Essay Support Booklets

TOK Essay Support Booklets

“Planning the TOK essay” and “The TOK essay all you need to know”.

I have created these two booklets to support my Theory of Knowledge (TOK) students in the planning, structuring, and writing of the TOK essay. The information in both booklets is student friendly and follows a clear structure, ensuring the students know exactly what is required to gain full mark in the essay. The booklets give detailed advice to students for each step of the process. 


In order to support students with the planning and structure of the TOK essay, I have created this 3,146 word booklet based on the information given by the IBO TOK Teacher Support Material.

This booklet summarises the IBO`s advice on planning and writing the TOK essay, and also includes an essay plan.

The booklet makes it clear to students exactly what is expected of them in the essay, focusing on:

  • Interpreting the title.
  • Defining key terms and concepts.
  • Identifying knowledge questions.
  • Stating a position.
  • Identifying ways of knowing and areas of knowledge and identifying claims and counterclaims.

As well as giving an explanation of each part of the planning process, the booklet gives students boxes to fill in which follows the essay structure that has been explained.

The booklet is also a useful tool for the TOK teacher to know how the students are progressing throughout the process. It also allows the TOK teacher to see if the student is staying focused to the prescribed title and the knowledge questions they have created.

I have also used the plan when giving students essays to write throughout the course, in order for them to be as prepared as possible when they write the final essay.


Part One. Introductory steps: Advice on creating your essay plan.

  1. Interpret the title.
  2. Define the key terms and concepts in the title.
  3. Identify the knowledge questions that are central to the discussion.
  4. State a position.
  5. Identify the ways of knowing that are most significant to the discussion.
  6. Identify the areas of knowledge that will be central to the response
  7. Identify the significant claims and counterclaims.
  8. Brainstorming and organizing ideas.
  9. Researching examples.

Part Two. An example essay plan from the IB.

Part 3. Essay plan template.

1.    Prescribed title

2.    Introduction

a)    Give your interpretation of the title.

b)    Definition of the key terms and concepts in the title.

c)     Knowledge questions that are central to the discussion.

d)    Areas of knowledge and / or Ways of Knowing that will be central to the response.

e)    State your thesis.

f)     Road map

3.   Paragraph two: Your first claim and counterclaim

a)    Claim

b)    Counter-claim

c)     Link to the prescribed title

4.    Paragraph three and four

5.    Conclusion

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In order to support students with the writing of the TOK essay, I have created this booklet based on information from `Decoding Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma by Wendy Heydorn and Susan Jesudason.` You do not need to be a subscriber to downlaod this document.

The booklet gives in-depth information on how to both plan and write the TOK essay. It is full of examples to help students understand what is needed to write the essay. The booklet is set out in tables and bullet points to make it easily accessible for students of all abilities, including those who are writing the essay in their second language.

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1 Understanding the assessment requirements.

  • The basics.
  • Understanding and analyzing knowledge questions.
  • Depth and breadth.
  • Chapter summary.

2 Analysis, links and comparisons.

  • Introduction to analysis, links and comparisons.
  • Unpacking knowledge questions. Analysing claims and counter-claims. Using examples to sharpen your analysis.
  • Giving your own opinion `Knower`s Perspective`.
  • Identifying assumptions.
  • Considering implications.
  • Using evidence.
  • Using different perspectives and finding a coherent position.
  • Chapter summary.

     3 Developing a Thesis and constructing an argument.

  • Introduction.
  • Thesis.
  • Arguments.
  • Planning and drafting.
  • Chapter summary.

    4 Structure, introduction, examples and conclusion.

  • Note
  • The introduction.
  • Paragraphs.
  • Style.
  • Examples.
  • The conclusion.
  • Avoiding plagiarism.
  • Chapter summary.
  • 5 Final checklist.