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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..

How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023

Ace your ToK Essay with our expert tips & tricks! Get the latest and greatest techniques on "How To Write A ToK Essay" and impress the IB examiners.📝💡

How To Write A ToK Essay - Updated 2023

Table of content

Purpose of tok, assessment of tok, the game plan, execution of the gameplan, planning for tok essay, structure of tok essay, introduction, conclusions, bibliography.

How to write a TOK Essay? 

To answer that, you must familiarise yourself with what a TOK Essay is about.

Before you start reading this article,  Amanda  has some excellent TOK tips for you!

Theory of Knowledge is one of the most meta subjects that IB offers. Despite its complexity, TOK helps in providing a base for holistic learning and allows students to have a multidisciplinary experience. 

To understand TOK is to understand the essence of IB, a task that most people consider unattainable.

But not for you! 

Thank your lucky stars who made you land on Nail IB. How exactly will Nail IB help you? 

Well, nailing International Baccalaureate is something we will discuss later. 

Let's focus on cracking your TOK essay, shall we?

TOK demonstrates how students  can apply their knowledge  with  greater awareness  and  credibility .

Big words, huh? 

Now that we know that we cannot just slide through the Theory of Knowledge, let's understand how we can conquer this battle all guns blazing.

ToK essay’s primary objective is to answer the  why  behind our studies. 

It makes one aware of the real-life implications of their subjects. The students gain greater awareness of their personal and ideological assumptions and appreciate the diversity of different perspectives. It helps the students find their unique perception, a prerequisite for excelling in the IB TOK essays.

Before we dive into our gameplan, let’s overview the rules of the game.

There are two assessment tasks in the TOK: an essay and a presentation . While a presentation encourages students to explore a real-life situation through the lens of TOK, an essay is written on the basis of the various questions provided by the International Baccalaureate Organisation.

  • The presentation is to assess a student’s ability to apply TOK thinking to a real-life situation whereas IB TOK essay is more conceptual.
  • The essay is externally assessed by IB and must be on any one of the prescribed TOK essay titles issued by the IB for each examination session.
  • Word limit of a TOK essay is 1600 words ( excludes extended notes, footnotes, bibliography).

Now that we have unleashed the game, let’s move ahead towards the gameplan of acing both, your presentation and your essay.

One of the fundamental tasks of TOK is to examine different areas of knowledge and find out their similarities and differences.

The TOK essay requires the students to investigate two Areas of Knowledge (AOK)  and two Ways of Knowing   (WOK) . AOKs and WOKs are investigated via questions such as:

  • How do we know what we know? (WOK)
  • What counts as evidence for X? (AOK)
  • How do we judge which is the best model of Y? (WOK)
  • What does theory Z mean in the real world? (AOK + WOK)

The aforementioned are  Knowledge Questions  which help combine the Areas of Knowledge and the Ways of Knowing that they are using. This eliminates the superficial way of learning and makes an individual sensitive to the nature of the information.   Our acquisition of Knowledge can be broadly divided into Shared Knowledge and Personal Knowledge.

Shared knowledge: What WE know It is the product of more than one individual. Although individuals contribute to it, shared knowledge does not solely depend upon the contributions of a particular individual—there are possibilities for others to check and amend individual contributions and add to the body of knowledge that already exists.

Personal knowledge: What I know It is essentially dependent on the experiences of a particular individual. Also known as procedural knowledge, it is gained through experience, practice and personal involvement and is intimately bound up with the particular local circumstances of the individual such as biography, interests, values, and so on.

The best hack to ace TOK essay is to develop a habit of making connections between the construction of knowledge, its acquisition and its relevance in the real world. 

After that one needs to develop an interest in understanding the difference between diversity and cultural perspectives and personal assumptions.

One also needs to critically reflect on their own beliefs and assumptions, leading to more thoughtful, responsible and purposeful lives.

Yes, this is what you signed up for. It may sound a little intimidating but once you get the hang of it you will be able to see the matrix and understand this beautiful world a little better.

Understand that to provide the best version of your writing, it will take you more than one or two drafts. First and foremost, you need to pick your essay topic diligently. Try to choose an essay topic that best interests you. The topic should also allow you to explore the Areas of Knowledge towards which you are naturally inclined. Here are a few sample questions:

a) 'Ways of knowing are a check on our instinctive judgments.' To what extend do you agree with this statement?

b) With reference to two areas of knowledge discuss the way in which shared knowledge can shape their personal knowledge.

c) How can we know if knowledge is produced more through 'Passive Observation' or 'Active-Experiment' within the Human and Natural-sciences under a Mathematical-Perspective?

d) "The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning and purpose in our personal lives". Assess the validity of this statement.

Great things take time. It took me more than a couple of weeks to finalize this TOK essay guide. It is completely okay if the first few drafts may not look pleasing or award-winning to you. You will require sharpening your perspective towards the topic each time you polish your draft. Your writing journey from a dull draft to a masterpiece will be a whole process that you will have to be patient with. Have faith in yourself and proceed stepwise.

You need to consider the opinions of others who have devoted hours of research and a lifetime of dedicated studying the topic that surrounds your writing. Unravelling the realms of your mind palace is so Sherlock but let’s not deny the fact that at times, Watson is the one whose expertise helps Sherlock through pretty difficult times. I mean even Batman needs a Robin. In support of my awesome sauce examples, the point I am trying to make is that  finding support for our claims and counterclaims through research is a good thing .

Use real-life examples to support your claims and counterclaims. These examples need to be documented researched examples like studies, experiments, articles, presentations by well-known people, etc. Examples that stem from your diploma subjects are highly encouraged, but those will need to be supported by research as well.   

It is suggested that you choose a title, stick to it, tackle it and not be afraid. Do not change your mind unless there is a good reason. Also, try choosing Areas of knowledge that you truly enjoy. You know slaying a known devil is much easier than an unknown one. Allot a TIMELINE to your essay. Start with creating an outline of your essay. This will help you to track your progress and accomplish your goals

You can use tools like  Trello  to organize your ideas and plan your TOK essay.

Areas of Knowledge (AOKs): TOK distinguishes between eight areas of knowledge. They are mathematics, the natural sciences, the human sciences, the arts, history, ethics, religious knowledge systems, and indigenous knowledge systems. It is suggested that students study and explore six of these eight.

Ways of knowing (WOKs): TOK identifies eight specific WOKs- language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory. It is suggested that studying four of these eight in-depth would be appropriate. WOKs underlie the methodology of the areas of knowledge and provide a basis for personal knowledge.

Moving ahead, let us discuss the structure of your TOK essay.

Your essay will consist of 4 broad segregations

Before breaking down further on the pillars, keep the following in mind

  • Please note what the TOK essay title is asking you. (Read it a couple of times. We highly recommend that you brainstorm ideas with your TOK coordinator)
  • Make sure you understand the command term and the question it is asking.
  • What kind of knowledge is being elicited?
  • When choosing your areas of knowledge (AoK) and ways of knowing (WoK) make sure that you are able to draw contrasts and comparisons, that is, you are able to find evidence that supports as well as challenges your claims.
  • Identify key terms in your TOK essay title. Make sure you define them. Your essay will gravitate around them. Key terms/words in your titles are your essay anchors. Your response should be built around them.
  • Your writing skills come in handy while you work on your IB TOK essay. Like any other essay make sure you have proper thesis statements and topic sentences to guide the evaluator through your work.
  • Respect the TOK essay title. Rephrasing the topic is not encouraged . Your main job is to address the title.

Introduce your topic accurately and state your thesis statement for the essay carefully.  A thesis statement is like a teaser to your entire essay wherein you define your key terms and introduce your interpretation of the question. Make sure that you do not reword the prescribed title in your thesis. Instead, it needs to, as the word says, INTRODUCE your readers to what your essay is about. A strong introduction allows the reader to deduce what knowledge question(s) you are trying to answer.

So, in a nutshell

  • Write interesting things about the given TOK essay title .
  • Define key terms
  • Narrow in on the particularly interesting aspect
  • State your thesis statement . This will be your short answer to your given title if you don't know how to write a killer thesis statement check out this blog from SparkNotes .
  • State your Roadmap. This will help the readers in understanding the direction of your essay.

The body can be mainly divided into 3 segments.

Body (1st Segment)

  • AoK Claim:  Here you investigate your first Area of Knowledge and draw parallels between your AoK and the question. This is done by stating your claim. Claims can be general in nature and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. They help you shape your essay and investigate the question further. 
  • Evidence: Example of a real-life situation, describe thoroughly and accurately, which supports your stated claim. (AoK)
  • Counter-Claim: State your counter-claim: like claims, those can be general and need not reference a particular area of knowledge. Counterclaim helps you show the other side the coin and gives your essay a holistic nature. 
  • Evidence: A referenced real-life situation/example. Describe thoroughly and accurately, show how this supports your counterclaim (AoK ).
  • Don’t forget to weave in your WoKs:  You need to take into account the source of your knowledge. Here you can also investigate if your nature of acquiring the knowledge has, in any way, affected it. It is good practice to question if your knowledge would be different had it been acquired through a different source/method
  • Mini-conclusion: Here you analyze your examples in reference to your claims and counterclaims. You must connect to your thesis statement and the prescribed title. How does your proposed argument, in this particular part of the body, connect to the prescribed title and the knowledge questions you are trying to answer?

Body (2): Follow the above process for your second AOK.

  • Use this part of your essay to compare and contrast your varying AoKs. You need to connect them to your thesis and your prescribed title clearly showing how your arguments respond to the PT.

Your conclusion section will make your essay come together. It is the glue that will make your essay stick together. Herein, you need to

  • Reiterate your thesis (initial response).
  • Use your mini conclusions to write a final conclusion.
  • Tell the reader what the significance is for knowing what we know in this particular PT.
  • Discuss implications as well.
  • Offer another perspective, how will the perspective of a different person affect the claims/counterclaims you make in the essay?
  • Don’t forget to make the end strong.

We recommend all the ib students use the  citation machine  (It's FREE) to organize or generate a bibliography for your TOK essay. Please go through this extensive guide provided by the IB before you start working on your citations.

If you are still struggling heaps with your TOK essay feel free to subscribe to our tok notes bundles or get access to more than 500+ IBDP notes and past papers here .

Nail IB is your virtual companion that helps you hustle through your diploma and provide you with the right resources at the right time. To know more about acing IB, click  here .

I hope this article will become the foundation for figuring out how to write a TOK Essay.

Remember to have faith in yourself.

I hope you NAIL your TOK essay!

Quoting the great Napolean Hill

"Whatever the mind of a man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

IB Resources you will love!

Nan + free ib flashcards, -1 + free ia samples, nan + ib videos by experts, -1 + ib sample practice questions, ib resources for nan + subjects.

November 2023 TOK Essay Prompts Explained + SAMPLES

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Table of contents

  • Writing Metier

The TOK essay prescribed titles for November 2023 are finally out. Since many students struggle with TOK essays, it’s quite good news that IB students have a lot of time to check those TOK prompts.

No more general words, and dry theory, I’m sharing a list of the TOK titles. I will start with a general list and move further to detailed explanations of each and give you examples. This can help you understand which one you will go for.

Moreover, I believe this can help you get started so that you know what exactly is required of you to work. 

November 2023 ToK essay titles list

  • Are facts alone enough to prove a claim? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.
  • If “the mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s and the poet’s, must be beautiful” (G.H. Hardy), how might this impact the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to mathematics and the arts.
  • In the acquisition of knowledge, is following experts unquestioningly as dangerous as ignoring them completely? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.
  • Is it problematic that knowledge is so often shaped by the values of those who produce it? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.
  • Is it always the case that “the world isn’t just the way I is, it is how we understand it – and in understanding something, we bring something to it” (adapted from Life of Pi by Yann Martel)? Discuss with reference to history and the natural sciences.
  • Faced with a vast amount of information, how do we select what is significant for the acquisition of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

ib tok essay help

If you need assistance with your IB ToK essay , press on the picture above and order your paper. Now let’s move to the explanation part.

Title 1: Are facts alone enough to prove a claim? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.

This seems to be one of the easiest prompts to work on. But in some cases, when things seem too simple, there is a lot that has to go behind that. The keyword in this case is ‘facts.’ The title asks if facts alone are enough to help prove a claim. Another word that also needs to be focused on is ‘alone.’ The idea is to explore if only facts can help you prove a claim or if there are other factors that are needed as well. 

 A lot of us think that we know what ‘facts’ stand for. In some fields of interest, like math, it is very easy to chalk out what facts are. Say one plus one is two, is a fact in mathematics. But how does one decide what facts are in areas of knowledge like arts and human sciences?

These areas of knowledge are subjective in nature, which means that it can be very hard to differentiate facts in these areas of knowledge. Every area of knowledge that we talk about has a different way of classifying facts.

For example, when we talk about math, we can see that the Pythagorean theorem is based on hard facts, where we talk about how the summation of the square of the base and the perpendicular equals to the sum of the hypotenuse. So we can see that while facts are indeed sufficient in some areas of knowledge , there is indeed more probing needed in other areas of knowledge to help understand things better.

Sample of November 2023 TOK Essay Title 1

Below you can find an example of the November 2023 TOK essay sample on Prompt 1: Are facts alone enough to prove a claim?

tok essay title 1 example

To understand this better, it is highly advised that you also go through the different stages of knowledge that exist to help you understand how knowledge is produced here. Does it come solely from facts, or do you also need other types of evidence to help you reach a reasonable conclusion about things? 

Title 2: If “the mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s and the poet’s, must be beautiful” (G.H. Hardy), how might this impact the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to mathematics and the arts.

This title is very specific. Actually, I’m finding it super confusing and I guess it will be one of the less-selected November 2023 TOK prompts. Agree? Leave your comments below 😉

It is one that talks about the importance of math and how contrary to popular belief, it shares characteristics that are very similar to arts. Many a time, you must have heard that math is a very creative discipline on the whole. The idea behind this concept is that while the subject is highly objective, it does take into account many different factors, and all of these factors are ones that need to be taken into consideration when we talk about this.

One interesting example that we can see here is the concept of fractals. If you read up more about this, then you will find out that this has a lot to do with the artistic representation of mathematics. This raises a very valid question, which is whether art has only to do with how beautiful something is or is there more to it as well. 

On the contrary, we can also see that there is a lot of evidence that shows that art is not all about being pretty. There is a lot more to it as well. An example can be seen in terms of the paintings and photographs that depict famous wars that happened in the world. While these aren’t pretty pictures, they are pretty much valid and prevalent, and they really help us understand more about different situations in terms of what we think or believe about them.

So the idea is to explore that does mathematics really have any value is the knowledge is produced but does not add any value? So if you go for this prompt, then you have to dispute the notion of this quote, giving your own two cents to the situation to actually explore what this is all about and how you can work your way toward things in the best possible way. 

Title 3: In the acquisition of knowledge, is following experts unquestioningly as dangerous as ignoring them completely? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Many students would find this title very appealing. The idea here is to explore to what extent exactly can we trust experts in any field to give us information about things so that we can base our behavior on them. The best way we can look at this is with the help of the Coronavirus pandemic that took the world over by storm.

Health experts told us that we have to get ourselves vaccinated and stay at home for our own safety and the safety of our loved ones. We did exactly so because we realized that this was the best thing to do for people because we trust experts in terms of the knowledge that they have and the advice that they give us about things. 

But what is also important to note here is that experts are not always right. They can also go wrong based on what they think and also have it in them to make mistakes. So this raises a very important question, which is what makes an expert?

So the idea is to explore this in a lot of detail. It would be very interesting to explore this with reference to human sciences, because the nature of the subject is highly subjective, which means that it can help understand what all it constitutes. You can explore this better by looking at what economists have to say about different situations and how that seems to be wise or not.

This is a very interesting prompt if you choose to go about it wisely and have sound examples to support your viewpoint about things. 

Title 4: Is it problematic that knowledge is so often shaped by the values of those who produce it? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.

This is a very interesting prompt to work on if you take into account the fact that knowledge is produced according to the values of producers. We need to work toward understanding what the main problem is and how knowledge is influenced by different values.

Let’s look at this with the example of slavery. There was a point in time when people didn’t see anything wrong with slavery. They knew that slavery is prevalent and at that time, it was also very common to have slaves. But if we look at how problematic this is today, then you can see that no one takes into account slavery today. In fact, it is looked upon as something that is extremely bad.

So what we can see here is that the knowledge that we have is greatly influenced by different thought processes that make us understand things a certain way. The value system that we rely on here is something very important that we have to take into account if we wish to work a certain way. 

At the end of the day, the knowledge that you have is dependent on what all you have learned so far and what this has taught you. Your lens might become outdated in the future,  but the idea is to help you understand all of this in a much better way. An accurate depiction of things can only happen when you take all of that into account and try to understand things for the better. For some areas of knowledge, the issue of values is not very prominent, while for others, that is not the case.

So it depends entirely on what you choose to work with and how you think that affects the way that you think and work toward things. 

Title 5: Is it always the case that “the world isn’t just the way it is, it is how we understand it – and in understanding something, we bring something to it” (adapted from Life of Pi by Yann Martel)? Discuss with reference to history and the natural sciences.

While this prompt may seem to be a little complicated at first, it is not really that hard to understand. In simple words, you are expected to work toward bringing your own perspective and interpretation of knowledge. It asks you how you understand things and how your interpretation of things makes you add value to the world. The idea here is that all of us have our own thoughts and ideas about things. The knowledge that we acquire is very different, and our value systems are very different as well. So this is something that we have to explore and try to understand in all ways. There is also a very wide spectrum that makes you understand what it means to bring something to the things that you learn. 

With some areas of knowledge, this can be very easy to explain. Say if you talk about art, you can see how artists have their own thought processes when they paint a picture. Even if we talk about an abstract painting, we can see that there is a lot that goes behind all of that, and the main reason for that is that they have a specific thought process that they follow. But how we interpret that painting depends entirely on what our lookout toward things is.

So this is what we need to understand very well. So basically, how well you explore this prompt depends on the type of examples that you come through with and what all you help explain in the best way. So this is something that is very important and is something that you need to pay a lot of attention to, when working. 

Title 6: Faced with a vast amount of information, how do we select what is significant for the acquisition of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

This title basically talks about big data and how there is so much information in the world that we actually find very hard to understand. You might have experienced a lot of this in your entire student life. When there is too much that you have to understand and study, it becomes really hard for you to retain all of that.

So the idea is to understand what information you will actually understand and retain, and what you will not. The idea is to know that some information is more valuable than others, so you have to be very mindful about what you think and do in this situation. 

Similarly, in the real work, there is a lot of information that we have in front of us. It depends entirely on us what we choose to pick out as more important, depending on what our world view is and what we think is important for the acquisition of knowledge. Search engines have also given us access to so much information that it actually becomes very hard for us to pick and choose what we want to pay the most attention to.

TOK Essay Title 6 Example

Below you will find a link to the November 2023 TOK essay prompt 6 – Faced with a vast amount of information, how do we select what is significant for the acquisition of knowledge?

tok essay title 6

When we choose some knowledge, and we miss out on some other, it gives us a feeling of whether we are missing out on something important. So the idea is to understand this best and think about what interests us the most so that we can pick and choose very wisely. 

Other TOK essay prompts from previous years with samples

In case you have overlooked any of the past TOK essay titles, along with their examples or topics from previous years, I am providing the links below.

The year 2023:

  • May 2023 TOK essay titles

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

Ready to select your 2023 November TOK essay prompt?

With a better idea of what you have to touch upon in each of these, it will become much easier for you to choose things so that you understand all of it better and make a very wise choice. 

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You can always count on our service if you need assistance writing your TOK essay. Simply get in touch with our support team or place your order directly to buy TOK essay using our online order form.

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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.

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ToK Essay Prompts Demystified: Interpreting and Tackling 2023's Questions

Henrik M.

Navigating the complex web of ToK essay prompts can feel like trying to decipher an ancient manuscript – it's challenging, yet deeply rewarding. Every year, the IB presents students with fresh, thought-provoking questions that aren’t just about showcasing your knowledge but also your ability to reason, reflect, and engage in intellectual play.

Now, 2023's prompts have landed, and you might be wondering: "How do I even begin to approach these?" Relax. It's normal to feel overwhelmed. However, understanding your prompt is the first (and perhaps most crucial) step towards crafting an essay that stands out. A well-interpreted prompt can be the foundation of a stellar essay, and that's what we're diving into today.

By the end of this guide, you’ll have a clearer vision of what these questions are really asking and how you can tackle them with confidence and creativity. Ready? Let’s demystify these prompts together!

The ABCs of ToK Essay Prompts

Understanding ToK essay prompts isn't just about reading the words. It's about delving deep into their meaning, intent, and the broader context they inhabit. Think of each prompt as a puzzle. At first glance, it might seem daunting, but each piece holds a clue to the bigger picture.

Why These Questions? The Intent Behind the Prompt

Every ToK essay prompt is meticulously crafted. The questions are designed to push you to reflect, reason, and develop an individual perspective on knowledge and how it interacts with the world. Remember, it's not just about answering the question but also about showcasing how you think and perceive the world of knowledge.

The Layers of a Prompt: Surface and Depth

On the surface, a ToK essay question may seem straightforward. But scratch a little deeper, and you'll uncover layers of meaning. Each prompt comes with its set of nuances, undertones, and subtleties. It's your job to unearth these layers, interpret them, and mold your essay around your unique understanding.

Flexing Your Interpretative Muscles

Interpreting a ToK prompt isn't much different from analyzing a poem or a piece of art. There's no singular 'correct' way to approach it. Multiple interpretations can coexist, and your perspective is just as valid as any other, provided it's well-reasoned and backed by thoughtful reflection. Remember, the IB isn't looking for a 'right answer' but rather, they want to witness the journey of your thought process.

2023's ToK Essay Prompts: A Closer Look

Alright, champions of knowledge! The much-awaited 2023 ToK essay questions are here. Let's unpack these thought-provoking challenges that await your intellectual prowess:

The Role of Replicability : Is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge? Dive into the depths of this question, referencing two areas of knowledge and unveiling the significance of reproducibility in our understanding of the world.

Artists vs. Natural Scientists : For artists and natural scientists, which is more crucial: what can be explained or what cannot be? Delve into the contrasting yet intertwined worlds of arts and the natural sciences. How do explanation and mystery influence these fields?

Knowledge in Bubbles : Does it matter if our acquisition of knowledge happens in "bubbles" where some information and voices are excluded? Explore the implications and consequences of receiving knowledge in isolated silos. What do we gain, and what might we be missing out on?

The Paradox of Power : Do you agree with Bertrand Russell's assertion that it is "astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power"? Dive into the dynamic realm of the natural sciences and another area of knowledge to reflect upon the immense power that even a sliver of understanding can bestow upon us.

The Visual Aid Dilemma : Are visual representations always helpful in the communication of knowledge? Challenge or defend the use of visuals in the expansive territories of the human sciences and mathematics. How do visuals shape, aid, or potentially hinder our understanding?

Methodologies and Outcomes : To what extent is the knowledge we produce determined by the methodologies we use? Take a journey through history and another area of knowledge to discern the profound influence of methodologies on our comprehension of the past and the world around us.

Phew! Talk about a brainstorming marathon! Remember, while these prompts may initially seem dense, each one is a golden opportunity to showcase your unique perspective on knowledge. The journey might be challenging, but the rewards – oh, they're worth every ounce of effort.

Delving Deeper into Select Prompts

While all of the 2023 ToK essay prompts are a treasure trove of intellectual exploration, let's zoom in and dissect a few of them a bit more, shall we? This deep dive will provide a clearer understanding, perhaps sparking that ‘aha’ moment for your own essay.

The Role of Replicability in Knowledge Production

Overview : This topic challenges us to reflect on the importance of replicability in research and knowledge generation. But why is it significant? Think of scientific experiments. If a result can be consistently replicated, it bolsters its credibility.

Possible Angle : Contrast the natural sciences, where replicability is often a cornerstone, with another area of knowledge where it might not hold as much weight. For instance, in the arts, is a replicated piece as valuable as an original?

Knowledge in Bubbles - A Double-Edged Sword?

Overview : The modern age, with its vast array of information platforms, often sees us in echo chambers, where we hear opinions and facts that align with our own views. But what's the consequence of such selective knowledge acquisition?

Possible Angle : Evaluate the pros and cons. For instance, while these bubbles can strengthen community ties and provide tailored knowledge, are they also breeding grounds for misinformation or limiting broader understanding?

The Paradox of Power in Knowledge

Overview : Bertrand Russell's assertion highlights a profound observation – sometimes, even a little knowledge can yield immense power. But is this always a good thing?

Possible Angle : Reflect on historical instances where limited knowledge led to significant consequences, both positive and negative. Additionally, ponder on the ethical implications when wielding such power.

Remember, these prompts are meant to stimulate your thinking, not restrict it. Let your creativity flow. Dive deep, challenge assumptions, and most importantly, enjoy the intellectual journey. If at any point you find yourself hitting a roadblock, revisit our previous guide on mastering the ToK essay for some inspiration and direction.

General Strategies for Approaching ToK Essay Prompts

Alright, young scholars, having taken a closer look at a few of the prompts, it’s time to arm you with some universal strategies to tackle any ToK essay topic. Whether you’re addressing the role of replicability or diving into knowledge bubbles, these strategies are your trusted companions:

Begin with an Open Mind : Before taking a stance, allow yourself to explore both sides of the argument. This not only provides depth to your essay but showcases your ability to evaluate diverse perspectives.

Connect to Real-Life Situations : Anecdotes and real-world examples make your essay relatable and tangible. They serve as evidence of your claims and breathe life into abstract ideas.

Interlink Areas of Knowledge (AoK) : While the prompt may specify certain AoKs, don’t be afraid to draw connections to others if relevant. This showcases your holistic understanding and makes for an enriched argument.

Mind the WoKs (Ways of Knowing) : Whether it’s perception, emotion, reason, or language, remember that WoKs can offer unique angles and insights into your essay topic. Weave them in where appropriate.

Engage with Counterclaims : A well-rounded essay isn't just about asserting your perspective but recognizing and addressing counterarguments. This not only strengthens your position but exhibits critical thinking.

Stay Structured : While the ToK essay encourages deep thinking, remember that clarity is crucial. Use a clear introduction, body, and conclusion. Organize your thoughts systematically to guide the reader seamlessly through your arguments.

Personalize Your Insights : Remember, the ToK essay is a reflection of your intellectual journey. While you'll rely on experts and sources, don’t forget to interject with your personal insights, experiences, and reflections.

Revisit and Revise : First drafts are called 'first' for a reason. Once you've penned down your initial thoughts, take a break, return with fresh eyes, and refine your essay. This iterative process can be a game-changer in elevating the quality of your piece.

Now, with these strategies in hand, you're better equipped to face the ToK essay head-on. Remember, it's as much about the journey of exploration as it is about the final piece. Enjoy the process, relish the challenges, and if ever in doubt, our earlier guide is just a click away for some quick wisdom.

Final Tips for Tackling the ToK Essay Head-On

Alright, we've traversed the vast landscape of ToK essay prompts, delved deep into some of them, discussed strategies, and even looked into multimedia resources. But before you embark on your essay-writing journey, here are a few last-minute nuggets of wisdom to carry with you:

Stay Original : While it's great to gather insights and understand the general perspective on topics, always ensure your voice shines through. Adjudicators value originality and authenticity.

Seek Feedback : It's always a good idea to have someone else, be it a peer, teacher, or mentor, take a look at your essay. They might offer a perspective or insight that you hadn't considered.

Stay Within the Word Limit : It might seem challenging, but condensing your thoughts and being concise is key. Straying far from the word limit might make your essay seem unfocused.

Relax and Trust Yourself: Believe in your capabilities. Remember, this essay is as much about the journey of exploration as it is about the end product.

The Theory of Knowledge essay can indeed seem like a mammoth task. With multiple layers of interpretation and areas of knowledge to consider, the process can be daunting. But with the right strategies, resources, and mindset, it's a challenge you can certainly overcome.

And hey, if ever the waters seem too rough, remember you're not alone. Whether you need to go back to the basics with writing ToK essay or require hands-on assistance, there's always help at hand with IB writing service .

Last edit at Aug 15 2023

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Henrik M.

IB Tutor and Writer

With over a decade in the educational realm, Henrik has guided countless IB students towards academic excellence. Combining a deep understanding of the IB curriculum with practical strategies, Henrik is committed to making challenging subjects approachable and essays memorable.

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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 . 

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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.

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  • Jul 10, 2023
  • 12 min read

November 2023 TOK Essay Titles Explained with Examples

The prescribed titles for the November 2023 TOK Essay has been released! Here are all the titles with detailed explanation and examples to get you started:

Are facts alone enough to prove a claim? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.

If "the mathematician's patterns, like the painter's and the poet's, must be beautiful" (G.H. Hardy), how might this impact the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to mathematics and the arts.

In the acquisition of knowledge, is following experts unquestioningly as dangerous as ignoring them completely? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Is it problematic that knowledge is so often shaped by the values of those who produce it? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.

Is it always the case that "the world isn't just the way I is, it is how we understand it - and in understanding something, we bring something to it" (adapted from Life of Pi by Yann Martel)? Discuss with reference to history and the natural sciences.

Faced with a vast amount of information, how do we select what is significant for the acquisition of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Below are the explanations. If you need help with TOK concepts and how to write a good essay, check out the resources in the TOK subject page!

While an initially simple prompt, sometimes the simplest statements are also the hardest to prove. I definitely feel that this is the case here. This prompt hinges on how you would personally define facts. In the TOK course, we know that knowledge is produced when someone proposes a knowledge claim, which is subsequently justified or disproven by suitable evidence. This title essentially asks of you to decide whether "facts" by themselves are sufficient evidence for us to prove a claim to be true, and hence consider it knowledge.

You may think that you have a good understanding of what 'facts' are. You have seen quick facts, cold facts, fun facts, etc... all pointing to little nuggets of information which we consider true. The question is though, how did they become true in the first place? In some areas of knowledge, 'facts' are pretty obvious. 1 + 1 = 2 is a true fact within the area of Mathematics. A Helium atom has 2 protons is a fact within the Natural Sciences. However, what constitutes facts in the Arts, History or Human Sciences?

Every single AOK has a different way of producing and dealing with 'facts'. Mathematics has their foundational axioms, the most basic set of facts that sets out how the whole AOK itself works so that things like 1 + 2 = 2 + 1 is true without us having to prove it. From there, mathematical knowledge builds upon these axioms and into a variety of sub disciplines within the AOK, developing into things like the Pythagoras Theorem or the triangle inequality, etc. Natural Science research nowadays builds upon the research done in the past. So knowledge we know to be true from before is applied to further what is to be known within the AOK to verify new claims. So it seems that perhaps facts play an important role at least in some AOKs, but is it the only requirement to produce new knowledge and justify claims? We know that in natural sciences, we tend to experiment and observe to ultimately prove or disprove a hypothesis. Without experimentation, and only using the facts we already know, it seems a bit tricky to further what we know!

I encourage you to revisit the TOK 101 page and find out more about the different stages of knowledge. Consider how facts are important in each stage of knowledge, but focusing primarily on how knowledge is produced in each AOK. How does knowledge evolve in each AOK? Can it develop organically solely from the facts we have now or does it require some additional input from other types of evidence?

The title is very specific, requiring discussion of mathematics and arts inline with the quote. It seems to propose that mathematics shares similar artistic properties with the arts (with examples such as paintings and poetry). You may have heard of the saying that Mathematics is a beautiful language or something to that effect. There have been discussions on the internet that beyond high school mathematics, mathematics can develop into quite a creative and artistic discipline. Mathematics has been used to creatively construct art! One obvious example (thus one that you probably shouldn't use in your essay) is fractals :

tok essay examples 2023

You can read more about the mathematical patterns behind fractals, but it is one artistic representation of mathematics.

While this prompt seems quite abstract at first, it does raise a good question about the intentions of producing knowledge in each AOK. Is it the purpose of the Arts to 'look pretty' and make us go "WOW that's so beautiful"? Conversely, is mathematics meant to be function first, form second or vice versa?

There are plenty of examples where art isn't meant to be pretty. There is a famous photograph of the chaos and brutality of the Vietnam war that is pretty infamous (do a quick google search!). Even if it isn't beautiful in the traditional sense, can it be considered beautiful in another perspective, especially considering the intention of why this was produced and what knowledge this produced? Similarly, mathematics tends to have the association that it is practical to real life and helps us solve some problems. Does mathematics have value if mathematical knowledge is produced without an immediate benefit or application? This is the world that pure mathematicians live in. While applied mathematicians can directly show their relevance and practicality of produced knowledge, it might not always be 'beautiful' in the artistic sense, but it can be 'beautiful' in its ability to capture the complex world. At the same time, if mathematics is purely beautiful in a satisfying sense (think when you factorise a quadratic and how it simplifies down to something solvable), but with no immediate practicality, is it still worth producing?

The key to this prompt is not to dispute the notion of the given quote. Yes, I know it's probably not the best quote, but think about the variations of how you can interpret the quote, rather than being either for or against the quote.

This title might be very appealing to students. I'm sure we have all experienced the importance of good scientific communication from trusted experts during the pandemic. We based our behaviour on them. When they told us to stay home, we (mostly) did, and we followed advice to get vaccinated, etc. At the other end of the spectrum, there are some that are completely ignorant of expert advice, calling this pandemic a hoax, and the vaccine a conspiracy. While there is common consensus that this ignorance is very dangerous, this prompt is quite interesting in prompting us to think about whether we should be trusting these experts completely, especially when the stakes are so high!

Experts often get things wrong, and when they do, we hope they will admit it readily even if it hurts their credibility. Credibility is key for us to accept expert advice. So this raises an important point - what makes an expert? Is it truly a person with the most knowledge about a topic or who is PERCEIVED to be so? Ideally, experts fit both of those criteria, but sometimes it is one or the other. At the same time, are experts immune from bias and other common human failures? NO! Then again, even if they have their failings, we can think about what is our level of tolerance for expert opinions and 'going at it alone' by not trusting them at all.

The prescribed AOK of human sciences is quite interesting. As you know, we are some complex people. Economists are either praised or blasted for their predictions about the economy all the time! Do you listen to economists about their market predictions? There is a joke that there will always be an economist somewhere in the world saying a recession is imminent no matter how the actual economy is doing. Can we really capture something as complex as humanity and let some experts give us advice that we trust to be 100%, unfailingly true? That doesn't seem to be wise. At the same time, it also doesn't seem wise that when 99% of economists warn us that inflation is getting out of hand for us to do nothing about it. So is it a numbers game? As more 'experts' say the same thing, and corroborate each other, we have a confidence to trust them unquestionably?

Ultimately, the conclusion seems pretty clear from the get go for this prompt. It is almost always unwise to just trust something or someone 100% and also unwise to go to the other extreme. While we can be tempted to do so, it is important we maintain a critical lens. If you are tackling this title, focus on the nuance between these two extremes presented, and show that both share common flaws in their approach to how knowledge is considered and acquired.

This prompt starts with the assumption that knowledge is produced according to the values of the producers. To what extent this is a problem is the issue here at hand here. First think of how knowledge is influenced by values. There was once a time when slavery was considered acceptable, and if you look all literary works around that time, it wouldn't be unusual to see examples of such and the use of what we now consider inappropriate language when referring to African-Americans, for example. Social values do change over time, examples including gay marriage, sexualisation and nudity of the body, dealing with minorities and racism, and even climate change. In some AOKs, this may be more apparent (i.e. History and the Arts) but what of something like mathematics? Can societal values influence them too?

When discussing whether this is problematic, other than considering the extent that values influence knowledge, also consider the implications this has on the perspectives of knowledge that are made available. Who determines these values is also of contention. This brings to mind propaganda and the various ways the 'values' of some power behind knowledge creation can greatly distort the knowledge that is produced. You may have some ideas on the problems that arise when we bring our values into the knowledge we produce, but to some extent this is inevitable. After all, the knowledge we produce simply reflects what we are interested in learning about, and willing to discover more of. The question is, how does each AOK handle changing values over time?

Every AOK has a different way of handling changing values. Long ago, we believed that we were the centre of the earth. How did the Natural Sciences overcome this long held belief? Conversely, how do we ensure that history remains accurate and isolated from the potential bias that could be introduced due to the values of the people that first wrote it? In History, revisionism describes the process of how we reevaluate history consistently to ensure that we always have the most accurate depiction of the past according to our current lens. There will be a time when our lens becomes outdated in the future, so what is the role of the Historian? Remember, knowledge is rarely ever fixed or 'done'. There is always more to know and more to discover, so how WE view knowledge in the past, and how someone in the future views the knowledge we make now will have large implications on the approach we take when producing knowledge. How can you ensure that someone interpreting knowledge in the future won't misconstrue what we are trying to say now? Could having differing interpretations according to different values be a benefit?

For some AOKs, the issue of values isn't that prominent. Why is that the case? It is good to explore in this title, the reasoning behind why values often influence the knowledge we produce, how we decide to mitigate or deal with this reality and how these approaches to do so differ between AOKs according to the nature that the knowledge is initially produced and then now consumed.

Is it always the case that "the world isn't just the way it is, it is how we understand it - and in understanding something, we bring something to it" (adapted from Life of Pi by Yann Martel)? Discuss with reference to history and the natural sciences.

In some less convoluted English, this prompt essentially asks whether we colour the knowledge we acquire and bring our own perspectives and interpretation to knowledge. If you think this is quite abstract, think about this example: you have likely done a book report before. It will almost always ask you what you thought of the book and people will have different thoughts. This demonstrates the essence of this title! We all have our own thoughts and ideas about the knowledge we acquire. When we learn new things, we might put our own spin to it, and try and explain it to ourselves and our friends in our own unique way. So, it is likely that there are some cases where this idea of us bringing our own ideas into the knowledge we acquire is valid, but there maybe other times that this doesn't happen. As with most things in TOK, there is a spectrum of the extent in which we 'bring something' to the things we learn.

Some AOKs actively encourage this sort of self-inquisition. While artists probably created their art to have a specific meaning, you are often encouraged to come up with your own interpretation of the art, as it may mean something very personal to you according to your background and life experiences. No one person would interpret a work the same way as you, and that is how the AOK of Art intends it. So clearly, some AOKs encourage this sort of interpretation, why might they do so? On the other hand, some AOKs require some very exact and objective interpretation of evidence and knowledge, so it might be that this sort of malleability when we acquire it is undesired. What issues do you foresee might arise when we bring our own interpretation to knowledge acquired? How each AOK deals with the idea of bring our own perspectives into acquired knowledge speaks a lot about its intention and purpose.

The prompt also asks us to consider whether we are really getting the knowledge of the 'true world as it is' or just the way we perceive the world. This is most prominent in the natural sciences where we try to observe the natural world by attempting to minimise our effects on it. We are effective at doing so to various extents, but can we ever really observe something as they are? Similarly, and perhaps even more difficult for the Human Sciences, how can you observe a human being's behaviour knowing that they are being watched, or that they are participating in an experiment? Does this invalidate any findings within the human sciences because we know we might be involved in it? In most cases, knowledge is generated from the lens of humanity - individuals like us! And for the most part, it is consumed by individuals like us as well. Can we ever have knowledge that is independent of humanity so that we are really watching the world as it is, rather than having our own input on it?

Big data and data science is a hot field right now because of exactly this problem - we have too much data and we don't really know how to handle it! You might have experienced this personally during your studies in the IB. Out of a 500 page textbook, what will you choose to learn? You likely won't know every exact detail within that textbook for your exams, but you will understand the key points as it pertains to the syllabus and the key techniques that you need to answer exam problems. In a similar way, people select knowledge they wish to acquire all the time. With the advent of search engines and wikipedias, there are limitless amounts of knowledge to be known, but only so much that we want to know. So it makes sense to ask ourselves, what criteria do we use to select what information we choose to get, what knowledge to acquire? That is the essence of the title.

When we choose some knowledge and leave out others, does this create any risk? What if we were missing out on some important perspectives? We must all have experienced a familiar feeling of thinking we are prepared for an exam, but it turns out that we missed a crucial part of the topic and subsequently bombed the exam. Now imagine this effect magnified to more important applications - in the medical context, how can medical professionals make the most informed decision for their patients? It is not like they can consider all possible available scenarios and knowledge about their condition! Again, it goes to what we consider to be important for us to acquire and so let's think deeply about why we learn some things over other things. Is it interest that is driving us? Practicality?

Finally, one last thing to consider for this topic is what is the point of having more knowledge if most are going to be selected away?

So hopefully these explanations have helped you in deconstructing what initially might appear to be some intimidating prompts! Before you write your essay, make sure you plan it out and select good examples to back up your points. Check out some 10/10 TOK essay examples and identify their strengths will help a lot as well!

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Guide to the TOK Essay

What’s covered:.

  • 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. 

Start Early

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 !

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  • May 20, 2023

Unpacking the 2023 November TOK Titles: A Comprehensive IB Solved Guide

The November 2023 titles for the IB Theory of Knowledge Essay have been released! Let's face it – the TOK essay can be very intimidating. With so many topics to choose from and so many ideas bouncing around, it can be hard to know where to begin. That's where we come in. In this post, we'll take a closer look at each of the titles and give you some tips for approaching them.

General Tips to Unpacking a Title

Whenever we approach a prompt, we always want to think in terms of perspectives and counter-perspectives (for those who are familiar with the old syllabus, these were previously known as claims and counterclaims). This allows us to structure the essay within the two selected AOKs, creating four paragraphs directly addressing the title and with consideration of varying perspectives on the title. While the final conclusion that we draw will likely lie somewhere in the middle, or argue that each perspective is more/less correct in different circumstances, it is often helpful to think of the two extremes first before trying to come up with a more nuanced conclusion.

So let’s get into unpacking them – here is everything you need to know about each of the November 2023 TOK Essay titles:

Title 1: Are facts alone enough to prove a claim? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.

Recommended AOKs: Natural Sciences, Human Sciences, History

For this title, the perspective and counter-perspective are straightforward – either facts alone are enough to prove a claim, or they are not.

Some ideas to think about which support the first perspective:

Facts are objective – By providing objective evidence for a claim, facts can be a highly reliable form of evidence to support claims made by knowers. This objectivity allows for the same claim to be proven across time, in different cultures and by unique knowers.

Facts allow for conclusions to be drawn through logic – By combining an array of established facts, deductive reasoning can be utilised to draw conclusions about the world and produce new knowledge. Often facts form the premises from which knowledge claims can be made, allowing a knower to prove a claim by first establishing a series of interconnected facts.

Facts can be tested – This is particularly important for science-based AOKs which rely upon falsification as an important method of producing new knowledge. Since facts can be tested, the veracity of a knower’s claim is always available to be disproven by empirical evidence.

For your counter-perspective, you have a far greater degree of freedom in your discussion. This is where you can really differentiate your essay from others, as it is your job to decide which other important elements beyond facts alone may be necessary to prove a claim. Some ideas from us:

Opinions – Whilst opinions lack the objectivity of facts, they are often important to proving knowledge claims, as these claims are often unable to be proven by facts alone. Rather inferences must be drawn to create meaning from facts. This can be illustrated through a very simple claim: Imagine for instance that we were trying to prove the claim that Germany were responsible for World War I. Whilst we could drawn upon facts, such as the fact that they issued a blank cheque to Austria-Hungary or the fact that they invaded Belgium in August 1914, ultimately we rely upon the opinions of historians in making a judgement on how important this was in the context of the war.

Personal Experience – Whilst personal experiences only provide anecdotal evidence and cannot allow us to draw broader conclusions, they may be necessary to prove a claim which involves emotion or personal beliefs.

Creativity – Creative thinking may be necessary to prove claims, particularly in the sciences, where facts alone are insufficient. For instance, scientific theories, whilst based in fact, are often dependent on analogies, comparisons and metaphor to explain abstract concepts for which there may not yet be any measurable or empirical evidence.

Title 2: If “the mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s and the poet’s, must be beautiful” (G.H. Hardy), how might this impact the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to mathematics and the arts.

This title is far more intricate than the others, relying heavily upon the definitions you impose upon key terms. The concept of the “mathematician’s patterns” and the term “beautiful” must be defined in the opening of the essay, as this will restrict the scope of your knowledge exploration. The way in which we would recommend splitting up this topic would be to first discuss the impact upon the production of knowledge in mathematics and then within the Arts. Some ideas for the perspectives and counter-perspectives which you may explore include:

Beauty in Mathematics – You will want to consider the importance of beauty in Mathematics. This is not referring to beauty in the traditional sense but perhaps considering other ways in which Mathematics may be considered beautiful such as in its way of transforming complex real-world problems into simple symbols which can be solved. This can impact the production of knowledge as mathematicians may choose to ignore solutions which are complex and rough – in other words, ‘mathematically ugly’.

Beauty in Art – In discussing this AOK, you may consider the debate between aestheticism and purpose within the Arts – In other words, is Art merely supposed to ‘look good’ or does it have a greater purpose, and how does this relate to the production of knowledge in and through the Arts.

Title 3: In the acquisition of knowledge, is following experts unquestioningly as dangerous as ignoring them completely? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Recommended AOKs: Human Sciences and Natural Sciences/History/Math

This title presents a very contemporary issue which is the questioning of experts and trust in the knowledge produced by experts. Nonetheless, there is a clear perspective and counter-perspective presented by this title – it is either more dangerous to follow experts unquestioningly or more dangerous to ignore them completely.

Some ideas relevant to the first perspective:

Evidence over Experts – By following experts unquestioningly, rather than examining the quality of their evidence and research methods, we fall into the trap of making arguments from authority without confirming that their conclusions are actually correct.

Subjective Experiences – While experts are helpful in drawing general conclusions/findings about the world, they do not account for subjective, individual experiences. This is particularly relevant in the Human Sciences, as theories and claims of human behaviour may not apply to all people due to the uniqueness of humans.

Lack of Progress – It is only by questioning established paradigms and claims made by existing experts that we are able to progress and acquire new knowledge. If all experts are followed unquestioningly, there can be no overhaul of existing knowledge when necessary.

Some ideas relevant to the counter-perspective:

Established Research Systems – Experts are trained in effective research methodologies and have systems to maximise the reliability of the claims they make. By ignoring experts, we are instead relying upon knowledge of laypeople whose claims have not been rigorously assessed for their veracity.

Manipulation and Logical Fallacies – By ignoring the claims of experts and instead acquiring knowledge through prominent figures such as celebrities and the media, we expose ourselves to manipulation and the array of logical fallacies employed by these individuals who have their own agenda beyond the dissemination of knowledge.

Knowledge Framework – Experts develop knowledge frameworks which can guide the production of new knowledge. By ignoring experts, we are often left to deal with problems on a case-by-case basis which can lead to a lack of consistency and structure within the knowledge which is acquired.

Title 4: Is it problematic that knowledge is so often shaped by the values of those who produce it? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.

Recommended AOKs: History, Arts, Human Sciences

This title has a focus on context and values, integral elements of the knowledge framework within the new syllabus. It also has two clear perspectives to be explored – the claim that it is problematic or the claim that it is not, keeping in mind that across both perspectives, it must be specified how knowledge is shaped by individual values.

Some ideas for the first perspective:

Bias – The shaping of knowledge by one’s individual values can create bias which may impede the reliability of knowledge produced through the lens of these values.

Subjectivity – If subjective beliefs founded in one’s values are imported into the production of knowledge which should be based on facts and evidence, this can be problematic for this knowledge.

Lack of Diversity/One-Sided Knowledge – When entire banks of knowledge are produced by individuals from the same background, culture, beliefs or school of thought, this can lead to the omission of other perspectives on an issue, which can limit the knowledge which is produced.

Individual Perspective are Important – It is often important for a knower to incorporate their own personal perspective in the production of knowledge as this is ultimately the only way in which interpretations and opinions beyond mere facts can be drawn.

Knowledge about the Knower – We can often learn more about a knower, their values and the social norms of their time when evaluating knowledge claims which are shaped by individual values, providing a second layer of ‘knowledge within knowledge’.

Specific Knowledge – Whilst not broadly applicable to people or contexts with different values, knowledge produced by those with particular individual values can be more specific and applicable to knowers within the same value system. This form of ‘insider knowledge’ may be shaped by the personal experiences of an individual, which is an asset to the production of knowledge rather than a hinderance.

Title 5: Is it always the case that “the world isn’t just the way it is, it is how we understand it – and in understanding something, we bring something to it” (adapted from Life of Pi by Yann Martel)? Discuss with reference to history and the natural sciences.

This title touches upon the debate between objective and relativistic views of knowledge and the world. The phrase ‘is it always the case’ allows us to derive two perspectives to explore – it either is always the case or it is not. The first perspective requires arguments which explain why this may always be the case, whereas the second only requires you to provide some exceptions/circumstances in which this would not be the case.

Interpretation creates Meaning – It may be argued that all elements of the world must be interpreted and doing so involves the unique lens of each individual knower. In this way, what we bring to the production of knowledge is our own distinct interpretation of the world around us.

Questioning creates Meaning – We could also consider how the questions which knowers ask are unique and based upon our own individual understanding of the world. This means that something new is created each time a new knower attempts to understand the world, as the questions asked and curiosity of each individual provides a distinct approach to knowledge.

Some ideas for the counter-perspective:

Objectivity Exists – It may be argued that there are some elements of the world which are fixed, unquestionable and objective. These components of knowledge are not dependent upon the interpretation of the individual, as there should be objective standards from which everyone should draw the same conclusion.

Repeatability – Particularly in the Natural Sciences, there are some elements of knowledge which are repeatable and not reliant upon the interpretation of the individual knower. This concept of repeatability is a foundational tenet of the sciences and the production of new knowledge of the world around us.

Title 6: Faced with a vast amount of information, how do we select what is significant for the acquisition of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Recommended AOKs: Natural Sciences and Human Sciences/History/Arts

This title questions the way in which we determine whether a piece of information is significant for knowledge. Since this is a ‘how’ question, there are many perspectives which can be explored, rather than a clear binary of perspectives. Some ideas from us:

Selection through Merit – This concept is particularly relevant to the Natural Sciences, as the theories which are ultimately deemed as significant are those which are not falsified. This merit-based approach pits scientific theories against each other to determine which are significant for the acquisition of knowledge.

Selection through Structure and Processes – By establishing set systems and procedures for filtering the vast amount of information available within an AOK, we can make selections as to which knowledge is significant.

Selection through Applicability – When judging what is significant for the acquisition of knowledge, a knower may have to consider the vast amount of information and decipher which piece of information is most applicable to their context, values or specific circumstances.

So there you have it! By now, you should have a better idea about which TOK essay title stands out the most to you and maybe even a few ideas about what to write. But where do you begin? Don't worry, we understand that writing a Theory of Knowledge essay can be a daunting task, but with the help of our expert IB tutors, you'll be on your way to success in no time. Plus, with online IB tutoring available, you can get the help you need from anywhere in the world. Don't let the TOK essay stress you out – contact us today to learn more about our IB tutoring services and how we can help you succeed in your IB studies.

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May 2023 TOK essay prescribed titles

The prescribed titles for the May 2023 TOK essay have been released. Check with your TOK coordinator / teacher for the official document.

Resources for the May 2023 TOK essay prescribed titles will be published shortly.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Are visual representations always helpful in the communication of knowledge? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and mathematics.
  • 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.

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EXPLAINED: May 2024 TOK Essay Prescribed Titles

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TOK Essay Titles – May 2024 Examination Session

The titles for May 2024 are released! Here they are below:

Make sure to bookmark this page as I explain and provide examples for each of these titles in depth! UPDATE: Title 1, 2, 5 and 6 are now available. Stay tuned for more! For general guidance on how to write a good TOK essay, check out my TOK Essay advice collection .

Is subjectivity overly celebrated in the arts but unfairly condemned in history? Discuss with reference to the arts and history.

How can we reconcile the opposing demands for specialization and generalization in the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to mathematics and one other area of knowledge.

Nothing is more exciting than fresh ideas, so why are areas of knowledge often so slow to adopt them? Discuss with reference to the human sciences and one other area of knowledge.

Do we underestimate the challenges of taking knowledge out of its original context and transferring it to a different context? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Do we need custodians of knowledge? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge.

Are we too quick to assume that the most recent evidence is inevitably the strongest? Discuss with reference to the natural sciences and one other area of knowledge.

This title attempts to challenge students on the main school of thought that you learn over the TOK course. The gist of your TOK teaching on both of these AOKs probably boiled down to something like: everything is art and it’s just whatever the artist wants to create, while history is always biased because the winners always write all of history. However, this eliminates much of the nuance in each of these AOKs that are worth exploring. That’s what makes this prompt interesting.

Is subjectivity overly celebrated in the arts? I will be honest, I never thought we really ‘celebrated’ subjectivity. It just, was. Inherently, art is a subjective exercise – you can think about this point a little further. You will find some heated discussion on whether art is subjective or could it be objective on the internet and I won’t delve into that here, because it isn’t the point of this title. The key here is to focus on the EXTENT of subjectivity and is it to the detriment of the area of knowledge itself. Then, we have to consider, whose subjectivity are we talking about: is it the artist’s subjectivity, or the audience’s subjectivity. For example, the Mona Lisa wasn’t that well known when it was first painted. I’m sure the Da Vinci thought it was quite a nice piece, but it seems like we didn’t really celebrate his subjectivity. It wasn’t until a certain audience found it subjectively good, that we accepted it as one of the greatest pieces of art in the world! That is an example of how subjectivity is relevant in the dissemination of artistic knowledge. For a more modern example, what about your favourite YouTuber? Do they truly make what they want? NO! They are often beholden to sponsors, and you – the audience! What you want to see, is what they will make! So it is YOUR subjectivity that drives their decision to produce art, not necessarily purely their subjectivity. Subjectivity by definition is just a person’s opinions, emotions, thoughts. This connects well with the TOK concept of values. What VALUES and WHOSE values are determining what art is created (in a variety of contexts), how art is perceived, and how art changes in its reception over time? These are all good questions to ponder. For more unconventional examples about art, think about how museums choose what art to display, what constitutes good art for prizes like the Nobel Prize for Literature, or why some art is considered more expensive than others? Are there systematic ways to think about our subjectivity and how we apply it to art? Is it really overly celebrating subjectivity or simply a necessity to make sense of the abundance of artistic knowledge in a sea of information today?

History gets a bad rep in the TOK classroom. Students like to trash on History calling it biased and unreliable. In this prompt, I don’t want you to refute these claims, but just think about how they aren’t necessarily catastrophic as we might think. We aren’t denying that biases in history could be problematic. I would be suspicious too, if the only accounts of the Rohingya Genocide came from the Myanmar military. However, the word condemned in the title suggests that we might be too harsh on historians when they get things wrong. We should focus on how the historical method recovers itself from failures in biases from its sources. Yes, it might be biased, but is it better than no history? Furthermore, does subjectivity actually ADD value to the way we produce, and interpret historical knowledge? While I’m sure a completely objective, news story like report of what happened in 1886 would be a historian’s dream, that isn’t the case! No matter how objective we try to be, we colour the events we experience by our own opinions, feelings and emotions. But isn’t that history in itself? In an almost cliched way, history’s subjectivity tells us more about what happened in the past and their beliefs and values more than words could ever say.

In both the historical and artistic discussions, you should focus more on the methodologies of these AOKs and how they achieve their AOK’s purpose. Subjectivity manifests in different ways in these AOKs and their methodology reflects that. In the overt awareness of subjectivity in the Arts, its method to produce knowledge is characteristically defined by subjectivity. In History, the method is to identify the covert influences of subjectivity, then to produce the most truthful knowledge possible. You can see that the goals of these two are different, and hence they deal with subjectivity differently. Don’t fall in the trap of focusing your discussion too much on your examples, but generalise to the patterns of how subjectivity manifest in your AOKs and whether their treatment of it is problematic.

It is crucial, when writing the essay for this prompt, to clearly define in your introduction what specialisation and generalisation means. DO NOT use the dictionary definitions here – since this is a TOK Essay, you want to make a TOK version of specialisation and generalisation, in terms of how these two things differ in the production of knowledge. Clearly defining the two in this way will form a solid foundation for you to have a nuanced discussion on this process of reconciliation between the two. The prompt hints at the competing demands on knowledge of specialisation and generalisation – i.e. you might not be able to produce knowledge in the same way if you were aiming for specialisation versus generalisation. So, this provides a point of contrast for you to choose examples and frame your discussion. Remember, the idea of competing demands is an ASSUMPTION, not an argument posed by the question. You should focus on how your chosen examples demonstrate a way to balance the interests of both and reach a ‘middle-ground’ rather than arguing that specialisation or generalisation are compatible with each other. TLDR: Don’t challenge the assumption.

For the first AOK of Mathematics, you should have encountered many personal examples just from your study of IB Maths. Most of your learning has been on generalisation, and the application of such generalisations. For instance, you learn about Calculus, a general topic within Mathematics, and then apply it in various contexts. Mathematicians love generalisations – that Calculus you learned? Well, the definition of a derivative generalised for all functions could be summarised by the first principles of derivatives function that HL AA students learn. You would have less interaction with specialisation of Mathematical knowledge. In a broader sense, the specific components of mathematics, cannot be separated from the general. You can’t solve calculus problems without the fundamental theorem of calculus. However, you could argue that the fundamental theorem of calculus didn’t need calculus problems to exist. Thus, an interesting dilemma arises in Mathematics – the generalisation could be produced, without a particular need for specialisation, but specialisation often calls for generalisation to first exist.

Looking at the latest mathematics research, you will find that applied mathematics is most common. Rarely do you see people get excited by new discoveries of solutions to elliptical curves, but more do when you tell them a new mathematical model to improve our prediction of the weather. We may place greater value on specialisation of knowledge, because we could see its usefulness more immediately, but, the Area of Knowledge does not require such specialisation to produce knowledge. So, do we encourage people to produce knowledge with the goal of specialisation in mind, or do we tell them to produce whatever theoretical generalised mathematical knowledge they can? Look to how mathematics is applied to Quantitative Finance, Econometrics, and Actuarial Science. They specialise mathematical knowledge and provide for some of the most lucrative careers. Does that speak to our preference and demand for specialised knowledge? But then again, what of the interdependence between generalisation and specialisation? How do we balance the two and how does the methodologies of the AOK contribute to this balancing act?

For the second, complimentary AOK, you could have discussions with all of the AOKs. For the Sciences, you could present a similar argument about needing to have some general theories before you could specialise. The scientific method is essentially one big generalisation process – you take specific observations and you make inferences so that you can generalise about some natural process. However, the knowledge that produces need not be general, it can still be specific. If we take specialisation as the goal, then we could pose narrow hypotheses to test. If we take generalisation as the goal, then we might need multiple of these narrow hypotheses to form a full picture, testing each individual case. Thus, specialisation could lead to specialisation alone, but more often, generalisation is the result of many specialisations.

One last question you might want to consider and attempt to answer in your essay is, do you want to know something about everything or everything about something? The answer to that will depend on your AOK. While we want to know about everything on everything, that is simply not reality. So, what trade offs do we make in each AOK, and how does each AOK decide on what we need to know more on?

You might be able to appreciate how long it takes ideas to actually be implemented in reality by looking at the recent Nobel Prize winners for Economic Sciences. The winner of the 2017 prize was Richard H. Thaler, for his contributions to behavioural economics. He explored the impacts of limited rationality, social preferences and the lack of individual self-control on economic decision making on an individual and market level. He started these findings from the 1980s, but it is only recently, in the 2022 revision of the IB syllabus that Economics students learn about the field of Behavioural economics in any detail! So why is it so?

To some extent, it is hard to criticise things for moving slowly. After all, new discoveries like behavioural economics represents a fundamental paradigm shift towards the way research is conducted in the particular AOK. Often times, fresh ideas are left to “ferment” so that their truthfulness can be tested with time. Nothing is more embarrassing than going down a rabbit hole only to find that your assumptions turned out to be monumentally incorrect. Even if we are making a big shift in light of new ideas towards the way we produce knowledge, doing so takes time! For many years and still now, we rely on strong assumptions of rationality to make economic models function. While the psychology of such behaviours are well researched, applying them to an Economic setting may not be. That is to say, it is important to consider how these new ideas arise, and what effect it has on existing knowledge, and the way we produce future knowledge. New ideas is simply new knowledge, but with the added implication that it has some effect on the existing knowledge within an AOK. It could potentially change how we view current knowledge, or how we conduct research given a particular discovery.

In the AOK of the human sciences, which broadly follows the scientific method, you could drawn some inspiration from the philosopher Thomas Kuhn’s view of scientific progress. He argues that within a period of “normal science” where we make incremental progress under the assumption of an overarching model, but there comes a point where we notice accumulation of imperfections with such a model that leads to new paradigms – new ideas, that fundamentally change how we do science. Then we undergo a sort of scientific revolution, where there are debates and decisions made over what sort of model we need to follow, until everyone eventually accepts the new paradigm and returns to a normal science period so that continual small improvements are made to knowledge, until another paradigm shift happens again. While you are not expected to demonstrate such strong philosophy knowledge within the TOK Essay, it is helpful to consider how each AOK handles such ‘revolutions’. For instance, it is harder to irrefutably find falsities in human sciences given the difficulty in replicability and corroborative studies compared to natural sciences.

As for complimentary AOKs, any would suit here, as each AOK has a very different way to handle new ideas. Many factors influence the way new ideas is accepted. For this title, we need to take the assumption that their acceptance is slow, not argue with it. Instead, you should consider what factors influence this slowness, and how different AOKs have different factors in mind when deciding how to accept new ideas. This relates to the nature of the AOK (what is its purpose) and the methodology guiding knowledge production in them.

Have you ever said something that sounds very weird out of context? That might have just been something silly with no real consequences, but in the realm of knowledge, we need to be careful about the consequences of knowledge taken out of their original context. This article highlights how the context of medical treatment matters a lot! As you can imagine, something that works in one field, doesn’t always apply in a straightforward manner to another. This is why there are whole research teams dedicated to what we call “translational research”. That is, trying to “translate” what you get from something like a lab setting, into actual products, like life-saving medications.

The obvious links to AOKs here are the Natural and Human Sciences. For Natural Sciences, we often start off knowledge production in a lab setting, or in a controlled environment. However, the application of such knowledge is rarely as controlled! So an interesting point to consider is how natural scientists have to account for the fact that their findings won’t ever be used in as perfect a setting as their research. Sure, you might have developed bullet proof wood , but how is that going to work in practically when it comes to mass manufacturing it for the army or the police? This is one of the biggest challenges that natural scientists face. It’s not that we aren’t trying to produce exciting knowledge, but that the application of such knowledge in a practical and appreciable context is often very difficult. Something like the mRNA technology (which recently was awarded a Nobel) took a long time to be developed into actual vaccines. The question then is, do we underestimate this process? Often it depends on the goal of the scientist. If the knowledge producer set out with an idea to commercialise in mind, then they would often consider the practical implications of findings. However, people studying theoretical physics for example, would struggle to immediately find very accessible real life implications. That doesn’t mean the knowledge is worthless, but certainly, the challenges are there.

What about non-scientific disciplines? Recently, I went to an art exhibition that trend Van Gough’s paintings into a 3D digital display. There was a Banksy exhibition that took the original murals he painted on the street, into this museum environment. Does changing the context of how art work is shown, and the manipulation of artistic knowledge change its meaning? What is the goal of transforming art into a different context? There are many reasons. Sometimes, it is to create satire (have a look at the parodies of the Mona Lisa), bringing old art onto a new audience (like VR exhibitions of Da Vinci), or simply making it more accessible to people (by making art works digitally available). The producers of these adapted forms of knowledge take great care in considering how this impacts the meaning of the art in its changed form. When artwork is so subjective, the context of art is often required to understand the artist’s meaning and intention, to ‘interpret’ works accordingly. At the same time, as we know art is quite subjective, is a ‘correct interpretation’ always required? If we are to remain artistic purists, then many of the joys of art could be lost! Imagine if you were admonished for listening to Taylor Swift through Spotify on your AirPods because it isn’t the original uncompressed music file with all the details, and you aren’t listening to it on the exact set of thousand dollar speakers it was created with? It would be ludicrous to assume that artistic knowledge is always going to be disseminated in the same context. Thus, this must be a consideration of artists. Is this consideration more or less difficult for different types of art? How is this consideration different to science considering there is no ‘right’ answer to interpreting art?

When thinking about this title, we aren’t arguing whether it is difficult. I think we all agree it is. However, it is about whether we underestimate just how difficult it is! Center your focus on how each AOK’s methodology highlights the consideration of being able to change contexts, and whether that affects the interpretation of the knowledge in question.

The term ‘custodians of knowledge’ is not something TOK students have likely heard of before, but this concept is relatively simple to understand. If you think positively about it, it could be protectors of knowledge, people who preserve knowledge, keeping it for generations to come – for example, some people might consider the Indigenous Peoples’ in Australia to be custodians of their unique cultural knowledge and what they call dreamtime stories. In this way, they keep culture alive, even if most people nowadays speak English and don’t readily tell their history. However, thought about negatively, it could also mean “gatekeepers’ (pardon the Gen Z language) of knowledge. The idealogical “protection” of knowledge could also be seen as a way to prevent some forms of knowledge from becoming knowledge in the first place. Talk to any university academic, and they will tell you how many times their research papers have been rejected. That’s why there is a bias towards statistically significant results, while research that showed that nothing significant has happened doesn’t often get published. Thus, these two contrasts provide for interesting discussion, particularly when considering how each AOK has different forms of custodians of knowledge and how they “gatekeep” or “protect” knowledge in different ways.

Take the AOK of the arts as an example. The career of artists are laughed upon because it is so hard to “break in” to the fine world of art. Many artists aren’t acclaimed until they are long dead. Perhaps most famously, the Mona Lisa wasn’t very well known until several hundred years after it was made. Thus, artists are often at the mercy of custodians of artistic knowledge like art curators and critics, who decide what merits acknowledgement as knowledge. After all, knowledge is only knowledge when there is consensus it is. And if the big wigs in the art industry doesn’t think it’s worth a mention, your art, however brilliant it seems to you, would not reach the consensus required to be considered knowledge. Of course, there are debates on the necessity of custodians in such a subjective AOK. After all, there were many times I questioned how some “artworks” even made it into the modern art museum when it’s literally splashes of paint on a canvas. I digress. However, there is something to be said about maintaining some form of standard to art. We judge whether some art is good or bad, but not in a very rigorous way. Custodians of knowledge supposedly have a framework to make such judgement in a way which preserves the nature of the AOK, and the knowledge within it. Therefore, discussion about the necessity of the custodians should focus on how they contribute to the purpose of the AOK, and whether it is compatible with the nature and methodologies of the AOK.

To further illustrate what I mean, you could see that Natural Sciences might present a stronger argument to the necessity of such custodians. We implicitly “trust” science, for better or for worse, because we know that there is a level of credibility imbued by the scientific method. It is the custodians’ role to maintain the standard of adherence to the scientific method that keeps this credibility alive. This is why, when flat earthers argue that they can’t see the curvature of the earth from the horizon, that it doesn’t get published in a scientific journal as fact! This is why, when research emerges that denies the existence of climate change, custodians have a responsibility to retract such research . However, at the same time, it also places much pressure on producers of such knowledge to create something worthy in the eyes of custodians. You might have heard of the data manipulation scandal that forced Stanford’s president to resign. Thus, custodians do appear quite important in this AOK, when we value the truthfulness of knowledge so much, but that isn’t without its consequences.

I recommend picking two contrasting AOKs that value much different things when writing the essay. While comparison is not a requirement for the essay, it gives you a more nuanced understanding of the question and thus a more reflective piece. For instance, we have just demonstrated that art is relatively subjective, while the sciences are less so. Thus, this influences the role which custodians need to play in each AOK.

The framework to answering this title for many students will follow a similar structure: an example of when novel evidence was accepted and had groundbreaking impacts, and another example where such evidence was problematic and disputed. Repeat this for the second AOK you choose and you’ll have 4 contrasting examples. This is not the only way to approach this title, but is my personal preference considering the structure I suggest to most students that ensures firstly, you will pass the basic criteria of a TOK Essay, and secondly, you will have a strong foundation to succeed. However, since everyone will have a similar style and collection of examples, it is even more important for this title, that you tease out the meaning and the effect on each area of knowledge, and knowledge in general, that your examples represent.

To demonstrate what I mean, let’s focus on two natural sciences examples. First, consider the case of “Cold Fusion”, a theory that you could supposedly have nuclear fusion at room temperature, discovered and subsequently debunked in 1989. A contrasting example, could be recent Nobel Prize winner of Medicine and Physiology, for the research on mRNA vaccines. Immediately, it is obvious that one shows where recent evidence isn’t the strongest, while the latter shows that it could be. But the focus should be on are we TOO QUICK in assuming so, not whether we should or not. Well, what are the reactions and timelines for each example? While Cold Fusion was met with excitement from the general public for the potential it holds for energy production, I wouldn’t say we ‘assumed’ it to be strong. Looking at the news reports from that time, you can see that there was great anticipation about the discovery, leading to lots of sudden funding and interest to investigate it and replicate it. As for mRNA, that discovery took a long time! First the technology, and the getting it to not appear foreign to the human body was very tricky. Even after it was discovered, we waited quite a while, with many people’s first experience with mRNA to be their COVID 19 vaccine. What you need to draw from these two examples is the methodological similarities and differences which reflect the NATURE of Science, and thus, the purpose of science. You see in both how there is an emphasis on replication which corroborates or falsifies, and only after doing so for a long time do we accept it to be true, otherwise it is debunked. So yes, there are moments where Natural Sciences provides strong compelling evidence that ends up false, there are many hurdles with in the methodology of the Natural Science that prevents us from being TOO QUICK to assume it to be true.

For this prompt, it is too easy to fall into the debate of why something was true or why something was false and tricked the population. This is not the point of the essay. You should avoid talking about the specifics of your examples at length. You need to demonstrate how your examples reflect the wider methodologies of the Natural Sciences (and similarly, for your second AOK) that either encourages or discourages our assumptions that novel evidence is always best. As you can see from my examples above, I focused on how such assumption does not happen too quickly because there are many ways we verify scientific knowledge to be true. I don’t discuss the specifics of the actual science behind Cold Fusion or mRNA as that isn’t required. You are better off focusing on the methodologies behind the AOKs themselves and answering the question.

Some interesting complements to the Natural Science AOK could be History (particularly focusing on revisionism and how historical events could be interpreted differently over time), Mathematics (how could the methodologies differ and are there ‘mistakes’ in Maths), or even Human Sciences (replication is a bit more difficult with that!).

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20 responses to “explained: may 2024 tok essay prescribed titles”.

Brandon Avatar

Hi, when will you deconstruct #6? Much appreciated.

hackib Avatar

I just did! Hope it helps.

Brandon Avatar

Thank you so much!

dora Avatar

hello! when will you deconstruct #2? would really really appreciate it !!!

Just posted!

Mathias Ndinya Avatar

Hi when will you deconstruct No. 5? Much appreciated.

Tim Habay Avatar

Could you please deconstruct no5. ?

Check it out!

alisha wang Avatar

Please Please deconstruct 5 ASAP, first draft due in 5 days!!!! Thanks!

I just did! It’s a very interesting title.

sally Avatar

Hi, when will you deconstruct #3? Much appreciated.

I have just posted this. Thanks!

TOK2024 Avatar

Hi, when will you deconstruct #4? Thanks!

Just updated!

Jais Avatar

Hi, is there more in depth analysis of title 4 coming?

Sorry it took a while, but it’s here now!

anis ayuni Avatar

I have a question, for PT3, so what will be our possible counterclaim? is it another factor that will make it slow? or find another RLS that show sometimes fresh ideas can be adopted fast ?

I would reread the prescribe title. The title is asking you “why”. So all you need to do is propose different sorts of reasons as to why this slowness occurs. You don’t need to challenge the assumption within the title that it is slow. Accept that it is slow, and propose various ideas for why that is the case according to the properties of your chosen AOK.

MS Avatar

Could you explain how you would format number One. Would I only be talking about two examples one for each AOK and what about them? Introduction, aok 1 and aok2 and conclusions

For sure! You should refer to my article on structuring for TOK Essay for more details. In general though, you can approach this prompt with two examples for each AOK, with one example about subjectivity being overly celebrated, and one not in the arts, while for history, it would be one where it is condemned unfairly vs not.

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Methodology, the american trends panel survey methodology.

The American Trends Panel (ATP), created by Pew Research Center, is a nationally representative panel of randomly selected U.S. adults. Panelists participate via self-administered web surveys. Panelists who do not have internet access at home are provided with a tablet and wireless internet connection. Interviews are conducted in both English and Spanish. The panel is being managed by Ipsos.

Data in this report is drawn from ATP Wave 133, conducted from Aug. 7 to Aug 27, 2023. A total of 11,945 panelists responded out of 12,925 who were sampled, for a response rate of 92%. The cumulative response rate accounting for nonresponse to the recruitment surveys and attrition is 4%. The break-off rate among panelists who logged on to the survey and completed at least one item is less than 1%. The margin of sampling error for the full sample of 11,945 respondents is plus or minus 1.4 percentage points.

Panel recruitment

A table showing recruitment dates for American Trends Panel recruitment surveys

The ATP was created in 2014, with the first cohort of panelists invited to join the panel at the end of a large, national, landline and cellphone random-digit-dial survey that was conducted in both English and Spanish. Two additional recruitments were conducted using the same method in 2015 and 2017, respectively. Across these three surveys, a total of 19,718 adults were invited to join the ATP, of whom 9,942 (50%) agreed to participate.

We have recruited a national sample of U.S. adults to the ATP approximately once per year since 2014. In some years, the recruitment has included additional effort (known as an “oversample”) to boost sample size with underrepresented groups. For example, Hispanic adults, Black adults and Asian adults were oversampled in 2019, 2022 and 2023, respectively.

Across the six address-based recruitments, a total of 23,862 adults were invited to join the ATP, of whom 20,917 agreed to join the panel and completed an initial profile survey. Of the 30,859 individuals who have ever joined the ATP, 12,925 remained active panelists and continued to receive survey invitations at the time this survey was conducted.

The American Trends Panel never uses breakout routers or chains that direct respondents to additional surveys.

Sample design

The overall target population for this survey was noninstitutionalized persons ages 18 and older living in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. All active panel members were invited to participate in this wave.

Questionnaire development and testing

The questionnaire was developed by Pew Research Center in consultation with Ipsos. The web program was rigorously tested on both PC and mobile devices by the Ipsos project management team and Pew Research Center researchers. The Ipsos project management team also populated test data that was analyzed in SPSS to ensure the logic and randomizations were working as intended before launching the survey.

All respondents were offered a post-paid incentive for their participation. Respondents could choose to receive the post-paid incentive in the form of a check or a gift code to Amazon.com or could choose to decline the incentive. Incentive amounts ranged from $5 to $20 depending on whether the respondent belongs to a part of the population that is harder or easier to reach. Differential incentive amounts were designed to increase panel survey participation among groups that traditionally have low survey response propensities.

Data collection protocol

The data collection field period for this survey was Aug. 7 to Aug. 27, 2023. Postcard notifications were mailed to all ATP panelists with a known residential address on Aug. 7. 

Invitations were sent out in two separate launches: soft launch and full launch. Ninety panelists were included in the soft launch, which began with an initial invitation sent on Aug. 7. The ATP panelists chosen for the initial soft launch were known responders who had completed previous ATP surveys within one day of receiving their invitation. All remaining English- and Spanish-speaking sampled panelists were included in the full launch and were sent an invitation on Aug. 8. All panelists with an email address received an email invitation and up to five email reminders if they did not respond to the survey. All ATP panelists who consented to SMS messages received an SMS invitation and up to five SMS reminders. On Aug. 25, interactive voice recording reminder calls were made to 39 tablet households that previously provided consent to receive these reminders.

A table showing Invitation and reminder dates for ATP Wave 133

Data quality checks

To ensure high-quality data, the Center’s researchers performed data quality checks to identify any respondents showing clear patterns of satisficing. This includes checking for very high rates of leaving questions blank, as well as always selecting the first or last answer presented. As a result of this checking, two ATP respondents were removed from the survey dataset prior to weighting and analysis.

A table showing sources for American Trends Panel weighting dimensions

The ATP data is weighted in a multistep process that accounts for multiple stages of sampling and nonresponse that occur at different points in the survey process. First, each panelist begins with a base weight that reflects their probability of selection for their initial recruitment survey. These weights are then rescaled and adjusted to account for changes in the design of ATP recruitment surveys from year to year. Finally, the weights are calibrated to align with the population benchmarks in the accompanying table to correct for nonresponse to recruitment surveys and panel attrition. If only a subsample of panelists was invited to participate in the wave, this weight is adjusted to account for any differential probabilities of selection.

Among the panelists who completed the survey, this weight is then calibrated again to align with the population benchmarks identified in the accompanying table and trimmed at the 1st and 99.5th percentiles to reduce the loss in precision stemming from variance in the weights. Sampling errors and tests of statistical significance take into account the effect of weighting.

Dispositions and response rates

A table showing Final dispositions, ATP Wave 133

Analysis of TikTok behavioral data

The analysis of TikTok users’ behaviors and activities on the platform is based on a subsample of 869 respondents to the main survey who said they use TikTok, agreed to share their TikTok handle for research purposes and provided a valid handle when asked. Researchers from the Center used these handles to collect information about respondents’ on-platform behaviors using automated web scraping.

Of the 11,945 panelists who completed the ATP Wave 133 survey, 2,745 said they use TikTok. These respondents were asked if they would be willing to share their account username with us for this study, and 996 agreed. After the survey was fielded, researchers reviewed each provided account individually and removed accounts that were suspended, invalid, or belonged to institutions, products or international entities. The analysis of TikTok behavioral data in this report is based on a total of 869 respondents who completed the survey and provided both consent and a verifiable TikTok handle.

This final sample of 869 U.S. adult TikTok users with valid, active usernames was weighted using an iterative technique that aligns its composition with that of all TikTok users on American Trends Panel Wave 133. The sample was weighted on the following dimensions: gender, age, race, years lived in the U.S., education, region, party identification, volunteerism, voter registration, metropolitan area, religious affiliation, frequency of internet use, and how interesting they find the videos on their TikTok “For You” page. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 5.8 percentage points.

The following table shows the unweighted sample sizes and the error attributable to sampling that would be expected at the 95% level of confidence for different groups in the survey.

A table showing that Sample sizes and margins of error for users with matched TikTok handles

Sample sizes and sampling errors for other subgroups are available upon request. In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.

How this report defines TikTok posters and measures posting volume

This report uses two slightly different approaches to measure the volume of content users produce on TikTok due to the specific characteristics of TikTok’s privacy settings. TikTok is similar to many other social media platforms in that posts and profiles can either be publicly listed or set to private. However, TikTok profiles are unusual in that they have a total “like” count that tallies up all likes on all videos, including private ones. In cases where a user has posted private videos that have received likes, it’s possible for researchers to observe those likes even if they can’t see the videos themselves.

For findings in this report that deal with whether or not a user has “ever posted” on TikTok, we treat the presence of publicly visible videos or any account-level likes as evidence of posting behavior.

For findings in which the volume of posts produced by a given user is referenced, we are only referring to publicly visible videos, as there is no method available to count private videos, even if the total number of likes is visible.

Question wording and respondent consent language for collection of TikTok handles

Respondents were asked to provide their Twitter handles for research purposes using the following language:

In many of our surveys, we ask about how people like you use social media. But there’s a lot we cannot learn unless you allow us to connect information about your public TikTok behavior to your answers (even if you never post anything).

No matter how often you visit TikTok, would you be willing to share your TikTok username to help us with this research? 1. Yes 2. No

This project will ONLY collect information that an ordinary user would see when they visit your profile (see here [POPUP] for more details). We will treat this data just like we treat your survey responses and will NEVER share anything that can be linked back to you.

[POPUP] How we will use your TikTok username

If you provide us with your TikTok username, we will only be able to collect what an ordinary user would see when visiting your profile. The specific information we will have access to depends on the privacy settings of your TikTok account.

If your account is set to PUBLIC, we will be able to see the public videos you have posted and basic information in your profile, such as your bio. Depending on your specific privacy settings, we may also be able to see the accounts you follow as well as the accounts that follow you; the comments you have posted on other videos; and the videos from other users you have liked. We will NOT have access to any private messages you have sent or received, nor will we have access to the content of your “For You” page or your watch history.

If your account is set to PRIVATE, we will be able to see basic information in your profile, such as your bio and how many accounts you follow and how many follow you – but will NOT be able to see any of the content you have posted.

We expect that this research will be concluded in approximately 18 months. At that point we will ask you again whether or not you would like to provide your username. If you provided your TikTok username to us previously, that is why you are seeing this question again.

If at any point you wish to opt out of research related to your TikTok account, contact [email protected]. For more information about our privacy practices, please see our Privacy Policy .

Measuring TikTok adoption

Figures in this report on the share of U.S. adults who use TikTok are drawn from the National Public Opinion Reference Survey (NPORS). Ipsos conducted the NPORS for Pew Research Center using address-based sampling and a multimode protocol.

The survey was fielded from May 19 to Sept. 5, 2023. Participants were first mailed an invitation to complete an online survey. A paper survey was later mailed to those who did not respond. In total, 2,217 respondents completed the survey online, and 3,516 respondents completed the paper survey (total n=5,733). The survey was administered in English and Spanish. The AAPOR Response Rate 1 was 31%. The full methodology for NPORS (including margin of error) can be found here .

  • AAPOR Task Force on Address-based Sampling. 2016. “ AAPOR Report: Address-based Sampling .” ↩
  • Email [email protected] . ↩

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Report Materials

Table of contents, americans’ social media use, a declining share of adults, and few teens, support a u.s. tiktok ban, teens, social media and technology 2023, more americans are getting news on tiktok, bucking the trend seen on most other social media sites, many americans get news on youtube, where news organizations and independent producers thrive side by side, most popular.

About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts .

ToKToday

What are the examiners thinking about the ToK Essay in 2023 ?

Daniel Trump

  • February 12, 2024
  • Student Support , Teacher Support , ToK Essay , Uncategorized

The Theory of Knowledge (ToK) Subject Report is written by examiners after each exam session, it is a reflection on what examiners have seen in the work submitted for the exam session. The report includes details on common mistakes made, and recommendations for avoiding those mistakes in the future. As such the ToK Subject Report is the most definitive document for understanding “what the examiners want”. I strongly recommend close reading of the TOK Subject Report for all ToK teachers. The ToK Subject Reports can be found in the Programme Resource Centre of MyIB.

In this blog post I summarise some of the pertinent and interesting points about the ToK Essay arising from the May 23 ToK Subject Report. I will publish a similar post about The Exhibition in a couple of days. I have written similar posts about previous ToK Subject Reports in the past ( linked & linked ). 

What do we learn about the ToK Essay from the May 23 ToK Subject Report ?

1, Students need to address all parts of the prescribed title. Don’t ignore parts of the question, this affects coherence of the answer (top of P5.)

2. Precise and direct reading of question is important (e.g Q2 M23 “For artists & natural scientists” many students did not consider artists & natural scientists, they just considered ‘for the general public’.).

3. A stepped approach to build an argument is most effective for complex essays that contain multiple elements (eg #4M23: “Do you agree that it is “astonishing that so little knowledge can give us so much power” (Russell)? Discuss with reference to the NS & one other AoK”). This essay requires students to deal with each element in turn, and to develop knowledge arguments relating to each. Contrasting claims / counterclaims / evaluation points are particularly important in complex essays (eg #4 M23, bottom of pg 6/top of 7).

4. Visual representations (eg charts & graphs) are now appropriate in ToK essays (Essay 5 M23).

5. Focus on writing a critical exploration of the PT (the driving question) rather than on a descriptive essay. A critical exploration includes: 

  • Arguments supported by examples
  • Implications
  • Awareness of & evaluation of different points of view. 
  • Limitations of arguments

6. Use of “points of view” rather than counterclaim . Points of view allows for a more nuanced range of points than a counterclaim. Points of view do not necessarily contradict, nor cancel out, the initial claim.

7. Examples should be explicitly connected to the knowledge argument and shown to justify a point.

8. Examples drawn from the student’s own studies, or own life, generally make better examples because it is easier for the student to analyse them and to understand the implication of the example (para 3, Pg 8).

9. AoK History should consider:

  • The history of events that are at least 10 yrs old.
  • The history of events that have been investigated by historians (rather than e.g. by journalists).
  • The process of the production of historical knowledge rather than the event itself.

10, Geography & Economics are often used well as Human Science disciplines.

11. The Planning & Progress Form is of increasing importance as an academic integrity check given the growth of AI etc.

OK – this is just a very brief summary of some of the main points. Some of these points are included because they are surprising, or new, to me. If you want more details on the subject report I recommend downloading it from the Programme Resource Centre. A similar summary of points about the ToK Exhibition in the May 23 Subject Report will be out soone.

Stay ToKTastic,

Daniel, Lisbon Feb 24

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VIDEO

  1. Ranting about the TOK Essay

  2. What makes some ToK Essays easier than others ?

  3. TOK May 2024 Essay Title 1

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COMMENTS

  1. IB TOK Essay examples

    All TOK Essay Examples Filter exemplars Common App Category IA EE TOK Type Essay Criteria Grade A B C D E Session May 2025 May 2024 November 2023 May 2023 November 2022 May 2022 November 2021 May 2021 November 2020 May 2020 Other Apply For artists and natural scientists, which is more important: what can be explained or what cannot be explained?

  2. November 2023 TOK Essay Titles Explained with Examples

    November 2023 TOK Essay Titles Explained with Examples - Hack IB November 2023 TOK Essay Titles Explained with Examples What happened to this post? HackIB has been acquired by MyIBTutor. All content is now available on the MyIBTutor Blog with more exciting IB content to come! Click here to see it for yourself! Advertisements

  3. How To Write A ToK Essay

    24th Jan 2023 Table of content Purpose Of ToK Assessment Of ToK The Game Plan Execution Of The Gameplan Planning For ToK Essay Structure Of ToK Essay Introduction Body Conclusions Bibliography How to write a TOK Essay? To answer that, you must familiarise yourself with what a TOK Essay is about.

  4. Example essays

    Last updated: 06 June 2023 As part of theory of knowledge (TOK), each student chooses one essay title from six issued by International Baccalaureate® (IB). The titles change in each examination session. Upcoming and past questions include: "To what extent are areas of knowledge shaped by their past?

  5. May 2023 TOK Essay Prompts + SAMPLES and Suggestions

    Vasy Kafidoff September 3rd, 2023 IB Topics 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.

  6. ToK Essay Prompts November 2023 + Samples & Explanations

    Vasy Kafidoff September 3rd, 2023 IB Topics The TOK essay prescribed titles for November 2023 are finally out. Since many students struggle with TOK essays, it's quite good news that IB students have a lot of time to check those TOK prompts. No more general words, and dry theory, I'm sharing a list of the TOK titles.

  7. 2023 ToK Essay Prompts: Tips & Deep Dive Insights

    Henrik M. IB Tutor and Writer IB Essay Tips & Tricks August 15, 2023 Navigating the complex web of ToK essay prompts can feel like trying to decipher an ancient manuscript - it's challenging, yet deeply rewarding.

  8. 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.

  9. The May 2023 TOK Essay Titles

    Is replicability necessary in the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to two areas of knowledge. 2. 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. 3.

  10. TOK ESSAY May 2023 Title Breakdown & Tips! [WITH FREE ...

    Here are the tips, ideas, and pieced of evidence for the May 2023 Theory of Knowledge Essay! Boost your International Baccalaureate score by getting an A on ...

  11. Mastering ToK Essay Structure: A Comprehensive Guide

    The International Baccalaureate (IB) doesn't prescribe a single structure for the ToK Essay. They require that you " provide a clear, coherent and critical exploration of the essay title " (IB ToK Essay Assessment Instrument, 2020) Achieving this requires a well-thought-out structure that fosters clarity, coherence, and critical exploration.

  12. November 2023 TOK Essay Titles Explained with Examples

    Jul 10, 2023 12 min read November 2023 TOK Essay Titles Explained with Examples The prescribed titles for the November 2023 TOK Essay has been released! Here are all the titles with detailed explanation and examples to get you started: Are facts alone enough to prove a claim? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge.

  13. Guide to the TOK 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 ...

  14. Unpacking the 2023 November TOK Titles: A Comprehensive IB Solved Guide

    So let's get into unpacking them - here is everything you need to know about each of the November 2023 TOK Essay titles: Title 1: Are facts alone enough to prove a claim? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge. Recommended AOKs: Natural Sciences, Human Sciences, History

  15. Choosing your ToK Essay Question

    Daniel Trump March 6, 2023 Student Support, ToK Essay 4 Comments As the November 2023 ToK Essay title starts it is a good time to revisit advice on choosing your ToK Essay title. During the 10 years that I marked ToK Essays as an IB Examiner I learned a lot about what makes a good ToK Essay.

  16. 2023 Essay title 6: Methodologies

    795. TOK Talk · Essay Title 6: Methodologies. Today I had a really insightful discussion with IB Theatre teacher, Alex Campion. We talked about May 2023 TOK Essay Title 6: 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.

  17. ToK Essay: Balancing Real World Examples and Theory of Knowledge

    It refers to real-world contexts or examples, providing the practical side to your ToK essay. ToK, on the other hand, represents the Theory of Knowledge content, which includes the discussion of knowledge acquisition, knowledge construction, methodology, scope, perspectives, and other related concepts. In this article, the third of a four-part ...

  18. May 2023 TOK essay prescribed titles

    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. Are visual representations always helpful in the communication of knowledge?

  19. How to Structure a Theory of Knowledge Essay

    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.

  20. The November 2023 TOK Essay Titles

    1. Are facts alone enough to prove a claim? Discuss with reference to any two areas of knowledge. 2. If "the mathematician's patterns, like the painter's and the poet's, must be beautiful" (G.H. Hardy), how might this impact the production of knowledge? Discuss with reference to mathematics and the arts. 3.

  21. EXPLAINED: May 2024 TOK Essay Prescribed Titles

    Advertisements TOK Essay Titles - May 2024 Examination Session The titles for May 2024 are released! Here they are below: Make sure to bookmark this page as I explain and provide examples for each of these titles in depth! UPDATE: Title 1, 2, 5 and 6 are now available. Stay tuned for more!

  22. Unpacking ToK Essay Titles

    " (ToK Essay Assessment Instrument, IB 2020) Examples of Unpacked ToK Essay Titles (May 24 Session) To illustrate, let's examine unpacked versions of three titles from the May 2024 session: Unpacking as a Prelude to the Thesis Statement. The unpacking of the title should lead into your thesis statement, which is the main argument of your essay.

  23. Methodology

    For example, Hispanic adults, Black adults and Asian adults were oversampled in 2019, 2022 and 2023, respectively. Across the six address-based recruitments, a total of 23,862 adults were invited to join the ATP, of whom 20,917 agreed to join the panel and completed an initial profile survey.

  24. After two years of war, Ukrainians are becoming pessimistic

    During 2023, Ukraine sank a fifth of the Russian Black Sea fleet and established a shipping corridor in the face of constant bombardment. The same approach has seen a huge increase in the ...

  25. What are the examiners thinking about the ToK Essay in 2023

    The Theory of Knowledge (ToK) Subject Report is written by examiners after each exam session, it is a reflection on what examiners have seen in the work submitted for the exam session. The report includes details on common mistakes made, and recommendations for avoiding those mistakes in the future. As such the ToK Subject Report is the most ...