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How to write a good TOK Essay

Write a top-grade TOK essay!

Theory of knowledge is a subject that is very broad based and can take information from any other academic subject on an ad hoc basis. Precisely what students need to learn, and the areas that information is obtained from, will depend on the issues being discussed in class. Students are then best advised to research the topics their essays are based on. Topics such as should smoking be banned, is terrorism wrong, and does the state have the right to censor it's citizens, could be discussed. The objective of TOK is to get students thinking about topics and then gain knowledge to develop their opinions further.

How to score in TOK?

What exactly someone needs to include in a theory of knowledge (TOK) essay can depend on which country they are studying their international baccalaureate. Theoretically of course there should be no difference in the content of the subject, just in the way students want to write their essay and make it different from everyone else's work. Yet this subject is a study of the ideas that underpin the concept of knowledge.

The international baccalaureate diploma is exactly as it's title suggest, a globally recognized academic qualification. For students in Singapore, gaining the diploma is a means of obtaining a qualification that will be useful if they decide to do further studies, or seek paid employment abroad. The curriculum gives Singapore students a chance to learn the same things as fellow students in every other country.

TOK can be difficult to manage for some students

Theory of knowledge is not like other academic subjects in that students are actively encouraged to share their opinions instead of merely quoting a seemingly endless run of facts. Facts and figures can be used but they are only needed in enough quantity to support any of the points being made in the essay. Students can also draw on knowledge gained from a whole host of different subjects, as long as they clarify the links between often diverse factors. As a course, TOK can cover just about anything as it has very broad limits. When writing a TOK essay, students can use any relevant facts and figures to support their lines of argument provided it is used within context and fits in with the overall gist of the essay itself.

Furthermore, TOK is unlike other subjects; whether or not at IB diploma level does not ever argue that there is a right or a wrong answer to the question posed by the essay title itself. Students have to write a rational response to the essay title, and then come up with ways to come to back up, or to justify their case throughout the essay from its introduction, through to its conclusion.

The arguments and supporting facts need to precisely stated as essays that are too long in length will lose marks. There is not enough word count to include facts and figures in copious amounts so students should keep it brief. Being able to impart extra meaning into fewer words is useful here. Words have to be used wisely plus students not only need to argue in support of their opinions they have to give their arguments their own original twist to make each essay unique to them alone.

Students writing a TOK essay need to organize it in such a way to maximize their final markings for each submitted piece of work. To begin with students are able to choose the essay title that they will write about. Then they need to decide how they will approach writing their essay, whether they support the statement, or indeed oppose it. Overall the key is to concisely put forward both sides of the argument prior to drawing conclusions. 

In case, should some problems occur, there are many reputable essay sites, that provide educational resources and guidance on how to write a TOK essay, and help to structure the essay in a way that maximizes the final markings.

Finally, some students may benefit from using the services of a home tutor to improve the quality of their TOK essay. Generally if a student is effective at gathering information and then reusing knowledge to make concise arguments on their own, they will not need extra tutoring. On the other hand if they are not capable of writing convincing arguments then home tutors will help student on how to plan and write an effective TOK essay. Some might engage an English home tutor to boost their command of the language side by side with the TOK tutor.

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Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

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Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.