How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023

Ace your ToK Essay with our expert tips & tricks! Get the latest and greatest techniques on "How To Write A ToK Essay" and impress the IB examiners.📝💡

How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023

Table of content

Purpose of tok, assessment of tok, the game plan, execution of the gameplan, planning for tok essay, structure of tok essay, introduction, conclusions, bibliography.

How to write a TOK Essay? 

To answer that, you must familiarise yourself with what a TOK Essay is about.

Before you start reading this article,  Amanda  has some excellent TOK tips for you!

Theory of Knowledge is one of the most meta subjects that IB offers. Despite its complexity, TOK helps in providing a base for holistic learning and allows students to have a multidisciplinary experience. 

To understand TOK is to understand the essence of IB, a task that most people consider unattainable.

But not for you! 

Thank your lucky stars who made you land on Nail IB. How exactly will Nail IB help you? 

Well, nailing International Baccalaureate is something we will discuss later. 

Let's focus on cracking your TOK essay, shall we?

TOK demonstrates how students  can apply their knowledge  with  greater awareness  and  credibility .

Big words, huh? 

Now that we know that we cannot just slide through the Theory of Knowledge, let's understand how we can conquer this battle all guns blazing.

ToK essay’s primary objective is to answer the  why  behind our studies. 

It makes one aware of the real-life implications of their subjects. The students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions and appreciate the diversity of different perspectives. It helps the students find their unique perception, a prerequisite for excelling in the IB TOK essays.

Before we dive into our gameplan, let’s overview the rules of the game.

There are two assessment tasks in the TOK: an essay and a presentation . While a presentation encourages students to explore a real-life situation through the lens of TOK, an essay is written on the basis of the various questions provided by the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

  • The presentation is to assess a student’s ability to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation whereas IB TOK essay is more conceptual.
  • The essay is externally assessed by IB and must be on any one of the prescribed TOK essay titles issued by the IB for each examination session.
  • Word limit of a TOK essay is 1600 words ( excludes extended notes, footnotes, bibliography).

Now that we have unleashed the game, let’s move ahead towards the gameplan of acing both, your presentation and your essay.

One of the fundamental tasks of TOK is to examine different areas of knowledge and find out their similarities and differences.

The TOK essay requires the students to investigate two Areas of Knowledge (AOK)  and two Ways of Knowing   (WOK) . AOKs and WOKs are investigated via questions such as:

  • How do we know what we know? (WOK)
  • What counts as evidence for X? (AOK)
  • How do we judge which is the best model of Y? (WOK)
  • What does theory Z mean in the real world? (AOK + WOK)

The aforementioned are  Knowledge Questions  which help combine the Areas of Knowledge and the Ways of Knowing that they are using. This eliminates the superficial way of learning and makes an individual sensitive to the nature of the information.   Our acquisition of Knowledge can be broadly divided into Shared Knowledge and Personal Knowledge.

Shared knowledge: What WE know It is the product of more than one individual. Although individuals contribute to it, shared knowledge does not solely depend upon the contributions of a particular individual—there are possibilities for others to check and amend individual contributions and add to the body of knowledge that already exists.

Personal knowledge: What I know It is essentially dependent on the experiences of a particular individual. Also known as procedural knowledge, it is gained through experience, practice and personal involvement and is intimately bound up with the particular local circumstances of the individual such as biography, interests, values, and so on.

The best hack to ace TOK essay is to develop a habit of making connections between the construction of knowledge, its acquisition and its relevance in the real world. 

After that one needs to develop an interest in understanding the difference between diversity and cultural perspectives and personal assumptions.

One also needs to critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives.

Yes, this is what you signed up for. It may sound a little intimidating but once you get the hang of it you will be able to see the matrix and understand this beautiful world a little better.

Understand that to provide the best version of your writing, it will take you more than one or two drafts. First and foremost, you need to pick your essay topic diligently. Try to choose an essay topic that best interests you. The topic should also allow you to explore the Areas of Knowledge towards which you are naturally inclined. Here are a few sample questions:

a) 'Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.' To what extend do you agree with this statement?

b) With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape their personal knowledge.

c) How can we know if knowledge is produced more through 'Passive Observation' or 'Active-Experiment' within the Human and Natural-sciences under a Mathematical-Perspective?

d) "The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives". Assess the validity of this statement.

Great things take time. It took me more than a couple of weeks to finalize this TOK essay guide. It is completely okay if the first few drafts may not look pleasing or award-winning to you. You will require sharpening your perspective towards the topic each time you polish your draft. Your writing journey from a dull draft to a masterpiece will be a whole process that you will have to be patient with. Have faith in yourself and proceed stepwise.

You need to consider the opinions of others who have devoted hours of research and a lifetime of dedicated studying the topic that surrounds your writing. Unravelling the realms of your mind palace is so Sherlock but let’s not deny the fact that at times, Watson is the one whose expertise helps Sherlock through pretty difficult times. I mean even Batman needs a Robin. In support of my awesome sauce examples, the point I am trying to make is that  finding support for our claims and counterclaims through research is a good thing .

Use real-life examples to support your claims and counterclaims. These examples need to be documented researched examples like studies, experiments, articles, presentations by well-known people, etc. Examples that stem from your diploma subjects are highly encouraged, but those will need to be supported by research as well.   

It is suggested that you choose a title, stick to it, tackle it and not be afraid. Do not change your mind unless there is a good reason. Also, try choosing Areas of knowledge that you truly enjoy. You know slaying a known devil is much easier than an unknown one. Allot a TIMELINE to your essay. Start with creating an outline of your essay. This will help you to track your progress and accomplish your goals

You can use tools like  Trello  to organize your ideas and plan your TOK essay.

Areas of Knowledge (AOKs): TOK distinguishes between eight areas of knowledge. They are mathematics, the natural sciences, the human sciences, the arts, history, ethics, religious knowledge systems, and indigenous knowledge systems. It is suggested that students study and explore six of these eight.

Ways of knowing (WOKs): TOK identifies eight specific WOKs- language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory. It is suggested that studying four of these eight in-depth would be appropriate. WOKs underlie the methodology of the areas of knowledge and provide a basis for personal knowledge.

Moving ahead, let us discuss the structure of your TOK essay.

Your essay will consist of 4 broad segregations

Before breaking down further on the pillars, keep the following in mind

  • Please note what the TOK essay title is asking you. (Read it a couple of times. We highly recommend that you brainstorm ideas with your TOK coordinator)
  • Make sure you understand the command term and the question it is asking.
  • What kind of knowledge is being elicited?
  • When choosing your areas of knowledge (AoK) and ways of knowing (WoK) make sure that you are able to draw contrasts and comparisons, that is, you are able to find evidence that supports as well as challenges your claims.
  • Identify key terms in your TOK essay title. Make sure you define them. Your essay will gravitate around them. Key terms/words in your titles are your essay anchors. Your response should be built around them.
  • Your writing skills come in handy while you work on your IB TOK essay. Like any other essay make sure you have proper thesis statements and topic sentences to guide the evaluator through your work.
  • Respect the TOK essay title. Rephrasing the topic is not encouraged . Your main job is to address the title.

Introduce your topic accurately and state your thesis statement for the essay carefully.  A thesis statement is like a teaser to your entire essay wherein you define your key terms and introduce your interpretation of the question. Make sure that you do not reword the prescribed title in your thesis. Instead, it needs to, as the word says, INTRODUCE your readers to what your essay is about. A strong introduction allows the reader to deduce what knowledge question(s) you are trying to answer.

So, in a nutshell

  • Write interesting things about the given TOK essay title .
  • Define key terms
  • Narrow in on the particularly interesting aspect
  • State your thesis statement . This will be your short answer to your given title if you don't know how to write a killer thesis statement check out this blog from SparkNotes .
  • State your Roadmap. This will help the readers in understanding the direction of your essay.

The body can be mainly divided into 3 segments.

Body (1st Segment)

  • AoK Claim:  Here you investigate your first Area of Knowledge and draw parallels between your AoK and the question. This is done by stating your claim. Claims can be general in nature and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. They help you shape your essay and investigate the question further. 
  • Evidence: Example of a real-life situation, describe thoroughly and accurately, which supports your stated claim. (AoK)
  • Counter-Claim: State your counter-claim: like claims, those can be general and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. Counterclaim helps you show the other side the coin and gives your essay a holistic nature. 
  • Evidence: A referenced real-life situation/example. Describe thoroughly and accurately, show how this supports your counterclaim (AoK ).
  • Don’t forget to weave in your WoKs:  You need to take into account the source of your knowledge. Here you can also investigate if your nature of acquiring the knowledge has, in any way, affected it. It is good practice to question if your knowledge would be different had it been acquired through a different source/method
  • Mini-conclusion: Here you analyze your examples in reference to your claims and counterclaims. You must connect to your thesis statement and the prescribed title. How does your proposed argument, in this particular part of the body, connect to the prescribed title and the knowledge questions you are trying to answer?

Body (2): Follow the above process for your second AOK.

  • Use this part of your essay to compare and contrast your varying AoKs. You need to connect them to your thesis and your prescribed title clearly showing how your arguments respond to the PT.

Your conclusion section will make your essay come together. It is the glue that will make your essay stick together. Herein, you need to

  • Reiterate your thesis (initial response).
  • Use your mini conclusions to write a final conclusion.
  • Tell the reader what the significance is for knowing what we know in this particular PT.
  • Discuss implications as well.
  • Offer another perspective, how will the perspective of a different person affect the claims/counterclaims you make in the essay?
  • Don’t forget to make the end strong.

We recommend all the ib students use the  citation machine  (It's FREE) to organize or generate a bibliography for your TOK essay. Please go through this extensive guide provided by the IB before you start working on your citations.

If you are still struggling heaps with your TOK essay feel free to subscribe to our tok notes bundles or get access to more than 500+ IBDP notes and past papers here .

Nail IB is your virtual companion that helps you hustle through your diploma and provide you with the right resources at the right time. To know more about acing IB, click  here .

I hope this article will become the foundation for figuring out how to write a TOK Essay.

Remember to have faith in yourself.

I hope you NAIL your TOK essay!

Quoting the great Napolean Hill

"Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

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How to Structure the TOK Essay?

TOK essay structure

Luke MacQuoid

Hello, fellow IB students! Fear not if you’re struggling with the IB Theory of Knowledge essay. I’m here to guide you through writing a stellar work. Having been in your shoes and now a seasoned IB writer, I understand how daunting this task can feel. But let’s break it down together. In this article, I’ll share insights on how to structure the TOK essay, a skill I’ve honed over years of experience.

Fundamentals of TOK Essay Structure

Let’s dig into the TOK essay structure, an essential aspect of successful IB essay writing. In my view, understanding the basic structure is like having a guide for your academic paper. So, a typical TOK essay includes three main parts.

The introduction is where you set the stage. It’s about introducing your topic and presenting your thesis statement — your central argument or standpoint. A strong introduction captures the reader’s attention and clearly outlines what you will discuss.

The body of your essay is where the discussion takes place. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of your thesis. Here’s a simple breakdown:

  • Point . Start with a clear point that relates to your thesis.
  • Explanation . Elaborate on this point. Why is it relevant? How does it relate to the TOK concepts ?
  • Example . Provide examples to support your point. It could be real-life situations, specific knowledge claims, or references to areas of knowledge.
  • Analysis . Analyze your example; don’t just describe it. How does it support your argument? What implications does it have for knowledge?

In the conclusion, you’re wrapping up your essay. Restate your thesis in a new light, considering the arguments and examples you’ve presented. It’s your final chance to make an impact on your reader, so make it count by summarizing your main points and leaving them with a final thought or question to ponder.

Remember, while the structure is like a skeleton, how you articulate your arguments, provide evidence, and engage with TOK concepts breathes life into your essay. Keep your writing clear, coherent, and focused on your thesis throughout.

How to Choose the Right Title for Your TOK Essay?

Selecting the appropriate title for your TOK essay is a significant step. From my extensive experience writing and mentoring in the IB program, I can tell you that your chosen title sets the tone for your essay. It’s not just a label; it’s the guiding star of your argument.

When faced with the list of prescribed titles from the IB, take your time to reflect on each one thoroughly. Which of these titles sparks your curiosity or challenges your thinking? The right title should resonate with your interests and knowledge. Here’s why this is crucial:

  • Personal Engagement . A title that genuinely interests you will inspire deeper thought and more passionate writing. Your connection to the topic will shine through in your essay, making it more compelling.
  • Scope for Exploration . Consider how the title allows for the exploration of TOK concepts. A good title should offer enough breadth to discuss various perspectives and areas of knowledge yet be specific enough to allow for in-depth analysis.
  • Connect with Areas of Knowledge . Consider how the titles relate to different areas of knowledge (AOKs) and ways of knowing (WOKs). Choose a title that allows you to draw on the AoKs and WOKs you are most familiar with or find most intriguing.
  • Formulate Your Argument . A well-chosen title will help you formulate a clear and concise thesis statement and meet a TOK essay word count . It should offer a clear path to build your arguments upon.

The title of your TOK essay is more than just a starting point; it’s the framework upon which your entire argument is built. Take the time to choose wisely, and ensure it’s a title you can engage deeply and critically. This careful consideration at the beginning significantly affects the ease of writing and the quality of your final essay.

Writing a Captivating Introduction for Your TOK Essay

Writing an introduction for your TOK essay is like setting the stage. It’s your first impression on your reader and, more importantly, the examiner. Having guided many students through this process, I’ve learned that the introduction is not just about stating facts; it’s about engaging, intriguing, and presenting your stance. Your introduction should serve several key purposes.

Present Your Thesis Statement

It is the cornerstone of your essay. Your thesis statement should clearly state your perspective or argument to the TOK title. It must be concise yet powerful, giving the reader a clear sense of your viewpoint and how you intend to research it.

Interpret the Essay Title

Before digging into your argument, you must show you’ve thought deeply about the title. Explain the title and hint at the angles you will research. It sets the context for your argument and shows the examiner that you’re addressing the title directly.

Outline Your Approach

Give the reader a map of your essay. What aspects will you cover? How will you approach them? It doesn’t mean listing every point you’ll make but giving a general idea of the structure and flow of your argument.

Engage the Reader

The introduction is also about capturing the reader’s interest. Start with an intriguing statement, a thought-provoking question, or a compelling quote. It can be a great way to draw the reader into your discussion.

Connect to TOK Concepts

Briefly indicate how your essay will engage with key TOK concepts. It could include the areas of knowledge you will focus on or the ways of knowing that will be most significant in your analysis.

IB TOK essay structure

Structuring the Body of Your TOK Essay

This part of the TOK essay is where you develop your ideas, present evidence, and conduct a thorough analysis. Here’s a comprehensive guide to writing the body of your TOK essay.

Paragraph Organization

Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence related to your thesis. This sentence should introduce the paragraph’s main idea, clearly linking your argument. Each section must focus on a single main idea to maintain clarity and coherence.

Develop Ideas

After introducing the main idea, it’s time to develop it. It involves explaining your point in more detail, relating it to TOK concepts, and showing how it supports your thesis. Be sure to include your insights and understanding. Your engagement with the topic is what brings your essay to life.

Use Evidence

Each point you make should be supported by evidence. It could be real-life situations, historical examples, science, literature, or personal experiences. What’s important is that your examples are relevant and help to substantiate your argument.

Critical Analysis

Don’t just present evidence; analyze it. Discuss its implications, strengths, and weaknesses. How does it support your point? What does it say about knowledge? This analysis demonstrates your critical thinking skills and depth of understanding.

Ensure that your paragraphs are interconnected. The end of each paragraph should naturally lead to the beginning of the next. This can be achieved through transition sentences summarizing one point and hinting at the next or directly linking the concepts discussed in consecutive paragraphs.

Reflect on Counterarguments

In your body paragraphs, it’s also effective to consider counterarguments or alternative perspectives. It shows the breadth of your understanding and strengthens your argument by demonstrating that you have considered and rebutted opposing views.

How to Add Real-Life Examples to Your TOK Essay?

When selecting examples, ensure they directly illuminate the point you’re making. The beauty of TOK is its interdisciplinary nature, so draw various areas like history, science, current events, or even personal experiences. This variety demonstrates your broad understanding of knowledge across different fields.

However, it’s not just about listing examples. The art lies in how you link them to TOK concepts. Each example should be a tool to explore these concepts, shedding light on your argument. It’s essential to analyze your examples, discussing their implications and relevance to the essay question. This approach shows critical thinking and a deep engagement with the material.

Also, consider the limitations of your examples. Acknowledging potential biases or missing perspectives reflects your ability to evaluate knowledge claims from multiple angles critically. Smoothly integrating these examples into your essay improves its flow and coherence, making your arguments more compelling. Remember, effective use of real-life examples can turn a good TOK essay into a great one.

introduction of tok essay

Need help with your IB TOK essay?

From research and analysis to structuring and editing, our skilled mentors will be by your side, helping you write an exceptional TOK essay that meets the word count and stringent IB criteria.

Making Conclusion for Your TOK Essay

The conclusion of your TOK essay is much more than just a summary. It’s your final opportunity to make an impact. Drawing from my extensive experience in IB writing and mentoring, I can give some key elements to include.

Synthesize Key Points

Your conclusion should summarize the main points you’ve made. It isn’t about listing each point again but about drawing connections between them to reinforce how they collectively support your thesis. Show the reader how the pieces fit together.

Address the Implications

Discuss the broader implications of your argument. What does your analysis suggest about the nature of knowledge? How does it contribute to our understanding of the TOK themes? It’s your chance to demonstrate the significance of your discussion beyond the confines of the essay.

Reflect on AOKs and WOKs

Briefly reflect on how your essay engages with different areas of knowledge and ways of knowing. How have these contributed to your understanding of the topic? This reflection shows your ability to think about knowledge holistically and interconnectedly.

Leave Thought-Provoking Idea

End your essay with a thought-provoking idea or question. It could be related to a gap in the current understanding, a future direction for research , or a philosophical question that emerged from your discussion. The goal is to leave the reader thinking deeply about the topic even after reading.

The Bottom Line

And there you have it! A guide on how to structure the TOK essay. Remember, this is your opportunity to showcase your critical thinking skills. With a clear structure and a bit of creativity, you’re well on your way to success. Best of luck, and remember that our experts are always ready to help you with TOK essay writing.

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Luke MacQuoid has extensive experience teaching English as a foreign language in Japan, having worked with students of all ages for over 12 years. Currently, he is teaching at the tertiary level. Luke holds a BA from the University of Sussex and an MA in TESOL from Lancaster University, both located in England. As well to his work as an IB Examiner and Master Tutor, Luke also enjoys sharing his experiences and insights with others through writing articles for various websites, including extendedessaywriters.com blog

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Type a search phrase to find the most relevant TOK Essay examples for you

Not sure what to search for? You can always look through our example Internal Assessments below for inspiration.

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Filter exemplars, for artists and natural scientists, which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained discuss with reference to the arts and the natural sciences., does it matter if our acquisition of knowledge happens in "bubbles" where some information and voices are excluded discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., want to get full marks for your tok essay allow us to review it for you 🎯, is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., are visual representations always helpful in the communication of knowledge discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics., fast track your coursework with mark schemes moderated by ib examiners. upgrade now 🚀, to what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use discuss with reference to history and one area of knowledge., tok essay: 5. “how can we distinguish between good and bad interpretations discuss with reference to the arts and one other area of knowledge”, 如果我们是在排除某些信息和声音的“信息同温层”里获取知识,这有关系吗请参考两个知识领域展开你的应答。, does it matter if our knowledge acquisition happens in "bubbles" where some information and voices are excluded discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge, do you agree that it is “astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power” (bertrand russell) discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge., does it matter if our acquisition of knowledge happens in “bubbles” where some information and voices are excluded discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., to what extent is the knowledge weproduce determined by the methodologieswe use, for artists and natural scientists, which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained discuss with reference to the arts and natural science., êtes-vous d'accord qu'il est "étonnant que si peu de connaissance puissent nous donner autant de pouvoir" (bertrand russell) - discutez cette question en faisant référence aux sciences naturelles et à un autre domaine de la connaissance, est-il important que notre acquisition des connaissances se fasse dans des « bulles » où certaines informations et certaines voix sont exclues discutez cette question en faisant référence à deux domaines de la connaissance., to what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use discuss with reference to history and one other area of knowledge., is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two area of knowledge, are visual representations always helpful in communicating knowledge discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics., are visual representations always useful in communication of knowledge discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics., for artists and natural scientists which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained, is replication necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two aoks., do you agree that it is "astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power" (bertrand russell) discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge., is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge.

How To Write a ToK Essay IBDP – Step-By-Step Guide

  • Created on October 3, 2019
  • Blog , IBDP , Learning Tips

Let’s learn how to write a ToK Essay with Tutopiya. The IB ToK Essay contributes to the overall score of a student’s IB Diploma. The award of points for the IB ToK Essay is in conjunction with the extended essay. A maximum of three points is awarded according to a student’s combined performance in both the TOK and Extended Essay. 

Tutopiya will help and guide our IB Diploma students on the following:

  • How to Start a ToK Essay
  • Cover the ToK Essay Structure
  • How to Write a ToK Essay Conclusion
  • Analysis of a ToK Essay Example 

Choosing Your Essay Title 

Before you can dive into structuring or writing your essay, you will need to spend time to decide on a topic you wish to write on. For the IB ToK Essay, you are required to compare and contrast different ways of knowing through perception, language, reason, emotion with different areas of knowledge (AOK). 

1 – Selecting your prescribed title and knowledge question

Before you hastily decide on a title you wish to write, take some time to read each title carefully on the list and brainstorm ideas. 

Tip #1: Brainstorming

Get some initial ideas you have of each and every title/ question down on paper. Ask yourself some simple questions when brainstorming for each title. 

Am I confident to write an essay about this? Is the question asking what I am thinking? Do I understand the keywords or concepts in the title?

You may not be clear on what the title is asking you to do. Go through the title and highlight any keywords and concepts you are unsure about or may have missed out. 

Do you have a strong interest in the title? We recommend that you should at least be interested since you will be spending time and effort on researching this topic, pick something you are willing to research more about!

Can you relate anything to the title? Though the IB Tok Essay should be as objective as possible, you can always inject the essay with personality and character.

You can always do so by adding in ideas or topics you have learned or studied in class or even personal experiences. 

Tip #2: Understanding the question in your own words

The titles of these essay questions can sometimes be long and difficult to grasp when you first read them so before you write the IB ToK Essay, consider paraphrasing the question in your own words.

You may struggle to understand the keywords and concepts in the title, you may even be unsure about the perspective, comparison and contrast of the title. 

To help our IB students, we recommend breaking down the question/ title by first, understanding the keywords in the title. Then, put the title together and understand what they are asking. 

This way, you will be able to understand the title more in-depth than before and able to answer the title sufficiently. 

Structuring your Essay

1 – knowing the assessment criteria .

Overall Assessment 

2 – Theory of Knowledge Essay 

The rubrics require students to be able to understand the knowledge questions and their quality of analysis of knowledge questions. View the TOK Essay Mark Scheme here .

You will have to choose two Areas of Knowledge (AOK) to explore.

There are 8 different Areas of Knowledge are as follows:

  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Humane Sciences
  • Religious knowledge systems 
  • Indigenous knowledge systems 

You can also use Ways of Knowledge (WOK) in your essay and the are as follows:

  • Sense Perception
  • Reason 
  • Imagination

Analysis of a Sample Essay 

Question: “Doubt is the key to knowledge (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

Important Keywords in the Title 

“To what extent” 

When keywords like this appear, note that you need to present 2 different perspectives to the question, a for and against argument in your essay. 

Paragraph 1: Introduction 

You would provide an explanation and interpretation of the title and identify the key terms in the title. You would also need to state your thesis and explain or identify the areas of knowledge you will be exploring in your essay.

1 – Start the essay by saying something relatable or interesting

By doing that, you can capture the reader’s attention and make them want to read more by evoking a sense of curiosity to find out more about your essay. 

2 – Your Thesis/ Stand

You can also state your thesis (that is different from mainstream ideas – to capture the reader’s attention). You can make the decision to be a for or against stand in your essay. If you decided 

In your own words , give an interpretation of the title and show that you are able to identify the key terms of the question.

“The problem with doubt as the key to knowledge is that doubt isn’t a way of knowing. Doubt is an emotion we feel that motivates us to seek knowledge.” 

3 – Outline of the paragraph

Give the readers an idea of what you will be going through in your body paragraphs , a sentence that gives the readers a preview. Let the readers know which AOKs you will be exploring, making it easier for the examiner to know what to look for. 

“However this motivation can manifest itself differently in contrasting areas of knowledge like Mathematics and Religion.” 

Your introduction should not be too long, use around 150 to 200 words for your first paragraph would be sufficient. 

Paragraph 2: First Area of Knowledge. 

1 – begin your paragraph with a claim or topic sentence.

This helps you to outline your argument about the title. 

“Mathematics is an area of knowledge that is only concerned with reason.” 

2 – Explain and Elaborate

Now, give explain and elaborate on your topic sentence/ claim. 

“In a right-angled triangle a²+b²=c² and that’s it. There are no alternative answers or personal interpretations. An answer to a mathematical problem is either right or wrong. This is because the main way of knowing in math is reason and evidence is required for a mathematical statement to be true or false.” 

3 – Give an example with an explanation

This helps you to further elaborate and explore your topic sentence or claim.

The example you give should be personal, specific, precise and real.

This way you can make your claim believable and relatable in some sense. This also helps to evoke a sense of authenticity in your essay. 

“When we first learned about negative numbers in math class it made no sense to me. How could a bigger number have a lower value than a smaller one? It was illogical and it contradicted all the math I had learned before that day….. Either the previous mathematical information was wrong or the new information about negative numbers were wrong. But he explained the concept of a number line with a central point 0 and that they were both right.”

4 – Linking back

Remember to link back to your claim and the question after you are done exploring this example. 

“My doubt led to understanding and was the key to my knowledge.”

Paragraph 3: Counter

1 – state your counterclaim.

This paragraph would focus on counterclaim . You are supposed to discuss 2 different perspectives to your claim, a for and against. You are to argue against your claim above this paragraph.

“On the other hand, doubt in mathematics can be detrimental to education.”

2 – Give an Example and Explanation

Add in an example and explanation to support your counterclaim. 

“For example, after I do a question from the International Baccalaureate mathematics textbook I always look at the back in order to check if my answers are correct because it has answers in the back. If I do not have the book and I am in class then I ask my mathematics teacher for the correct answer. I do this when I am uncertain of my answer to a question and my doubt allows me to gain knowledge i.e. whether my answer is wrong or right. My doubt also helps me to assess how much of the mathematical concept I have understood by marking myself. However, this can be detrimental to progress because I started to become dependent on the answers at the back of the book or my mathematics teacher. Every time I do a question I feel like I have to verify my answer with an authoritative source which I have now come to understand leaves no room for exploration or the development of my own methods.”

3 – Linking back

Link back to your prescribed title and your claim of this paragraph. 

“My doubt caused a loss of confidence in my mathematical abilities and dependence on authoritative sources.”

Now, follow this format and carry on writing for the next two body paragraphs, exploring on another Area of Knowledge, in this case, this student will have to write one more AOK on Religion and a counterclaim for it. 

Aim to write a maximum of 600 words for each Area of Knowledge (Paragraph 2 and 3, Paragraph 4 and 5). 

Paragraph 4: Second Area of Knowledge

  • Topic Sentence
  • Example + Explanation 

Paragraph 5: Counterclaim 

  • Topic Sentence (Counterclaim)
  • Example + Explanation
  • Link to prescribed title and your initial claim of this Area of Knowledge 

Finally, write your ToK Essay conclusion in one paragraph totalling 200 to 250 words .

Paragraph 6: Your conclusion

Explain the different insights you have gained or have come out of this essay. 

“As illustrated by the example of dependence on authoritative sources in mathematics doubt can be detrimental and cause a loss of confidence. Similarly, doubting conjectures has also proven to be unfruitful. However, within mathematics individual doubt can lead to the acquisition of knowledge.” 

Implications and significance

Tell the readers why it is important to know that and how does it matter that they understand this when you write your IB ToK Essay.

Perspectives and Extension

If you can, try to input a very different perspective on your conclusion. Perhaps recognizing a different way of approaching the question, which could have resulted in different insights. 

You can mention the limitations of your essay saying there are one or two unresolved questions that this essay has revealed. It’s about showing the readers that the conversation is not over yet. And that, there is more to the question and more rooms that you can explore. 

“Furthermore, in areas like religion where we do not yet have the tools to prove it one way or the other simply doubting something by itself is a step towards acquiring knowledge because by suggesting that certain view is not absolute it makes room for new knowledge.”

A Quick Tip for writing a ToK Essay

Tip: try not to use dictionary definitions in your essay.

You want to show the examiners that you are writing a reflective essay, not a textbook definition heavy essay. Don’t rely too much on dictionary definitions to prove your argument or support a counterclaim. This will demonstrate that you did not engage with the topic and bypassed complexities around the topic. 

Instead of using standard answers or cliche examples, you can try to use your own personal experiences to make it original and insightful for your readers. Though the essay should be objective, your essay should still have a personality and character. 

Try Getting Expert’s Help

Tutopiya is a 1-1 Live Online Tutoring for all students aged 8 to 18 years old. Tutopiya offers the IB Diploma Program curriculum to all students, visit our IB curriculum page to find out more about the subjects we teach here. We also have a blog full of useful IB resources for our students, why not read another sample essay for IB TOK ?

Interested to try our online learning with our expert IB tutors? We provide FREE 60 minutes trial lesson to all new students. You can sign up or simply fill up a trial form application here to begin learning with Tutopiya! Come learn how to write a ToK essay with Tutopiya today!

I am currently a full-time student studying at a local university in Singapore while freelancing as a writer. I enjoy writing and sharing useful education-related tips with my fellow studying peers. During my leisure time, I enjoy doing creative arts and volunteering work. I am passionate about sharing my experience as a student! ☺

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How to Write a TOK Essay

Last Updated: December 28, 2023

This article was co-authored by Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA . Stephanie Wong Ken is a writer based in Canada. Stephanie's writing has appeared in Joyland, Catapult, Pithead Chapel, Cosmonaut's Avenue, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Fiction and Creative Writing from Portland State University. This article has been viewed 250,222 times.

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Theory of Knowledge essay is a 1200–1600 word essay on prescribed topics or titles created by the IB. As the name suggests, your Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay should focus on knowledge issues (what is knowledge? why and how do we know things?) and link to other areas of knowledge as well. About two-thirds of your final TOK grade is determined by your score on your TOK essay.

Choosing Your Essay Title

Step 1 Understand the structure of a TOK essay.

  • Mathematics
  • Natural sciences
  • Human sciences
  • Religious knowledge systems
  • Indigenous knowledge systems

Step 2 Ask your teacher for the prescribed titles for the TOK essay.

  • “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge.”
  • “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?”

Step 3 Select a title carefully.

  • Do you understand the keywords or concepts in the title? You may not be clear on what a title is asking you to do. Go through the title and highlight any words or concepts you are unsure about. Some titles will use keywords from TOK courses, such as “belief”, “knowledge” “truth”. You may want to check back on your class notes and consider what these words mean in the context of the title.
  • Do you have a strong interest in the title? The title should play to your interests and you should feel you can write about the title with care and diligence. For example, if you are skilled or interested in the arts, you may choose a title like “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge” and pick the arts as one area of knowledge. Keep in mind, however, you should balance your passion for the title with an objective perspective.
  • Do you have something relevant to say about the title? It’s important that you relate the question to the ideas you have covered in your TOK course, as well as the topics you have studied in class, and your own personal experiences or thoughts. The essay should have an objective tone, but you will still need to inject it with personality, passion, and clarity.

Step 4 Put the title in your own words.

  • For example, in a title like: “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?”, you may rephrase it into two sentences. The title refers to three AOK: mathematics, history, and science. It is then asking you to compare and contrast the way these three AOK use explanation as a way of knowing about a topic or issue.
  • By breaking down the title into short sentences, you now have a clearer picture of what the title is asking you to do and how you might go about answering the title sufficiently.

Structuring the Essay

Step 1 Note the assessment criteria.

  • Understanding the knowledge issues: your essay must be focused on the knowledge issues, link and compare at least two knowledge issues, show relevancy between at least two knowledge issues, and demonstrate a sophisticated understanding of the knowledge issues.
  • Knower’s perspective: your essay must demonstrate independent thinking, self-awareness, at least two different perspectives, and several supporting examples.
  • Analysis of the knowledge issues: your essay must show insight and depth, justify your main points, present arguments and counter-arguments, and explore any assumptions and implications of your topic.
  • Organization of ideas: your essay must be well structured, explain key concepts, be factually accurate, and cite references where applicable.

Step 2 Read the essay instructions.

  • You may also be asked “to what extent” or “in what way” a statement is justified. You will then need to present for and against arguments for the statement.
  • If you are asked a direct question, your essay should address to what extent or in what ways you are for and against an argument or position.

Step 3 Brainstorm ideas around the essay title.

  • Start by doing a general, open brainstorm. Write down everything that comes to mind when you think about the title without passing judgement on any of the ideas, or stopping to read over your brainstorm.
  • After five minutes of brainstorming, read over your notes. Identify ideas that relate to each other or that contradict each other. If you are evaluating or assessing a claim in the essay title, create a for column and an against column. Group your brainstorming ideas into either column. Create a third column for grey area ideas, or ambiguities, and place ideas in that column.
  • Note any examples of the ideas that you wrote down. For example, you may be addressing a title like: “When mathematicians, historians and scientists say that they have explained something, are they using the word ‘explain’ in the same way?” You may create a brainstorm for each area of knowledge (mathematics, history, science) in relation to the idea of explaining something. You may then use examples of “something” that can be explained in each AOK: a mathematical equation, a historical moment in a battle or a trial, and a scientific theory.

Step 4 Identify the knowledge issue in the essay title.

  • You should also identify the areas of knowledge you will be discussing in your essay. For example, for a title like: “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge” you may choose two AOK: the arts and science. You may then compare and contrast the function of “reason” and “imagination” in the arts and in science.

Step 5 Create an outline.

  • Paragraph 1: Introduction. You would provide an explanation and interpretation of the title and identify the key terms in the title. You would also state your thesis and explain or identify a knowledge issue related to the title.
  • Paragraph 2: First Area of Knowledge. For example, the arts. Discuss how the arts answers the title and provide supporting examples. You should also note any counter-arguments against the title or any limitations of the supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 3: Second Area of Knowledge. For example, mathematics. Note how mathematics answers the title and provide supporting examples. You should also note any counter-arguments against the title or any limitations of the supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 4: Third Area of Knowledge (if applicable)
  • Paragraph 5: Conclusion. Summarize your main ideas and restate your thesis. Conclude by answering the title fully, taking into account the counter arguments and limitations of the areas of knowledge.
  • You may also decide to structure your essay based on a main argument and a main counter-argument. Your outline may contain four paragraphs total:
  • Paragraph 1: Introduction and explanation of the knowledge issue.
  • Paragraph 2: Main argument, with justification and one to two supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 3: Main counter-argument, with justification and one to two supporting examples.
  • Paragraph 4: Conclusion.

Step 6 Create a thesis...

  • Some students find it useful to draft their thesis statement once they have finished writing a first draft of the essay. By this point, you will likely have a better sense of the main arguments in the essay and be able to write a clear, concise thesis statement.
  • For example, you may need to create a thesis statement for this title: “Compare the roles played by reason and imagination in at least two Areas of Knowledge.” You have chosen two AOK: the arts and mathematics. Consider how reason and imagination function in the arts and in mathematics, as well as the different ways they function in each AOK. Your thesis may be: “Through reason and imagination play an important role in both mathematics and the arts, the imaginative thoughts of mathematicians must be provable, while the imaginative thoughts of artists need only be reasonable.” [5] X Research source

Writing the Essay

Step 1 Use your essay outline as a guide.

  • You may want to also refer back to your brainstorming notes to identify the supporting examples for your two areas of knowledge, or your main argument and your main counter-argument.

Step 2 Avoid using dictionary definitions in your essay.

  • For example, you may be discussing the use of reason and imagination in the arts. Rather than discuss a familiar artist, like Picasso, or a familiar example of imaginative thinking, like the Sistine Chapel, use supporting examples that feel original and insightful. Though the essay should be objective in nature, it should also feel reflective and personal. Using a supporting example that you feel passionate about, like Pollack’s kinetic movement paintings, or Rodin’s sculptures, will show you have taken the time to explore unique examples.

Step 3 Cite all external sources using MLA style citations.

  • Reference surprising or little known claims, but not well known facts or commonly held opinions. For example: “The sun is the center of the solar system” is a well known fact you will not need to cite. But “Rodin was a traditionally-schooled artist and had a craftsman-like approach to his work” will require a citation as it is maybe a little known fact.
  • Reference any sentences or sections where you are closely following someone else’s train of thought or argument, even in your own words.
  • Reference exact quotes, and use quotation marks.
  • Be consistent with your citations and the way you reference certain sources.

Step 4 Read your essay out loud.

  • As you read your essay out loud, make sure there are no vague or abstract sentences or terms. You want to ensure you use your 1600 word count in a clear and concise way. Every word will count in your TOK essay.
  • Confirm you have addressed knowledge issues in your essay. Your essay should answer the question “How do you know?” and assess the strengths and weaknesses of knowledge claims in at least two areas of knowledge. You should also use arguments and counter-arguments to support your thesis statement, as well as strong supporting examples.

Step 5 Correct any spelling or grammatical errors.

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  • ↑ http://www.dirk-solies.de/TOK/how%20to%20write%20a%20ToK%20essay%20cambridge.pdf
  • ↑ http://www.toktalk.net/2009/11/20/starting-and-planning-the-tok-essay/

About This Article

Stephanie Wong Ken, MFA

To write a TOK essay that compares several areas of knowledge, start with an introductory paragraph that explains your title and states your thesis. Then, write 2-3 main body paragraphs, discussing in each a single area of knowledge and how it relates to your title. Try to provide supporting examples in each case, and address any potential counter-arguments, as well. Finally, end your essay with a conclusion that summarizes your main ideas and restates your thesis. When you’re done, check to be sure that you’re within the 1,200-1,600 word limit for the essay. To learn from our English reviewer how to choose an essay title and create your thesis statement, read on! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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Guide to the TOK Essay

What’s covered:.

  • What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
  • What is the Theory of Knowledge Essay?

How is the Theory of Knowledge Essay Scored?

How to structure your theory of knowledge essay.

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB/IBDP) is a rigorous and rewarding internationally based educational program that offers courses in numerous studies, from humanities to chemistry. Students take part in a two-year curriculum that includes external examinations, internal assessments, research papers and community service hours. Essentially, students will have to do a bit of everything, especially with IB’s core, which is CAS, TOK, and the extended essay (EE). Understanding how TOK, IB’s flagship class, is assessed with its essay is important to success in the course overall. 

What is Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)?

Theory of Knowledge is IB’s way of introducing a more intuitive way of thinking into classrooms. TOK is at its surface as simple as it sounds: you essentially learn the “what” and “why” of how we learn and understand knowledge. In order to assess students of their skills in TOK, IB uses an essay and a presentation. The essay makes up 67% of your total TOK score, making it the most important task to focus on for getting a high score. 

What is the Theory Of Knowledge Essay?

The TOK essay is a 1600 word essay written about topics usually given to students from their teachers from a list of numerous options. It is an essay that promotes arguments and counterarguments for the topic at hand. Understanding your ways of knowing (WOKs) and areas of knowledge (AOKs) is extremely crucial before you even start choosing a topic to write on, as your essay will revolve around and structure itself based on these two concepts. Being able to demonstrate higher-level thinking and using examples to solidify the points you make in your essay is also important. Additionally, you’ll need to reference every source of information that you use, since that is something examiners look for as well.

As said earlier, 67% of your grade is from the essay, and your overall TOK score receives a letter grade using a calculated score out of thirty. Your essay score and presentation score are each out of ten. The grades for your TOK presentation and essay are determined by sending material to the board of IB, from which they designate a grader/examiner to read your essay and grade based on a rubric that determines the level of knowledge you exhibit in your writing.

The following formula should better explain how to find your TOK grade. 

(presentation score) + (essay score * 2) = overall score out of 30

The grade boundaries out of 30 that determine your letter grade can vary each year so checking in with your school for the most recent ones is the best course of action, but an example set would be like this:

Once you have a letter grade for IB, your extended essay, which is another part of the core, is also included into a larger grading schema to calculate your core score, which is three additional points required to complete and earn the diploma. The following table details this grade further:

Doing well in the core is important to passing IB and getting three points out of the total 45 attainable points. 

There’s a trick that most IB students use in writing the TOK essay, and it boils down to understanding four key components of learning:

  • Content : Understanding knowledge issues
  • Clarity : Structuring your essay in a legible and clear/easy to read manner
  • Creativity : Using your personal ways of thinking and applications of knowledge specific to your understanding of the knowledge issue
  • Critical Thinking : Using a counter argument for every argument you have to analyze your own claims constantly 

Dividing your actual essay into three main chunks helps, starting with an introduction. Your introduction should be where you state your knowledge question, the central point of your essay, and you should make use of jargon specific to the concept. As the basis of your essay, the introduction should be where you form claims and counterclaims that either support or challenge the knowledge question through heavy analysis and evaluation. 

The body of the essay follows the introduction, and it is where most of the conceptual analysis of your knowledge question takes place. Every argument and its counterargument should have a dedicated paragraph of its own, and make sure to not jump back and forth too much throughout the essay. to avoid creating messy transitions for the reader and potentially harming your score. Understanding the essay from the reader’s point of view is important, as it will help you better understand how to structure the body of your essay.

A conclusion in the TOK essay is mainly for finding closure among the numerous arguments that have been taking place thus far in the essay. Make sure to summarize but not repeat previous information entirely to refresh the reader. A conclusion should essentially loop back to the beginning of the essay, the knowledge question. The knowledge question’s answer should be the conclusion and the stopping point of the essay, and by now the answer you provide should be backed by paragraphs of supporting claims and counterclaims. If done right, concluding the essay can be how you earn most of your points. 

Start Early

Starting early is an obvious and effective advantage to students. Aside from TOK, let alone the presentation, IB has substantial work that requires focus and allocated time dedicated to it, such as external examinations and the extended essay. These tasks are equally as important as the TOK essay, so starting your outlining, drafting or even just planning early will set you up for success.

Send Your Drafts to Your Teacher

Your TOK teacher is a great resource for drafting essays and making edits to perfect your final product. Making use of time outside of the classroom to catch your teacher for a quick review of your essay could be a bigger advantage than you realize. Making use of an outside perspective is essential to forming a great essay. 

While your final IB grade isn’t as important as you’d think regarding college admissions, understanding how to pass TOK and using the lifelong practices you’ll learn in the class is even more important. TOK creates students who think outside conventional methods, making them excellent candidates in the eyes of college admissions offices. Taking TOK and showing proof of understanding it as well as capability of academic rigor is what colleges are looking for. For more information on how your chances of college admissions might look, use CollegeVine’s admissions calculator !

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

introduction of tok essay

Example essays

As part of theory of knowledge (TOK), each student chooses one essay title from six issued by International Baccalaureate®(IB). 

The titles change in each examination session. 

Upcoming and past questions include: 

  • “To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past? Consider with reference to two areas of knowledge.”
  •  “'There is no reason why we cannot link facts and theories across disciplines and create a common groundwork of explanation.' To what extent do you agree with this statement?”
  • “There is no such thing as a neutral question. Evaluate this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.”
  • “'The task of history is the discovering of the constant and universal principles of human nature.' To what extent are history and one other area of knowledge successful in this task?”

Further guidance on the TOK essay and exhibition can be found in the IB’s Programme Resource Centre (PRC) .

Materials in the PRC are only available to existing IB World Schools. These materials are free.

There are a number of resources on TOK in the IB Store , which are available to everyone.

Find out how to become an IB World School .

introduction of tok essay

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How to Structure and Format your TOK Essay!

introduction of tok essay

TOK is, for many, an extremely difficult subject to get your head around. A lot of the questions you get asked in class might seem entirely nonsensical to you, and perhaps the TOK essay titles seem just as confusing! One thing that we at Lanterna think is the most under-appreciated thing that truly aids understanding and expressing those more confusing concepts is clear structure and format . 

So many of the TOK essays we’ve seen students submit have had some great ideas but they seem too rambling and incoherent. Taking a few extra hours to address the structure of the essay is not just something that will make your essay ‘look’ better, but it will actually express your ideas much more clearly! What results is an examiner that clearly understands your viewpoint, rather than having to search for what you actually mean, and your grade is sure to increase! So… how do we structure and format our TOK Essay? 

Introduction (150-200 words)

  • Start by focusing on the prescribed title (PT) – what catches your attention about it? 
  • Define a few key terms from the prescribed title. Typically your PT will contain some words or phrases that aren’t easily definable, like “progress in knowledge” vs. “change in knowledge”, so the way in which you define these key terms is extremely important to the way that you then answer the PT. 
  • Choose the AoK’s that you will consider related to this PT and perhaps a brief description of why you think these are good choices of AoK’s to discuss this title!
  • State your thesis – typically the PT will be a question that you can agree, disagree, or partly agree with. 
  • Give a general overview of what you will be discussing in your essay, potentially referring to the real life examples (RLE’s) that you will consider, or the Ways of Knowing (WoK) that you will discuss further in your body paragraphs. 

Body Paragraph 1 (250-350 words)

  • Explore the first AoK you chose. State why that AoK either supports or doesn’t support the PT.
  • Introduce a real life example
  • Explain why this real life example supports or doesn’t support the PT using WoKs
  • Talk about if this is a unique example, or if that example is true for most of that AoK.

Body Paragraph 2 (250-350 words)

  • Counterclaim to the example you gave above – explaining why it might be flawed or what downsides it might have
  • Introduce a real life example within the same AoK that counters the example in paragraph 1, using different WoKs
  • Refer back to the PT with a concluding sentence stating to what extent your first AoK supports or doesn’t support your thesis based on the example and counterexample you’ve highlighted.

Body Paragraph 3 (250-350 words)

  • Similar to Body Paragraph 1, explore your second AoK by bringing up a real life example, explaining it using WoKs, and evaluate

Body Paragraph 4 (250-350 words)

  • Similar to Body Paragraph 2, give a counterclaim to your previous example and then refer back to the PT showing whether your second AoK supports or doesn’t support your thesis. 

Body Paragraph 5 

  • If you have additional words to play around with then we’d recommend adding a body paragraph where you compare and contrast the 2 AoKs that you chose. Why is that they address the PT in different ways? Is it purely down to the WoKs we use when getting knowledge from those areas, or are there other factors at play? 
  • Most importantly, refer back to the PT and your thesis. Through your analysis what is your response to the PT? Generally it’s unwise to come down extremely strongly on one side of the argument, as that probably implies that you’ve failed to recognize the arguments on the other side of the aisle. With that said, state what side you lean towards after your analysis and what examples backed that up!
  • Tell us why it’s important to know the answer to this question!

Every TOK Essay will look different and this isn’t the only format you can use for your essay. In fact, for some prescribed titles you might even want to steer away from this structure if the PT lends itself to another format! However, as a baseline, this is a clear, well-thought out way to approach the confusing essay that is your TOK Essay. Let us know if you have any more questions about the TOK Essay and we’ll be happy to help you out! Good luck!

We also offer online private tuition if you would like more support with your TOK essay, and our packages here .

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Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary field of study that focuses on understanding the different ways of knowing and how our knowledge is acquired, developed and used. It involves exploring the connections between different disciplines, such as the sciences, humanities, mathematics, and the arts, and recognizing the complexities of real-world problems and issues. Through TOK, students are able to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them, as well as develop their critical thinking skills.

TOK helps people understand the links between different disciplines, allowing them to see a broader perspective on the world. By equipping students with the tools to think critically, TOK prepares them for meaningful dialogue about complex issues. Additionally, it serves as a valuable way for students to assess and evaluate their own knowledge and beliefs, as well as question and challenge the knowledge of others. In essence, TOK encourages exploration of the different ways of knowing and understanding the world.

For teachers, understanding the importance of TOK can help to create more effective learning environments. By introducing and discussing different theories and perspectives, teachers can provoke deeper exploration and thought, which can help to ground students’ understanding and open up new sources of knowledge. Moreover, introducing TOK in the classroom can develop students’ ability to think critically, allowing them to form logical arguments and see the connection between different areas of knowledge.

To sum up, Theory of Knowledge is an interdisciplinary field of study that encourages exploration of the different ways of knowing and understanding the world. It provides students with the skills to think critically and examine the complexities of real-world issues. Additionally, it is a useful tool for teachers to help develop students’ abilities to think critically and explore different perspectives. Now, let’s take a closer look at the TOK essay structure.

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IB TOK Essay Structure in Detail

Outline of the TOK Essay Structure

The International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge essay is a 750 to 1600 word requirement on the student’s knowledge of the world, and how they analyze and evaluate it. The TOK essay structure is designed to help students express their ideas in an organized, concise and effective way.

The TOK essay has a distinct structure that should be followed throughout the paper. The basic structure includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Each of these parts should be a separate section within the outline and should include specific points.

The introduction should clearly define the topic and provide an overview of the essay’s purpose. It should also introduce the three Are of Knowledge (AOKs) that are relevant to this essay and describe how they will be connected in the essay.

Following the introduction, each body paragraph should contain an argument, evidence to support it and then a conclusion that ties back to the main argument. Body paragraphs should cover each AOK mentioned in the introduction, with the arguments relating to each AOK. In addition, body paragraphs should state how each AOK is related to each other.

Finally, the conclusion should summarize all of the arguments made in the body of the essay and suggest ways to further explore the topics presented. This should be done with a focus on how these areas of knowledge intersect to create a more holistic understanding of the world.

By following this structure, students can ensure that their TOK essay is well organized and effectively communicates their ideas. Additionally, it will help students stay on track with the essay’s requirements and ensure that their essay meets the grading criteria.

Overview of the Grading Criteria for TOK Essays

The Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay is one of the most important components in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, and it carries a significant chunk of the overall score. Writing a compelling TOK essay requires much more than simply understanding the topics and reading about them. If you’re hoping to get an excellent grade, it’s crucial to understand how your work will be assessed.

Knowledge Questions and their Relevance

The key part of any TOK essay is the knowledge questions – these need to be answered directly with a clear focus and relevance to the question. A well-structured essay will address the question from various points of view and as far as possible. It should also provide appropriate examples and evidence for your points, any counterclaims or alternative viewpoints and your own knowledge experiences.

Organization and Structure

The essay should be logically organized and structured with clearly defined sections. Every section needs to have a purpose and its own independent set of arguments. It should also include citations and sources where appropriate, as well as personal knowledge experiences. The overall essay should be written in an academic style, consistent with the rest of the TOK curriculum.

Reasoning and Argumentation

Make sure you use complex reasoning to develop a strong argument that supports your main point in the essay. To do this effectively, you’ll need to reference other sources, research documents and your own personal experiences. Your essay should also discuss the validity and reliability of the sources used, and whether they are relevant to the particular knowledge issue being discussed.

Grammar and Language

Finally, the essay should be written using a formal language, grammar and punctuation. When writing the essay, it’s important to keep in mind that TOK is designed to be studied from an international perspective. Grammatical accuracy, clarity and consistency in language will help to make sure your points come across effectively, and allow you to get the best score.

Understanding the grading criteria that are used to assess TOK essays is crucial if you want to earn a high grade. Make sure you pay close attention to each of the criteria discussed here and ensure your essay covers them all. This will help you get the most out of your TOK essay and ensure you reach the grade you deserve.

Step-by-step Guide to Writing a TOK Essay

Writing a Theory of Knowledge essay can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. By breaking the essay writing process down into small, manageable steps, you can make it easier and less stressful. This step-by-step guide shows how to use the Areas of Knowledge (AOKs) to write an effective TOK essay.

Step One: Brainstorm

The best way to start your TOK essay is to brainstorm ideas. Take some time to think about your experiences and create a list of potential topics that could be developed into an essay. Don’t worry if the ideas don’t relate directly to the question – this is just for brainstorming purposes.

Step Two: Research

Once you have an idea of what kind of essay you are going to write, it is time to do some research. Look into the different AOKs and try to pinpoint which ones are relevant to your topic. This should give you a basic knowledge of the topic and the various perspectives that need to be considered in the essay.

Step Three: Outline

Now that you have researched the topic, it is time to create an outline. Make sure to include the main points you want to cover in the essay, as well as any counterarguments that may be presented. Also, include any evidence or examples that will support your argument. The outline should be as detailed as possible to ensure that you stay on track when writing the essay.

Step Four: Writing

Now that you have completed your research and created an outline, it’s time to start writing. Remember to remain focused on your main argument and use evidence from your research to support your claims. Be sure to explain how each AOK applies to the essay, and how they interact with each other. Consider how the different perspectives can be combined to form a complex argument.

Step Five: Proofreading and Editing

Once you have completed the essay, it is important to proofread and edit. Check for grammar and spelling mistakes, and make sure your argument is well structured and logically consistent. Also, make sure to address any counterarguments that you outlined in the essay. Finally, consider adding any new information or ideas that you discovered during the writing process.

By following these steps and using the AOKs as a guide, you can be sure to craft a high-quality TOK essay that meets the assessment criteria. With the right amount of effort and dedication, you can succeed in writing an effective TOK essay.

Using Personal Knowledge Experiences in TOK Essays

A student’s individual experiences are just as important as the facts and theories presented in an essay. Personal knowledge experiences help to bring life to the paper and make it stand out from the rest. For example, if you are writing about the concept of truth and objectivity, your personal experience may help to provide insight into how different perspectives could be interpreted.

When using personal knowledge experiences in your TOK essay , it is important to consider how these experiences could contribute positively to your argument. Ask yourself questions like ‘how has this experience informed my viewpoint?’. By reflecting on your experiences, you can demonstrate your understanding of the TOK essay question and explain why your view is important.

In addition to reflecting on relevant prior experiences, you should also think about any current research or experiences you can draw upon. If there is an opportunity to conduct interviews or visit a local museum, these activities can be used to support your argument.

It is important to remember that the personal knowledge experiences you choose should not take away from the overall structure of the paper. These experiences should be used to reinforce the points you have made and to supplement your argument. Make sure to check your essay for any grammatical errors or typos and ensure that your points are backed up by logical reasoning.

Ultimately, using personal knowledge experiences in your TOK essay can help to differentiate it from other papers. It is a great way to demonstrate your understanding of the subject and your ability to present evidence to support your views.

Tips on Thinking Critically for TOK Essays

Writing a successful Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay requires the ability to think critically and develop strong arguments. Critical thinking can be difficult and complex, so here are some tips to help:

  • Gather evidence: Any successful argument needs evidence and facts to back it up. Research your topic thoroughly and make sure you have solid evidence to support your argument.
  • Analyze evidence: Consider the source of the evidence and evaluate it objectively. Does this information support or contradict your argument?
  • Be creative: Think outside the box when constructing your argument. Analyze different perspectives and viewpoints to gain a deeper understanding of your topic.
  • Think logically: Once you have gathered all your evidence, it’s time to build an argument. Structure your argument in a logical way, leading from one point to another.
  • Question assumptions: It is important to be open-minded and question any assumptions you may have about the topic. Reflect and challenge ideas to create an argument with diverse points of view.
  • Anticipate counterclaims: Not all readers will agree with your argument, so be prepared to address objections or counterarguments. Showing how you thoughtfully considered the other perspective demonstrates critical thinking skills.

By following these tips, you will be able to submit a high quality TOK essay with a carefully crafted argument. Remember that clear and logical thinking is essential for a successful essay.

Creating a TOK Essay Outline

Creating an outline for a Theory of Knowledge essay can be challenging, but it will help you make sure your essay is structured clearly and logically. An outline allows you to break down your essay into sections that are easy to understand and follow. This helps to ensure that your essay takes a clear path from the introduction to the conclusion.

When creating your TOK essay outline, there are a few key steps you should take to ensure you are producing an effective outline. The first step is to brainstorm what topics and ideas you want to include in your essay. Once you have identified the topics you want to include in your essay, it is important to determine how they fit together and how you want to present them. This helps you to come up with a basic structure for your essay.

Once you have a structure in place, you should move on to developing more specific subtopics. These topics will form the basis of the main body of your essay, and help you to further develop each point you’re making. This is a crucial step in creating a TOK essay outline, as it helps to ensure that all of your ideas are clearly expressed and logically organized.

The final step in creating your TOK essay outline is to develop an effective thesis statement. This statement will serve as the main focus of your essay, and should encapsulate the main point that you are trying to make. Once you have developed a thesis statement, you will be able to start putting together the outline of your essay in a logical and organized manner.

Creating a TOK essay outline is a great way to ensure your essay is well-structured and logically organized. Following the steps outlined above will help you create an effective outline that ensures your essay is organized in a clear, logical manner.

Using Language Effectively to Support Claims in a TOK Essay

Recapping your key ideas, using strong vocabulary, making connections, making assumptions explicit, summarizing your argument, introduction to tok essay assessment criteria.

Writing a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay can be a challenging task for students. It requires careful thought, research, and organization – not only of the facts and arguments but also of the assessment criteria.

In TOK essays, students are assessed on their ability to think analytically and critically. The International Baccalaureate (IB) has developed a set of criteria that are used to evaluate each TOK essay. It’s important for students to have a good understanding of each of these criteria so they know what to focus on when writing their essay.

The Criteria

The TOK essay assessment criteria are split into two categories: C & P (communicate and present) and A & R (argument and reason).

  • Communication and Presentation (C&P): This criterion evaluates a student’s ability to communicate their ideas effectively and demonstrate a clear understanding of the topic. Points awarded for this criteria are based on how well the essay is structured, use of evidence, clarity of language, and strength of argument.
  • Argument and Reasoning (A&R): This criterion assesses a student’s ability to apply logic and rational thinking to their essay. Points awarded for this criterion depend on the student’s capacity to use evidence to support their argument, make well-thought-out conclusions, and reference counterclaims (where relevant).

Advice For Meeting These Criteria

When writing your TOK essay, it is important to follow the criteria carefully and make sure that you address all of the points. Here are some tips to help you do this:

  • Read the question correctly and make sure you understand what it is asking. Analyze the keywords and think about how you can use them in your essay.
  • Research relevant AOKs (Areas of Knowledge) and create an outline to plan your essay. Make sure all of your arguments are supported by logical reasoning, evidence, and examples.
  • If relevant, think of counterclaims and provide effective refutations to them.
  • Write your essay using clear language and organizing your thoughts in a way that is easy to read and understand.
  • Proofread your essay several times and make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes.
  • Write a strong conclusion that ties together all of your arguments and summarizes your main points.

By following these steps, you should be able to create an essay that meets the TOK essay assessment criteria and earns you the grade you deserve!

The Role of Counterclaims in a TOK Essay

When attempting to answer a TOK essay question, it is essential that you consider various counterarguments and opposing viewpoints. These counterclaims can help in developing a TOK essay that is well-reasoned, logical and backed up with evidence. Looking at counterclaims can also help to create a balanced argument and give your TOK essay added depth.

Including counterclaims in your TOK essay can help you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of an argument. Through considering opposing points of view, you can develop ideas that are less biased and more convincing. For example, if you are discussing the impact of technology on modern life, perhaps you could argue that technology has had both positive and negative implications for society. This can add an interesting layer to your essay and make it stand out from the crowd.

When introducing counterclaims into your TOK essay, it is important to make sure that your arguments remain impartial. Rather than simply stating that one point of view is wrong, it is better to present both sides of the argument and discuss their merits or drawbacks. It is also a good idea to use evidence or personal experiences to back up your argument.

When addressing counterclaims, be sure to include any opposing opinions on the topic, as well as potential solutions should a conflict arise. For example, if you are discussing a particular ethical dilemma, it is important to present both sides of the argument and explore any potential solutions or proposed compromises.

All in all, considering counterclaims and their potential implications is a vital part of constructing an effective TOK essay. Through engaging with opposing viewpoints and exploring possible solutions, you can produce an argument that is thought-provoking, balanced and convincing.

Summary of key points for crafting a high-scoring TOK essay

To craft a high-scoring Theory of Knowledge essay that is structurally sound, there are a few key points to consider. To begin with, it is important to have an in-depth understanding of the TOK essay structure, as well as its grading criteria. Once you understand the structure and criteria for a TOK essay, you must ensure that your essay includes the appropriate Areas of Knowledge. You should use personal knowledge experiences to answer TOK essay questions and make sure that you think critically when forming arguments.

It is also necessary to form a clear TOK essay outline, as this allows the essay to be structured properly. This means that, when writing the actual essay, it is important to use language effectively to support claims and arguments and also to include counterclaims. Finally, it is essential to meet the TOK assessment criteria set out by the instructor, as these criteria will be used to determine your grade.

In summary, to craft a high-scoring TOK essay that is structurally sound, it is important to understand the TOK essay structure, the grading criteria, and how to use the AOKs within the essay structure. Additionally, using personal knowledge experiences, thinking critically and creating a clear outline can help to ensure that the essay is written correctly. Furthermore, the essay should use correct language, include counterclaims, and meet all assessment criteria.

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Nick Radlinsky

Nick Radlinsky is a devoted educator, marketing specialist, and management expert with more than 15 years of experience in the education sector. After obtaining his business degree in 2016, Nick embarked on a quest to achieve his PhD, driven by his commitment to enhancing education for students worldwide. His vast experience, starting in 2008, has established him as a reputable authority in the field.

Nick's article, featured in Routledge's " Entrepreneurship in Central and Eastern Europe: Development through Internationalization ," highlights his sharp insights and unwavering dedication to advancing the educational landscape. Inspired by his personal motto, "Make education better," Nick's mission is to streamline students' lives and foster efficient learning. His inventive ideas and leadership have contributed to the transformation of numerous educational experiences, distinguishing him as a true innovator in his field.

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How to Write a Good TOK Essay, 5 Easy Ways

TOK essay,

Are you interested in learning how to write a good TOK essay?

Are you wondering what a TOK essay is?

TOK stands for Theory of Knowledge.

The theory of knowledge, TOK, is interdisciplinary, meaning it may borrow concepts and ideas from almost any other field of study. The main objective is to encourage students to reflect on and eventually form their views on various issues. So, it’s no surprise you may have writing struggles and hard times while putting your ideas together.

Due to their unique nature, TOK essays need specific knowledge and skill sets from students who want to achieve academic success. The themes and format for TOK essays are unique. Therefore, it’s essential to study them.

Writing a good essay on the Theory of Knowledge is challenging. Read this guide for all advice to create a well-graded TOK essay.

What Is a TOK Essay?

The IB’s Theory of Knowledge essay requires students to write a paper between 1,200 and 1,600 words long on a subject or title chosen by the IB. Your Theory of Knowledge (TOK) essay, as its name indicates, should address questions of knowledge (what is information? why and how do we know things?) and draw connections to other bodies of knowledge.

A TOK essay must address the following eight domains of knowledge :

  • Mathematics.
  • Natural Sciences.
  • Human Sciences.
  • Religious knowledge systems.
  • Indigenous knowledge systems.

You must concentrate on the fundamental questions of the subject matter, draw appropriate connections between ideas, and demonstrate an advanced and timely grasp of the material.

In addition, you must show that you can think on your own, have a unique viewpoint, understand the topic, and be self-aware. If you need clarifications, you can always hire TOK essay writers to receive the necessary assistance. 

The TOK essay analysis will need a thorough understanding of the essay’s key ideas, consequences, assumptions, arguments, and counterarguments. The thesis’s supporting statements must be logically sound and based on solid evidence; you must thoroughly explain the essential ideas and include appropriate citations.

Tutorial on Creating a TOK Essay

TOK essay

You’ll want to choose a killer title and formulate a solid strategy, but none of that will matter if you don’t know what it’s all about.

When it comes to composing a TOK essay, it all boils down to four C’s:

  • Creativity. You need to learn to think on your own.
  • Content. Having a firm grasp of the topic at hand and being able to articulate it in writing is a must.
  • Clarity. You need the necessary writing skills to compose a coherent essay.
  • Critical thinking. You must provide sufficient evidence and rebuttal to persuade the audience of your position.

Furthermore, selecting your thesis topic with consideration is crucial. Make sure it’s something you’re qualified to write.

Despite your confidence, a thorough study of your thesis is essential for constructing a defense that adequately addresses any potential objections to your position. Make notes and a rough draft of your TOK essay while doing research. You can improve the result by increasing your writing productivity while sticking to effective practices.

TOK Essay Format

Introduction.

The introduction is the first point of interaction between the writer and the reader. You should explain the topic and your position on it in the beginning. You want to grab your reader’s interest immediately by outlining your paper’s scope and explaining what you already know about the subject in the opening.

Start with a shocking fact or statistic to get people interested in reading your TOK essay. Afterward, you should include your thesis statement.

Write a distinct paragraph for each argument and rebuttal you’ve uncovered for your TOK essay’s body. As a result, the paper will have a professional look. Invest extra effort in dissecting and explaining the most crucial points of view. 

Paragraph transitions are fundamental. Your essay will be hard to read if you jumble ideas or skip from one topic to another. Think about who you’re writing for, what they care about, and how to convince them to agree.

The last section should leave readers with a feeling of completion. Authors often restate their main points once again in the previous paragraph. If you can find a method to write about your thesis and knowledge in a different approach and structure the essential points in a new way, you’ll make a very effective finish to your TOK essay. 

Your last statement should be compelling. Have a friend read your introduction and conclusion and comment on whether they seem well-ordered and structured. Correct any spelling, punctuation, or contextual errors before turning it in. Writing with economy, clarity, and accuracy makes for a great essay.

Citation and Reference Format

There will be a need to reference and cite most instances. The MLA or APA style is used to reference outside resources. The answer to this question may be found in the guidelines provided by your teacher or tutor. You need to cite information that’s neither widely known nor widely unknown, the precise words of another person, and the repetition of another person’s argument structure or logic in your own words, even if you’re paraphrasing.

Proofreading

To meet the word count, you must improve the quality of your writing. First, see whether the essay adequately addresses the knowledge problem . Furthermore, be careful to express and back up your claims completely. Display a sense of tempo and flow. Finally, remove egregious contextual flaws by checking for and correcting language and spelling mistakes.

Conclusion: How to Write a TOK Essay

The IB’s Theory of Knowledge requirement is unlike anything else out there. As a result, many students may be confused since this type of writing requires them to think and reflect in ways they never have before.

Doing well on the externally graded TOK essay might be challenging, but the above-discussed tips on writing a TOK essay can help you to nail the writing process and get an excellent result. 

All in all, the most straightforward approach to composing a good TOK essay is to read the question carefully and think about what it’s asking. Then, ensure that the title accurately reflects your intended audience’s position, context, and purpose.

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How to Write a TOK Essay In One Night: A Guide for 2024

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by  Antony W

January 9, 2024

how to write a tok essay

This is the complete guide on how to write a ToK essay in one night.

Whether you still have time left or you’re in the last minute race, this guide shows you exactly how to complete the assignment in the shortest time possible.

Key Takeaways 

  • Read the essay prompt carefully to understand what the assignment requires.
  • Choose a prescribed title.
  • Select two of the most appropriate areas of knowledge.
  • Develop an outline relevant to the Theory of Knowledge essay.
  • Write the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
  • Proofread your work. 
  • Submit your ToK essay for assessment.

If you already understand the fundamentals of writing a ToK essay but you’re already running late, Help for Assessment can get the paper done for you. Get our  ToK essay writing service   and benefit from the convenience of our custom writing. 

Otherwise, continue reading this guide to learn how to develop a comprehensive essay from start to finish, even if you have only 24 hours left.

How to Write a ToK Essay in One Night

The Theory of Knowledge essay is a 1,600 words assignment based on an already pre-determined title.

It requires you to compare and contrast the different ways of knowing with the different areas of knowledge.

Furthermore, your work must reflect on the nature of knowledge and clearly demonstrate why you know what you claim to know.

So here's what you need to do: 

1. Choose Your Prescribed Title

prescribed title tok

Choose a title from one of the prescribed essay titles provided by IB. 

You shouldn’t just pick a topic because it appears simple. We recommend that you read each title and make a careful consideration of your topic selection.

Look at the title you’ve select and try to understand the command terms and the underlying knowledge question .

Ask yourself the following:

  • What question does the prescribed title ask?
  • Does the title require me to focus on shared or personal knowledge?

2. Choose Two Areas of Knowledge

Keep in mind that Theory of Knowledge is comparative in nature.

Thus, when choosing your areas of knowledge ,  ensure you can easily draw relevant comparisons and contrasts to the WoKs you write.

Take note on whether the title requires you to handle two disciplines or AOK before you start writing.

And except for Math and History, you should be clear about the -discipline of the AOK that you choose.

3. Read the Essay’s Instructions Carefully

Note the keywords in the essay’s instructions.

The question might ask you to “assess” or “evaluate” a perspective, which implies that you should consider for or against the title.

Also, factor in any grey area or ambiguity linked to the title.

  • If the title asks “in what way” or “to what extent”, it means you provide an argument for or against the statement.
  • Where the title asks a direct question, you should address in what way or the extent to which you support or don’t support a position or argument.

4. Understand the Grading Criteria

IB assesses Theory of Knowledge essays based on four criteria, and each carries equal weight:

  • Understanding Knowledge Issues: Your essay should show relevant between two knowledge issues, links and compares the issues, and demonstrate a unique comprehension of the issues. 
  • Knowers Perspective: Demonstrate independent thinking. Have at least two different perspectives, a few supporting examples, and show self-awareness.
  • Analyzing Knowledge Issues: Demonstrate insight and depth. Present counter-arguments and arguments, and justify key points, and show implications and assumptions of the selected prescribed title.
  • Organizing Ideas: You should structure your essay properly. Ensure factual accuracy, explain key concepts, and, where applicable, cite sources.

5. Brainstorm Ideas for Your Prescribed Title

The Theory of Knowledge essay is inherently reflective. It requires you to demonstrate your thoughtful consideration of the title and your readiness to analyze and reflect upon it.

So brainstorm the title you’ve selected. Write all the thoughts that come to mind, and allow your ideas to flow freely.

Next, review your notes, making sure you identify interconnected ideas, as well as those that present conflicting viewpoints.

If the title presents a perspective to assess or evaluate, create two columns, one for supporting the perspective and another for opposing it, and allocate the ideas you have generated into the respective columns.

Additionally, create a third column to capture ambiguities or areas where the answer is not clear, and assign relevant ideas to this column.

Look at instances where you can use concrete examples to support the ideas you recorded. These examples will serve to enhance your arguments and add depth to your essay.

6. Create Your Theory of Knowledge Essay Outline

We’ve written quite a lot about TOK essay outline already, and we strongly recommend that you check out that guide for an in-depth teardown of the structure.

However, for the sake of this guide, here’s the summary of the format that you should follow:

First, understand that the purpose of the outline is to guide your essay, so you can easily organize your points to achieve a logical flow of information.

If you can follow this specific outline to a tee, you’ll end up with a more comprehensive essay based purely on the selected prescribed title.

Here’s the outline to use:

Write the Introduction

The introduction of your Theory of Knowledge essay sets the stage for the paper. It should be between 100 and 150 words long.

Paragraph 1

Your introduction goes here, usually in 100 to 150 words. Your description should show at most two things about the prescribed title and a few words to show that you understand the knowledge question.

Give a clear definition of one or two key terms from the prescribed title. The definitions are usually important, especially because they can give you some clues for perspectives and evidence. 

Complete the paragraph by giving your readers a clear roadmap for the essay.  By doing this, you make it easy for the reader to know exactly what to look for in your work.

Develop Your First Area of Knowledge

The second and third paragraph will cover your first area of knowledge. This area should be no more than 600 words.

Paragraph 2

  • State the Claim: Write the topic sentence. Remember, a perspective is the argument about the prescribed title you selected in the first step.
  • Give an Example: Give an example of the perspective, which can be anything based on your experience, as long as it’s real and specific.
  • Explain: Give a clear explanation on how your example supports the perspective. For the sake of grabbing the reader’s attention, state something interesting about your example and explain what it state about the title.

Paragraph 3

  • State Counterclaim: Here is where you argue against the perspective that you make in the second paragraph.
  • Give an Example: Here is where you give a concrete support for the perspective that you just made.
  • Explain the Example: Give a clear explanation about how the example you provided supports your perspective. Remember to write what you believe is interesting about the example. Also, mention what the example says about the selected prescribed title.
  • Summary: Sum this section by linking to the prescribe title and ensuring you’ve highlighted the insight that you have had about this area of knowledge.

Develop Your Second Area of Knowledge

This is the section where you develop your second area of knowledge. Again, this part should be no more than 600 words.

Paragraph 4

  • State your perspectivefor the second AOK.
  • Give a solid example.
  • Explain your example, making sure you show exactly how it supports the perspective.

Paragraph 5

  • State the perspective for the second AOK.
  • Give an example that’s good enough to support the perspective.
  • Explain how the example you’ve provided supports the perspective you’ve given.

Write the Conclusion

The conclusion is the final paragraph of the ToK essay. In terms of length, it should be between 200 and 250 words long.

Paragraph 6

  • Conclusion: Here, write what insights you’ve gathered, making sure it relates to the prescribed title question. Also, ensure you synthesize the main insights that you’ve gathered about the two areas of knowledge.
  • Implication and Significance: Explain the impact and importance of your essay in relation to the prescribed title. Go the extra mile to give clarity on why it’s important to understand these insights.
  • Perspectives and Extensions: Is there a different way that you would have approached the question? Would the approach have given a different outcome or insight than that already reflected on your essay?

Note that the Theory of Knowledge essay has changed a bit. So as to the number of paragraphs in a TOK essay , the maximum you should have now is 6, not 9.

The TOK is often assessed through a 1200-1600-word essay and an oral presentation.

The essay asks you to reflect on the nature of knowledge, as well as how you know what you claim to know. It is usually a part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma and is compulsory for all students.

Every TOK essay is different. To pass your essay, you will need to prepare thoroughly.

Treat it as you would any type of research and take some time to create an outline and write your thesis statement. After writing, make sure you cite your work properly and proofread it.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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In short, I can’t recommend this article enough. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in topic above. Good work to the writer, you have truly outsmart yourself! Keep the good content coming.

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TOK Outline Essay: Structure and Format

Table of Contents

A lengthy process is involved in composing a TOK essay, which starts long before the first word is written. Many authors utilize a TOK outline essay to arrange their thoughts before writing better.

A TOK essay outline is a two- to three-paragraph overview on the first page. It is a strategy that ensures an essay is well-organized and conveys its intended message.

This article provides an overview of the structure and outline of a TOK essay.

fountain pen on black lined paper

What Is a TOK Essay?

TOK means Theory of Knowledge Essay. It is usually an introduction to a complex, theoretical topic. To succeed in this essay, a writer must dig deep into particular areas of knowledge to build a case. The author would need to be intellectually motivated.

A TOK essay is a written inquiry and argumentative essay, not an essay on your knowledge or writing skills.

After the author briefly defines the TOK essay, they introduce each of the five areas that make up the essay. These are the thesis, the author’s role, the proof, the case, and the conclusion.

Let’s get into the TOK essay elements that every student should know without further ado.

Step-by-Step Guide: TOK Essay Outline Example

Introduction (150 – 200 words).

The introduction describes the question the essay will answer and the desired outcome for the reader. Here is an outline to follow:

  • Introduce your TOK essay
  • Provide definitions for essential terms
  • Identify the knowledge issues to be addressed
  • Present a thesis statement.
  • Provide a concise summary of your key points
  • Establish a transition for the TOK essay’s body

Body Paragraphs (1000 – 1200 Words)

The body paragraph in a TOK essay is the central piece of your work. Here you can show your familiarity with the topic and cite important pieces of information while giving examples to back your claims. You should:

  • Provide your subject sentence
  • Provide your primary justification for why your argument is true.
  • Give instances and evidence from practical life to support your ideas.
  • Emphasize the significance of the knowledge issues in your conclusion.

The Conclusion of a TOK Essay

The author concludes the TOK paper by restating his thesis statement, summarizing the primary points.

Step-by-Step Guide: TOK Essay Structure and Format

The structure and format usually consist of the Introduction, Body paragraph, and conclusion. Here’s how to get started.

Introduction

Your reader will gain a basic understanding of the subject at hand after reading this section. The introduction explains in depth what you plan to say and offers some context.

There are two main sections to this section in a theory of knowledge essay. It’s where you put your main argument or thesis statement, which lays out the overall goals of your paper.

Second, it has the knowledge problem, the key issue you’ll have to solve. Give some justification for why this subject matters and warrants investigation.

For the reader’s comprehension, you must define any unfamiliar terms used in your work.

The Body Paragraph

The following paragraphs both argue for and against your position. They offer evidence to support the assertion you stated in your thesis statement.

Your claims are supported by the evidence presented in each paragraph. Paragraphs typically have a:

  • Topic sentence (the major idea in support of the thesis)
  • Evidence to validate that notion
  • Counterclaim (an argument against the thesis)
  • Evidence in support of that claim
  • Rebuttal (why that claim is inadequate)
  • conclusion.

Keep the title and your thesis in mind at all times. What is your conclusion after analyzing the title? It’s usually not a good idea to take a firm stance on a contentious issue. Doing so may indicate a failure to appreciate the other side’s arguments.

Tell us which side you think is more plausible after reading your analysis and why. Also, justify the relevance of the response to this inquiry.

Final Words

A TOK outline essay helps a writer draft content in the best possible, logical manner. This allows the essay to flow well and be coherent .

TOK Outline Essay: Structure and Format

Abir Ghenaiet

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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  • How to write an essay introduction | 4 steps & examples

How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples

Published on February 4, 2019 by Shona McCombes . Revised on July 23, 2023.

A good introduction paragraph is an essential part of any academic essay . It sets up your argument and tells the reader what to expect.

The main goals of an introduction are to:

  • Catch your reader’s attention.
  • Give background on your topic.
  • Present your thesis statement —the central point of your essay.

This introduction example is taken from our interactive essay example on the history of Braille.

The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability. The writing system of raised dots used by visually impaired people was developed by Louis Braille in nineteenth-century France. In a society that did not value disabled people in general, blindness was particularly stigmatized, and lack of access to reading and writing was a significant barrier to social participation. The idea of tactile reading was not entirely new, but existing methods based on sighted systems were difficult to learn and use. As the first writing system designed for blind people’s needs, Braille was a groundbreaking new accessibility tool. It not only provided practical benefits, but also helped change the cultural status of blindness. This essay begins by discussing the situation of blind people in nineteenth-century Europe. It then describes the invention of Braille and the gradual process of its acceptance within blind education. Subsequently, it explores the wide-ranging effects of this invention on blind people’s social and cultural lives.

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Table of contents

Step 1: hook your reader, step 2: give background information, step 3: present your thesis statement, step 4: map your essay’s structure, step 5: check and revise, more examples of essay introductions, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

Your first sentence sets the tone for the whole essay, so spend some time on writing an effective hook.

Avoid long, dense sentences—start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

The hook should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of the topic you’re writing about and why it’s interesting. Avoid overly broad claims or plain statements of fact.

Examples: Writing a good hook

Take a look at these examples of weak hooks and learn how to improve them.

  • Braille was an extremely important invention.
  • The invention of Braille was a major turning point in the history of disability.

The first sentence is a dry fact; the second sentence is more interesting, making a bold claim about exactly  why the topic is important.

  • The internet is defined as “a global computer network providing a variety of information and communication facilities.”
  • The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education.

Avoid using a dictionary definition as your hook, especially if it’s an obvious term that everyone knows. The improved example here is still broad, but it gives us a much clearer sense of what the essay will be about.

  • Mary Shelley’s  Frankenstein is a famous book from the nineteenth century.
  • Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale about the dangers of scientific advancement.

Instead of just stating a fact that the reader already knows, the improved hook here tells us about the mainstream interpretation of the book, implying that this essay will offer a different interpretation.

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introduction of tok essay

Next, give your reader the context they need to understand your topic and argument. Depending on the subject of your essay, this might include:

  • Historical, geographical, or social context
  • An outline of the debate you’re addressing
  • A summary of relevant theories or research about the topic
  • Definitions of key terms

The information here should be broad but clearly focused and relevant to your argument. Don’t give too much detail—you can mention points that you will return to later, but save your evidence and interpretation for the main body of the essay.

How much space you need for background depends on your topic and the scope of your essay. In our Braille example, we take a few sentences to introduce the topic and sketch the social context that the essay will address:

Now it’s time to narrow your focus and show exactly what you want to say about the topic. This is your thesis statement —a sentence or two that sums up your overall argument.

This is the most important part of your introduction. A  good thesis isn’t just a statement of fact, but a claim that requires evidence and explanation.

The goal is to clearly convey your own position in a debate or your central point about a topic.

Particularly in longer essays, it’s helpful to end the introduction by signposting what will be covered in each part. Keep it concise and give your reader a clear sense of the direction your argument will take.

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As you research and write, your argument might change focus or direction as you learn more.

For this reason, it’s often a good idea to wait until later in the writing process before you write the introduction paragraph—it can even be the very last thing you write.

When you’ve finished writing the essay body and conclusion , you should return to the introduction and check that it matches the content of the essay.

It’s especially important to make sure your thesis statement accurately represents what you do in the essay. If your argument has gone in a different direction than planned, tweak your thesis statement to match what you actually say.

To polish your writing, you can use something like a paraphrasing tool .

You can use the checklist below to make sure your introduction does everything it’s supposed to.

Checklist: Essay introduction

My first sentence is engaging and relevant.

I have introduced the topic with necessary background information.

I have defined any important terms.

My thesis statement clearly presents my main point or argument.

Everything in the introduction is relevant to the main body of the essay.

You have a strong introduction - now make sure the rest of your essay is just as good.

  • Argumentative
  • Literary analysis

This introduction to an argumentative essay sets up the debate about the internet and education, and then clearly states the position the essay will argue for.

The spread of the internet has had a world-changing effect, not least on the world of education. The use of the internet in academic contexts is on the rise, and its role in learning is hotly debated. For many teachers who did not grow up with this technology, its effects seem alarming and potentially harmful. This concern, while understandable, is misguided. The negatives of internet use are outweighed by its critical benefits for students and educators—as a uniquely comprehensive and accessible information source; a means of exposure to and engagement with different perspectives; and a highly flexible learning environment.

This introduction to a short expository essay leads into the topic (the invention of the printing press) and states the main point the essay will explain (the effect of this invention on European society).

In many ways, the invention of the printing press marked the end of the Middle Ages. The medieval period in Europe is often remembered as a time of intellectual and political stagnation. Prior to the Renaissance, the average person had very limited access to books and was unlikely to be literate. The invention of the printing press in the 15th century allowed for much less restricted circulation of information in Europe, paving the way for the Reformation.

This introduction to a literary analysis essay , about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein , starts by describing a simplistic popular view of the story, and then states how the author will give a more complex analysis of the text’s literary devices.

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is often read as a crude cautionary tale. Arguably the first science fiction novel, its plot can be read as a warning about the dangers of scientific advancement unrestrained by ethical considerations. In this reading, and in popular culture representations of the character as a “mad scientist”, Victor Frankenstein represents the callous, arrogant ambition of modern science. However, far from providing a stable image of the character, Shelley uses shifting narrative perspectives to gradually transform our impression of Frankenstein, portraying him in an increasingly negative light as the novel goes on. While he initially appears to be a naive but sympathetic idealist, after the creature’s narrative Frankenstein begins to resemble—even in his own telling—the thoughtlessly cruel figure the creature represents him as.

If you want to know more about AI tools , college essays , or fallacies make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples or go directly to our tools!

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Your essay introduction should include three main things, in this order:

  • An opening hook to catch the reader’s attention.
  • Relevant background information that the reader needs to know.
  • A thesis statement that presents your main point or argument.

The length of each part depends on the length and complexity of your essay .

The “hook” is the first sentence of your essay introduction . It should lead the reader into your essay, giving a sense of why it’s interesting.

To write a good hook, avoid overly broad statements or long, dense sentences. Try to start with something clear, concise and catchy that will spark your reader’s curiosity.

A thesis statement is a sentence that sums up the central point of your paper or essay . Everything else you write should relate to this key idea.

The thesis statement is essential in any academic essay or research paper for two main reasons:

  • It gives your writing direction and focus.
  • It gives the reader a concise summary of your main point.

Without a clear thesis statement, an essay can end up rambling and unfocused, leaving your reader unsure of exactly what you want to say.

The structure of an essay is divided into an introduction that presents your topic and thesis statement , a body containing your in-depth analysis and arguments, and a conclusion wrapping up your ideas.

The structure of the body is flexible, but you should always spend some time thinking about how you can organize your essay to best serve your ideas.

Cite this Scribbr article

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McCombes, S. (2023, July 23). How to Write an Essay Introduction | 4 Steps & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from https://www.scribbr.com/academic-essay/introduction/

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Unpacking ToK Essay Titles

Daniel Trump

  • December 8, 2023
  • Student Support , ToK Essay

Introduction to Unpacking Essay Titles

I’m reading lots of essays from May 24 students at the moment, a common challenge that I see students face is effectively unpacking the Prescribed Title (PT) in their Theory of Knowledge (ToK) essays. Unpacking the PT is a crucial step in the essay-writing process, and this post aims to guide you through this task to improve the clarity and coherence of your essay.

Unpacking ToK Essay Title

What Does Unpacking the PT Mean?

Unpacking the PT involves explaining your interpretation of the essay title at the start of the essay, typically in the introductory paragraph. Although the ToK Essay marking rubric doesn’t explicitly require this, it significantly aids the examiner in understanding the direction and focus of your essay. It sets the stage for a “ clear, coherent and critical exploration of the essay title. ” (ToK Essay Assessment Instrument, IB 2020)

Examples of Unpacked ToK Essay Titles (May 24 Session)

To illustrate, let’s examine unpacked versions of three titles from the May 2024 session:

A possible unpacking of PT 1 May 24

Unpacking as a Prelude to the Thesis Statement

The unpacking of the title should lead into your thesis statement, which is the main argument of your essay. It provides a wider perspective on your more focused thesis statement. Ideally, this unpacking should form the opening sentence or sentences in the introduction of your essay.

Unpacking PT helps develop thesis statement

Further Resources

For more detailed insights into crafting your ToK essay introduction, refer to the earlier video on this topic. Additionally, the ebook “ How to Write the ToK Essay in 6 Easy Steps ” and the detailed guidance notes for each Prescribed title in this season offer invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of ToK essays.

ToK Essay Help e-book

In conclusion, unpacking the Prescribed Title at the beginning of your ToK essay is a critical step that frames your argument and provides clarity to your exploration of the essay title. By carefully defining and contextualising your approach to the title, you set a solid foundation for a coherent and critically engaged essay.

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COMMENTS

  1. How To Write A ToK Essay

    24th Jan 2023 Table of content Purpose Of ToK Assessment Of ToK The Game Plan Execution Of The Gameplan Planning For ToK Essay Structure Of ToK Essay Introduction Body Conclusions Bibliography How to write a TOK Essay? To answer that, you must familiarise yourself with what a TOK Essay is about.

  2. TOK Essay Structure: A Guide for IB Students

    Fundamentals of TOK Essay Structure. Let's dig into the TOK essay structure, an essential aspect of successful IB essay writing. In my view, understanding the basic structure is like having a guide for your academic paper. So, a typical TOK essay includes three main parts. The introduction is where you set the stage.

  3. How to Structure a Theory of Knowledge Essay

    The TOK Essay Structure Our structure for the TOK essay has 4 sections (6 paragraphs) overall. First, write your introduction. (100-150 words) Paragraph 1

  4. IB TOK Essay examples

    Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge. TOK Essay B. High scoring IB Theory of Knowledge Essay examples. See what past students did and make your TOK Essay perfect by learning from examiner commented examples!

  5. How To Write a ToK Essay IBDP

    Eleen Tan Created on October 3, 2019 8:20 am Blog, IBDP, Learning Tips Let's learn how to write a ToK Essay with Tutopiya. The IB ToK Essay contributes to the overall score of a student's IB Diploma. The award of points for the IB ToK Essay is in conjunction with the extended essay.

  6. How to Write a TOK Essay: 15 Steps (with Pictures)

    1 Understand the structure of a TOK essay. In your essay, you will be expected to compare and contrast different ways of knowing through perception, language, reason, emotion with different areas of knowledge (AOK). The eight areas of knowledge covered in a TOK essay are: Mathematics Natural sciences Human sciences History The arts Ethics

  7. Guide to the TOK Essay

    The TOK essay is a 1600 word essay written about topics usually given to students from their teachers from a list of numerous options. It is an essay that promotes arguments and counterarguments for the topic at hand.

  8. Example essays

    As part of theory of knowledge (TOK), each student chooses one essay title from six issued by International Baccalaureate® (IB). The titles change in each examination session. Upcoming and past questions include: "To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past? Consider with reference to two areas of knowledge."

  9. How to Structure and Format your TOK Essay!

    Introduction (150-200 words) Start by focusing on the prescribed title (PT) - what catches your attention about it? Define a few key terms from the prescribed title.

  10. Mastering ToK Essay Structure: A Comprehensive Guide

    Introduction to ToK Essay Structure December is the busy essay writing season for May session schools! I've been reading ToK Essays from students all over the world in which I am frequently seeing problems of structuring the ToK Essay effectively. This post aims to address the often-asked question, " How do I structure my ToK Essay?

  11. IB TOK Essay Structure in Detail

    The TOK essay structure is designed to help students express their ideas in an organized, concise and effective way. The TOK essay has a distinct structure that should be followed throughout the paper. The basic structure includes an introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion.

  12. How to Write a TOK Essay

    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.

  13. What to include in the Introduction to the ToK Essay

    Discover how to write a compelling ToK Essay Introduction. Learn what to include and avoid for a strong start to your Theory of Knowledge essay.For more info...

  14. TOK ESSAY INTRODUCTION

    Watch this video and download a template that teaches 3 different ways of starting your Theory of Knowledge essay! If you want to know how to write an introd...

  15. Writing an Effective Introduction for Your ToK Essay

    Seeking Exemplars For examples of excellent introductions, consult your ToK teacher. The IB provides exemplar essays that showcase effective introductions. These model answers can be invaluable in understanding what makes a successful introduction. Additional Resources

  16. PDF Sample TOK Essays with Comments and Scores

    Sample Essay #1 THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE ESSAY PRESCRIBED TITLE # 3 "Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of reason as a way of knowing." Exam Session May 2009 June 6th, 2008 1,488 words Reasoning, which occurs in the frontal cortex of the brain, is a way of knowing that we use on a daily basis.

  17. How to Write a Good TOK Essay, 5 Easy Ways

    TOK Essay Format Introduction. The introduction is the first point of interaction between the writer and the reader. You should explain the topic and your position on it in the beginning. You want to grab your reader's interest immediately by outlining your paper's scope and explaining what you already know about the subject in the opening.

  18. Legendary IB TOK Teacher breaks down TOK Essay Introductions

    TOK Essays, can't live with them, can't live without them. Mr. John Hellner is a really experienced TOK Teacher who was kind enough to do this video (more vi...

  19. How to Write a TOK Essay In One Night: A Guide for 2024

    Key Takeaways Read the essay prompt carefully to understand what the assignment requires. Choose a prescribed title. Select two of the most appropriate areas of knowledge. Develop an outline relevant to the Theory of Knowledge essay. Write the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Proofread your work. Submit your ToK essay for assessment.

  20. TOK Outline Essay: Structure and Format

    Introduction (150 - 200 Words) The introduction describes the question the essay will answer and the desired outcome for the reader. Here is an outline to follow: Introduce your TOK essay. Provide definitions for essential terms. Identify the knowledge issues to be addressed. Present a thesis statement.

  21. ToK Essay May 24 FAQs

    Introduction to ToK Essay May 24 FAQs. I've been receiving many questions about the May 24 Theory of Knowledge (ToK) essays. As such I compiled this blog post to address the most frequently asked questions, provide insights, and offer guidance for students embarking on their ToK essays. Here's a detailed breakdown of the most common ...

  22. How to Write an Essay Introduction

    Table of contents. Step 1: Hook your reader. Step 2: Give background information. Step 3: Present your thesis statement. Step 4: Map your essay's structure. Step 5: Check and revise. More examples of essay introductions. Other interesting articles. Frequently asked questions about the essay introduction.

  23. Unpacking ToK Essay Titles

    For more detailed insights into crafting your ToK essay introduction, refer to the earlier video on this topic. Additionally, the ebook " How to Write the ToK Essay in 6 Easy Steps " and the detailed guidance notes for each Prescribed title in this season offer invaluable assistance in navigating the complexities of ToK essays.

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