TOK Essay Tips

After looking through student outlines for the TOK Essay, here are some suggestions that might be helpful with common issues I saw (Please copy and paste this post in a Word Document and use it as a checklist when you submit your draft essay):

* In your thesis statement, rewrite the prompt in your own words and take a stand — what do you think and why?

* Be sure to define key words and concepts — what is knowledge? what is faith?

* The outline forms use paragraph boxes. However, don’t feel constrained by them. You do not have to follow it exactly — they are only a guide.

* Include information you have learned from the textbook and class handouts.

* Use original examples

* Be careful about making blanket statements — everything, always, etc.

* Be sure to include counter-claims.

* You do not have to have an answer for everything. If you have questions you are pondering, then say so.

* Periodically look back to the sample essays for reminders of things that worked and things that did not.

* Be explicit when you are talking about Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge.

* Make sure everything you write is directly responding to the TOK prompt. If it says “consider CAS,” then discuss CAS. If it says “one more Area of Knowledge,” then discuss another Area of Knowledge in additions to one. Connect the topic sentence of each paragaph to your thesis statement/claim as well as the last sentence.

* You might find it useful to first think which Areas of Knowledge you are going to write about, then think of examples in those Areas that illustrate your points, and then consider which Ways of Knowing were used to learn those specific AOK examples.

* Don’t just give examples — tell stories.

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