The main goal of the TOK (Theory of knowledge) essay is to test your skills for logical reasoning, formulating clear theses and supporting them with strong and reliable arguments.
In contrast with other academic papers, a TOK essay requires from you to demonstrate skills and competences, and not some particular knowledge (or at least this is not that important). Of course, you need to have philosophical background, otherwise it would be harder for you to develop your thesis.
How to Write a TOK essay – essential tips
Very high level
As a matter of fact, a TOK paper is assessed as a college essay, and not as a school paper. That means, you need to employ special terminology and show perfect reasoning skills. What may seem confusing is the fact that a subject like Theory of knowledge requires attending many lectures at college level. In this sense, you’d rather prepare yourself by reading academic literature, or discussing with college students, or even professors, wherever possible.
Define your scope
Think carefully what the topic suggests. Usually it asks you a question which you should not only answer, but also develop in depth. There can be various connotations of the terms used in the title. Ask yourself two main questions: which one is the key word? What the examiners want you to do? For example, the title can direct your attention to one philosophical concept, as intuition, or to analyze the relation between reason and feelings, or between science and religion, and so forth. Think several minutes about it and define your thesis.
We recommend you to use the following strategy: mention several opinions, and then endorse one of them which seems the most justified for you. First, write a short introduction by explaining the context of the problem. Why is this issue so important? Is it a crucial one, or it is rather of secondary importance? Then integrate a few opinions/theories/ideas in the main part of the paper. The author X has this approach to the issue; there are some shortcomings in his/her approach which are taken into account in the theory of the author Y. Then you set forth your thesis, contrasting it to both. Use facts to prove your thesis. Try to refer to authentic facts, and not just unjustified claims, or hypotheses. Besides, it is always better to repudiate the counter-thesis, or the assertion which contradicts yours.
Count your words
Your TOK essay should not exceed 1600 words and should not contain less than 1200 (without bibliography). At any rate, you will receive a lower mark if this rule is violated. For that reason, count the number of words . It would be good if your introduction and conclusion contain no more than 200-250 words. Remember: the number of the words cannot change the quality of your paper.
Your TOK essay will stand out if your thesis is well-justified and comprehensible for the reader. In psychological sense, every paper can make you nervous and confused. No one is perfect, so don’t be scared while you are writing. Follow your train of thought and develop your main thesis throughout the text.