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The May 2020 TOK Essay Titles

Here are the TOK Essay prescribed titles (for the May 2020 session). 

I'm just getting ready to upload a full May 2020 TOK Essay Titles Webinar inside IBMastery, to help you understand how to approach each of the titles (i.e. things to watch out for and things to consider with each title). I know you'll really benefit from the talk. It's ready for you when you're ready to start your essay.

It will be available online here (Members Link). If you're not yet a member, you can also watch it by signing up for a free trial of TOK Mastery.

The TOK Prescribed Titles

1. "Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not" (Pablo Picasso). Explore this distinction with reference to two areas of knowledge.

2. "There is a sharp line between describing something and offering an explanation of it." To what extent do you agree with this claim?

3. Does it matter that your personal circumstances influence how seriously your...

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The November 2019 TOK Essay Titles

Here are the TOK Essay prescribed titles (for the November 2019 session). You'll have 1600 words to answer your title.

I have already uploaded the full November 2019 TOK Essay Titles Webinar webinar inside IBMastery, to help you understand how to approach each of the titles (i.e. things to watch out for and things to consider with each title). I know you'll really benefit from the talk. It's ready for you when you're ready to start your essay.

In the end we had over 2000 people watch my talk about the last titles, so I expect it will be popular again. It will be available online here (Members). If you're not yet a member, you can still watch it if you sign up for a free trial of TOK Mastery)

The TOK Prescribed Titles

1. “In the acquisition of knowledge, the responsibility for accuracy lies with the user not the producer.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

2. “Each human being is unique,...

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The Global Politics Engagement Activity Structure

The following is a structure you can follow for your (2000 word) Engagement Activity report (the EA or IA) in IB Global Politics. It will help you tick all the boxes, doing what will be rewarded, so you’ll get a better mark.

Having a clear structure like this will also save you time and help you write more clearly.

Before we start

A common mistake is thinking that your EA marks will basically come mostly from showing off your understanding of course theories. But, the EA is not so focused on theories.  Theories are just a part of where you're getting your marks.

The main purpose of the EA is to get you out in the world, involved with a real political challenge, so you can learn how to actually effect change. It’s about taking potentially-influential actions (i.e. interviewing someone, organizing an event) and then seeing how it goes and learning from your experience -- using research, course theories (and the other 6 areas of the course). But...

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The 7 Areas of Global Politics

In most other IB Group 3 courses (i.e. Business, Economics) students get marks mostly for learning the course theories and knowing how to apply them to do analysis (and draw conclusions based on that analysis). Most Group 3 courses are theory courses. Global Politics is not.

In your Global Politics Paper 2 essays, your HL presentations, your Engagement Activities reports and your course conversations you do get some marks for using the theories. But there are 6 other areas you should be able to draw insights from as well and these other areas are extremely powerful sources of good insights.

Use this list of the 7 areas of the course to explore, to really dig into how things work in the world of Global Politics and why. Draw on all 7 areas (if you can) to build insightful, meaningful explanations and earn marks on your exam questions and in your assignments.


The 7 Areas of IB Global Politics

The following is a list of the ways we make sense of things in Global Politics...

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Political Issues In Global Politics

 In the IB Global Politics course we talk about “political issues”. GP students need to understand what political issues are, but it’s not a simple thing.

You need to identify one for your Engagement Activity, for example. And HL students need to find one in their case studies to develop their oral presentations. The course guide definition is confusing though, so I’m going to clarify it for you.

The IB Definition

The Global Politics course guide defines a political issue as:

“Any question that deals with how power is distributed and how it operates within social organization, and how people think about, and engage in, their communities and the wider world on matters that affect their lives.”

That’s a hard definition to operationalise. One: it’s so long. Two: When you study politics, you see power dynamics everywhere. Almost anything can be explained as a power conflict. But let’s break down this definition before we...

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Choosing a Global Politics Extended Essay Research Question

Choosing your EE Research Question in Global Politics can be particularly challenging. This article will tell you how.

The GP guide says that you are to “deeply analyze an important, contemporary global political issue.” If you aren’t sure what is considered a political issue in Global Politics, this page makes it really simple to understand what a political issue is (and what to do with one).

The 3 Tests of a Good Global Politics EE Research Question

Test 1: Is it Contemporary?

One rule you need to remember for Global Politics is that your issue needs to be contemporary means it is something that happens during your lifetime (so during the past 18 years). It also can’t be the same political issue that you’ve used for another assessment component (i.e. the EA or an extension presentation). .

Test 2: Can you be more specific?

Keep focused on a tightly defined question. Not broad. The most common feedback I give to my students (and those I help online)...

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The Global Politics Extended Essay Structure

Here is a step-by-step structure you can follow to write your IB Extended Essay in Global Politics. This post is up-to-date and it includes a lot of helpful links.

Before we get started

First, here are a few key points and other helpful links you’ll want to use:

  • Be careful about choosing your research question. You’ve got a lot of options, but it shouldn’t be a small GPC-based issue, like you would use for your HL Extension Presentation (i.e. Catalonian Independence as a Border Issue .) Here is a lot more advice about choosing a perfect Global Politics EE Research Question.
  • Cite all of your sources --preferably using MLA. I expect to see at least 5 cited sources on an average page. Make sure you are really sure about when and how to cite. Here’s a good guide from Purdue to help youEasybib works too.  
  • The EE should be in 12-point, preferably Arial or Times New Roman. And it should be double spaced, with numbered pages.
  • ...
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Arts Notes - Theory of Knowledge

I know you'll find these TOK Arts notes helpful, but there is an even better version available to our supporting members here (the full Arts notes) --along with some very helpful TOK videos and other sources for your TOK essay and exhibition. Click here to join IBMastery.

Art Quotes

"Art is what you can get away with." (Andy Warhol)

  • "Art is meant to disturb, science reassures." (Georges Braque)
  • "The only end of writing is to enable the readers better enjoy life or better to endure it." (Samuel Johnson)
  • 'Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of art." (Oscar Wilde)
  • "We all know that Art is not truth. Art is a lie that makes us realize truth." (Pablo Picasso)
  • "Without music, life would be a mistake." (Friedrich Nietzsche)
  • "By words one transmits thoughts to another; by means of art, one transmits feelings." (Leo Tolstoy)

Definitions of Art

  • "Art is not a handicraft, it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced."...
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The May 2019 TOK Essay Titles

Here are the TOK Essay prescribed titles (for the May 2019 session). You'll have 1600 words to answer your title.

I've recently given a free webinar to go through the titles and give you a sense of how to handle them (i.e.things to watch out for with each title).

We had about 300 people attending at the same time, from around the world. (You're welcome to watch a recording of it you like. It's online here (Members). If you're not yet a member, you can still watch it if you sign up for TOK Mastery)

The TOK Prescribed Titles

1. “The quality of knowledge is best measured by how many people accept it.” Discuss this claim with reference to two areas of knowledge.

2. “The production of knowledge is always a collaborative task and never solely a product of the individual.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge.

3. Do good explanations have to be true?

4. “Disinterestedness is essential in the pursuit of...

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The Global Politics HL Extension Task (Oral Presentation) Structure

HL Global Politics students are required to do two oral presentations are (in total) worth 20% of your final mark in the course.  (10% for ET1 and 10% for ET2)

That’s a lot.

And, as you may have noticed, there are quite a lot of boxes you’re trying to tick in this time. This article will help you go step-by-step as you prepare your extension presentation and help you to cover all of your bases, within the tight (10 minute) time limit.

You aren’t required to follow this structure, but it works pretty well.  

How to think about the extension task 

Think of your entire presentation as an explanation of how your particular (small) case is an example of the Global Political Challenge (GPC) you’ve chosen to explore (more on these below).

 For example, if you’ve chosen to look at the GPC “Borders” and your chosen political issue is The Catalan Referendum of 2017, your presentation will use Global Politics ideas (concepts,...

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