How to structure your IBDP TOK Essay

Theory of Knowledge is one of the core pillars of the IBDP Syllabus. TOK is based on the purpose of exploration and reflection on the nature of knowledge and the process of knowing.

TOK Essay is a tool to engage students in a more formal and sustainable piece of writing to focus deeply on the areas of knowledge. This component of the TOK assessment is marked externally by IB Examiners and contributes to a whopping 67% of the TOK grades. 

Essentially, TOK Essay is a connection between Areas of Knowledge (AOK) and Ways of Knowledge (WOK), which typically requires students to compare and contrast the different ways of knowing through reason, language, and perception with different areas of knowledge.

These might sound like big words, but don’t worry Blen presents you with a simplified step-by-step guide on how to write a structured TOK Essay and ace the rubrics requirement.

Structure of TOK Essay

Juggling a 1600-word TOK essay can be challenging. Often a lot of questions are being asked about what to write? How to start? And the series is endless. 

Only having some great ideas on your TOK Essay doesn’t satisfy the purpose, having a clear structure and format for TOK Essay not only just makes it easier to comprehend but also expresses your ideas more clearly!

Okay, so here you go!

Blen recommends structuring your TOK Essay with 4 core sections:

  • Introduction
  • First AOK
  • Second AOK
  • Conclusion

Now, let’s dig deeper into the basic outline and suggested word counts of each section of the TOK Essay.

Section #1: Introduction


You should always add some interesting facts about the prescribed title of your Essay. It is essential to encourage the interest of the reader/marker.

What to write:

Give the reader a clear roadmap on how to explore the essay question, and what are the areas of knowledge coming up? 

Suggested Word Count:

100-150 words

Section #2: First AOK


Here you investigate your first area of knowledge and draw parallels between your AOK and the questions. 

What to write:

  • Along with an example of a real-life situation, put forward the claim for your first Area of Knowledge. 
  • Next is to show the other side of the coin, state your counterclaim with an example of a real-life situation on supporting your counterclaim.
  • Don’t forget to state the source of acquiring this knowledge (WOK) and connect your claims and counterclaims back to the thesis statement and prescribed title. 

Suggested Word Count:

600-650 words, distributed across 2 paragraphs, one on claims and one on counterclaims for the first AOK.

Section #3: Second AOK


You should compare and contrast your second area of knowledge here.

What to write:

  • Claim with evidence
  • Counterclaim with evidence.
  • Connect with how the evidence explains the claim or counterclaim
  • Summing up the insights and linking them back to the thesis statement and prescribed title. 

Suggested Word Count:

600-650 words, distributed across 2 paragraphs, one on claims and one on counterclaims for the second AOK

Section #4: Conclusion


What insights you could make from this investigation and how do you relate it to the prescribed title question. 

What to write:

It is the opportunity to write on the implication and significance of the insights you make from the investigation. 

Try to pull in different perspectives on your conclusion and may be different ways of approaching the question which is leading to different insights.

Suggested Word Count:

200-250 words

That's it and you are ready to ace your IB TOK Essay!

Explore more about how to deal with TOK Stress on Blen!