Guidelines for Crafting Claims and Counterclaims in your TOK Essay

TOK essay in the IB diploma program has a good part in the grading weightage. The marking criteria for the TOK essay is quite comprehensive yet students sometimes struggle to do well in their TOK essay.

Based on our expert advice, Blen has gathered some great tips and tricks on how to cope with the claims and counterclaims in your TOK essay.

What are the Claims and Counterclaims in the TOK essay?

In the TOK essay, Claims are responses delivered to the selected prompt. Claims are also referred to as topic sentences. In claims, students are urged to examine topic sentences as perspectives on the prompt assigned. According to the marking criteria of the TOK essay, students must write several claims rather than just going for two options of Yes or No.

Here is an example of how to write a claim:

It is always a good idea to use a keyword as a guide to your response question. Such as, A prompt example of "Reliable knowledge can lack certainty". What if you start by writing like this "Reliable knowledge can lack certainty as we……Continued.

With the addition of a keyword in the claim, you are indicating that you are agreeing with the question by answering with your response. 

A bit of additional advice!

For every claim it is necessary to add a counterclaim. It is an excellent way to show the marker that you have understood the concept and that whatever you are saying can be true or untrue within some limitations. In this way, your writing will be able to convince the marker that you are not just saying anything in thin air yet you have other perspectives as well.

Another way to consider a counterclaim is by using terms and conditions for the claim. In your counterclaim, you can create a situation whether your claim is found true or untrue. If true then why based on the terms and if not what is the reason for it being untrue?

Paramount Blunders to avoid in TOK claims and counterclaim

Never wholly agree with the prompt by saying Yes nor say No by disagreeing. This way of writing demonstrates that you have missed the opportunity for critical thinking.

Here is a Blen example for your understanding of what to avoid:

Claim: I think that Alpha is Beta.

Counterclaim: But I believe Beta is not Alpha. 

This is an inaccurate way and illustrates a contradiction.

Try this!

Claim: I think that Alpha is Beta when Gamma. 

Counterclaim: However, concerning Delta, Beta may not be Alpha.

By doing so, you can sum up your claims and counterclaims with better qualifications by avoiding contradictions.

Team Blen wishes you all the best of luck with your TOK essays!

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