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How to Structure a Theory of Knowledge Essay

 

The following structure is a very good, step-by-step method you can use on any TOK essay to get a great mark. (It is updated for the 2022 syllabus).

You can find our video analysis of the most recently May and November Theory of Knowledge Essay Prescribed Titles in our members area. We also have a lot of helpful advice, tutorials, and evidence videos there. And of course you're welcome to try it. We'll also give you a lot of videos, notes and other resources to help with with your TOK Exhibition, here.

 

Okay here we go...

 

First, choose your Prescribed Title

Before you can begin your essay, you’ll want to look at the Prescribed Titles and choose one of them. Take some time to think about them before you choose. Sometimes the simple one is not the best one--perhaps because you can't think of any interesting ideas, just the most obvious ones. Complicated questions can make for more interesting essays.  

The most important thing to remember...

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The Top Ten Theory of Knowledge Essay Tips

Here are my top tips for getting to top marks on your Theory of Knowledge essay.

1.  All ToK essays are about the prescribed title, but also about how we know in general. Make sure to keep your essay linking back to the knowledge aspect, rather than to 'how society is' for example.

2. But be careful about which AoK's you include. Review all of your notes to refresh your understanding and make sure you’re seeing the relevant connections and make sure (after you’ve done your research) that you have interesting points to make (claims and counter claims).

3. Make an outline first. The outline is your road map and it’s where you make a lot of your major decisions. It will also help you to develop an argument, with each paragraph building on the one before.

3. Research in a lot of different ways: websites, your class notes, talking with people (parents, classmates, your teachers). Find arguments which support both sides of (for and against) your...

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Knowledge Questions in International Baccalaureate Subjects

Recently we had our staff compile a list of some knowledge questions in different subjects. They came up with a pretty good list, which I thought a lot of ToK students and teachers would appreciate having.

Some of the questions fit neatly in a given subject area, while others fit in more than one subject.

 

History

Are historical claims restricted by the language they use?

Is all history biased?

How important is the role of statistics in history?

Does history show we have made ethical progress?

To what extent does emotion play a role in historical interpretation?

Is historical objectively possible?

To what extent does historical knowledge change over time?

How is knowledge about the past different from other kinds of knowledge?

How does the language used to describe the past change how history is understood?

 

Natural science

(Key words: scientific method, Popper's principle of falsification, scientific revolution and paradigm shift)

Is language necessary for the...

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The IB Economics Paper 1 Essay Structure

In the new syllabus (May 2022 exams onward) and get to choose 1 out of 3 questions, chosen from any of the 4 units. Paper 1 is worth 20% of your final for HL students and 30% for SL students.  

You'll get get 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes). That seems like quite a lot of time and it is, but you're expected to do a lot in that time, so you'll need to be careful to do everything you need to do in the time you get.

It’s easy to waste time (i.e with lengthly introductions or descriptive writing) that earn you no marks at all.

If you use this structure you’ll be sure to earn all of the possible marks for each of your IB Economics Paper 1 essays. 

Part A - 10 Marks (Roughly 30 Minutes)

Answer the question using real case studies and theory from the course. 

Definitions and your real life example

In a quick introduction paragraph, do the following:

  • Start with a sentence explaining part of what the question is about, using a keyword...
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The Theory of the Firm Rappers (Economics)

Theory of the firm is hard! ...It's ToF to get your head around. ...Get it? :) ROLFL

There's an easy way!

You can easily memorise everything. I'll show you here. 

Background

The first year I taught IB Economics, my students really struggled with the diagrams and all of the memorisation in this part of the course. And I didn't know how to help them remember it. But I love taking something hard and making it easy. So I love mnemonics and finding a structure (or a system) that you can always use to get great results. This approach is the only thing that works for me.

So, while this is obviously an Economics post, you can also take this as a lesson in how to use mnemonics to pack otherwise hard-to-remember information into your brain.

I read a lot of books on this subject to help my students (people like Cal NewportAdam Robinson and Joshua Foer --who's book is subtitled "The Art and Science of Remembering Everything") and I've applied what I've...

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How to Make Your Good Extended Essay Great

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I’m all about finding systems and structures to make challenging things less challenging. Or, to put it more simply, I like to do things the easy way. To that end, I want to show you how to make a few tweaks to your average extended essay and earn top marks for it.

The following are some advanced techniques that many International Baccalaureate (IB) extended essay supervisors might forget to share. And many aren’t aware of them.

Before reading this blog post, I suggest reading my post on getting started with your extended essay. That article explains how to choose a good essay question, among other things. This article is about advanced techniques, the polish that can raise your grades (to a high B or an A). But if your foundation is off no amount of polishing is going to be enough. So again, make sure you get off to a good start.

 

1) Doubt Your Sources

By now your Extended Essay contains the best...

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How to Structure a Theory of Knowledge (TOK) Presentation

The following Theory of Knowledge (TOK) presentation structure has been designed very carefully. (It’s taken several years of conversations!) It’s easy for you to follow and ticks all the boxes.

I'm going to tell you how many slides to have (nine), what text should go on each slide (less is more) and what you should talk about while each slide is up (focus on the interesting parts).

A clear structure like this is essential because it helps the audience follow what you’re saying. It also keeps you from wasting time, both during your presentation and in your preparation phase.

(This is also done for the TOK Essay, here). 

There are a few things I need to go over before we get into the slides.

The Development Section

When you get into the Development section (where the knowledge question is explored and analyzed with reference to the AOKs and WOKs), you’ll see that we use a Claim, Counterclaim, Mini-Conclusion structure. We do this (claim, counterclaim,...

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The CUEGIS Answer Method

Here is my step-by-step method for answering these questions, to make sure you get full marks on the exam.  Remember, this one question can easily bring you up an ENTIRE GRADE level, if you do it right. It's worth 10% of the whole course. 

First, know that you will have about 34 minutes for this question.

The CUEGIS method 

The body will address each concept, but mostly just one concept at a time. The basic model you’ll follow will be repeatedly doing the normal answer method stuff (CTs, CLs and SWs), but in this case the course theory is your normal insights from the course (as always), but ALSO your insights into the concept. So keep making links to your company as well as your insights about the concepts (i.e. innovation, or strategy) while also linking your answer to normal insights from the course (i.e. Ansoff's matrix). 

CL = Case Link. Give a fact about your chosen company and the first concept.

CT = Course Theory. Use a keyword, tool or...

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Advanced Business Extended Essay Research

In this post, I wanted to share with you a resource straight out of latest online course: Business EE Mastery. I know a lot of you are working on your Extended Essays at the moment, so I thought you'd probably appreciate some extra help.

If you're interested, you can try-out my Business EE Mastery video course online for FREE at the moment. You might not need any more help, but if you do this works and I'm happy to help. Either way, here is some info that will help you with your research:    

The ability to research effectively is all about two things:

  1. Efficiency and
  2. Thoughtfulness.

You need to know how to get the information you're looking for quickly and also, be willing to think about what you're looking for. Normally people look for the wrong information. Wrong information is information that has nothing to do with your research question. And EE students use information like this all the time. You can use some information that doesn't really relate to your RQ...

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