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The May 2017 ToK Essay Titles

If you are completing the IB Diploma Program in May 2017, the official Theory of Knowledge essay titles you’ll be working with have been released. I've made some step-by-step help videos and other downloadable resources to help you with your essay if you'd like.

Click the blue button below to get full access to these.

And we have ToK Essay Facebook groups. We have one group just for ToK students and another one just for ToK teachers. We'd love to see you in there. The following are the official prescribed titles for the May 2017 session of Theory of Knowledge essay.

Your essay can be up to 1600 words in length. 


 

The May 2017 ToK Prescribed Essay Titles

1. “It is only knowledge produced with difficulty that we truly value.” To what extent do you agree with this statement?

2. “Facts are needed to establish theories but theories are needed to make sense of facts.” Discuss this statement with reference to two areas...

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The JAM Structure for Business Management IA and EE Writing

The JAM structure is a simple, three-step framework you can use to improve the quality of your writing in IB Business Management. 

JAM stands for Justification, Analysis and Mini-conclusion

Since I first created this framework (way back in 2009) it's become very popular with IB schools around the world. It works really well because it helps you (and forces you) to do a couple of things that you wouldn't normally do, which can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your writing. It raises your grade because it forces you to show your thinking and mention why the tool or model is appropriate and then to also observe what the analysis has revealed.

Let's say you’ve chosen (as your IA question) to explore whether a restaurant should relocate from one shopping mall to another one. The second location is more popular, but also more expensive, so you'll need to analyze the opportunity in a few different ways. 

In the weakest IAs and EEs the student...

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Meeting The Economics IA Rubric Requirements

On this, the third of three posts to make sure you score full marks on your Economics Internal Assessments, I want to give you a detailed checklist you can use to check your own work. (Here is post one, Getting Started with your Econ IA and post two: the Econ IA Structure).

I have included what the IB says they expect for full marks, and translated that into actionable steps. If you do everything on the checklist your teacher will have to give you full marks.

This is up-to-date with the "new" IB Econ curriculum (first Assessment 2022). 

A: Diagrams (3 marks)

IB Explanation: This criterion assesses the extent to which the student is able to construct and explain diagrams.

IB Expectations: Relevant, accurate and correctly labelled diagram(s) are included, with a full explanation.

Checklist (to get full marks):

Drawing the diagram:

-You have fully labelled your x and y-axis (See the Structure for this here).

-You’ve chosen the most appropriate diagram (the one that best...

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How to Get Full Marks On Your Business Internal Assessment

I have found that the biggest challenge my students are having, in terms of scoring the top marks in the Business IA, is related to their use of analytical tools.

(For a step-by-step explanation of everything you need to include in your Business IA, use this page.)

You have a Research Question and you’re trying to arrive at your answer. A very common mistake is that students do a lot of analysis, but they don’t connect it properly to the Research Question (RQ) or to their Answer (Ans).

I have wracked my brain to make this more straightforward and I’ve come up with the following diagram, which you can follow to make your IA analysis a more straightforward process. If you follow it, it should raise your performance in several aspects of the IA Business rubric.

By this point, you have chosen an appropriate RQ. if you aren’t sure about that, I recommend reading this article first (and follow the '4 tests' it advises to check your RQ).  So now you know that...

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The 99 Best Economics Resources

IB Economics General Websites

  • Welker’s Wikinomics - A website created by an IB economics teacher containing useful IB lecture notes as well as a blog
  • Tutor2U - A resource for AS, A2 and IB economics revision
  • Biz/ed - A general resource for learning economics, listed by topic.
  • Essentials of Economics - Summaries, online quizzes and case studies relating to the textbook “Essentials of Economics”
  • Economic Policy Debate - Is a place for online debates regarding current controversial ideas in economics. For IB Econ students, it’s a good place to review key concepts and evaluate.
  • Vizala.com - Has a lot of great economics data. It's a database for country, demographic, social, and economic information.  

Videos

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How to Write Successful College Application Essays

Your college application admission letter or essay is one of the most important documents you will ever write. I want to show you how to write yourself to the head of the pack.

To do that I need to first explain to you the concept of Stump Speeches, which are often used by politicians. Regardless of the question a politician is asked they will try to answer it in a way that lets them talk about a few areas where they are strong. One guy will always come back to talk about cutting taxes. Another will always come back to talking about economic growth because they know, from their research, that when they talk about these specific things, people like them more.

I’m going to tell you what to say in your college admission letter (or college admission essay) so that the readers at Stanford or Yale will want to choose you over everyone else. The people who are going to be reading your letter want to see that you tick certain boxes. So you need to think about these people as your...

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How to Write Your Extended Essay (Getting Started)

Starting your Extended Essay is a big challenge.

The best advice I can give you is start early and choose your research question carefully. Starting early is a time-management aspect you'll have to figure out on your own. But I can help you a lot on the second part. 

Coming up with an appropriate question is about 25% of the whole battle. Your supervisor can help you with this, but often they'll leave it to you.

And you’ll want to be very careful here. With the right question almost anything is possible. With the wrong question, you're setting yourself up to fail. Most students brainstorm possible ideas, ask for suggestions and read successful EE samples (which are often available in your high school library). But I want to help you to do better than the average student. The following 4 tests will help you make sure your RQ is top notch.

The Four Tests

A good research question (RQ) passes the following 4 tests:

#1 Is it the right scope?

Of course the question...

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How to Write the Economics Internal Assessment (Getting Started)

The IA is a brilliant opportunity to put some marks in the bank and make that 6 or 7 in the course much easier to achieve. This first article will focus on choosing an appropriate article.

Why does this matter?

If you choose a bad article you’ll find it like competing in the Olympic 100 meter dash wearing your granny’s high heels. It doesn’t matter how good you are. Your name might be Usain Bolt. You’re working with the wrong equipment, so you’re gonna get beat. Here, just like in your Extended Essay and so much else in life, you’ve got to make good decisions at the start of the thing to end up where you want to go. Actually, you need to decide on the concept you want to explore BEFORE you go looking for your article. You should normally focus on one of the really major concepts like supply and demand, market failure, or aggregate supply and taxes. And once you've done that you'll know what type of article you're looking for.

How to find...

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Evaluation in Economics

Evaluation is a very important concept in IB Economics. But before we evaluate we always analyze.

Analysis is providing the DEED aspects --your Definitions, Explanations, Examples and Diagrams to show how the theory helps to answer the question. 

Okay, what's evaluation?

Basically, analysis is explaining the relevant theory. Evaluation is critiquing the theory.

Economic theories (i.e. our diagrams) always suggest certain things are true --for example that price ceilings will result in shortages. However, our field is full of interesting nuances. For example, price ceilings don't always result in shortages, because they might be set above the current equilibrium price.

There are always uncertainties and priorities to consider about the effects of a given policy. Remember that in your IA, for example, you're almost always looking at the possible effects of a certain policy decision. The simple presentation of the theory you did in the analysis section,...

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How to Structure an Economics IA

This post will go through what you should write in your Economics IA, with step-by-step instructions and with word counts for each section.

What you need to know before you write:

  • Avoid writing anything that isn’t going to earn you marks. You're going to need all the words you can get for your analysis and evaluation. Avoid quotes from the article and introductions longer than 2 sentences.
  • Stick with one unit of the course (i.e. Micro, Macro, and then Global). Don’t start off in micro (apple prices rise, supply and demand, elasticity) and then evaluate the potential macro effects (this could hurt economic growth). Even if this is true, the IA is about going deep into one part of the course, rather than showing the linkages between different parts.
  • Less is (often) more. Because of the very constraining word count (800 words) you’ll want to focus on really developing just one or two (two at the most) diagrams in your IA. And only evaluate one potential solution...
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