Theory of Knowledge IB Guide | Part 1

(or how I mastered IB ToK achieving the best grade – and how you can too!!!) Pt. 1 – Theory of Knowledge?…help!

Let’s Get Started!

Hello and welcome to part 1 of the Theory of Knowledge guide! There’s no denying that Theory of Knowledge can be confusing. When I did the IB I struggled for some time to even understand what the subject was about. Eventually I realised that in order to ace ToK you have to understand what the examiners really want. In this series I want to help you do the same. In each part we’ll deal with something that normally trips students up or seems tricky. By the end of the series you’ll have no problem answering ToK questions or understanding the subject.

Why is it so confusing?!

You might think ToK can be intimidating because it seems abstract. What this means is that it is difficult to try and understand what you’re being asked to do. In math class, even if you don’t know how to answer a question, what you’re meant to do is usually clear. You might be solving an equation, or finding the area of a shape. Even if you aren’t great at math you know that there is a path to finding these answers – there is an agreed method to get to ‘the answer’. The reason lots of people struggle with ToK is that there is no right answer to ToK questions.

How do I answer a question with no right answer?

In ToK you should not focus on finding ‘the answer’. Instead you are meant to reflect critically on the things people (including you) know. What does that mean, to ‘reflect critically’ on knowledge? Essentially it means that you are supposed to think about knowing. I did say that ToK can seem difficult! But don’t worry, I’m going to let you in on a secret about ToK.

The secret of success.

ToK might seem confusing. It is different from the other subjects in some ways. It is the only subject that encourages you to think about what it means to know. However in one crucial way Theory of Knowledge is similar to all the other subjects. In ToK, just like in English, Math or Science, there is a syllabus and a mark scheme. Why are the syllabus and mark scheme so important? Because they mean that ToK can be broken down into simple, manageable bits. To achieve top marks in ToK you only have to do the following two things: 1) Understand what it says in the syllabus 2) Produce what the examiner is looking for in the markscheme. Through this series we’re going to go through the ToK syllabus – make the ‘confusing’ stuff simple and explain how to ace your presentations and essays.

Without a doubt, the trickiest thing about ToK is that it seems confusing. Step by step we will work through the subject together so that you can ace the assessments.

Read Part 2: Types of Knowledge – Shared and Personal

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