Hey yall - I posted this for last year's seniors...I hope it's useful to you guys as well!! Check out the attachments too!
General Comments (these are my suggestions after editing class of 2011's essays)
- No YOU!!!!!!Either sounds accusatory or assumes WAY too much…makes essays vague and nondescript
- Use specific examples….and clarify everything so that a 3rd party audience will understand.“The movie with Lionel in it”“This is not a pipe”Need more context details.(Context is all)
- Connect to TOK diagram – use terminology!
- Avoid huge sweeping statements or generalizations“The whole point of photography is to….”
- Careful with vague language “we” is just as vague as “you” sometimes.
Ex) “When the UN said there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we went looking for them anyway.”Consider your audience.
- Use the language of the prompt in your essay – especially in the intro.
- Make sure to answer the entire prompt!This may mean dissecting the prompt itself:
- Ex) prompt #5 asks you: “To what extent and the various areas of knowledge defined by their methodologies rather than their content?”
MORE HELPFUL TIPS HERE!!!!!! CHECK IT OUT!!!!!! http://ibtokspot.blogspot.com/
Seriously consider the following checklists!!!
1) Read the Introduction. Do the opening sentences make you engage the the prompt immediately?
2) Is there a counter-argument in the introduction?Are there counter-arguments throughout the essay?
3) Are TOK concepts identified and discussed explicitly in the body?
4) Are the examples clear and relevant to your argument? Are the examples factually accurate? Is any information assumed?
5) Are there a lot of examples that relate TOK ideas and subjects on the TOK diagram to concrete, real-world issues related to the prompt?
6) Does the conclusion give you a sense of summary? Does it consider the most reasonable angles/perspectives from which to discuss the implications of the prompt?
1) Is the prescribed title exactly stated as given, with its corresponding number?
2) Does it have your last name and page numbers on the header of each page except the first one?
3) Is the essay double-spaced?
3.5) 1200-1600 words
4) Does it have a standard font? Is it a 12-14 point size?
5) Is it printed in black ink?
6) Is the bibliography (if you have one) organized in a standard format?
7) Do all less common quotes have parenthetical citation (Last name of author, page number of source)?
8) Are all paragraphs indented? Also, there should be no skipped lines in between paragraphs.
9) Did you use spell-check? Read over the paper again to catch the mistakes spell-check cannot.
10) Did you check for obvious grammar mistakes, especially those that make it difficult to make sense of what you are saying? Beware of run-on sentences and improper capitalization/punctuation as well.
The Top Ten Theory of Knowledge Essay Tips
Here are my top tips for getting to top marks on your Theory of Knowledge essay.
1. All ToK essays are cross-disciplinary; they are never just about one way of knowing (perception, language, reason, etc) or one area of knowledge (mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences, history, etc). In general you’ll want to include at least
2. But be careful about which WoK's and AoK's you include. Review all of your notes to refresh your understanding and make sure you’re seeing the relevant connections and make sure (after you’ve done your research) that you have interesting points to make (claims and counter claims).
3. Make an outline first. The outline is your road map and it’s where you make a lot of your major decisions. It will also help you to develop an argument, with each paragraph building on the one before.
3. Research in a lot of different ways: websites, your class notes, talking with people (parents, classmates, your teachers). Find arguments which support both sides of (for and against) your thesis and examples that support your claims and counterclaims. As you develop insights you can use, make sure to record them. ]
4. Make sure you have clarified the scope of your essay (what you're aiming to do). Make it clear, in your introduction, which WOK's and AOK's ’s you’re using. And define your key terms carefully, in ways that are useful to your argument. Dictionary definitions rarely do this. At the minimum, be sure to not just use the first definition you find.
5. It’s easy to forget that ToK is about developing your ability to think for yourself. Give yourself some time away from your outline, to reflect before you begin your real essay. And then try to give yourself a few breaks from your essay as well, so you can come back to it with fresh eyes. It’s hard to see the weaknesses of your thinking while you’re busy trying to get it done (i.e. in a hurry). Come up with your own ideas.
6. Read at least 3 examples of excellent ToK Essays written by other people.
7. Keep editing. Each of your paragraphs should show opposing viewpoints concisely. Compare two opposing ideas about how natural science might relate to your knowledge question.
8. Use specific and qualified language. Rather than writing that “all science always provides useful insights,” instead say that, “chemistryoften provides useful insights.” Words like often or sometimes (instead of always), might or could (instead of should) help to keep from over-generalising or saying more than you can actually support in your essay.
9. To prove your essay's thesis you’ll need to rely on evidence. Various types of facts are fine (quotations, statistics, true stories from your reading or your own life). Avoid using clichés and common examples. If you can use examples that the marker hasn’t heard before this will show that you are thinking for yourself.
10. Read it out loud, after you have finished it. This will help you to find mistakes and areas that don’t flow as well as you thought.
Other Useful ToK 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 TheoryofKnowledgeStudent.com 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
And consider some common problems, from ToK Talk