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How to Make a Good Theory of Knowledge Essay Great

The purpose of this article is to help you strengthen the logic and argument of your ToK essay. This is great for making final touches to your work and to help you spot some common mistakes. And it will, of course, pull your mark up. I’m just going to assume that you’re already using my Essay structure (click here if you're not sure). (It’s a 7 paragraph, 2 section structure which works with just about every question). It will make a lot more sense if you are following this approach

Getting Started

When you first get assigned your real ToK essay, you’ll have a few “titles” to choose from. You choose a title, and then you have to come up with a KI for it and then a thesis. The thesis is your brief answer to your KI (or your hypothesis).

The Approach

In general your essay is about claims (with examples), counterclaims (with examples) and conclusions. It’s important that you understand that your claims always support your thesis and your counterclaims always oppose your thesis. I have my students think in terms of Claim -> Counterclaim -> Mini-conclusion. Outside of ToK land we refer to this as Thesis (claim) -> Antithesis (counterclaim) -> Synthesis (mini-conclusion). Your mini-conclusion is a simple statement that combines the insights of your claim and counterclaim. (I.e. “Looking at the role of imagination in art, we can see that it is helpful in many instances, but imagination can also sometimes obscure reality.”) Try to be a little wise here. Say something kind of interesting if you can. Tok essay at

The important part

Be very careful that your claims always support your thesis. And that the examples you use to support your claim are also supportive of your thesis. And the opposite for your counterclaim. It’s easy to forget which side you’re on at different points in the essay.

A strong conclusion

In your final conclusion, draw together the insights of your mini-conclusions and again try to say something really interesting here if you can. If your claims and counterclaims are solid and you make mini-conclusions as you go through, are solid, your final conclusion should be clear and well supported. This will make your essay (your analysis/argument) seem very well thought-out and therefore convincing.


Here are links to all of my articles on the ToK Essay Structure I recommend. Lots of students and teachers have told me they find this really helpful for ticking all the boxes.

My ToK Essay Structure

A ToK Essay Outline to help you start to plan out your article

My Top Ten Theory of Knowledge Essay Tips