May 2022 TOK essay titles
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M22 prescribed essay titles
The M22 TOK prescribed essay titles are now being written by Northern Hemisphere schools, for a mid-March deadline. Check out the M22 TOK essay webinar , which models what an initial unpacking session would look like. Below you’ll find the key words to pin down in the essay introduction, links to the BQ framework , and other consideration points.
Prescribed title 1
The ideas you see here roughly correspond to the initial unpacking session you will have with your TOK teacher. You’ll then go on to have three face-to-face interactions with your teacher, in which you’ll discuss your progress in writing the essay , working through any difficulties and challenges you experience.
Make sure you pin down…
- I ndependent of culture
- Perspectives (BQ4) – think about how knowledge is subject to interpretation, and whether that interpretation is culturally-driven.
- Creativity (BQ5) – think about the development of knowledge, and the role culture plays in this.
BEAR IN MIND…
- Knowledge itself will require a definition
- Can knowledge be produced without a cultural background?
- Mathematics – the assumption is that this is independent from culture – is that true?
- See culture in our key concept resource
Prescribed title 2
Make sure you pin down….
- World of difference
- Foundations (BQ1) – think about the nature of truth, role of facts, etc. – and come up with your own definitions of these.
- Spin (BQ3) – facts can be used to mislead us, by presenting half-truths (“A truth that’s told with bad intent / Beats all the lies you can invent.”- Blake)
- Angelou’s full quote also refers to ‘facts can obscure the truth’ – tricky to decide whether to include this section of the quote
- Ensure it establishes (or refutes) world of difference – not just difference
- A broad question in terms of which AOKs you can select
- See truth in our key concept resource
Prescribed title 3
- Solid justification
- More highly
- Values (BQ2) – this could be one of the bases for this essay, that highly regarded knowledge is synonymous with knowledge that helps us to improve our values
- Perspectives (BQ4) – perhaps highly regarded knowledge is that which is the most objective (and therefore least vulnerable to interpretation)?
- Experts (BQ6) – think about how do we regard knowledge with more discernment
- What does ‘solid’ justification mean (as opposed to just plain old ‘justification’)?
- Regarding something highly is vague – needs pinning down very clearly
- The purpose of knowledge needs to be considered
- See justification in our key concept resource
Prescribed title 4
- Telling of stories
- Spin (BQ3) – think about communicating ideas via means that aren’t always factually-based.
- Creativity (BQ5) – think about how we create knowledge via our imagination.
- What does ‘give knowledge meaning’ mean – and how does this happen via ‘telling stories’?
- The most prescriptive of the PTs
- There is a lot of cross-over between history and the human sciences – it could be harder to craft a contrasting essay.
- It could also turn into a descriptive essay (it’s not “to what extent to historians and human scientists…”)
- ‘Telling stories’ really needs to be nailed down.
Prescribed title 5
- Perspectives (BQ4) – think about how our perspectives lead us to make different interpretations. When does this strengthen our claims (perhaps personal experiences)? When does this detract from our claims (perhaps when we seek to confirm our biases)?
- Experts (BQ6) – think about how experts make discerning judgements on the world – in terms of humility, evidence, an agenda that doesn’t seek to be served, etc.
- There is quite a lot for students to do with this essay – interpretations within the arts will probably be evaluated in a completely different way to other AOKs
- See interpretation in our key concept resource
Prescribed title 6
- Ethical grounds
- Boundaries of acceptable investigation
- Values (BQ2) – clear links with this BQ. Think about how and who should decide on the ethical boundaries of knowledge?
- Creativity (BQ5) – this is about creating new knowledge, so it also links to this BQ
- “If we conclude”… but if we don’t?
- Who is the ‘we’? Not a bad thing – this is a great way of including a consideration of perspectives in this essay. The experts? The authorities? Ordinary knowers? Etc.
M22 essay webinar $24.99 / $49.99
This webinar discusses the M22 titles, and how to begin writing the TOK essay. We look at the key words of the titles, link them to the course, and run over possible approaches. This is a great starting point for writing the essay, and works similarly to the initial unpacking session that teachers run with their students.
- Group ticket – $49.99
- Individual ticket – $24.99
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Guide to the TOK Essay
- What is Theory of Knowledge (TOK)?
- What is the Theory of Knowledge Essay?
How is the Theory of Knowledge Essay Scored?
How to structure your theory of knowledge essay.
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IB/IBDP) is a rigorous and rewarding internationally based educational program that offers courses in numerous studies, from humanities to chemistry. Students take part in a two-year curriculum that includes external examinations, internal assessments, research papers and community service hours. Essentially, students will have to do a bit of everything, especially with IB’s core, which is CAS, TOK, and the extended essay (EE). Understanding how TOK, IB’s flagship class, is assessed with its essay is important to success in the course overall.
What is Theory Of Knowledge (TOK)?
Theory of Knowledge is IB’s way of introducing a more intuitive way of thinking into classrooms. TOK is at its surface as simple as it sounds: you essentially learn the “what” and “why” of how we learn and understand knowledge. In order to assess students of their skills in TOK, IB uses an essay and a presentation. The essay makes up 67% of your total TOK score, making it the most important task to focus on for getting a high score.
What is the Theory Of Knowledge Essay?
The TOK essay is a 1600 word essay written about topics usually given to students from their teachers from a list of numerous options. It is an essay that promotes arguments and counterarguments for the topic at hand. Understanding your ways of knowing (WOKs) and areas of knowledge (AOKs) is extremely crucial before you even start choosing a topic to write on, as your essay will revolve around and structure itself based on these two concepts. Being able to demonstrate higher-level thinking and using examples to solidify the points you make in your essay is also important. Additionally, you’ll need to reference every source of information that you use, since that is something examiners look for as well.
As said earlier, 67% of your grade is from the essay, and your overall TOK score receives a letter grade using a calculated score out of thirty. Your essay score and presentation score are each out of ten. The grades for your TOK presentation and essay are determined by sending material to the board of IB, from which they designate a grader/examiner to read your essay and grade based on a rubric that determines the level of knowledge you exhibit in your writing.
The following formula should better explain how to find your TOK grade.
(presentation score) + (essay score * 2) = overall score out of 30
The grade boundaries out of 30 that determine your letter grade can vary each year so checking in with your school for the most recent ones is the best course of action, but an example set would be like this:
Once you have a letter grade for IB, your extended essay, which is another part of the core, is also included into a larger grading schema to calculate your core score, which is three additional points required to complete and earn the diploma. The following table details this grade further:
Doing well in the core is important to passing IB and getting three points out of the total 45 attainable points.
There’s a trick that most IB students use in writing the TOK essay, and it boils down to understanding four key components of learning:
- Content : Understanding knowledge issues
- Clarity : Structuring your essay in a legible and clear/easy to read manner
- Creativity : Using your personal ways of thinking and applications of knowledge specific to your understanding of the knowledge issue
- Critical Thinking : Using a counter argument for every argument you have to analyze your own claims constantly
Dividing your actual essay into three main chunks helps, starting with an introduction. Your introduction should be where you state your knowledge question, the central point of your essay, and you should make use of jargon specific to the concept. As the basis of your essay, the introduction should be where you form claims and counterclaims that either support or challenge the knowledge question through heavy analysis and evaluation.
The body of the essay follows the introduction, and it is where most of the conceptual analysis of your knowledge question takes place. Every argument and its counterargument should have a dedicated paragraph of its own, and make sure to not jump back and forth too much throughout the essay. to avoid creating messy transitions for the reader and potentially harming your score. Understanding the essay from the reader’s point of view is important, as it will help you better understand how to structure the body of your essay.
A conclusion in the TOK essay is mainly for finding closure among the numerous arguments that have been taking place thus far in the essay. Make sure to summarize but not repeat previous information entirely to refresh the reader. A conclusion should essentially loop back to the beginning of the essay, the knowledge question. The knowledge question’s answer should be the conclusion and the stopping point of the essay, and by now the answer you provide should be backed by paragraphs of supporting claims and counterclaims. If done right, concluding the essay can be how you earn most of your points.
Starting early is an obvious and effective advantage to students. Aside from TOK, let alone the presentation, IB has substantial work that requires focus and allocated time dedicated to it, such as external examinations and the extended essay. These tasks are equally as important as the TOK essay, so starting your outlining, drafting or even just planning early will set you up for success.
Send Your Drafts to Your Teacher
Your TOK teacher is a great resource for drafting essays and making edits to perfect your final product. Making use of time outside of the classroom to catch your teacher for a quick review of your essay could be a bigger advantage than you realize. Making use of an outside perspective is essential to forming a great essay.
While your final IB grade isn’t as important as you’d think regarding college admissions, understanding how to pass TOK and using the lifelong practices you’ll learn in the class is even more important. TOK creates students who think outside conventional methods, making them excellent candidates in the eyes of college admissions offices. Taking TOK and showing proof of understanding it as well as capability of academic rigor is what colleges are looking for. For more information on how your chances of college admissions might look, use CollegeVine’s admissions calculator !
Related CollegeVine Blog Posts
US IB Theory of Knowledge: TOK Essay
- Knowledge Framework in TOK
- TOK & The Learner Profile Attributes
- The Learner Profile Attributes Quiz
- Areas of Knowledge
- Optional Themes
- Knowledge Questions
- TOK Exhibition
- TOK Exhibition Prompts
- TOK Exhibition Rubric
- Ways of Knowing (Pre 2022)
- Recommended Reading
- RSS News Feeds
TOK Prescribed Titles
The International Baccalaureate Organization releases six TOK essay titles, twice a year for submission either in May or November. So you need to know which cohort you're submitting with. The essay titles for submission in May are released in the previous September. The essay titles for submission in November are released the previous March.
- May 2022 topics
- November 2021 topics
- May 2021 topics
- November 2020 topics
- May 2020 topics
- November 2019 topics
- May 2019 topics
- November 2018 topics
- May 2018 topics
- November 2017 topics
"A" example Essays
- Reason vs Emotion in Ethics
- Breaking Conventions
- Context is All
- Moral Wisdom
- Valuable Knowledge
- Experience & Culture
The word count is 1600 words. This includes quotations. You have to write down the number of words when you submit the essay. The examiner will not read past 1600 words. References, maps/charts/illustrations and bibliographies are not included in the word count. You can choose any standard referencing system, but be consistent with the one you chose.
Assessment Criteria: Markscheme from the TOK Guide (as of Class of 2022)
TOK Essay Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions that students and teachers frequently ask about the TOK essay. Read through these questions and the answers to check that you are doing the right thing.
What’s the most important thing to bear in mind?
The first thing is to BE CLEAR! Most students do not even manage to communicate their ideas clearly to the examiner. Regardless of whether or not your answer is stunningly original or crammed with a variety of interesting examples, if it is clear then you will already have a massive head start over the majority of other students from elsewhere in the world. That is why it is absolutely vital to plan in detail – if you have a clear plan you will write a clear essay. If you start the essay without a clear plan then the chances are you will not do very well.
The second thing is to remain focused on the question. It is really easy to lose focus and when you do your score will instantly drop. A slight switch from discussing ‘what we believe is true’ to ‘what is true’ might be enough to make most of your answer irrelevant to the question that you have been asked so you have to be really, really careful here. Always ask yourself whether you are correctly focused on the question.
If my answer is not completely different to everyone else’s will I lose?
Most good essays will offer well balanced, plausible and convincing answer to the knowledge question that has been asked. Clearly there is not an infinite variety of plausible and convincing answers to any question and so you should not expect your answer to be completely different to everyone else’s and nor should you strive to make it bizarrely and outlandishly strange in an attempt to seem original. A good answer will usually point out that x is true in some case cases because of a certain set of reasons, while it is less true in other cases and pretty much completely untrue elsewhere. Students who take very extreme positions tend not to do so well in TOK because, unlike in English where you can usually find some evidence to back up even the most unusual reading, TOK is meant to be firmly grounded in the real world and so, for instance, it is not really that plausible to argue that we can never know anything because that just doesn't fit with how we live our daily lives. Similarly, answers which are overly simply probably won't do that well because most things in TOK just aren’t that clear cut. For example students who claim that Art is completely subjective and that we can never know whether one painting is better than another have trouble when accounting for how the IB award some students Level 7s in art while failing others.
So in this sense your essay might be balanced in the same way as someone else’s but the difference between your essay and everyone else’s should be in exactly how you strike that balance, exactly which discriminations you make and the kinds of evidence that you use to persuade me that your answer is correct. The more convincing your position: the better you will do.
How many examples do I need?
In terms of number of examples there is no set answer. However, in a 1600 word essay you should try to have about 4-6 main body points with one clear example that is central to each one. The best marks will not go to those students who have lots of examples but those who choose examples that support their point really well and then go on to consider the counterclaims against this position (possibly using the same example or a different one) and then respond to this counterclaim (again using the same example or a different one - however three examples in paragraph might be getting a bit too much).
How important is it to talk about myself?
It is important to demonstrate personal engagement, indeed the highest marks will really only be awarded to essays that create a sense that the writer has really engaged and got to grips with the question that they have chosen to answer. However, there are a number of different ways to do this. Using the personal pronoun ‘I’ and talking about something that has happened to you is one way to do this but it will not score highly unless it is a strong example that convincingly supports the point you are trying to make. For example, you will are unlikely to get any points for a personal example about your summer holiday or your Mum’s noodle soup unless it clearly and convincingly supports your answer to the question.
Other ways to demonstrate personal engagement and independent thought are by offering personal definitions of key words and researching original examples that you have come up with yourself rather than the obvious example or the one that everyone else in your class is using because that is the one that the teacher gave you.
Ultimately the best way to demonstrate your personal engagement with the question is through your tone of voice and the sense that you have really ‘got’ what this question is asking and honestly offered your own answer to it. However, this can be hard to identify for an examiner so it is probably best if you try to cover all of the different methods mentioned above in order to come across as a student who is thinking for themselves and relating this question to experiences in their own education.
Should I offer definitions of all the words in my title?
Obviously not – beginning your essay with a list of personal definitions does not make for a very engaging start. However, there may be some terms in your question title that it is important to define and so you might need to start by doing this. In these case it is best to offer a brief personal definition (avoid Dictionary.com!), but be careful with going into any more detail than that. Otherwise the best way to show that you understand what the words in the title mean is to continually link back to the key words from the question throughout your essay. Just like in an English essay you would usually do this at the beginning or end of a paragraph but the best students will be able to make the link clear throughout.
One handy trick to bear in mind when thinking about definitions is that, considering different definitions of key words can actually be a good way of incorporating different perspectives into your essay. For example, if your essay question asks you whether progress is equally possible in the sciences and the arts then how you answer that question might depend on how you define progress and a good structure for the essay might be to start by considering one definition of progress (i.e. progress from one perspective) and then go on to contrast this with the answer that we get if we consider a different definition of progress from another perspective.
Is it a good idea to argue that it’s impossible to know anything at all?
Generally no … TOK examiners tend to be quite dismissive of essays that argue either that we can’t know anything at all or that you can have your ‘truth’ and I can have my ‘truth’ and that these truths are both true. The first of these approaches is often called ‘lazy scepticism’ and the second ‘easy relativism’ and you can see that the names imply that these are not particularly impressive positions to adopt. This is not to say that it’s impossible to be sceptical about knowledge and argue that there are problems with it because clearly there are. It’s also not to say that it’s impossible to argue that in some situations the ‘truth’ might actually be different for different people. However, by and large TOK is looking at how we can know things despite the problems we face when acquiring with knowledge or in spite of the different opinions that exist. TOK is in many ways a pragmatic and realistic subject that is trying to move away from creating the impression that we just can't know anything at all. As such, the best essays will admit that the acquisition of knowledge may not be straight-forward, but will go on to consider how we can overcome these obstacles in the successful pursuit of knowledge.
Do I have to cover every AOK and WOK in my essay?
No, you won’t have enough space. However, you should start by considering all of the AOKs and WOKs when you begin planning your essay and then narrow it down to the 2 or 3 AOKs or WOKs where you can say the most interesting things. Make it clear that this narrowing down is a conscious decision that you have made and you can even briefly explain the reasons why you have made the choice that you have, if you think that it is relevant. Remember that the highest marks will go to the students who explore a few really key ideas in depth rather than those who try to cover everything. Remember also that the best and most original ideas are not necessarily going to be the ones that spring to mind first so try to use AOKs or WOKs that not everyone else is using – as long as they work.
So how do I know which AOKs or WOKs would be good ones to pick?
In general, it can be good to compare an AOK where a statement 'x' really applies well and contrast that with one where it doesn't or doesn't seem to. So for example 'All knowledge is subjective' seems to fit well with The Arts and Ethics, but less with Maths and Science so if you just talk about The Arts and Ethics then you are just going to have an essay that keeps saying ... and this is also true in Ethics, and we can see another example of subjectivity in the Arts, etc. It would be much better to say that this is true in the arts because of xyz reasons and not true in Maths because of abc reasons.
If you are really confident with TOK you might try inverting an obvious stereotype about an AOK and seeing if you can find examples where that isn’t true. For example, most students’ first reactions are that the Arts are a subjective subject whereas Maths is a subject which contains objective, universal truths. While there is some truth to this stereotype it is not true all the time and the best students will be able to explore where that stereotype breaks down and why it breaks down. For example, while judgement in art is subjective, some truths – e.g. that this picture was painted by Da Vinci - are empirical and so we can have objective agreement about them. Additionally, even the subjective truths aren't allowed to be absolutely anything - even my Mum doesn't think that my Primary School paintings are as good as Da Vinci's. This kind of subtlety is what marks out the best answers.
In addition, do not make sweeping statements about aspects or areas of knowledge that imply that what you are saying is always and absolutely true without exception. Instead, phrase things in a way that acknowledges the limitations of your own knowledge and experience: for example ‘Accepting for the moment the premise that … then we can say …’
Do I have to use TOK words like ‘Areas of Knowledge’ in my essay?
Yes you do as this will demonstrate a good understanding of the course but be wary of just throwing them in everywhere: judicious and correct use of TOK terminology is better than going over the top. The words that should come up more frequently are the key words from the question to show that you are remaining focused on the question and not getting distracted by anything else.
Do I have to include any Philosophy or Philosophical words?
No - the IB have made it clear that TOK is not a philosophy course, instead it is meant to be grounded in the real world and your own experiences as a student. As such you should try to avoid including complex philosophical points unless you really understand them and they really are fully relevant to the essay, even then it is often to put these points into your own words rather than quote philosophers because TOK is about you thinking for yourself rather than quoting someone else’s thoughts.
Do I have to research the quotations in the question title?
It is a good idea to know where the quotation came from, who said it and why but you wouldn’t necessarily include any of this in your essay. In fact, the quotation may not really be relevant at all to the essay question as they are sometimes just used to give you a flavor of the what the essay is about. For example in the ‘What I Tell You Three Times is True’ question – the number ‘three’ and the fact that this comes from Lewis Carroll are not necessarily as important as the point about repetition and so detailed research into the works of Lewis Carroll will not really help you with this question.
Can I use quotations from famous people to back up my argument?
Students often like starting essays, concluding essays or supporting points with quotations from famous people like Oscar Wilde or Albert Einstein. The fact that these people are experts tends to lend an air of credibility to your argument. However, the opinion of someone like Oscar Wilde is only going to be relevant in certain, very specific circumstances, for example, if you are exploring esthetics (the theory about what makes beautiful things beautiful) then it might be worth considering Oscar Wilde’s perspective on this topic as he was an artist… but you have to remember that his view is only one perspective and just because Wilde said it, it doesn’t mean that he has the best or most convincing theory about beauty. You should also remember that, outside of the topic of esthetics, it might not be a such good idea to quote Oscar Wilde at all: his opinions on how to live a good life, for example, can be sharply witty and sound quite appealing ... but we need to remember that he did die penniless and alone in Paris so is he really someone that we want to listen to?
Similarly, Einstein is a hugely important figure in the history of science and it might be worthwhile quoting him if you were exploring the forces that drive or inspire genius. However, again you should bear in mind that Einstein’s personal statement about what inspires him is not necessarily something that is going to be true of all thinkers. On top of that you should remember that it has been almost 100 years since the publication of Einstein’s last great work, the General Theory of Relativity, so if you are looking for an up to date comment on the nature of scientific knowledge then it might be best to look elsewhere.
In general the rule with quotations is that you should only quote from someone when they are an expert in the relevant field and even then you have to bear in mind that their opinion is nothing more than that, an opinion. Just like your opinions have to be backed up with evidence and proof, so do the opinions of experts… just because Einstein said it, it doesn’t mean it’s true until you show me the proof. One danger you should also be aware of if you quote too much is that the expert’s voice can come to replace your own and so you should only quote opinions sparingly. One additional way to prevent the expert’s voice from dominating your essay is to use quotations from them in your counterclaims; if you go on to disagree with the expert then that’s usually a clear indication that you are thinking for yourself.
Finally, be careful where you get your quotation from. ‘Brainyquote.com’ might be a repository of thousands of fantastic and completely accurate quotations but it doesn’t create a great impression of your ability to select reliable sources so try to find the original source for your quotation and quote that!
Do I need to include different perspectives in my essay?
Definitely, although remember that ‘different perspectives’ can mean a range of different things. One nice way to include different perspectives is by considering the question from the ‘perspective’ of the different AOKs . So, for example, you might answer the question from the perspective of the sciences and then compare this with the perspective of the arts – this is a particularly nice trick because it also enables you to draw in some comparisons between the AOKs at the same time. However, there are other perspectives that you considering and exploring different cultural, political, philosophical, historical and intellectual perspectives or different schools of thought within an AOK can lead to a more interesting and more convincing essay.
Do I have to distinguish between ‘personal’ and ‘shared’ knowledge in my essay?
It’s definitely a good idea to consider these ideas in your planning but, as with anything, you should only really include them if they are relevant to your essay. One effective way to include these different kinds of knowledge in your essay is to treat them as different perspectives on the same issue. For example, if you are looking at whether it is possible to make progress in the arts then the answer might be quite different depending on whether I am talking about progress at a personal level (clearly I can get better at drawing) or at a shared / communal level because it’s not entirely clear what it would mean for art overall to get ‘better’. This links nicely with the previous point as a way of considering different perspectives on the same issue and can be a good way of killing two birds with one stone.
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Theory of knowledge
Theory of knowledge (TOK) is assessed through an exhibition and a 1,600 word essay.
It asks students to reflect on the nature of knowledge, and on how we know what we claim to know.
TOK is part of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) core, and is mandatory for all students.
Learn more about theory of knowledge . You can also find examples of TOK essay titles and read about how the IB sets deadlines for TOK .
You may also be interested in the other components of the DP core: creativity, activity, service (CAS) and the extended essay .
Learn more about TOK in a DP workshop for teachers .
DP subject briefs
Find out about what each subject offers within the Diploma Programme (DP).
Our DP subject briefs—for both standard and higher level—contain information about core requirements, aims and assessment.
- Explore the DP subject briefs
IB Study Resources
October 6, 2021
Taking A Close Look at the IB: The TOK Exhibition (+ ALL 35 PROMPTS)
In 2019, the IB announced that the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) was receiving an update. This update replaced the TOK group presentation with the brand new TOK Exhibition.
The TOK Exhibition task assesses if a student is able to show how TOK manifests in the real world. This is done through object curation and written commentary.
The first assessment of this new format commences in 2022. Without much to rely on, the TOK Exhibition is relatively unknown. This guide will bring you step-by-step through the assignment, helping you to score an A for it.
Getting started: Selecting the Exhibition prompt
Let’s begin this deep dive from the very top: prompt selection.
Before IB students can start on their answers, they must first select a prompt. These prompts are released by the IB and are not unique to an assessment year.
There are 35 prompts to choose from. They are generally shorter (as compared to the essay titles) and also less directional. This gives students greater leeway in how they approach and answer the prompt.
When selecting a prompt, students have to note that they are not allowed to change the prompt . If a student has altered a prompt, they risk receiving a zero for their TOK Exhibition.
FIND THE FULL LIST OF 35 TOK EXHIBITION PROMPTS BELOW!
Curating the objects for the TOK Exhibition
After deciding on a prompt, the next step is to select three objects. These objects form the core of the student’s answer. Using them, student’s will illustrate how TOK presents itself in the real world.
The objects that a student may choose are not limited to physical objects. Digital assets, such as online articles and tweets, can also be used for this assignment. While the possibilities of objects are endless, students must abide by one rule. And that is the object must already exist. This means that students cannot create something specially for the Exhibition.
When choosing which to include, students should opt for items that are specific . A good way to check is to ask if the argument would still make sense if the item has been replaced. If changing the object makes no difference, then the object is not specific enough.
Objects should also preferably have a personal connection to the student.
Writing a commentary for each object.
After choosing the objects, the next step is to write commentaries to go with them. In total, students will have to write three commentaries; one for each object.
When writing the commentary, students will have to:
- Identify the object,
- Establish the specific context in which the object exists in,
- Justify the inclusion of the object, and
- Explain the link between the object and the prompt.
Though all four are necessary for a well-written commentary, the last two are arguably more crucial. So, instead of splitting the word count equally, we would advise students to focus their writing on the latter two tasks.
The summative word count of these three commentaries should not exceed 950 words. This will average out to approximately 300 words per commentary. Though 300 words may sound like a lot, it is not much. So, students must be alert when writing their commentaries. Rather than verbosity, students should prioritise precision and persuasiveness.
Checking the TOK Exhibition document before submission
The final step before submitting is to prepare the document for submission. There are a few things that students want to put on their final checks checklist.
First up, the TOK Exhibition title. The title must clearly state what Exhibition prompt has been used.
Next on the list is to make sure that the document is free from any identifying information. Keeping student’s work anonymous is one of the steps the IB has taken to ensure fair marking. Identifying information includes the student’s name, candidate number, and even session number.
Also, if there are several working documents, now would be the time to combine it into one file. At the end of the day, each student must submit a single file to their TOK teacher.
This includes the images of the three objects used for the exhibition. If a student has chosen a virtual asset, a screenshot must be taken and inserted into the document. For all images, students should take some time to check its resolution. Teachers don’t grade students for image quality, but it can still impact their perception of the overall work.
The last checks students should do is to check their citation and bibliography. All references must be properly and accurately cited.
Marking the TOK Exhibition.
Next up is the marking phase. The TOK Exhibition is an internally graded assignment. After the school teachers have concluded the grading, they will then select a sample and send it to the IB.
There, IB examiners will review and moderate the received sample. The moderation process checks and ensures that the marks have been awarded equally.
For the TOK Exhibition, students are graded out of 10. According to the TOK subject guide, marks are awarded based on how well the exhibition demonstrates how TOK manifests in the world around us. When marking the student’s scripts, IB teachers will be looking out for five areas:
- Selection of objects,
- Identification of the object’s real world context,
- Explanation of how the objects link to the prompt,
- Justification for inclusion of objects, and
- Support through evidence and reference.
Though this stage is out of the student’s control, we are keeping it in as it gives us a peek at the marking rubric.
TOK Exhibition Prompts
- What counts as knowledge?
- Are some types of knowledge more useful than others?
- What features of knowledge have an impact on its reliability?
- On what grounds might we doubt a claim?
- What counts as good evidence for a claim?
- How does the way that we organize or classify knowledge affect what we know?
- What are the implications of having, or not having, knowledge?
- To what extent is certainty attainable?
- Are some types of knowledge less open to interpretation than others?
- What challenges are raised by the dissemination and/or communication of knowledge?
- Can new knowledge change established values or beliefs?
- Is bias inevitable in the production of knowledge?
- How can we know that current knowledge is an improvement upon past knowledge?
- Does some knowledge belong only to particular communities of knowers?
- What constraints are there on the pursuit of knowledge?
- Should some knowledge not be sought on ethical grounds?
- Why do we seek knowledge?
- Are some things unknowable?
- What counts as a good justification for a claim?
- What is the relationship between personal experience and knowledge?
- What is the relationship between knowledge and culture?
- What role do experts play in influencing our consumption or acquisition of knowledge?
- How important are material tools in the production or acquisition of knowledge?
- How might the context in which knowledge is presented influence whether it is accepted or rejected?
- How can we distinguish between knowledge, belief and opinion?
- Does our knowledge depend on our interactions with other knowers?
- Does all knowledge impose ethical obligations on those who know it?
- To what extent is objectivity possible in the production or acquisition of knowledge?
- Who owns knowledge?
- What role does imagination play in producing knowledge about the world?
- How can we judge when evidence is adequate?
- What makes a good explanation?
- How is current knowledge shaped by its historical development?
- In what ways do our values affect our acquisition of knowledge?
- In what ways do values affect the production of knowledge?
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IB ToK Essay Titles and Topics: November 2022
Here are links to ideas and suggestions relating to the the six November 2022 IB ToK Essay topics:
- Topic 1. Within an area of knowledge is it more important to have credibility or power? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.
- Topic 2. If pushed too far, can open-mindedness itself become restrictive? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
- Topic 3. Is it better to "have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned" (adapted from Richard Feynman)? Discuss with reference to mathematics and one other area of knowledge.
- Topic 4. Why do we seek indisputable evidence when it is so often unattainable? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
- Topic 5. To what extent do you agree with the directive to "measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so" (Galileo Galilei)? Answer with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.
- Topic 6. If the artist has freedom to interpret past events in ways that are denied to the historian, is this an asset or an obstacle to our understanding of the past? Discuss with reference to the arts and history.
Title 1: Within an area of knowledge is it more important to have credibility or power? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.
Thoughts to consider with essay 1 include:
- the varieties of power
- the difference between being credible and being correct
- what is meant by "importance" here?
These thoughts, and others, will be developed here shortly: come back soon!
Title 2: If pushed too far, can open-mindedness itself become restrictive? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
Thoughts to consider with essay 2 include:
- the role of imagination in being open-minded
- what is meant by "restrictive" in this context?
- are there limits to what can be coherently questioned?
Title 3: Is it better to "have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned" (adapted from Richard Feynman)? Discuss with reference to mathematics and one other area of knowledge.
Thoughts to consider with essay 3 include:
- is it possible, coherently, to frame a question that admits of no answer?
- what distinguishes plausible from implausible answers to questions?
- which sorts of true propositions can't rationally be doubted?
Title 4: Why do we seek indisputable evidence when it is so often unattainable? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
Thoughts to consider with essay 4 include:
- do we know any indisputable propositions?
- are proofs indisputable evidence?
- what is the difference between rational and irrational dispute?
Title 5: To what extent do you agree with the directive to "measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so" (Galileo Galilei)? Answer with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.
Thoughts to consider with essay 5 include:
- what is the difference between being measurable in practice and in principle only?
- must we change something that is immeasurable, beyond recognition, in order to render it measurable?
- the difference between accuracy and precision in measurement
Title 6: If the artist has freedom to interpret past events in ways that are denied to the historian, is this an asset or an obstacle to our understanding of the past? Discuss with reference to the arts and history.
Thoughts to consider with essay 6 include:
- must all interpretations of past events be faithful to the facts?
- what makes an interpretation objective?
- if an interpretation is available to the artist, but not the historian, does this mean that it is ineffable?
- 1. Within an area of knowledge is it more important to have credibility or power? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.
- 2. If pushed too far, can open-mindedness itself become restrictive? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
- 3. Is it better to "have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned" (adapted from Richard Feynman)? Discuss with reference to mathematics and one other area of knowledge.
- 4. Why do we seek indisputable evidence when it is so often unattainable? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
- 5. To what extent do you agree with the directive to "measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so" (Galileo Galilei)? Answer with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.
- 6. If the artist has freedom to interpret past events in ways that are denied to the historian, is this an asset or an obstacle to our understanding of the past? Discuss with reference to the arts and history.
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November 2022 TOK Essay Prescribed Titles
The IB has released the May 2022 TOK Essay Prescribed Titles. Make sure you get the “official” two-page document from your TOK teacher / coordinator. Page 1 of the document contains some important instructions for students.
The “unofficial” November 2022 TOK essay prescribed titles:
- Within an area of knowledge is it more important to have credibility or power? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.
- If pushed too far, can open-mindedness itself become restrictive? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
- Is it better to “have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned” (adapted from Richard Feynman)? Discuss with reference to mathematics and one other area of knowledge.
- Why do we seek indisputable evidence when it is so often unattainable? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
- To what extent do you agree with the directive to “measure what is measurable and make measurable what is not so” (Galileo Galilei)? Answer with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.
- If the artist has freedom to interpret past events in ways that are denied to the historian, is this an asset or an obstacle to our understanding of the past? Discuss with reference to the arts and history.
IB TOK Essay examples
Type a search phrase to find the most relevant TOK Essay examples for you
Not sure what to search for? You can always look through our example Internal Assessments below for inspiration.
All TOK Essay Examples
Filter exemplars, to what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use discuss with reference to history and one area of knowledge., does it matter if our acquisition of knowledge happens in "bubbles" where some information and voices are excluded discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., want to get full marks for your tok essay allow us to review it for you 🎯, is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., for artists and natural scientists, which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained discuss with reference to the arts and the natural sciences., are visual representations always helpful in the communication of knowledge discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics., fast track your coursework with mark schemes moderated by ib examiners. upgrade now 🚀, tok essay: 5. “how can we distinguish between good and bad interpretations discuss with reference to the arts and one other area of knowledge”, 如果我们是在排除某些信息和声音的“信息同温层”里获取知识，这有关系吗请参考两个知识领域展开你的应答。, does it matter if our knowledge acquisition happens in "bubbles" where some information and voices are excluded discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge, do you agree that it is “astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power” (bertrand russell) discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge., does it matter if our acquisition of knowledge happens in “bubbles” where some information and voices are excluded discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge., to what extent is the knowledge weproduce determined by the methodologieswe use, for artists and natural scientists, which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained discuss with reference to the arts and natural science., êtes-vous d'accord qu'il est "étonnant que si peu de connaissance puissent nous donner autant de pouvoir" (bertrand russell) - discutez cette question en faisant référence aux sciences naturelles et à un autre domaine de la connaissance, est-il important que notre acquisition des connaissances se fasse dans des « bulles » où certaines informations et certaines voix sont exclues discutez cette question en faisant référence à deux domaines de la connaissance., to what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use discuss with reference to history and one other area of knowledge., is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two area of knowledge, are visual representations always helpful in communicating knowledge discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics., are visual representations always useful in communication of knowledge discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics., for artists and natural scientists which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained, do you agree that it is "astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power" (bertrand russell) discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge., is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge, is replication necessary in the production of knowledge discuss with reference to two aoks..
May 2023 TOK Essay Prompts + SAMPLES and Suggestions
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- Writing Metier
Every year, students anxiously wait for the IB to announce the TOK essay topics. So this year is not an exception; IBO has also announced 2023 May titles for IB TOK essay. The TOK essay can be quite a challenging one to write for most students. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a TOK essay topic that suits you better.
UPD! November 2023 TOK essay prompts released!
Most students struggle with the idea of writing a TOK essay since it can indeed be very tough owing to its different structure. Most students plan for days on end so that they can see just the proper structure in mind, with suitable examples so that they can give their best to what they are doing.
Btw… ⏩ We can write a ToK essay for you ⏪
To be able to score well, you need to plan accordingly. The idea is to make sure to do a great job and that can only happen when you know what exactly is expected of you and how you get through that. To better understand the TOK essay and have ample considerations, here is the list of TOK essay titles for May 2023 explained by professional IB writers.
You can get a few ideas from here about how you’re supposed to work on these. With these ideas, you are sure to do a sound job with your TOK essay . Furthermore, you will find links for 2 different May 2023 TOK essay samples that were written by our IB experts. Feel free to use them for inspiration.
TOK essay titles and questions for May 2023
Below you will find an updated list of TOK essay prompts for the May 2023. We have also added some suggestions from our expert TOK essay writers for your ease. Enjoy reading 😉
Is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
In this essay, it is important to focus on the world’s replicability. Next, the distinction between necessary and sufficient requirements need to be made. After that, the focus should be on how objectivity is related to replicability. You can give examples of several experiments that have been done and whether or not they have been replicated.
In line with your thought process, you can further work towards explaining that in further detail and making your point much clearer this way. Based on the examples you give, you can also talk about the different ways of knowing, which can help you explain this in a much better way, in line with the requirements of IB.
For artists and natural scientists, which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained? Discuss with reference to the arts and the natural sciences.
With this title, you can see that there are two areas of knowledge already given. This means that you don’t have a free hand to choose topics yourself. You essentially have to differentiate between what can be explained and what cannot. Some things are easier to explain, whereas others aren’t. Using examples from art and natural sciences, you can offer your explanation here.
The examples you choose need to be as such that it makes it much easier for you to make that distinction. Once you do that, select your ways of knowing as well so that you can comply with the IB requirements .
Does it matter if our acquisition of knowledge happens in “bubbles” where some information and voices are excluded? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.
In this essay, the main focus is on bubbles. The idea is to explore what bubbles mean in this context. We can see that “bubbles” here refers to knowledge that is subjective in all ways. The idea is to explore whether or not knowledge can be subjective in all ways or whether it can be objective as well. This is important to understand in all contexts first. Subjective and objective knowledge can be explored using different areas of knowledge.
However, the areas of knowledge should be selected based on the fact that it should be very easy to make that switch and understand how these two differ in context. Additionally, you can also shed light on what is required to share another person’s perspective on the situation. It is only once you know you can make that distinction as clear as ever.
Do you agree that it is “astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power” (Bertrand Russell)? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.
In this essay, the main focus has to be on this quote given. The idea is to see how knowledge can give us power. We have always heard how knowledge can make us powerful. Here, the idea is to see how that can happen using several different examples.
One area of knowledge is already given. The other area of knowledge is up to your choice. So based on that, you need to choose examples that will help you understand this better. You can talk about how these two areas of knowledge have allowed us to make the most of our lives, which is how we have become so powerful.
Below you will find a May 2023 TOK essay sample completed by our IB experts at WritingMetier.com
Are visual representations always helpful in the communication of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics.
Here, the main focus needs to be on visual representation and how they represent the truth in most situations. The idea is to see what these visual representations are and how they allow for the communication of knowledge to happen in the best way possible. You also have to make the distinction between practical and theoretical knowledge here.
As you can see, two areas of knowledge are already given here: human sciences and mathematics. So you have to make use of these only and use relevant examples to explain this.
To what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use? Discuss with reference to history and one other area of knowledge.
The main keyword here that you need to focus on is methodologies. You have to speak about what methodologies are and how they allow you to understand things in the best possible way. You need to use history as one area of knowledge, and you can choose the other area of knowledge yourself.
The idea is to help you understand this in the best way possible so that you can make a clear point about how the methodologies employed helped you get to this conclusion.
And again, sharing an example of an APA format IB TOK essay on title #6 that can be used as a guide. Yes, it’s also written by one of our expert IB TOK writers, and if you want, you can get assistance from these writers no matter the urgency of your task.
If you might have missed some of the previous TOK essay titles with samples or topics for previous years, below I’m sharing the links.
The year 2022:
- November 2022 TOK essay prompts
- May 2022 ToK essay titles
Previous years’ prompts:
- November 2021 ToK Essay titles
- May 2021 Theory of Knowledge essay prompts
Choose IB TOK essay topic wisely, my friend 😉
With these suggestions and explanations for each May 2023 TOK essay topic, you can write a good TOK essay! If you are facing tough deadlines and want someone to lend you a hand – WritingMetier.com is here to help.
You can always buy a custom TOK essay that will be written under your instructions and following one of the May 2023 prompts. Not forgetting about the latest changes in the IB criteria.
We can guarantee this because we have been in the IB writing services business for 4+ years now and have already completed hundreds of different IB papers. Order your essay now and get a 5% discount.
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Vasyl Kafidoff is a co-founder and CEO at WritingMetier. He is interested in education and how modern technology makes it more accessible. He wants to bring awareness about new learning possibilities as an educational specialist. When Vasy is not working, he’s found behind a drum kit.
November 2023 tok essay prompts explained + samples.
This article is a complete guide to the November 2023 TOK essay prompts, which includes detailed explanations of each prompt along with samples to help students understand them better. It offers practical advice and expert guidance to help students improve their writing skills and succeed in this important assignment. Whether you need help selecting a topic or want to enhance your critical thinking skills, this article provides valuable insights that will help you craft a successful TOK essay.
IB ToK Essay Prompts for November 2022
Every year, students who started IBDP are waiting for IB to share the list of specific prescribed titles for Theory of Knowledge essays. Like in all the previous years, IB opened a list of six topics for TOK essays for the next semester.
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In this article, we will be talking about the six Theory of knowledge essay topics students enrolled in the IB diploma need to be aware of. Just like every year, this TOK November’s topics vary in different elements, and in this article, we will share descriptions about each topic which the students need to keep in their minds when selecting the essay topic for their diplomas.
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