Write My Tok Essay Examples

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In Theory of Knowledge there are two assessment tasks. The essay is worth two thirds of the total marks and the presentation is worth one third of the marks. International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme students taking their exams in May 2016 will be starting to plan and write their essay on a prescribed title from around now.

This post focuses on the essay and is aimed to encourage and support students writing TOK essays. What follows is general common sense advice based on my own teaching and examining experience, but it isn’t official IB advice – this can be found in the IB TOK Subject Guide and in the IB Online Curriculum Centre (OCC) exemplar material for teachers.

1.      Choose your question wisely

IB students will submit an essay under 1,600 words on one of 6 prescribed titles which will be externally examined by the IB. The 6 titles for students taking the IB in May 2016 are available now from your TOK teacher via the IB Online Curriculum Centre website. Choose a title that plays to your strengths and draws on the concepts, ideas, Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing that you have covered during the course.

2.      Write an argument plan and a first draft

Your essay is an extended argument and it needs to demonstrate a clear and coherent line of thinking. It’s recommended that you have a thesis statement, supported by a sequence of ideas. Plan the structure of your answer. Planning and drafting is a crucial stage. When you’ve chosen your prescribed title, write a draft and submit this to your teacher. Your teacher is allowed to offer you holistic or global comments.

Perhaps start by thinking through what the Prescribed Title is asking. What are the command terms? What are the key concepts? What arguments could you develop? What would be the counterarguments and how strong are they?

3.      Read exemplar essays and know the assessment criteria

It’s important that you know what makes an excellent TOK essay. You teacher will be able to show you exemplar essays with examiner comments.  The IB publish 50 excellent TOK essays. It’s a good idea to look at these resources and to try marking one these essays against the criteria before looking at the examiner comments. When you read these you might focus on various themes: the argument structure, the use of examples, the introduction or the conclusion.  Then judge your own essay against the criteria.

4. Make the essay knowledge specific

The aim of your essay is to answer the question set out in the prescribed title. One pitfall of essay writing is to write an overly descriptive answer with lots of examples. All the titles focus on concepts to do with knowledge and knowing and the focus of your essay needs to be on a critical analysis of the question. Make sure that you develop links and connections between Areas of Knowledge and Ways of Knowing where appropriate.

5.      Offer analysis over description

One of the features of the assessment criteria is quality of analysis. You might sharpen your quality of analysis by doing some of the following: identify assumptions behind knowledge claims or arguments, identity and evaluate arguments and counter arguments, and give serious consideration to the implications of arguments. If appropriate, make use of the knowledge framework. This is a tool for analysis for comparing two or more areas of knowledge so you can make connections in terms of 1) scope and applications, 2) key concepts, 3) methodology, 4) key historical development, and 5) links with personal knowledge.

6.      Dictionary definitions and examples

You might want to define your terms in your own words, but avoid dictionary definitions. Instead take a critical approach that reflects your own voice. ‘If by instinctive judgement we mean x, it follows that y…’ Use examples to support your analytical points and evaluate examples. It’s recommended to use a range of examples that reflect your own global perspective, IB learning experience, whether from CAS, one of your 6 IB subjects, an Internal Assessment, or your Extended Essay. It’s advisable to avoid typical or clichéd examples that offer no analysis such as flat earth or Newton’s apple.

7.      Sources footnotes and bibliography

Academic honesty is a requirement in all IB subjects. If an idea is someone else’s, acknowledge that with a reference. This isn’t a research essay but you need to cite sources correctly. Use footnotes and a bibliography using the conventional method that you used for your Extended Essay. http://www.neilstoolbox.com/bibliography-creator/

8.      Introductions and conclusions

You might look at exemplar essays to see examples of good introductions and conclusions. In your introduction you could include an engaging example, your thesis statement and you might offer some signposting to show the direction of your essay. In the conclusion offer a summary and an evaluation of your answer. Possibly end with a forward looking view.

9.      Write the final draft

Write the final draft in the light of your teachers’ global feedback. Present the final version in a conventional 12 point font such as a Times New Roman and double spaced to allow examiners to annotate your essay. You can make your essay anonymous so it only has your candidate number and school number.

10.  Complete the PPF form and upload

It’s also a requirement that you complete the paperwork – there is an essay form to fill in the TK/PPF form available to your teacher on the OCC.

Useful links

What is a Tok Essay

TOK stands for Theory of Knowledge. The TOK essay was conceptualized by the International Baccalaureate. The essay is to be between 1200 and 1600 total words, and is written on one of the topics that the IB has established. These are also known as titles. If you are in an International Baccalaureate program at your school, achieving a good grade on the TOK essay is imperative if you wish to graduate with this endorsement on your diploma.

The paragraphs that follow will help you to select the best title, master the TOK essay format, do your research, take notes and create an working outline, and even guide you to some useful writing samples. We hope these guidelines will help to answer any questions you have, and that you will be able to formulate a plan for success.

You know that IB students have advantages that include being highly sought after by colleges and universities and having a greater chance at becoming successful during and after the college years. By mastering the TOK essay format, you will truly be helping yourself.

TOK Essay Title Selection

Unlike other essays, you cannot simply choose from an unlimited number of topics. Your essay must be selected from one of the prescribed titles created by the International Baccalaureate Organization for 2017. Then, your essay must meet additional criteria. Specifically, it must be related to one of the eight areas of knowledge that have been defined by the IB.

Selecting TOK Essay Titles: Areas of Knowledge

Here are the eight areas of knowledge that a student in an IB program must master:

  • History
  • Mathematics
  • The Arts
  • Ethics
  • Religious Knowledge Systems
  • Human Science
  • Indigenous Knowledge Systems
  • Natural Science

Choosing TOK Essay Titles 2017: Understanding The Questions

Each year, a new set of questions are created for students to cover in their essays. These can be easily found online as the IB makes these public. What’s more important is to understand exactly what you need to do when writing about these topics. These aren’t the same as your standard custom writings.

Understanding The Purpose of TOK Essay Topics

Let’s Take a Look at Some TOK Essay Topics From Previous Years

Here are some sample essay topics that are loosely based on some of the titles established for 2017. We’ll discuss exactly what information is being sought in each of these examples. Remember that each essay should in some way establish your understanding of knowledge and the learning process itself. This gives your instructor the opportunity to conduct a thorough assessment of your critical thinking skills.

1.Explore The Human Nature of Pattern Seeking

a.Suggested Areas of Knowledge: There’s a lot that could be explored here with regard to perception and expectations. Science and religious knowledge systems could be two potentially interesting areas to dig into further.

b.What to Cover: The dangers of relying on perception instead of examination. The ways in which pattern seeking impacts our ability to obtain new knowledge and to vet information we receive.

2.Explore Knowledge Traditions And Various Methods of Correcting Knowledge

a.Suggested Areas of Knowledge: Ethics and natural science are definitely two areas where tradition and developing means of correcting the knowledge that informs or is informed by traditions.

b.What to Cover: Traditions are difficult for people to let go of, especially when they are associated with religion or culture. How do you encourage corrective action without insulting traditions.

3.Write About Facts And Theories And How They Relate

a.Suggested Areas of Knowledge: Human or natural science combined with indigenous or religious knowledge systems really seem to fit here. However, History would be an excellent addition to this.

b.What to Cover: Theories are ideally based in fact, however many people using correlation rather than causation to draw conclusions. The result is faulty theories. Then there is the problem with poorly vetted facts. Explain how outdated or incorrect information impacts the development of theories.

4.What Happens When Subject Matter Experts Don’t Agree With Each Other?

a.Suggested Areas of Knowledge: With this topic, any of the areas of knowledge could be excellent for potential exploration.

b.What to Cover: When building their own knowledge, people turn to experts. How do they discern what to believe when the experts themselves disagree on important matters? Can external influences change the way that experts view or spin the truth? Climate change would be a great topic to use as an example for this question.

5.Looking at Historic Events With The Benefit of Hindsight

a.Suggested Areas of Knowledge: History, Indigenous Knowledge Systems, Religious Knowledge Systems, and Ethics are all very good topics for an essay on this subject.

b.What to Cover: It’s easy to judge the actions and behaviors of citizens, religious leaders, and political leaders when we have the benefit of historical perspective. However, by doing so we can prevent ourselves from gaining full insight into the way that situations impact  human behavior. Maybe explore how to write historical text in a more sympathetic way.

6.Write About The Knowledge And The Difficulty of Producing Knowledge

a.Suggested Areas of Knowledge: Because this is such a broad question, once again all areas of knowledge could be subject to exploration here.

b.What to Cover: The idea here is that the harder you have to work to obtain knowledge the more you will value it. Do you agree or disagree? You might address the topic of privilege here.

How to Know Which TOK Essay Topics Are Best For You

So, how do you pick the right topic? Look at each extended example above. As an IB student, you are familiar with all of the areas of knowledge. You might also consider looking at an exemplar online for each question that you are considering. Just google tipstok essay example, and you will likely find something.

Mostly, you should pick a question that speaks to you, and apply the areas of knowledge that you can best show your academic and personal development.

Planning Your Essay

First and foremost, study the rubric that your teacher provides for you. This will be an amazing guide. Unfortunately, it is not complete. You may have to follow up and get more information on the standards for marking your essay. Here are the criteria by which your essay will be assessed.

  • You must show that you have developed the ability to think critically. Focus on demonstrating self-awareness, and consider multiple perspectives on the issues you are addressing. Use concrete examples.
  • The structure that you use is very important. It must have a logical flow. References must be cited. Factual accuracy is of utmost importance. Don’t make a declaration on any page without backing it up.
  • Show the mastery that you have developed with regard to the knowledge issues.
  • Your format is important. However, it is even more important that you demonstrate an adequate depth of knowledge and insight.

Starting Your Essay

As you begin writing your introduction, keep in mind that you have a limit of 1200 to 1600 words. Your thesis and introductory paragraph will really drive the length of your essay. If your focus is too narrow, you will struggle to meet the word count that you need. If your focus is too broad, you will go over the limit.

You should probably spend at least 50 percent of your essay writing on creating your thesis statement. It is truly the foundation of what you are going to present to your instructor. Be sure that it is very well thought out, and that you can back up your thesis with plenty of evidence as well.

Tips For Success

Here are some tips that can help you to succeed:

  • While you need to backup your statements of fact with sources, remember that this is a reflective essay. Here, you can share your thoughts and opinions.
  • Don’t be afraid to use examples that are meaningful to you.
  • Remember that MLA is the preferred citation format.
  • Remember that The Phrase ‘How do You Know’ Should be Your Guide
  • Run your essay through a text to speech translator. That will show you how it reads.
  • Essay and punctuation are still important.

Self Care During The Essay Writing Process

You have worked very hard, and accomplished a lot to get to this point. The theory of knowledge essay is very important. You will need to put in many  hours of hard work. This will be intense, so remember to take good care of yourself.

  • Don’t make the essay the center of your life. Enjoy your friends and keep other academic priorities in mind.
  • Find a physical activity. Walking is amazing.
  • Eat healthy foods and get enough rest.
  • Ask for TOK Essay help when you need it.
  • Connect with students who have already written their TOK essay.

Conclusion

You can do this! All you have to do is consider which question is best for you, follow the instructions, and know the standards that will be used to evaluate your writing. Take good care of yourself, and you are certain to do well.

Author: Amanda Sparks 

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/amanda-sparks/

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