A TOK essay is also known as a Theory of Knowledge essay. Usually, it has a word count of 1200 – 1600 words and very often your instructor will give you a list of chosen topics to write on.
TOK essays or Theory of Knowledge essays are usually required for an IB diploma. It is a comparative essay by nature and discusses a specific problem as you can contrast and compare various ways of information and knowing on the subject. Different areas of knowledge can be reason, language, emotions and others. The criteria on your grading will be explicitly given in your instruction notes.
Writing a TOK essay requires understanding the issues of the examined knowledge, focusing and analyzing them; creating comparisons and links, offering an understanding which is sophisticated and relevant. You should demonstrate independent thinking, various examples that support your thesis, perspective that is different and captivating and self-awareness on the matter. The analysis of the TOK essay will require depth and insight, justified main points, implications and assumptions, and arguments as well as counter arguments. The ideas that support your thesis should be well structured with factual accuracy; you should explain the key concepts in detail and submit proper references.
How to write a TOK essay
There is the so called term when writing a TOK essay referred to as the four C’s or:
Creativity – You must develop independent and personal thought.
Content – You must understand and be able to write on the knowledge issues.
Clarity – You must be able to write a well-structured essay.
Critical thinking – You must submit enough arguments and counter arguments to convince the audience in your point of view.
If you follow the rule of four C’s you will be able to write a good TOK essay. As mentioned above, it is very important to pick the thesis you are going to write on carefully. It should be something you feel competent to write. However, it does not matter how competent you feel, you still must research your thesis in detail in order to provide sufficient number of arguments and counter arguments to defend your point of view. Take notes while researching and make a draft of your TOK essay. The basic structure of the TOK essay is introduction, body and conclusion.
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Introduction of TOK essay
An introduction is the initial contact between the audience and the writer. In the introduction you have to state what you are going to write about and your opinion on it. In the introduction you should try to capture the attention of the audience, explain them briefly what you are going to write about and outline it and explain what you understand about the knowledge you are going to write about. You can start your TOK essay with something surprising in order to capture the audience attention. And after that you include the thesis statement.
Body of the TOK essay
When writing a TOK essay and more specifically its body, you should state every argument and counter argument you have found in a separate paragraph. That is what will make the essay look well structured. Spend more time analyzing and detailing the most important arguments and ideas. Be careful when transitioning a paragraph if you jump from one point to another that will make your essay look messy. Also, consider your audience, what is important for them, what they want to hear and what will make them accept your point of view.
Conclusion of TOK essay
The purpose of the conclusion is to create a sense of closure in the audience. Usually, in the conclusion the writers repeat what they have already stated numerous times. So you will create a very good ending of your TOK essay if you find a way to write about your thesis and knowledge in a slightly different way and formulate the key arguments in a new manner. Your conclusion should be strong and convincing. You may ask a friend to read your conclusion and introduction and ask him or her whether it is well structured and organized. Also, always proofread your essay and remove any grammatical and contextual mistakes. A good essay is one written with precision, clarity and economy.