Tok Essays 2013

You are required to write a 1200-1600 word essay on a title set by the IB. The essays for 2013 graduation are here:

May 2013 TOK titles

TOK essays May 2014

Mr Langston’s Essay 5 and 6 Keynote

You may not change the title in any way. You should aim for 1600 words, as shorter essays rarely meet all the criteria.

The full essay criteria are here:    Assessment Criteria ESSAY

There is also a useful summary here:  Essay criteria breakdown

You are going to use this  essay_template to start thinking about your essay. You will need to turn this in next week.

This summary will help you structure your essay – TOK Essay Plan Template

Please download and use one or ALL of these planning sheets to help you get started.


Planning Sheet ToK Essay copy

One way of approaching your TOK essay

Essay Planning Form


Your cover page for final submission MUST look like this:


Here is a very good exemplar essay, together with the IB’s comments and marks.


Example 1 Marks



essay 10 marks


TOK essay: for the LAST time!

  • Have you read and understood all the different criteria for assessment? Really?

  • Does your essay number between 1200 and 1600 words? (it should be far nearer 1600 than 1200!)

  • Have you organized your essay into an introduction, 2-3 examples, and a conclusion?

  • Is your introduction concise, with a discussion of what the title means, and a brief plan of how your essay will tackle the question?

  • Are your knowledge issues organized CLEARLY (using linking sentences) into arguments and counterclaims?

  • Have you referred explicitly to the different AOKs and WOKs, and provided links between them?

  • Have you used personal examples, specifically from your experiences as an ‘IB learner’, and avoided hypothetical ones?

  • Have you used well-referenced examples that you have found out about from beyond the classroom (articles, documentaries, books, the ideas of thinkers, etc.)?

  • Have you considered other perspectives and points of view?

  • Have you identified implications of your arguments and some of the counterclaims?

  • Is your conclusion consistent with the rest of your essay?

Yes, to all of these? If so, you’ve done  great job. If not, go back and do a great job!

 Other essay resources

Six steps to writ­ing a good TOK essay: A stu­dent guide by Colleen H. Parker at SPHS

Writ­ing a TOK essay, by Richard van de Lagemaat

How to Write a Good TOK Essay, By Peg Robinson

This in link goes through a vari­ety of exam­ples of how to answer some of the ques­tions from pre­vi­ous years.

Mr Hoyes’ Notes on The ToK Essay

How to Write a Good ToK Paper, from Col­lec­tive Thinking

Writ­ing a TOK Essay, from ‘Find­ings’ Part One, Two, Three, Four, and Five.

10 Tips on Writ­ing a Good The­ory of Knowl­edge Essay, from the Amer­i­can Inter­na­tional School of Lusaka

Guide to writ­ing the TOK Essay, from IBCram

Tips for writ­ing a good ToK Essay by Ric Sims @ Noth­ing Nerdy


Davin Lama 001121-001 TOK - May 20132

In Hitchens’ quote, he states, “

That which can be asserted without evidence can be

dismissed without evidence”. From this statement, I believe that he means

a person who believessomething to be true without having any evidence for it can equally justify it as being untrue, ashe/she does not need evidence to deem it so.

Through reason, Hitchens is addressing a way in

which one may approach matters of the “unknown”

- areas where there may be a lack of enoughevidence. However, evidence is not just gained through reason alone. Language and our senses

 play roles in gathering and assessing evidence as well. Ironically, Hitchens’ statement itself is

 being asserted without evidence, hence by its own terms the statement may be dismissed.However, the quote raises some important questions. What constitutes as evidence? Under whatcircumstances can something be asserted for without evidence? How can one know when enoughevidence is present for something to be as

serted, or even dismissed? I believe that Hitchens’

statement is true to a certain extent; however the level of this extent differs from one area of knowledge to another. By further investigating the extent of what Hitchens is implying throughthe realms of math and the natural sciences, we can help ourselves to better comprehend thestatement and in reaching an understanding conclusion.Evidence can come in many different forms. An interesting aspect of evidence is that thesame piece of evidence holds different values across different areas of knowledge. For instance,in the civil system of courts, an eyewitness testimony holds one of the highest points of evidence.However in the scientific community, an eyewitness account holds the lowest point of evidence.An example of the power of eyewitness testimony can be shown in the case of the murder of anAmerican peace activist, Rachel Corrie. No one knew how she had died, but because of eyewitness accounts, it became clear that she had been murdered by a bulldozer driver, and thiswas taken as the truth

(“Four Eyewitnesses”).

In scientific cases, if one scientist were to claimthey saw a

an apple ‘fly’

up and defy the laws of gravity, but have no other type evidence, then

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