Writing an IB TOK essay is quite challenging as it is very different from any other assignment. It is based on critical thinking and the ability to combine contradictory opinions. The matter of subject is not what we know but how we know what we know. Theory of Knowledge is both exciting and hard, as it allows going beyond one idea. If you are terrified of starting your IB TOK essay, don’t worry, these 5 tips will help you to complete this task perfectly.
1. Define the Topic
Start from the title you have chosen and unpack it. Paraphrase it and write down the ideas that come to your mind in this regard. It is important to answer the KQ (knowledge question) and refer to it throughout the essay. For example, if your topic is “There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge” you need to dwell on what does neutral means and how is this term applicable or not applicable to science or art. Understanding the KQ is the key to successful writing as it forms the argumentation given in the paper.
2. Select AOK and WOK accordingly
It is also necessary to choose your AOK’s (areas of knowledge) and WOK’s (ways of knowing). TOK essay is cross-disciplinary and it requires at least two areas of knowledge to be covered.
Choose two different areas so you can cover contradictory views, for example, Math and Art. Math is based on reason and is independent of subjective experience when Art is based on completely different principles. It is also important to mention some of the 8 ways of knowing, like perception, reason, emotions, etc. Mention how these ways influence the knowledge in this specific area, for example, emotion does not apply to Math data but it is quite relevant for perception of Art.
3. Plan Out Structure
The structural component is crucial to any academic paper, so it is better to draft structure before starting to write. A TOK essay is about 1200-1600 words long, it features introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. In the introduction, you need to state a KQ, your claim, and dwell on the terminology used in an assignment. It needs to be done to eliminate any contradictions or misinterpretations of arguments.
The main body structure looks like this:
- Argument AOK1
- Counterargument AOK1
- Argument AOK2
- Counterargument AOK2
The conclusion is pretty straightforward, but one can also include further discussion suggestions or state the limitations of this essay.
4. Be Clear in Writing
It is easy to get distracted and lost in the argument, to avoid it, follow a simple formula. Each argument should be approached from two perspectives – an argument and a counterargument to make discussion objective. Each paragraph should be structured this way: claim – explanation – example. Claim is a statement that the paragraph is going to be about, follow it with explanation and example. End with the logical transition to the next claim.
5. Proofread and Discuss
As soon as you’ve finished, give yourself time to relax and proofread the paper. Is the flow logical? Are the claims clear and examples relevant? Check whether you are specific in your statements and references. And, of course, check grammar.
It is also great to get someone from your friends to read it and discuss it. The other person’s perspective is a good idea to see strong and weak points in the work. You can also use the IB TOK essay writing service for professional advice.
When writing IB TOK essay it is important to show your critical thinking and analytical skills. Follow the structure, keep your claims clear and use relevant examples. Approach the statement from counter perspectives and make a coherent conclusion. Most importantly – proofread your essay a couple of times to make sure that everything is top-notch.