How can I improve my marks for TOK essays?

To do well in TOK, you have to get good at writing. For the final assessment, two thirds are awarded for your essay and one third for your presentation. Your essay is marked out of 10 and then doubled. The presentation is marked out of 10. Here are some top tips for improving your written work:

First, get plenty of practice writing TOK. Try and select a specific knowledge question rather than a vague topic. That way you will stay focussed on writing about knowledge.

If you take history as an area of knowledge you may want to identify and write about a relevant knowledge questions.

  1. How can we be sure if we can have reliable knowledge of the past?
  2. Considering key concepts and methodology, to what extent is history closer to literature or science?

Perhaps discuss the knowledge question with someone. Make some rough notes. Consider some of the following:

  1. What are the ‘2 sides’ to the question? That is, what claims to knowledge can be made to support it? What might the counterclaims be?
  2. What assumptions are implicit in either the knowledge claims or counter claims?
  3. What are the implications of a knowledge claim e.g. (If it is the case that x, it follows that y…) So, for KQ1, If it is the case that we can have reliable knowledge of the past, it follows that…Or, for KQ2: If it is the case that history is closer to literature, it follows that…
  4. Different perspectives. What might someone from a different social or educational background say? Or think of the claims make by someone from a different country or with a different language or culture. Try thinking about the question from the perspective of people of different ages?
  5. Examples. Include your own personal examples to make sure your own perspective and voice come across in the essay.

Do the thinking, make some rough notes, and then write in neat.

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