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AOK and WOK in TOK Essays

The TOK essay is a very crucial part of the IB program. Most students find this challenging since it follows a very different format from the rest. You don’t need to worry if you are in the same boat. You can efficiently work your way through TOK essay by first finding out about the terminology in great detail. Areas of knowledge and ways of knowing are two essential concepts that you need first to understand before you begin working on these. To find out more about areas of knowledge and ways of knowing, continue reading!

How to Select a Suitable Area of Knowledge (AOK)?

Areas of knowledge are different categories that are explored in great detail in TOK essays and presentations. As part of the 2023 TOK guide, there are five compulsory areas of knowledge. These are:

  • Arts
  • History
  • Human Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences.

When selecting an area of knowledge, you need to be as sure about what you have more command over. We are more knowledgeable in one area of knowledge than another, so we need to be sure to work on something we know more about.

For example, you might be more interested in history than mathematics, which means that you can easily defend the examples that you use in that. So this is something you need to be more mindful about. Apart from that, you also need to choose an area of knowledge on which you have ample examples of writing on. You don’t just need to write on one example, but you also have to counter it. So the area of knowledge is one part you should be thinking about right from the time you start brainstorming about it.

Plan out your essay by first thinking about the area of knowledge you will be choosing, only after which you should choose the examples you will be given in each. In the TOK essay, you have to choose two areas of knowledge, so you need to make your choice very carefully.

How to Select a Suitable Way of Knowing (WOK)?

Many students tend to get confused with the different ways of knowing. They don’t understand how these ways of knowing work because they haven’t understood the structure and complex TOK terminology yet. Areas of knowledge allow you to understand fully well how you know what you know.

Before you further understand how this works, you should realize that you can’t conclude by using one single way of knowing. No matter the prompt you have selected for your TOK essay, there are several you have to use for this to reach a conclusion. There are eight ways of knowing in IB TOK essay in total. Each of these ways of knowing is explained here, so you have a better idea of when you can use these.

  • Language

Language is known to be a set of symbols that has a specific meaning. The main function of knowledge is to convey meaning from one person to the other. So you need to remember this when trying to work your way through something like this.

  • Sense Perception

This refers to you using your senses to come to a certain conclusion. So, for example, you could be able to come to an inevitable conclusion by the way you see or hear things.

  • Emotion

This is known as how we feel and understand things in a specific context. So, for example, you could come to a particular conclusion by the way you feel in a certain situation.

  • Reason

Reasoning is known as the ability to rationalize things to understand them better. You can come to a particular conclusion about something by reasoning it out and finding different explanations for it.

  • Imagination

Imagination is when we form concepts in our mind which aren’t real. Then, based on that, we tend to come to a certain conclusion about things.

  • Intuition

This is mainly known to be a gut feeling. This cannot be explicitly defined but is known to be one that only you can sense and feel. In real-life situations, we often have such gut feelings which allow us to understand things in a better way.

  • Memory

Memory is what you retain in your mind based on what you know. It is one of the most important things when forming new knowledge. When you form new knowledge, you must rely on old experiences and ideas. When you do that, you can get to know as much as you want about new things.

  • Faith

This is one of the most disputed ways of knowing since it is incredibly relative. There is no solid ground to it since everyone has their ways of thinking about it. Faith is based on spiritual conviction and can be based on anything or any being.

Choose Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowing that Suits You

When you write your TOK, you are essentially working on answering a certain knowledge question. When you work on this, you must realize that there are no right or wrong answers. You need to go with what works for you because, at the end of the day, you have to defend what you write by giving suitable solutions. You have to make sure to do just that so that you can work towards providing all answers needed.

The examples you give as part of every area of knowledge have to be well planned out and also have to be in line with what you have in mind. So if you, as a student, are worried about your TOK essay and how you will score well on it, worry no more.

Once you have sound knowledge about ways of knowing and areas of knowledge, you can do justice to your job. All you need to do is be very comfortable with your work. That way, you will be able to do your IB TOK essay rather well. So just make sure to do that, and you will not fail your TOK essay and will see how easily you can get through it!

Good luck with your TOK essay!

Vasy Kafidoff

Vasy Kafidoff is the co-founder of the Writing Metier. Being in the education field for a very long time, his experience speaks volumes about his knowledge in the area. He aims to make more people aware of new learning possibilities for children. When not working, he’s found behind a drum kit.

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