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How to get an A in TOK essay? Rubric + A-grade SAMPLES

Writing a Theory of Knowledge essay can seem challenging to most students because they guess how hard is it to get an A in TOK. No matter how hard they try, they feel like they just can’t crack the IB TOK essay, and one of the major reasons for this is that the structure of this essay is very different from other essays. It has to be written in a different format from the rest. Moreover, to get an A for TOK essay, it should also follow specific IB criteria, and this can also be challenging for most students.

Btw… you can

Calculate the price for custom ToK essay written for you

Listen up, all you bright-eyed, bushy-tailed IB students! If you want to impress your TOK teacher and earn those coveted points, before starting with your TOK essay, you’ve gotta get your act together and fill out those pesky PPD and TOK PPF forms. Trust me, it’s not as fun as it sounds. But hey, at least it’ll give you a chance to flex those brain muscles and prove that you’re not just a bunch of know-it-alls with no depth or substance. Plus, it’ll give you a great excuse to procrastinate on all your other homework. Win-win.

If you are also a student who floats the same boat, and you do not want to fail and want to know how to score high in TOK essay, continue reading!

Tips to score Ⓐ on a TOK essay

Here are a few valuable tips from those who have managed to score very high grades on their TOK essays. Follow our TOK essay guide and use these tips to do better with your TOK essay.

1. Don’t Jump on to a Title

You are given a list of titles that you have to work on. What students mostly do is that they jump on to the easiest-sounding question they find. They think that they can easily work on such a question without having to research a lot.

The truth is that you can never know how easy a title is to work on, till you actually conduct research on it. When you ty to find out more about it, then you will know what it is all about. Once you know, you can definitely get things done in the right way.

You need to pay the most attention to the title that you choose. Once you choose the right TOK essay prompt, you can surely get your essay flowing in the right direction. Try to make sure that you spend a lot of time working on selecting the right essay title. This is the only way that you will be able to do things right.

2. Define Key Terms

Sometimes, you might feel like the key terms are very easy. You might even feel like they are very self-explanatory. Having said that, you need to make sure you work on them in a certain way to help you through the situation. You need to define the key terms in a way that helps you operationalize those terms to help you work your way through them. The idea is to give your own explanation of the key terms first.

This is one of the most important things there is. Not only does it help the examiner understand things in the best way, but also helps get you thinking about the different ways that you can explore the topic. Once you know, things definitely start becoming much easier for you, and you can then work on this essay in a much better and much more comprehensive way.

3. Choose a Research Question Wisely

Once you have selected a title, it is time for you to work on a research question. When selecting a research question, try to be as smart as you can about it. It needs to be one that you can very well answer in the right way. Not just that, but it also has to be one that is very relevant to title that you have selected.

If you go for something unrelated, then that only reflects very badly on you because it shows that you haven’t even understood what was expected from you in the first place in terms of the title that you have worked on.

A wise way to start off is to write down every research question that comes to mind. When you do that, you will be able to be more sorted with things. You will better be able to work your way through things. Brainstorming almost always helps get done with things in the best way possible. It helps you draft a solid outline, which also eventually helps you write.

4. Choose Your Area of Knowledge

Alongside that, you also have to choose your area of knowledge wisely. Your examples will only be as good as your area of knowledge. To choose an area of knowledge, you have to make sure that you have things sorted in front of you. From amongst the many areas of knowledge that you have to choose from, pick one that you think you can write on the best. This can be anything at all that you think you can work on best.

When thinking about your areas of knowledge, also think about your claims and your counterclaims within those areas of knowledge. Not just that, but also think about the arguments that you are going to give in this. To add more value to what you are doing, come up with very unique examples. This way, you will be able to defend your viewpoint in the best way possible, which is again very important to help you get through the argument.

5. Formulate a Good Knowledge Question

More often than not, you will realize that the prescribed title is your knowledge question. Having said that, you might even sometimes be required to work on a question within a question to help you work on this.

To do this, try to understand the prescribed title first. Then, based on that, you can form another question within that can help you work your way through things correctly.

6. Be Sensible About Your Real Life Situation

When picking a real-life situation, be as sensible as you can. Go for something that is relevant to the current times, but at the same time is also one that helps you get through things in the best way possible. The idea is to pick something that you like, and something that you have ample information on as well.

tok essay guide

Your real life situation should be interesting and should give the readers something that they have to ponder about. When you do this, it makes your argument stronger, and gives a good image to the examiner. It tells the examiner that you are aware of what you are saying and that you know exactly how you are supposed to go about these things. This will help you work your way through your TOK essay easily.

7. Follow the Right Structure

Then, it is also important to follow the right structure. This helps you write your essay in a flow. Not just that, but it also helps you structure your essay right. When you do so, it shows the examiner that you have a fair idea of what you are working on.

You need to start off with the introduction. This is where you introduce the topic in great detail. You talk about all the key terms as well here. Once you do that, it helps you introduce to the examiner what is to come next.

Then you state your position and then you also talk about your areas of knowledge and your works of knowledge. As you are done with that, you begin writing.

Also, try to focus on writing your assumptions down as well. Like with writing a TOK exhibition, if you write your assumptions, then you can surely explain things to the examiner in a much better way.

When working on the main body of the essay, you have the chances to state what you want to clearly. So when you begin writing here, decide on the structure and your main argument. You have to build your main argument here. So when doing so, make sure to state your claim correctly.

Once you are done with that, you have to give relevant examples, and then you also have to give counterclaims in one way or the other to follow the structure and the flow of your work. When doing so, always try to go back to the knowledge question to ensure that the examiner knows that you are aware of what you are answering.

If there are any biases made during this process, try to highlight all of those as well, so that the examiner knows exactly what you are talking about.

8. Write Well

Then once you have all else sorted and you know how you are going to go about it, start writing your TOK essay. When working on it, try to make sure that you have all your focus on writing your essay. This is most important to make sure that you impress the examiner. Not just that, but also try to use simple language.

A common misconception that people have is that when you write complex words, you impress the examiner. The truth is that is definitely not the case.

You need to use straightforward words to ensure that everyone understands where you are coming from and what you are trying to say. The primary purpose is to make sure that everyone understands what you are trying to say.

9. Edit with Focus

Once done writing, you need to edit your essay. This is one of the most important parts of writing the essay. This is because you don’t really realize the mistakes you are making when writing.

You need to be very focused on what you are doing as you do things. This is important to help you check for errors and also go over the whole thing just to be sure that you have used the right examples in the right places, and also to make sure that you have worked your way through things correctly.

Edit your essay as many times as you feel the need to. This will help you make sure that you’re doing the right thing, which is one of the most important things when you write an essay.

Examples of A grade TOK essays

To better understand how you can write a TOK essay well, you can go through several samples that our expert TOK essay writers have written. This will help you gain a deeper understanding of the kind of examples you have to give and what is required of you. This will help you work your way through things easily.

May 2023 TOK essay samples:

November 2022 TOK essay examples:

Samples of May 2022 TOK essays:

You can check our blog to find more explanations of each topic with suggestions from expert TOK essay writers. It will surely help you find inspiration. If you do not want to write a TOK essay yourself, you can always buy a custom TOK written by IB experts from WritingMetier.com


Apart from that, you also get to learn more about real life examples that you can use. This is one of the most important things there is to make sure that you write an essay that stands out from the rest.

Meanwhile, you can also be interested in checking the TOK exhibition Rubric to score well. As good as with your TOK essay 😉

While you might understand what is required from you on a theoretical level, understanding it through the help of examples only makes things a lot easier for you. So always try to focus as much as you can on going through the samples.

Writers who are experts at Tok essay writing know exactly how they have to frame arguments to make sure you understand what is required of you. So try to go through as many samples as you can to help you.

IB TOK essay marking rubric

To better understand how the TOK essay is graded, you need to work towards understanding the marking scheme very well. This will help you frame your argument right in accordance with what is needed from your end.

Level 5 😃 This is the highest level that you can score on your TOK essay. To get this, you need to focus on the knowledge questions as much as possible. This is important to help you use the right examples and make sure that everything is connected. You also need to show great understanding of the areas of knowledge as well.
Level 4 🙂 This is the next level where you have explained different points of view and have also linked it ideally to some areas of knowledge and ways of knowing.
Level 3 ☑️ 🤨 This is the satisfactory level, where you have touched upon certain things but have not delved deep into the details of it.
Level 2 ☑️ 😒 This is a very basic level where you have written a descriptive essay and the link to ways of knowing and areas of knowledge is very weak.
Level 1 🟥 🥺 This is an irrelevant essay that does not touch upon the required areas, and is also very weak in terms of the information that is presented in it.

I hope I was able to explain the marking criteria of TOK essay. You can always call for our assistance in case you need a hand. Furthermore, we have numerous articles that will help you score high on all the IB assignments that you will need to submit during the semester.

Use this TOK essay guide to score higher

Follow this marking rubric and suggestions that I have mentioned in this TOK essay guide. With a clearer understanding of what you have to do to score well on the TOK essay, you can surely do a much better job now! And last but not least – do not miss the TOK essay submission deadline, my friend.

You might think that you have plenty of time, but my personal experience working with IB students shows that there are some students who start work when it’s way too late. So do not be one of them 😉


Vasy Kafidoff

Vasyl Kafidoff is the founder of Writing Metier. He has been in the field of education for quite some time now and has talked about several educational possibilities as well to make people more aware of it all. When not working, he’s found behind a drum kit.

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