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What is TOK exactly like?

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In my TOK classes, its like 50% presentations and 50% class discussions. There is rarely any homework for TOK (at my school anyway). Most people do fine in TOK without putting in that much effort (sometimes TOK topics might drive you a little nuts). 

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Well, if you really have no idea what ToK is, then I'd probably encourage you to look up epistemology.

 

But, besides that, in my ToK class we learn about the Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge and discuss different implications of how we gain, use, and exchange knowledge.

 

As for whether it is difficult or not, that is always going to be up to the individual. Lots of people struggle with the essay, and lots of people mess up the presentation, but if you pay attention in class (and pay close attention to the rubrics) you should be just fine.

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Like what do you do during TOK? Is it hard to do well in? 

 

In response to your title, TOK is pretty much exactly like a setup manual from IKEA. Important-looking diagrams which you feel like you should know but you don't quite seem to understand, and the words are basically gibberish.

 

 Seriously though, ToK is the IB's version of a branch of philosophy, called epistemology. The most important question you should be asking yourself throughout the course is: "How do I know what I know?". I don't think I can explain it better than any ToK textbook, so you should probably go read up a bit before your classes start :D

 

You have two main assessments: ToK presentation and ToK Essay. They are fairly self-explanatory. While the presentation is quite easy, many people find the essay to be one of the hardest things they do in the IB. This is for a number of reasons: 

 

1) The essay questions are super cryptic. You gotta "read into" the question and figure out what they're really getting at. Otherwise you lose marks, because you're either off topic or giving a surface-level answer. So, kind of like being at a women's brunch :D

 

2) 1600 words is really too short to have a proper discussion in, especially when considering that you have to provide definitions too. 

 

3) It can be hard to take ToK terminology seriously at times (I'm looking at you, knowledge issue) but not using them basically halves your marks. 

 

4) The marking of ToK essays, honestly, seems like a monkey throwing darts at a scoreboard. Very few people seem to understand what the markers are looking for (teachers included), leading to more than a few disappointments from excellent students on results day. 

 

Don't worry though, if you're diligent enough and put your best foot forward, ToK shouldn't be too much of a problem. Just make sure you handle it quickly, else it'll pile up on your EE, exam revision and prelims!

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ToK isn't difficult, its just different.

 

To do well, do a bit of reading, keep an open mind and be prepared to struggle through essays (approaching the question, answering it and then keeping under the word count is really difficult in ToK because it is quite different).

 

 

Enjoy it - nobody really understands the grading for ToK essays (some students think they aced it and get C's or worse, and people who think they were terrible get A's.

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Honestly, I just really disliked TOK, because I found all the diagrams and jargon not only pretentious, but completely confusing. Having said that, lots of people do understand and even enjoy TOK (and there's some great advice and explanation of all that above), so I don't want to discourage you too much! And yes, it is possible to do well in it, though I know at our school the overwhelming trend was for people to do well in EE and not so well in TOK. In the end, remember that even an A/B combination in either TOK/EE will give you 3/3 bonus points. So if you really do struggle with TOK it is possible to compensate with EE (and vice versa). :)

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So I was one of the kids who loved TOK. Okay not the essays or even the presentation as much but just the general nature of the discussions- the topics etc.

 

I personally agree that doing well on the presentation is MUCH easier than the essay.

 

Key to doing well is:Do EXACTLY what they want you to. Which is following the criteria word for word.

 

It is not as confusing as the one for the essay and definitely acheivable.

Also, apparently a lot of students pic ethical topics to talk about in the presentation. If your teacher keeps stressing this point to you- it doesnt mean you have to pick an ethical topic. I feel like many students in our class picked topics that were very ethical and could not talk about them in the way we were meant to because

1)the topic was too deep for their understanding

2) We hadnt really covered Ethics in class so were treading on new ground.

 

So one tip for both presentations and essay - don't pick topics involving areas of knowledge or ways of knowing that you arent comfortable with or ht discussed much.

 

Also, you have to keep an open mind about TOK. Dont think of it as useless. It is perhaps the most important subject at school.

In the end, you cant just bludge through the assessments - be on top of your game with the essay deadlines and at least you wont be rushing to finish it on the night before (if you do this chances are you will do terribly).

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I found TOK quite interesting, and as IBfreakingout said above, I agree that presentations are much easier than essay. To be honest, to do well in the presentation, make sure that you FOLLOW THE GUIDE LIKE YOU WOULD FOR AN IA

 

Seriously, point out that "this is criterion A", "this is criterion B) and such

 

I cant comment much on the essay, seeing that i am not the greatest at it (praying for an A). But a general advice, make each criterion obvious. I actually wrote my knowledge issues, in the essay, and my teacher encouraged me to be very explicit about what my KIs are, and also implications. I.e. smack them in the IB's face

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It's really just a class to talk about interesting concepts- in the end the only marks come from your essay and presentation. Know that your essay is worth twice as much your presentation so manage your time accordingly. There are a tonne of guides and tips for the essay/presentation so if you want some just pm me, but really just try to enjoy the process of debating/discussing ideas + opinions in class :)

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...well, this is a little old, but school's starting tomorrow so I suppose my very scantily informed advice could be of some use:

 

My personal experience with TOK is that it's probably the least standardized class across the Bachelorette.  I had one teacher who never gave us any homework and finalized our grade from opinion pieces we'd right on loose leaf paper about whether or not you think violence is wrong.  I had another who assigned stupidly large piles of reading and made us take an absurd exam on logical reasoning.  There are a few tips that I think applied to all three of my classes:

  • Work on your public speaking, critical thinking and argumentative skills.  There are a lot of students who waste time in classroom discussions mumbling jumbled and redundant thoughts.  You can improve your presentation grade, and also make the teacher actually tolerate you, by having something interesting to say and being able to say it without putting the class to sleep.  Talking about the subject matter in class may also increase your interest in the essay you're going to have to sludge through later that week, and perhaps give you some ideas.
  • ...at the same time, make sure that you aren't talking too much, or arguing with your classmates or your teacher too frequently, or you'll start to annoy people.
  • Be prompt and well organized.  This applies to basically everything in life, but especially to TOK, where half of your grade is dependent on group work and long essays.  In the latter case, literally half of your rubric grade often boils down to putting your name in the right places with the right font.  You can make a lot of your report card just by following the rubric and meeting with your partners frequently.
  • Elaborate, elaborate, elaborate.  TOK is very PC - the teacher can't tell you you're wrong about any of your opinions unless if you deny the holocaust or something.  The teacher will instead grade you on the quality and depth of your arguments, and so you need to have them, lots of them, and lots of supporting evidence.  It's also important that your evidence be relevant to your thesis - I know this sounds like obvious stuff, but this is an epistemology course, and lots of teachers are very anal about that part.
  • While the need to use them on more informal assignments may vary, formal TOK vocab such as "areas of knowledge" and "ways of knowing" are apparently a must for the essays that will count towards your IB grade.  They sound stupid and kind of are, but you've got to at least pay them lip service to check them off the rubric.
  • Overall, most of the time TOK is actually a pretty fun class, partly because the discussions and subjects are fairly substantial, and partly because it's a very good way to vent and escape from the rigid work and formatting of all your other classes.  A lot of students use it as a breather.
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