What is a TOK Essay?

A Good TOK Essay Should be Limited to One Aspect
When writing a TOK Essay, the student is expected to limit the writing to one aspect of the subject although the course module known as Theory of Knowledge has no boundaries. Theory of knowledge course in International Baccalaureate Diploma has no curriculum. The teachers can have their own methodologies and teaching material. The expected learning outcomes for the hundred teaching hours spread through two years are two folds. One is the competency in to analyzing the knowledge claims. The second outcome is the ability to respond to knowledge issues encompassing different areas of knowledge. Methods for learning, candid and precise expression of ideas based on own experiences as examples are the other competencies developed in the course. Given the complicated nature of the subject area, this is certainly not an easy essay that can be written without the due deliberations and practice.
TOK Essay is Different from Other Types of Essays
TOK Essay is one element of the two-part assessment of the students studying Theory Of Knowledge subject. Essay carries two thirds of the marks and the presentation carries one third. TOK essay requires students to write 1200 to 1600 words on one of the ten prescribed titles. Unlike in writing standard academic essays, essay writer has the liberty of exploring any valid question pertaining to the given title. But it is always good if the student can stay within an area that is not too far outside form the generally discussed areas of knowledge.
What Are the Titles for TOK Essay?
Examples of Prescribed Titles for May 2010 for International Baccalaureate TOK Essay:
• To what extent is truth different in mathematics, the arts and ethics?
• Discuss the strengths and limitations of quantitative and qualitative data in supporting knowledge claims in the human sciences and at least one other area of knowledge.
• All knowledge claims should be open to rational criticism. On what grounds and to what extent would you agree with this assertion?
• “People need to believe that order can be glimpsed in the chaos of events” (adapted from John Gray, Heresies, 2004). In what ways and to what extent would you say this claim is relevant in at least two areas of knowledge?
How to Write the TOK Essay
One of the best methods to start on the writing process is to brainstorm and reflect on what you learned in the TOK course. The discussions and the various activities which you had participated can be useful to refresh your thinking. Also study the grading criteria applied in marking the essay which your teacher will give you willingly. TOK Essay has to meet these criteria to score high marks. Draw up the plan for writing the essay and allow several days for the entire essay writing process. Key steps to cover includes researching, writing the outline, discussions with others, writing a draft, editing and proof reading. The most important things that must be followed are the focus, outline and the structure. Stay within the narrow subject area of the selected topic. Make the outline after you have done some research on the topic so that your outline is drawn up with a preliminary knowledge of the subject area.
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