A Student Guide To Writing the Theory of Knowledge Essay
BERTRAND RUSSELL, 1872 1970 some princi LINUS PAULING, 1901 1994 ourselves . . . When we read, another person thinks for us; we merely ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER, 1788 1860
WILLIAM FAULKNER, 1897 1962
SAMUEL JOHNSON, 1709 1784 h should embrace a distinct episode; and as sentences should follow one another in harmonious sequence, so paragraphs must fit into one another SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL, 1874 1965 nd say it as clearly as you can. That is the only MATTHEW ARNOLD, 1822 1888
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, 1844 1900
mes from the French verb essayer from 1533 to 1592, was the first person to use the word in its modern sense.) The origin of the word is of more than passing interest. Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is concerned with questions that do not have definite answers. This does not make such questions redundant. On the contrary, many of the most important questions in life do not have definite answers. When writing a TOK essay, it is best to think not so much in terms of answering a question as of illuminating a problem. That is what you are trying to do. A certain amount of humility is in order here. You are unlikely to come up with the definitive solution to the problem. To illuminate a problem is to do such things as: explain what the problem is and why it matters; clarify the meaning of key words; consider different ways of thinking about the problem; construct arguments and counterarguments; give examples; assess supporting evidence; explore implications; make relevant connections; and uncover hidden assumptions. Since it deals with open-ended questions, an essay is essentially personal in nature. Other people may have come this way before, and you can doubtless learn a great deal from their explorations. But your essay should of some textbook or other. You need to have the courage occasionally illuminate the problem. at least
to strike out on your own; for this is your attempt to
Diploma Point Matrix
Points awarded for the externally assessed component, part 1, the essay on a prescribed title (40 points), and for the internally assessed component, part 2, the presentation (20 points), are combined to give total out of 60. The grade boundaries are then applied, to determine the band (A to E) to
The band descriptors are: A Work of an excellent standard B Work of a good standard C Work of a satisfactory standard D Work of a mediocre standard E Work of an elementary standard The band descriptor is used both to determine the contribution of TOK to the overall diploma score and to provide the basis for reporting to schools on each stude
TOK and The Extended Essay
The performance of a student in the Diploma Programme requirements of both Theory of Knowledge and the Extended Essay, is determined according to the quality of the work, based on the application of the IB Diploma Programme assessment criteria. It is described by one of the band descriptors A E. Using the two performance levels and the diploma points matrix, a maximum of three combined performance. A student who, for example, writes a satisfactory extended essay and whose performance in theory of knowledge is judged to be good will be awarded 1 point, while a student who writes a mediocre extended essay and whose performance in theory of knowledge is judged to be excellent will be awarded 2 points. A student who fails to submit a TOK essay, or who fails to make a presentation, will be awarded N for TOK, will score no points, and will not be awarded a diploma. Performance in both theory of knowledge and the extended essay of an elementary standard is a failing condition for the award of the diploma. 28 points overall will be required to be eligible for the diploma if a student As previously essay and theory of knowledge continues to represent an automatic failure.
The TOK Essay
All Diploma Programme students...
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