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How to structure your TOK Essay

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

For many students, theory of knowledge (TOK) can be an impenetrable subject to comprehend, and TOK essay titles are no exception. However, by ensuring your TOK essay follows a clear structure, it can allow for better understanding and communication especially when it comes to the complexing concepts. Your main priority is to answer the prescribed title (PT), remember to refer back to it as you go.


The introduction to your essay should make up about 150-200 words. Start your essay by emphasizing your PT- why is it interesting or relatable? Next, define a few key terms within the title. You need to define these key terms in relation to the way you would like to later answer your PT. You can use this section to also narrow on an aspect that you would like to particularly focus on in your essay, if applicable. State your thesis or stand, where you can argue for or against, or partly for the PT. Lastly, present the reader with a general outline of what areas of knowledge (AoK) you are planning to take on in the following paragraphs.

Paragraph 1

This section should amount to around 250-350 words. Commence your first paragraph with your first AoK and elaborate. Explain how it supports or counters the PT and employ real life examples using ways of knowing (WoK).

Paragraph 2

This section should amount to around 250-350 words. For your second paragraph, counter-claim your aforementioned argument, describe why it may be flawed or introduce potential drawbacks. Initiate another real life example within the same AoK that supports your counterclaim, use different WoKs. Then go back to your PT and conclude the paragraph with a sentence that expresses the insight or extent to which your first AoK supports or counters your thesis based on the examples brought up.

Paragraph 3 and Paragraph 4

This section should amount to around 600 words. For the following two paragraphs you will repeat the same approach encountered in paragraph 1 and 2, in which you will consider a second AoK.

Paragraph 5 and Conclusion

This section should amount to around 250-250 words. You may add a 5th paragraph if you have more to say or would like to compare the two AoKs. Conclude your TOK essay by elaborating on the insights you have attained. Moreover, mention the implications and significance of why it is important for the reader to comprehend this and why does it matter? You can also include your perspectives and extensions, what is your personal perspective and conclusion?

Keep in mind that every TOK essay will look different and the former structure is not the only form you can use for your essay. Nonetheless, this is a solid structure that can be used as a foundation to tackle any perplexing TOK essay.


‘How to Structure a Theory of Knowledge Essay’-

‘How To Write a ToK Essay IBDP – Step-By-Step Guide’-

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