TOK Essay Guide


Our hugely popular 42-page TOK Essay Guide takes you through the two assessment criteria, and gives you step-by-step advice on writing the TOK essay. It also includes a consideration of the latest examiners’ report, outlining some of the most common mistakes made by students in their essays. The guide is co-written with Sue Bastian.

Sue is a hugely inspirational and experienced IB educator, and was one of the central architects of the theory of knowledge course. She has taught at the International School of Manila, and the United Nations International School in New York. She co-authored the Pearson textbook, Theory of Knowledge and co-designed the IB online workshop Helping Students Write Better TOK Essays and Assessing Their Work. Sue provides many invaluable tips and strategies in the guide to help students to write a successful TOK essay.

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The May 2017 TOK essay guide pack $42.99

The newest edition of the guide has been updated for the May 2017 session, although sections 1-5 are essentially the same as previous editions. Section 6 contains mostly new content, with an PT unpacking tool to help students to choose the right PT, and an assessment targeting tool, to help them to self-assess their completed essays.
It also looks at the latest news from the IB on the teaching of TOK, and considers the controversy of how to identify knowledge questions from the prescribed title. The pack also comes with two PowerPoint presentations, helping to introduce the process of writing the essay, and Word versions of the PT unpacking tool and assessment targeting tool. 42 page pdf + 2 PowerPoints + Word document (includes the contents of the Update pack). Note that the essay guide no longer provides detailed thoughts on the specific prescribed titles.

TOK Essay Guide Update $12.99 (pdf + 2 PowerPoints + Word document

The TOK Essay Guide Update is designed for all those who have purchased previous editions of the TOK Essay Guide. It comprises the updated section 6, the two PowerPoint presentations (described above), the PT unpacking tool, and the assessment targeting tool. 10 page pdf + 2 PowerPoints + Word document.


What comes in the guide?


SECTION 1: Introduction

  • The authors
  • Aims
  • The TOK essay
  • Assessment
  • FAQs


SECTION 2: Preparing your students for the essay

  • Resources
  • The assessment tool
  • Skills embedded in the rubric
  • Encouraging analysis
  • Forming arguments
  • FAQs


SECTION 3: Planning the essay

  • The essay writing pathway
  • Selecting a PT
  • Identifying knowledge questions
  • First and second order KQs
  • Putting this into context: a discussion of the latest thoughts on how far students should stray from the PT in identifying their knowledge questions.


SECTION 4: Writing the essay

  • Framing knowledge questions – claims & counterclaims
  • Exploring claims and counterclaims
  • Drawing on personal and shared knowledge
  • Evidence to avoid: hypothetical, anecdotal, clichéd examples


SECTION 5: Pulling it all together

  • Making links
  • What are ‘different perspectives’?
  • Applying different perspectives
  • How do I include a consideration of implications?
  • Making sure the essay is coherent


SECTION 6: Latest thoughts on TOK essay writing

  • Suggested sources for RLSs
  • The prescribed title unpacking tool (included as a separate Word document)
  • The assessment targeting tool (included as a separate Word document)
  • Examiners’ gripes and groans – what to avoid! Includes a discussion of the latest thoughts on how far students should stray from the PT in identifying their knowledge questions.
  • + Two fully illustrated PowerPoint presentations with lesson plan notes on how to understand, and write, the TOK essay


Contact us

If you have a question about the essay guide, or there is a problem with the payment system (such as the payment buttons not appearing), get in touch with us using the form below. We’ll do our best to respond within 24 hours during the working week.
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Money back guarantee

We are sure that the guide will provide you with a huge amount of help with writing your TOK essay. However, if you feel that the guide does not match up to its contents description, let us know, and we’ll provide a full refund.

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