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How to write a Theory of Knowledge essay for International Baccalaureate.

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  1. 1. How to write a TOK essay? http://www.tok-essay.com
  2. 2. Why you need a good TOK grade? International Baccalaureate (IB) Theory of Knowledge essay is a 1200 - 1600 word essay on one of the prescribed topics set by the IB. Your Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay should focus on knowledge issues (knowledge questions) and link to different ways of knowing and areas of Knowledge. About 2/3 of your final TOK grade is determined by the grade you get for your TOK Essay.
  3. 3. Step 1: Get the essay titles Ask your teacher to give you the prescribed essay topics. There is a separate set of topics for May and November candidates. Makes sure you get the right topics.
  4. 4. Step 2: Choose the right title Choose the topic that you know most about. Evaluate the suitability of the title by thinking how you could link it to what you have studied. For example if your TOK essay title is mostly about History but you have not studied History you may want to consider choosing another title.
  5. 5. Step 3: Identify assumptions Note the assumptions of the essay title. All questions contain some assumptions. For example one of the past titles was phrased "Discuss the claim that some areas of knowledge are discovered and others are invented". You should note that the title assumes that areas of knowledge are either discovered or invented. Why could they not be both? Challenging the assumptions of the essay title enables you to write an essay that focuses more on knowledge issues.
  6. 6. Step 4: Brainstorm and research Brainstorm and research. Come up with your initial argument (i.e. what is your answer to the question and why), note down relevant personal experiences you could use to support your argument. Do research in the library and online to find out more examples to support your argument. Note that many IB textbooks contain sections about Theory of Knowledge. These sections may contain useful ideas for your essay.
  7. 7. Step 5: Use an essay template Consider using an essay template. Essay templates can provide you ideas and guidance about the structure and formatting of your TOK essay. You can download TOK essay templates or your teacher may have a template for you.
  8. 8. Step 6: Write a draft essay Write the first draft with referencing. Stay focused on the topic and add in-text referencing or footnotes as you go along. This final edit will be much easier if you proceed like this. Provide detailed examples to support your argument. Avoid generalisations and vagueness. Remember to explore some counter arguments and stay focused on knowledge issues (knowledge questions).
  9. 9. Step 7: Evaluate your essay Evaluate your draft essay. Read your essay against the assessment criteria and note which areas you could improve. Your teacher may also provide you with feedback about your essay. Remember that feedback should always be based on the IB TOK essay assessment criteria.
  10. 10. Step 8: Write the final essay Write the final copy. Improve your essay so that it meets the assessment criteria better. Make sure your referencing is correct and your essay is not below 1200 words or over 1600 words.
  11. 11. Step 9: Hand in our essay Hand in your essay to your teacher. The should give an electronic copy of your essay to your teacher. Ask your teacher or the IB coordinator to tell you what specific file format you should use.
  12. 12. Tips Add title, your name, candidate number and word count on cover page. Always add an in-text reference or footnote if you quote someone or use someone elses ideas. Add a bibliography in alphabetical order. Try to express ideas in your own words as much as possible. Make regular backup copies of you work. If you get stuck you may post a question to Facebook discussion page
  13. 13. TOK essay support http://www.tok-essay.com (templates) http://www.ibtokessay.com (samples) http://www.facebook.com/tokessay (advice)