstrate their understanding of how knowledge is acquired and processed. 

AOKs refer to different ways of knowing, including mathematics, human sciences, natural sciences, ethics, history, religious knowledge systems, the arts, and indigenous knowledge systems.

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Choosing the right AOKs relevant to the addressed knowledge question is important when writing a TOK essay. For example, if the knowledge question is related to the role of ethics in scientific research, then the AOKs that could be relevant are natural sciences and ethics.

Incorporating AOKs into the TOK essay requires students to provide claims and counterclaims demonstrating their understanding of the discussed topic. Claims are statements that support a particular perspective, while counterclaims are statements that challenge the claims made by the author. 

By discussing claims and counterclaims, students can demonstrate their ability to analyze and evaluate different perspectives on the AOKs being discussed.

The Courtroom Analogy

The TOK essay can be considered a conversation between two intelligent individuals or presenting two sides of an argument about knowledge before a judge. This analogy helps structure the essay and ensure it is clear, concise, and well-supported.

In this analogy, the writer is presenting their argument or claims, and the judge is the reader who will evaluate the evidence and decide if the argument is convincing. 

The writer must present evidence that supports their claims and counterclaims and ensure that the evidence is relevant and reliable.

To ensure that the essay is structured like a courtroom argument, the writer should consider the following:

  • Opening statement:  The introduction should provide a clear and concise overview of the argument and the critical points discussed in the essay.
  • Evidence:  The essay’s body should present evidence supporting the claims and counterclaims. The evidence should be relevant, reliable, and linked to the argument.
  • Counterarguments:  The writer should consider counterarguments and present evidence that refutes them. This will strengthen the overall argument and demonstrate that the writer has deemed to be different perspectives.
  • Conclusion:  The conclusion should summarize the essay’s key points and restate the argument clearly and concisely.

By understanding the TOK essay as a debate or argument and presenting evidence that supports the claims and counterclaims, the writer can ensure that their essay is structured like a courtroom argument and is clear, concise, and well-supported.

Structuring Your TOK Essay

The structure of a TOK essay is essential to convey the argument logically and coherently. The essay should begin with a clear and concise introduction that sets the stage for the reader and defines key terms. The introduction should have a clear thesis statement outlining the essay’s primary point.

The development section of the essay should explore claims and counterclaims with examples. This section should be organized into paragraphs addressing a different aspect of the argument. 

Topic sentences should lead each paragraph, followed by relevant evidence and analysis for clarity and coherence.

To make the essay more convincing, including real-life examples and case studies that illustrate the argument is essential. These examples should be relevant and connected to the essay’s main argument.

The essay’s conclusion should weave together the insights and discuss their implications. Instead of presenting new data, this section should encapsulate the primary arguments and offer a conclusive viewpoint. 

Furthermore, it’s crucial to explore the wider consequences of the discussion and its connection to different knowledge domains.

Common Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

When writing a TOK essay, students often make several common mistakes. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Over-complicating the Essay

Many students make their essays more intricate by discussing multiple subjects or thoughts. This can cause the essay to lose its clear direction, making it challenging for readers to understand the central argument.

To avoid this mistake, staying focused on the prescribed title and ensuring that all arguments and evidence support the main claim is crucial. It is also essential to use clear and concise language to make the argument easy to follow.

Ignoring Counterclaims

Another common mistake is ignoring counterclaims. Acknowledging and addressing counterclaims is essential to strengthen the argument and demonstrate a deeper understanding of the topic.

To avoid this mistake, it is essential to consider all possible counterclaims and to address them in the essay. This can be done by presenting evidence supporting the main claim and acknowledging the validity of the counterclaims.

Lack of Evidence

A common mistake is to provide more evidence to support the claims made in the essay. This can weaken the argument and make it less convincing.

To avoid this mistake, it is vital to ensure that all claims are supported by evidence. This can be done by researching and citing sources to support the argument.

Lack of Clarity

A frequent oversight in essays is the need for more clarity. This absence can hinder the reader’s comprehension and disrupt the flow of the argument.

To avoid this mistake, it is essential to use clear and concise language and to structure the essay logically and coherently. This can be done using headings, subheadings, and bullet points to organize the information and make it easier to follow.

Additional Resources and Support

When writing a TOK essay, seeking guidance and feedback is crucial. Having an experienced person review your essay and provide constructive feedback is always helpful. Seeking advice and feedback from your TOK teacher, peers, or tutor can help you identify areas that need improvement and provide you with suggestions on how to make your essay stronger.

Various tutoring and support resources are available to help you with your TOK essay. You can find online resources, such as the IB Mastery website, which provides a comprehensive guide to writing a TOK essay. They offer a step-by-step approach to writing the essay, including strategies for selecting a topic, structuring the essay, and developing arguments.

A valuable tool to consider is the TOK essay writing service from CollegeVine. They offer expert help in crafting, refining and reviewing your essay. With a team of seasoned writers and editors, they ensure your essay aligns with the IB criteria and standards.

Furthermore, your TOK instructor is another essential resource. They can guide you throughout the essay composition, clarify the TOK essay prerequisites, offer insights on your drafts, and address any queries.

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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.📝💡

How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023

Table of content

  • Introduction

Purpose Of ToK

Assessment of tok, the game plan, execution of the gameplan, planning for tok essay, structure of tok essay, conclusions, bibliography.

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.

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.

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!

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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 .

Overall Assessment 

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:

  • Mathematics
  • 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
  • Reason 
  • Imagination

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!

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Essay Papers Writing Online

Write a winning tok essay – essential tips and strategies for success.

How to write a tok essay

When embarking on the journey of writing a TOK essay, one must navigate the intricate web of knowledge, exploring its depths and unraveling its mysteries. This intellectual endeavor requires careful thought, critical analysis, and a unique perspective. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the art of crafting a successful TOK essay, equipping you with the tools necessary to flourish in this academic exploration.

At its core, a TOK essay invites you to investigate the ways in which knowledge is constructed and justified, prompting you to question the assumptions, biases, and limitations that shape our understanding of the world. It beckons you to think deeply, to ponder the interplay between personal experiences, shared knowledge, and the varying methods by which knowledge is acquired. Through this inquiry, you will uncover the complexities and controversies that lie at the heart of knowledge production.

With each essay, you embark on a quest for truth, a quest that necessitates a deep understanding of the areas of knowledge and the underlying knowledge claims. As you embark on this journey, it is crucial to develop a clear and concise thesis statement that elucidates your position and guides the structure of your essay. This thesis will serve as the guiding light, illuminating the path to a coherent argument and a well-supported conclusion.

Understanding the Basics of a TOK Essay

In this section, we will explore the fundamental aspects of writing a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the essential components and techniques that will contribute to a successful TOK essay.

When engaging in the writing process of a TOK essay, it is important to familiarize yourself with the core concepts and principles underlying this particular type of essay. Here, we will delve into the key elements that form the basis of a TOK essay.

1. Knowledge Questions: As the cornerstone of a TOK essay, knowledge questions are crucial in examining the nature of knowledge and its implications. These questions inquire about the methods, scope, and validity of knowledge across different areas of knowledge and ways of knowing. They challenge our assumptions and open up new avenues for exploration.

2. Areas of Knowledge: TOK essays require an exploration of various areas of knowledge, such as the natural sciences, mathematics, ethics, history, and the arts. Each area of knowledge offers unique insights into the nature of knowledge and its construction. It is important to consider different perspectives and approaches when analyzing these areas of knowledge.

3. Ways of Knowing: Complementing the areas of knowledge, ways of knowing refer to the different methods we use to acquire, interpret, and evaluate knowledge. These include perception, reason, emotion, language, intuition, and memory. Understanding the role of each way of knowing is essential in developing a well-rounded TOK essay.

4. Claims and Counterclaims: Central to a TOK essay is the presentation of claims and counterclaims. Claims assert knowledge claims or provide arguments that support a particular stance, while counterclaims challenge these assertions or offer alternative viewpoints. Presenting balanced and well-supported claims and counterclaims is important for constructing a persuasive argument.

5. Analysis and Evaluation: In a TOK essay, analysis and evaluation play a crucial role. It is essential to analyze knowledge questions and arguments thoroughly, critically assess the knowledge claims presented, and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the supporting evidence. This analytical and evaluative approach contributes to a well-developed and coherent TOK essay.

6. Real-Life Examples: To illustrate and contextualize your arguments and analysis, real-life examples can be used in a TOK essay. These examples help to bridge the theoretical ideas with real-world situations, enhancing the reader’s understanding and engagement with the essay.

By understanding and applying these basic principles, you will be equipped to embark on the exciting journey of writing a TOK essay. Keep these foundations in mind as you explore further and delve deeper into the intricacies of this unique genre of academic writing.

Exploring the Key Concepts and Terminology

Delving into the core concepts and terminology is an essential step in crafting a successful TOK essay. By familiarizing yourself with the key ideas and terms, you will be equipped to analyze and evaluate knowledge claims from a wide range of perspectives.

Understanding the nuances of TOK begins with grasping the fundamental concepts that underpin the subject. These concepts provide the framework for exploring how knowledge is acquired, justified, and communicated. From the idea of knowledge as a human construct to the exploration of knowledge questions, each concept offers a unique lens through which we can examine the complex nature of knowledge itself.

Alongside the key concepts, TOK presents a rich tapestry of terminology that deepens our understanding of the subject. From terms like “epistemology” and “justification” to “ways of knowing” and “areas of knowledge,” this terminology helps us navigate the intricate terrain of TOK discussions.

Exploring the key concepts and terminology allows you to engage critically with the ideas presented in your essay prompt. By articulating these concepts and using the appropriate terminology, you can demonstrate a clear understanding of TOK principles and effectively communicate your thoughts and arguments.

Analyzing the TOK Essay Prompt

Analyzing the TOK Essay Prompt

Examining and understanding the TOK essay prompt is a crucial step in successfully approaching the task at hand. This section will explore the importance of carefully analyzing the prompt and identifying the key concepts and ideas that need to be addressed in your essay.

  • Understand the question: Begin by carefully reading and rereading the prompt to grasp its meaning and scope. Break it down into smaller parts to identify the different elements and themes it incorporates.
  • Identify keywords: Look for keywords or phrases that stand out in the prompt. These are the terms that will guide your exploration and analysis of the topic.
  • Define key concepts: Take the time to clearly define the key concepts mentioned in the prompt. This will ensure that you have a solid foundation for your exploration and analysis.
  • Explore different perspectives: Consider the different perspectives that can be taken on the topic. Think about how different areas of knowledge or ways of knowing can shape your understanding and interpretation of the issue.
  • Consider implications: Reflect on the implications of the prompt and its underlying concepts. Consider how they relate to real-world scenarios or examples and how they can be applied in different contexts.

By thoroughly analyzing the TOK essay prompt, you can gain a deeper understanding of the task at hand and develop a strong foundation for your essay. This process will help you identify the key concepts, explore different perspectives, and consider the implications of the topic, enabling you to approach your essay with greater clarity and focus.

Tips for Deconstructing and Understanding the Question

Tips for Deconstructing and Understanding the Question

When it comes to tackling a TOK essay, one of the first and most crucial steps is to fully grasp and comprehend the question at hand. Deconstructing and understanding the question is essential in order to develop a well-structured and coherent argument throughout your essay.

Here are some tips to help you deconstruct and understand the question effectively:

1. Read the question carefully: Take your time to read and reread the question, paying attention to every word and phrase. Understand the key concepts and terms being used, as they will guide your analysis and argument.

2. Identify the underlying assumptions: Look for any hidden assumptions or presuppositions in the question. These assumptions can shape the way you approach and explore the topic, so it’s important to recognize them and consider their implications.

3. Define the scope of the question: Determine the scope of the question by identifying the boundaries and limits it sets. This will help you to narrow down your focus and avoid going off-topic. Consider whether the question is asking for a specific time period, region, or perspective.

4. Analyze the key terms: Pay close attention to the key terms used in the question and analyze their meanings. Consider possible interpretations and definitions to ensure that you have a clear understanding of what is being asked.

5. Break down the question into sub-questions: If the question is complex or multi-faceted, it can be helpful to break it down into smaller, more manageable sub-questions. This will allow you to tackle each aspect of the question individually and develop a more comprehensive response.

Remember, deconstructing and understanding the question is the foundation for a successful TOK essay. By following these tips, you can ensure that you have a clear and solid understanding of the question, which will guide your analysis and argument throughout the essay.

Developing a Strong Thesis Statement

One of the most critical aspects of writing a TOK essay is developing a strong thesis statement. This statement serves as the central argument or main point of your essay, and it sets the tone for the entire piece. A strong thesis statement not only captures the essence of your topic but also provides a clear direction for your exploration.

When developing a thesis statement for your TOK essay, it is essential to consider various factors. Firstly, you need to analyze the knowledge question or the problem you are addressing in your essay. This analysis will help you identify the key concepts or ideas that need to be included in your thesis statement.

Further, you should ensure that your thesis statement is specific and focused. It should make a concise claim or argument that can be explored and supported throughout the essay. Avoid making general statements that lack clarity or precision, as they can weaken the overall effectiveness of your argument.

In addition to being specific, your thesis statement should also be arguable. This means that there should be room for discussion or debate regarding your claim. A strong thesis statement invites multiple perspectives and encourages critical thinking among readers.

Furthermore, your thesis statement should be logical and coherent. It should present a clear and logical progression of ideas, guiding your readers through your argument. This can be achieved by organizing your thoughts and supporting evidence effectively.

Lastly, it is important to revise and refine your thesis statement as you go through the writing process. Don’t be afraid to make changes and adjustments to ensure that your thesis statement accurately reflects your evolving argument and the evidence you have collected.

In conclusion, developing a strong thesis statement is crucial for writing a successful TOK essay. It sets the stage for your essay, guiding the reader and providing a clear focus for your exploration. By considering various factors such as specificity, arguability, logic, and revising as necessary, you can create a thesis statement that effectively captures the essence of your essay.

Strategies for Crafting a Clear and Engaging Thesis

When it comes to writing a TOK essay, one of the most important elements is the thesis statement. This sentence or two sets the tone for the entire essay and provides a clear and concise representation of the argument or main idea. Crafting a strong thesis requires careful thought and consideration, taking into account the complexities of the topic at hand. Here are some strategies to help you create a thesis that is both clear and engaging.

1. Understand the prompt: Before diving into the creation of your thesis, it is crucial to fully grasp the prompt or essay question. Take the time to analyze the wording and identify the key concepts and ideas being presented. This will give you a solid foundation from which to build your thesis.

2. Brainstorm and research: Once you have a thorough understanding of the prompt, begin brainstorming ideas for your thesis. Consider different perspectives and arguments related to the topic, and conduct research to gather evidence and support for your claims. This will help you develop a well-rounded and informed thesis statement.

3. Be specific and concise: A clear and engaging thesis is one that is specific and to the point. Avoid vague or general statements that lack substance. Instead, focus on narrowing down your argument and expressing it succinctly. This will allow your readers to easily understand the main point you are trying to convey.

4. Consider counterarguments: When crafting your thesis, be aware of potential counterarguments or opposing viewpoints. Acknowledging these opposing perspectives and addressing them in your thesis demonstrates a thorough understanding of the topic and adds depth and complexity to your argument.

5. Use language effectively: The language you use in your thesis can greatly impact its clarity and engagement. Choose strong and specific words that convey your argument effectively. Additionally, consider using rhetorical devices such as parallelism or antithesis to add emphasis and intrigue to your thesis statement.

6. Revise and refine: Crafting a clear and engaging thesis is an iterative process. After writing your initial thesis statement, take the time to revise and refine it. Consider the feedback from others and make adjustments as necessary. This will ensure that your thesis is strong and compelling.

In conclusion, a well-crafted thesis is essential for a successful TOK essay. By following these strategies, you can create a thesis that is clear, engaging, and sets the stage for a strong argument. Remember to take your time and think critically about the topic at hand. With careful consideration and revision, you can craft a thesis that will captivate your readers and guide your essay to success.

Structuring Your TOK Essay

Arranging your TOK essay in a well-organized and logical structure is essential for effectively conveying your ideas and arguments. A strong structure not only helps your reader navigate through the essay effortlessly but also builds a solid foundation for a coherent and persuasive piece of writing.

One of the key elements of structuring your TOK essay is dividing it into distinct sections. This allows you to address different aspects of the prescribed title or knowledge question and present your arguments in a systematic manner. Consider breaking down your essay into introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

  • Introduction: Start your essay with an engaging introduction that provides background information on the topic and introduces the knowledge question. You can also include a brief outline of the arguments you will discuss later in the essay.
  • Body paragraphs: Divide your main arguments into separate paragraphs, each focusing on a specific aspect related to the knowledge question. Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence and support your arguments with relevant examples, evidence, and counterarguments. Make sure to explain the significance and implications of each argument to strengthen your overall analysis.
  • Counterclaims: It is important to acknowledge and address counterarguments or alternative perspectives in your essay. This demonstrates your ability to critically evaluate different viewpoints and strengthens the overall credibility of your arguments.
  • Conclusion: Summarize your main arguments and provide a concise conclusion that answers the knowledge question. Reinforce your thesis statement and leave the reader with a thought-provoking ending, inviting further reflection.

In addition to organizing your essay into sections, it is important to maintain a clear and logical flow throughout. Use appropriate transition words and phrases to connect your ideas and ensure a smooth progression of thought. This helps the reader follow your line of reasoning and effectively engages them with your essay.

Remember, a well-structured TOK essay not only demonstrates your understanding of the Theory of Knowledge but also enhances the overall impact of your arguments. Take the time to carefully plan and structure your essay, and you will be on your way to a successful and impactful piece of writing.

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How to Write a TOK Essay In One Night: A Guide for 2024

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by  Antony W

January 9, 2024

how to write a tok essay

This is the complete guide on how to write a ToK essay in one night.

Whether you still have time left or you’re in the last minute race, this guide shows you exactly how to complete the assignment in the shortest time possible.

Key Takeaways 

  • Read the essay prompt carefully to understand what the assignment requires.
  • Choose a prescribed title.
  • Select two of the most appropriate areas of knowledge.
  • Develop an outline relevant to the Theory of Knowledge essay.
  • Write the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
  • Proofread your work. 
  • Submit your ToK essay for assessment.

If you already understand the fundamentals of writing a ToK essay but you’re already running late, Help for Assessment can get the paper done for you. Get our  ToK essay writing service   and benefit from the convenience of our custom writing. 

Otherwise, continue reading this guide to learn how to develop a comprehensive essay from start to finish, even if you have only 24 hours left.

How to Write a ToK Essay in One Night

The Theory of Knowledge essay is a 1,600 words assignment based on an already pre-determined title.

It requires you to compare and contrast the different ways of knowing with the different areas of knowledge.

Furthermore, your work must reflect on the nature of knowledge and clearly demonstrate why you know what you claim to know.

So here's what you need to do: 

1. Choose Your Prescribed Title

prescribed title tok

Choose a title from one of the prescribed essay titles provided by IB. 

You shouldn’t just pick a topic because it appears simple. We recommend that you read each title and make a careful consideration of your topic selection.

Look at the title you’ve select and try to understand the command terms and the underlying knowledge question .

Ask yourself the following:

  • What question does the prescribed title ask?
  • Does the title require me to focus on shared or personal knowledge?

2. Choose Two Areas of Knowledge

Keep in mind that Theory of Knowledge is comparative in nature.

Thus, when choosing your areas of knowledge ,  ensure you can easily draw relevant comparisons and contrasts to the WoKs you write.

Take note on whether the title requires you to handle two disciplines or AOK before you start writing.

And except for Math and History, you should be clear about the -discipline of the AOK that you choose.

3. Read the Essay’s Instructions Carefully

Note the keywords in the essay’s instructions.

The question might ask you to “assess” or “evaluate” a perspective, which implies that you should consider for or against the title.

Also, factor in any grey area or ambiguity linked to the title.

  • If the title asks “in what way” or “to what extent”, it means you provide an argument for or against the statement.
  • Where the title asks a direct question, you should address in what way or the extent to which you support or don’t support a position or argument.

4. Understand the Grading Criteria

IB assesses Theory of Knowledge essays based on four criteria, and each carries equal weight:

  • Understanding Knowledge Issues: Your essay should show relevant between two knowledge issues, links and compares the issues, and demonstrate a unique comprehension of the issues. 
  • Knowers Perspective: Demonstrate independent thinking. Have at least two different perspectives, a few supporting examples, and show self-awareness.
  • Analyzing Knowledge Issues: Demonstrate insight and depth. Present counter-arguments and arguments, and justify key points, and show implications and assumptions of the selected prescribed title.
  • Organizing Ideas: You should structure your essay properly. Ensure factual accuracy, explain key concepts, and, where applicable, cite sources.

5. Brainstorm Ideas for Your Prescribed Title

The Theory of Knowledge essay is inherently reflective. It requires you to demonstrate your thoughtful consideration of the title and your readiness to analyze and reflect upon it.

So brainstorm the title you’ve selected. Write all the thoughts that come to mind, and allow your ideas to flow freely.

Next, review your notes, making sure you identify interconnected ideas, as well as those that present conflicting viewpoints.

If the title presents a perspective to assess or evaluate, create two columns, one for supporting the perspective and another for opposing it, and allocate the ideas you have generated into the respective columns.

Additionally, create a third column to capture ambiguities or areas where the answer is not clear, and assign relevant ideas to this column.

Look at instances where you can use concrete examples to support the ideas you recorded. These examples will serve to enhance your arguments and add depth to your essay.

6. Create Your Theory of Knowledge Essay Outline

We’ve written quite a lot about TOK essay outline already, and we strongly recommend that you check out that guide for an in-depth teardown of the structure.

However, for the sake of this guide, here’s the summary of the format that you should follow:

First, understand that the purpose of the outline is to guide your essay, so you can easily organize your points to achieve a logical flow of information.

If you can follow this specific outline to a tee, you’ll end up with a more comprehensive essay based purely on the selected prescribed title.

Here’s the outline to use:

Write the Introduction

The introduction of your Theory of Knowledge essay sets the stage for the paper. It should be between 100 and 150 words long.

Paragraph 1

Your introduction goes here, usually in 100 to 150 words. Your description should show at most two things about the prescribed title and a few words to show that you understand the knowledge question.

Give a clear definition of one or two key terms from the prescribed title. The definitions are usually important, especially because they can give you some clues for perspectives and evidence. 

Complete the paragraph by giving your readers a clear roadmap for the essay.  By doing this, you make it easy for the reader to know exactly what to look for in your work.

Develop Your First Area of Knowledge

The second and third paragraph will cover your first area of knowledge. This area should be no more than 600 words.

Paragraph 2

  • State the Claim: Write the topic sentence. Remember, a perspective is the argument about the prescribed title you selected in the first step.
  • Give an Example: Give an example of the perspective, which can be anything based on your experience, as long as it’s real and specific.
  • Explain: Give a clear explanation on how your example supports the perspective. For the sake of grabbing the reader’s attention, state something interesting about your example and explain what it state about the title.

Paragraph 3

  • State Counterclaim: Here is where you argue against the perspective that you make in the second paragraph.
  • Give an Example: Here is where you give a concrete support for the perspective that you just made.
  • Explain the Example: Give a clear explanation about how the example you provided supports your perspective. Remember to write what you believe is interesting about the example. Also, mention what the example says about the selected prescribed title.
  • Summary: Sum this section by linking to the prescribe title and ensuring you’ve highlighted the insight that you have had about this area of knowledge.

Develop Your Second Area of Knowledge

This is the section where you develop your second area of knowledge. Again, this part should be no more than 600 words.

Paragraph 4

  • State your perspectivefor the second AOK.
  • Give a solid example.
  • Explain your example, making sure you show exactly how it supports the perspective.

Paragraph 5

  • State the perspective for the second AOK.
  • Give an example that’s good enough to support the perspective.
  • Explain how the example you’ve provided supports the perspective you’ve given.

Write the Conclusion

The conclusion is the final paragraph of the ToK essay. In terms of length, it should be between 200 and 250 words long.

Paragraph 6

  • Conclusion: Here, write what insights you’ve gathered, making sure it relates to the prescribed title question. Also, ensure you synthesize the main insights that you’ve gathered about the two areas of knowledge.
  • Implication and Significance: Explain the impact and importance of your essay in relation to the prescribed title. Go the extra mile to give clarity on why it’s important to understand these insights.
  • Perspectives and Extensions: Is there a different way that you would have approached the question? Would the approach have given a different outcome or insight than that already reflected on your essay?

Note that the Theory of Knowledge essay has changed a bit. So as to the number of paragraphs in a TOK essay , the maximum you should have now is 6, not 9.

The TOK is often assessed through a 1200-1600-word essay and an oral presentation.

The essay asks you to reflect on the nature of knowledge, as well as how you know what you claim to know. It is usually a part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma and is compulsory for all students.

Every TOK essay is different. To pass your essay, you will need to prepare thoroughly.

Treat it as you would any type of research and take some time to create an outline and write your thesis statement. After writing, make sure you cite your work properly and proofread it.

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.

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In short, I can’t recommend this article enough. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in topic above. Good work to the writer, you have truly outsmart yourself! Keep the good content coming.

Dear Sir, I would like you to check my TOK essay. Kindly let me know where can i improve my essay.

Please send us an email at [email protected]

ToKToday

ToK Essay: Balancing Real World Examples and Theory of Knowledge Analysis

Daniel Trump

  • August 29, 2023
  • Student Support , ToK Essay

I recently reconnected with a friend after a significant amount of time. When he asked about my current endeavors, I shared about the launch of my website and YouTube channel, focusing on Theory of Knowledge (ToK) support. His cheeky response – “Too much RLS not enough ToK?” – inspired this blog post, a critical issue we often encounter when reviewing ToK essays.

The Dilemma of Too Much RLS and Not Enough ToK

RLS stands for Real Life Situation. It refers to real-world contexts or examples, providing the practical side to your ToK essay. ToK, on the other hand, represents the Theory of Knowledge content, which includes the discussion of knowledge acquisition, knowledge construction, methodology, scope, perspectives, and other related concepts.

A drawing of a student writing "I know that I know that I need to write more about knowledge."

In this article, the third of a four-part series on writing ToK essays, we tackle the recurring issue that plagues most ToK essays—too much emphasis on RLS and inadequate focus on ToK content. This imbalance is prevalent in around 80% of ToK drafts that I’ve reviewed, and approximately half of all the ToK essays I evaluated as an examiner were also guilty of this imbalance.

The first criterion in the ToK Essay assessment rubric requires a sustained focus on the essay title. Essays leaning more towards the RLS than ToK content often lack this necessary focus.

Striking the Right Balance Between RLS and ToK Content

You may be wondering how much ToK content should be included relative to RLS content. Although there is no definitive answer—it varies depending on the essay title, knowledge argument, RLS used, writing style, and other factors—there are certain tests we can apply to gauge what RLS content to include and what to exclude.

For each sentence of RLS content, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this sentence contribute to the knowledge argument I’m making?
  • Does the sentence confirm or evidence the knowledge argument I am making?
  • Is this sentence directly linked to the essay title?

Applying these tests usually results in a rough balance of 80% ToK content and 20% RLS content. There might be exceptions, but generally, the RLS content shouldn’t significantly exceed this guideline.

Applying the Balance: A ToK Essay Example

To better understand this concept, let’s analyse two responses to the knowledge claim: “ Not everything can be explained by AoK The Natural Sciences because scientific explanations are a product of that which is known, and not everything is yet known. “

Let’s look at an excerpt Student A’s essay: The Duck Billed Platypus was first encountered by Europeans in Australia in 1798. The second Governor of New South Wales sent a sketch and pelt to the Natural History Museum in London ( collection founded in the 1750s by Sir Hans Sloane in Bloomsbury London). The biological and natural scientists at the museum were perplexed by the Platypus as it has a beak like a bird, lays eggs like a bird or reptile, feeds milk to its young like a mammal, has fur like a mammal, has venom like a reptile, In his 1802 book, An Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, Colonel David Collins wrote ‘the most extraordinary circumstance observed in its structure was, it having instead of the mouth of an animal, the upper and lower mandibles of a duck.’ Scientists thought the Duck billed Platypus was a hoax as they couldn’t classify it. This shows that not everything can be explained by AoK The Natural Sciences. Student A

Now let’s look at Student B’s Essay:

The claim that scientific knowledge can’t explain everything because scientific explanations are a response to pre-existing knowledge can be illustrated looking at the case of the Duck Billed Platypus. When the platypus was first encountered by Europeans in 1798 its phenotypical characteristics (e.g. it has a bill, lays eggs, produces milk, has venom) prevented it from fitting neatly into any single taxonomic class. The classification system at that time had been developed based on all animals that had been encountered up until that point (pre-existing knowledge). Upon encountering an animal that did not fit the classification system scientists had to create a new order (called Monotremata) that could account for the combination of characteristics of the Platypus. This demonstrates that pre-existing scientific knowledge may not be able to explain everything. However the scientific method enables the scientific framework to adapt to new knowledge, and for that new knowledge to be incorporated into the body of scientific knowledge. Student B

Student A’s essay focuses heavily on the story of the platypus discovery, while Student B’s response emphasizes the limitations of pre-existing scientific knowledge, using the platypus as a reference point.

Student A’s approach falls into the “ too much RLS, not enough ToK ” pitfall. While it provides a captivating narrative, it fails to highlight the knowledge argument or directly answer the essay title. On the contrary, Student B’s essay maintains a stronger balance between RLS and ToK content, demonstrating a comprehensive understanding of the ToK framework while providing relevant real-world context.

The Takeaway

Ensuring the right balance between RLS and ToK content is pivotal to writing a compelling ToK essay. It allows for a more precise exploration of knowledge issues, steering clear of the all-too-common mistake of overusing real-world examples at the expense of substantial ToK analysis.

ToK Essay Help e-book

For more insights into avoiding common mistakes in ToK essays, check out the blogpost, “ The 3 Most Frequent Mistakes on the ToK Essay “. And for extensive guidance, consider my popular e-book, “How to Write The ToK Essay in 6 Easy Steps” .

Stay tuned for the final post in this series, “How to Get an A in The ToK Essay”, and remember to maintain a fine balance in your essays for a more impactful ToK exploration.

Stay Toktastic, my friends!

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Advice how long did it take you to write your tok essay? ( self.IBO )

submitted 6 months ago by Medium-Artichoke4309 Alumni | [37]

im not looking for a good grade i just wanna get it done for now.

  • 24 comments

Want to add to the discussion?

Post a comment!

[–] [deleted] 11 points 12 points 13 points 6 months ago   (4 children)

Predicted A .Did two drafts. Closing my essay next week hopefully.

The first draft took a rlly long because I was procrastinating but the second one took 2-3 days. If you have ur claims and counterclaim with the real world examples plus the terminology you're gonna use to explain everything then it shouldn't take more than 3 days.

I saw it this way 300 intro 100 conclusion and 300 for each claim . SO when u think abt it you just have to write 300 words at a time which isn't that muchh.

[–] pun-master69 M25 | [HL: Phy, Chem, Math AA; SL: Eng L&L, French Ab, ESS] 1 point 2 points 3 points 6 months ago   (1 child)

omg wait it's actually so nice to think abt it like that

[–] [deleted] 1 point 2 points 3 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

[–] Fun_Square_7990 M24 | HL Econ, Math AI, Eng L&L | SL Psych, Spanish AB, Bio 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (1 child)

how do you find examples and claims? what's the exact research process?

[–] [deleted] 2 points 3 points 4 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

So our teacher is really amazing and she guided us through the entire process. So before starting the essay all of us had to get our claims n counterclaims approved . We were asked to look at the knowledge questions on https://theoryofknowledge.net/

and like build on from there. In terms of examples you can ask ur subject teachers specific teachers. My TOK teacher is also a pysch teacher and also rlly good at the natural sciences so she helped me build on my examples.

So I'd recommend picking ur AOKs if not already given and then looking for knowledge questions on the above site and turn it into claims. After that start looking for examples by yourself ( makes sure it's not generic like the stock market crash of 2008) . It gets easier when u figure out the terminology. You can aslo ask ur teachers as they are experts in the field.

After you have ur claims and examples with terminology you can begin writing.

Hope it helps. Please don't hesitate to reach out. Thanks!

[–] Golden-Zabbit-86 M24 | HL: AA, Phys, Bio | SL: Eng Lit, GloPo, German ab Initio 7 points 8 points 9 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

The whole process of it from first draft to final took about 2 months. Writing the first draft took me about a week and a half (on and off) and about 8 hours.

[–] meetpie Alumni | [score] 4 points 5 points 6 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

It took me 2 days and not a lot of sleep to finish my final draft

[–] rush_panda Alumni | [35] 2 points 3 points 4 points 6 months ago   (1 child)

I wrote the first draft in about 8 hours and then refined it for a week on and off. Maybe like a 12 hours of actual work and talking to my Tok teacher a good bit. Got an A

[–] Ok-Profession9285 0 points 1 point 2 points 4 months ago   (0 children)

Any tips for getting an A?

[–] FlowSilver M21 | [HL:English Lang& Lit,GloPo,Film] 1 point 2 points 3 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

Welps i turned it on point 11:59 pm

I dont suggest doing that…

Took me a week but then i procrastinated in the last secs

[–] Jo7601 1 point 2 points 3 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

6 hours over a set of 9 different days in the span of 2 weeks.

[–] AaleKetchupman M23 | [subjects] 1 point 2 points 3 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

The draft I did it in school during classes over the course of 2 days. Then finished the actual essay in the following 2 days. (didn't sleep for 2 days. so just sat there for 48 hours). Result: A

[–] Hadestheamazing Alumni M24 | [39] 1 point 2 points 3 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

Predicted A here, from start to finish it took me just under 10 hours of total work spread out across a few weeks.

[–] birdyguy567 1 point 2 points 3 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

I did it in 3 hours and got a B

[–] 3seelin 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

writing the first draft took around 3 days but the entire process of doing final editing etc took almost about a month or so

[–] Yulks_07 M24 | [Bio hl ] 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

From start to finish 3 days with not more than 5 hours of sleep

[–] MrMangobrick 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

I did the "planning" for about month (chose my question & topics, could have spent like 1 day max on it), did my research in a day and wrote the thing in 2 days, the second for applying feedback.

[–] MarrieddMann M24 Alumni | [38] 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

two 4 hour sittings overall but still have to citr and reduce the word count

[–] theofficialzhang M24 | HL: Geo, Lang & Lit, Chem | SL: Math AA, Bio, French B 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

I finished a draft in practically a day (it's not great) and I'm currently in the process of editing it!

[–] Impressive-Fun-4588 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

3 weeks here

[–] topibtutor 0 points 1 point 2 points 6 months ago   (0 children)

I know tok specialist who can do tok essay within couple of days, you can find him on topclassibtutors.com

[–] Gamicor 0 points 1 point 2 points 5 months ago   (0 children)

Being honest as a student who scored A on TOK but screw it getting a D on the EE. Both of them take me around 6 hours. 3 and a half for tok and 2 and a half for EE. Don’t do this but just want to tell you that you still have opportunities to do it in case you haven’t started. How did I make it all in one night? 2 vodkas and a Ron, a few friends and a pack of cigarettes. With that on your side, you can go for the A on both subjects

[–] AkBrandy05 0 points 1 point 2 points 5 months ago   (0 children)

It took me five days. I can guide you if you're having problems

Try iawizards.com for help

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George Clooney Calls for Joe Biden to Step Down

Portrait of Olivia Craighead

George Clooney is the latest person to call for President Joe Biden to drop out of the 2024 race. The actor voiced his opinion in a New York Times op-ed entitled, “I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.”

In his essay, the actor calls himself a “lifelong Democrat” who is “proud of what my party represents and what it stands for.” Clooney reiterates the work he’s done for the party — hosting record-breaking Hollywood fundraiser after record-breaking Hollywood fundraiser, including one in June — before dropping the hammer.

“The one battle [Biden] cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can,” Clooney wrote. “It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fundraiser was not the Joe ‘big F-ing deal’ Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate .”

Clooney did not mince words about his belief that Biden cannot win a second term. “We are not going to win in November with this president,” he wrote. “On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.” I would love to know which governors George Clooney is speaking to in private, but I guess that’s not really the point.

Unmentioned in his op-ed was Clooney’s recent tiff with the Biden administration. His wife, Amal Clooney, was under threat of being sanctioned by the U.S. as an adviser to the International Criminal Court’s investigation into possible war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas. The White House eventually stepped back from the possibility of sanctioning the ICC, but Clooney still lodged a complaint. The actor reportedly called top Biden aide Steve Ricchetti to criticize Biden’s use of the word “outrageous” in describing his wife’s work. It seems as though the Biden team made it up to Clooney, though, as the actor co-hosted a fundraiser last month that raised $28 million for the president’s war chest. Per the Washington Post , the Biden campaign “disputed the notion that there were serious worries about Clooney dropping out of the fundraiser.”

Despite his personal feelings about Biden, Clooney made sure to reiterate his admiration for the president multiple times in his op-ed. He also threw out a few names of people he’d like to see on the Democratic ticket, including governors Wes Moore, Gavin Newsom, Andy Beshear, Gretchen Whitmer, and J.B. Pritzker. (He really is hanging out with governors in private, huh?)

Clooney ended his essay with a Sorkinesque plea: “Joe Biden is a hero; he saved democracy in 2020. We need him to do it again in 2024.”

  • george clooney
  • election 2024

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TOK essay guidance

TOK Home > Free TOK notes > TOK essay guidance

how to write tok essay reddit

You write your TOK essay on your choice of six prescribed titles, which are released at the beginning of DP2, and you have approximately 6 months to complete it.

Learn about the basic details of the TOK essay on this page. After you’ve grasped these, move onto our four-step guide to the essay: 1 Understanding the rubric , 2 Choosing a title , 3 Planning and structuring , 4 Writing and uploading .

10 TOK essay starting points

  • 1 The TOK essay is an individual task
  • 2 It represents two thirds of the overall mark for TOK
  • 3 It is externally marked
  • 4 You choose your title from a list of six prescribed titles, which change every exam session
  • 5 The word count for the essay is 1600 words
  • 6 You’ll meet your teacher for 3 interactions to discuss your essay
  • 7 Key areas that are assessed include the clarity of arguments, level of effectiveness of examples, and the focus on the title
  • 8 You’ll fill in a Planning and Progress Form (PPF), which you submit with your essay (although this is not assessed)
  • 9 The context of the essay is explicitly about the five  areas of knowledge
  • 10 There is a single criterion for marking, and four characteristics of an excellent essay (insightful, convincing, accomplished, and lucid)

A four-step guide to the TOK essay

Click on the buttons below to take you to the four steps of creating a great TOK essay. Don’t forget that we have plenty of videos on this and other aspects of the course, and members of the site have access to a huge amount of other resources to help you master the course and assessment tasks.

how to write tok essay reddit

Check out our three-minute explainer video on the TOK essay here . The video goes over the basics of the TOK essay, such as how it’s assessed, the word count and other practical details, terms such as ‘perspectives’ and ‘implications’, and the role of real-world examples in justifying claims and arguments.

You’ll find more videos on this and other aspects of TOK here , and you can dive into much more depth via our free and premium webinars, here .

Watch our essay & exhibition webinars

Click on the images below to access these premium webinars on how to create the essay and exhibition. Access more webinars here , and watch our videos on the assessment tasks on this page .

how to write tok essay reddit

FAQs about the TOK essay

How do i choose my tok essay title.

You choose your essay from six prescribed essay titles, that are released at the beginning of your second DP year. We give a few tips on how to choose a PT that will work for you here . But briefly, choose one that links to your pre-existing knowledge, and that you find personally engaging.

What will I be writing about in my TOK essay?

You’ll be answering your prescribed title, within the context of two areas of knowledge, considering how different perspectives might affect our response to the question, and what the implications of your arguments are.

Can I use ChatGPT to write my essay?

You can use ChatGPT to help you gather materials for your essay, but you should definitely not be using it to write the essay. Be very careful with ChatGPT. It bases its answers on online material, and much of this is inaccurate or out-of-date. For example, depending on what you ask it, it may tell you that you have to explore multiple areas of knowledge (rather than the two stipulated by the titles), and that you have to identify a separate knowledge question to the title (which is absolutely not the case).

How much help should I expect from my teacher?

Your teacher should run through the PTs when they are first released, and then meet you for three interactions, during which you’ll discuss your progress. They are allowed to give you one set of written feedback. But you can consult them at other times with specific questions.

Do I need to use real-world examples in my TOK essay?

Yes, real-life examples help illustrate your points and make your arguments more tangible. They can be drawn from personal experiences, historical events, scientific discoveries, etc.

Should I include my personal opinion in the TOK essay?

While the TOK essay is not about your personal opinion per se, it’s important to reflect on your perspective and how it shapes the way you understand the title. However, you should avoid using the essay as a platform for rants or unsubstantiated claims.

Is it necessary to include counter-arguments in my TOK essay?

Yes, including counter-arguments shows a deeper understanding of the complexity of the topic and demonstrates your critical thinking skills. It also enables you to consider different perspectives, and evaluate the implications of arguments.

Should I include the 12 key concepts in my essay?

Yes, as much as you can, draw on the key concepts such as justification, evidence, perspective, bias, certainty, and objectivity within your arguments linking them to the title, and to the real-world examples you draw on.

How do I ensure that my TOK essay reflects my own original thinking, and avoids plagiarism?

Clearly attribute ideas and sources that are not your own, and strive to present original insights and interpretations supported by evidence and reasoning. See our point above on using ChatGPT – never view this as more than a tool to help you gather material for your essay, rather than a tool to write it for you.

What are some common pitfalls to avoid when writing a TOK essay?

Avoid oversimplifying complex issues, relying solely on personal opinion without justification, neglecting counter-arguments, veering off the question, and failing to include a consideration of different perspectives.

How long do I have to write my essay?

You’ll have 6 months from the time the prescribed titles are released, to the deadline date for uploading your essay to the IB. However, most schools will set their own deadline for completing the essay, so that everyone has plenty of time to complete your PPF, and upload it on time. Follow what your school tells you about this.

How important is the TOK essay PPF?

The PPF (‘Planning and Progress Form’) is the document that you fill in to outline your discussions during the three essay. Although this is not directly assessed, it is an important part of demonstrating that you have approached the TOK essay in an ethical way, which is now particularly important in the era of ChatGPT.

What are some effective strategies for revising and editing my TOK essay to improve clarity and coherence?

Take breaks between revisions, seek feedback from peers or teachers, and carefully proofread for grammar, punctuation, and coherence.

Should I include references or a bibliography in my TOK essay?

While not required, referencing sources appropriately adds credibility to your essay; use footnotes or endnotes for citations.

how to write tok essay reddit

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You’ll encounter some of the most important thinkers from the past and the present, go beyond the headlines of contemporary events and issues around the globe, and see how TOK concepts manifest in the real-world. Subscribe HERE !

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George Clooney calls on president to step aside: Aging Biden no longer the man he was

George Clooney wears a black shirt.

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Even George Clooney — a prominent donor and major fundraiser for President Biden’s reelection campaign — appears to have lost faith in the president’s ability to win the 2024 election.

The two-time Oscar winner, lifelong Democrat and high-profile campaign donor has formally asked the 81-year-old commander in chief to step aside so that the party can nominate a new candidate to take on former President Trump on the November ballot. Why? Because of Biden’s “fight against time,” which Clooney characterized as the only battle that POTUS cannot win.

President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event with former President Barack Obama moderated by Jimmy Kimmel at the Peacock Theater, Saturday, June 15, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Biden, Obama raise more than $30 million at glitzy L.A. event

President Biden joins former President Obama, George Clooney and Julia Roberts at star-studded fundraiser in L.A. that raises more than $30 million.

June 16, 2024

“None of us can,” Clooney wrote Wednesday in an opinion piece for the New York Times titled “I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.” “It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe ‘big F— deal’ Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

Democrats took in $30 million at that downtown L.A. fundraiser, setting a record for money generated by the party in a single night. In addition to Clooney, Julia Roberts and former President Obama headlined the event and Jimmy Kimmel moderated a conversation between Obama and Biden.

Clooney wrote that Biden was a “hero” who had “saved democracy” in 2020 and called upon him to “do it again in 2024.” But, citing Biden’s poor performance during CNN’s debate last month , he joined a growing number of Hollywood backers, including those who previously wrote large checks to the campaign, feeling skittish about Biden’s prospects despite the president’s resolve to remain in the race.

Some of those going public with their angst about Biden include “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof, Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, media titan Barry Diller, Disney heir Abigail Disney and Endeavor Chief Executive Ari Emanuel , brother of Rahm Emanuel, who is currently U.S. ambassador to Japan and formerly Obama’s chief of staff. Filmmaker Rob Reiner wrote Wednesday on X (formerly Twitter) that “Democracy is facing an existential threat. We need someone younger to fight back. Joe Biden must step aside.”

President Joe Biden, speaks during a presidential debate hosted by CNN with Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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The Hollywood power players turning on the Biden campaign: ‘It’s about the ability to WIN’

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July 5, 2024

In his op-ed, Clooney wondered if Biden was tired or suffering from a cold during his head-to-head with Trump. But he mostly took issue with the next-day narrative being spun by his party, arguing that Biden’s nomination was not yet a sure thing ahead of the Democratic National Convention in August. (The GOP convention starts Monday.)

“[O]ur party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign. The George Stephanopoulos interview only reinforced what we saw the week before,” Clooney wrote. “As Democrats, we collectively hold our breath or turn down the volume whenever we see the president, who we respect, walk off Air Force One or walk back to a mic to answer an unscripted question.”

Clooney said it’s “fair” to point these things out: “This is about age. Nothing more.”

He predicted the Democrats are “not going to win in November with this president,” nor would they win the House of Representatives or retain their majority in the Senate. He said this isn’t just his opinion, but “the opinion of every senator and congress member and governor that I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.”

“[T]he dam has broken. We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth,” the “Argo” and “Syriana” Academy Award winner wrote. “It is disingenuous, at best, to argue that Democrats have already spoken with their vote and therefore the nomination is settled and done, when we just received new and upsetting information. We all think Republicans should abandon their nominee now that he’s been convicted of 34 felonies.”

Kamala Harris

As Biden flounders, why aren’t more Democrats sold on Kamala Harris?

Despite her qualifications, Vice President Kamala Harris hasn’t been treated as a viable contender to Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee and a felon.

As such, Clooney also criticized the presumptive Republican candidate and “the revenge tour that Donald Trump calls a presidential campaign” and called for the Democrats to seriously consider potential replacements. Who? Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, Vice President Kamala Harris, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear or Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, he suggests.

“Let’s agree that the candidates not attack one another but, in the short time we have, focus on what will make this country soar. Then we could go into the Democratic convention next month and figure it out.”

It would be “messy,” he said, but “democracy is messy” and a fresh contest would “enliven our party and wake up voters who, long before the June debate, had already checked out.”

Representatives for Clooney said Wednesday that they had “nothing to add” and that the essay presented his thinking “in its entirety.”

Also on Wednesday morning, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) sent a rare public signal that suggested she is trying to nudge Biden to consider dropping out of the election, telling MSNBC that it’s “up to the president to decide if he is going to run” and that “we’re all encouraging him to make that decision because time is running short.” She later tried to walk back those comments in an interview on CBS.

More to Read

LOS ANGELES, CA-OCTOBER 13, 2023:George Clooney, left, actor and founder of the Roybal School of Film and Television Production Magnet in downtown Los Angeles, and Don Cheadle, actor and Royal Advisory Board Member, talk to the media during a celebration of the launch of the 2nd year of the Magnet School. (Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

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Column: If the Democrats want Biden to drop out, they should follow Pelosi’s lead, not Clooney’s

July 10, 2024

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Nardine Saad covers breaking entertainment news, trending culture topics, celebrities and their kin for the Fast Break Desk at the Los Angeles Times. She joined The Times in 2010 as a MetPro trainee and has reported from homicide scenes, flooded canyons, red carpet premieres and award shows.

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Guest Essay

George Clooney: I Love Joe Biden. But We Need a New Nominee.

how to write tok essay reddit

By George Clooney

Mr. Clooney is an actor, director and film producer.

I’m a lifelong Democrat; I make no apologies for that. I’m proud of what my party represents and what it stands for. As part of my participation in the democratic process and in support of my chosen candidate, I have led some of the biggest fund-raisers in my party’s history. Barack Obama in 2012 . Hillary Clinton in 2016 . Joe Biden in 2020 . Last month I co-hosted the single largest fund-raiser supporting any Democratic candidate ever, for President Biden’s re-election. I say all of this only to express how much I believe in this process and how profound I think this moment is.

I love Joe Biden. As a senator. As a vice president and as president. I consider him a friend, and I believe in him. Believe in his character. Believe in his morals. In the last four years, he’s won many of the battles he’s faced.

But the one battle he cannot win is the fight against time. None of us can. It’s devastating to say it, but the Joe Biden I was with three weeks ago at the fund-raiser was not the Joe “ big F-ing deal ” Biden of 2010. He wasn’t even the Joe Biden of 2020. He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.

Was he tired? Yes. A cold? Maybe. But our party leaders need to stop telling us that 51 million people didn’t see what we just saw. We’re all so terrified by the prospect of a second Trump term that we’ve opted to ignore every warning sign. The George Stephanopoulos interview only reinforced what we saw the week before. As Democrats, we collectively hold our breath or turn down the volume whenever we see the president, whom we respect, walk off Air Force One or walk back to a mic to answer an unscripted question.

Is it fair to point these things out? It has to be. This is about age. Nothing more. But also nothing that can be reversed. We are not going to win in November with this president. On top of that, we won’t win the House, and we’re going to lose the Senate. This isn’t only my opinion; this is the opinion of every senator and Congress member and governor who I’ve spoken with in private. Every single one, irrespective of what he or she is saying publicly.

We love to talk about how the Republican Party has ceded all power, and all of the traits that made it so formidable with Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, to a single person who seeks to hold on to the presidency, and yet most of our members of Congress are opting to wait and see if the dam breaks. But the dam has broken. We can put our heads in the sand and pray for a miracle in November, or we can speak the truth.

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COMMENTS

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