How Many Paragraphs is a TOK Essay? Let’s Find Out

January 9, 2024

how many paragraphs is a tok essay

We’ve taught you a lot about the TOK subject.

From TOK essay writing and the exhibition project to theory of knowledge outline and TOK vocabulary, Help for Assessment has a cluster hub for everything you need to write a great theory of knowledge essay and get full marks.

As you write your theory of knowledge essay, you’ll have to do so with reference to a part or parts of the course or to opinions you gain about knowledge from outside and inside your classroom.

This guide won’t define theory of knowledge outline. Instead, we’ll look at how many paragraphs a TOK essay should be and we will do so in great depth.

How Many Paragraphs is a TOK Essay?

A Theory of Knowledge essay has three main sections: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. Your teacher requires you to have one paragraph in the introduction, six paragraphs in the body section, and two paragraphs in the conclusion. That’s a total of  9 paragraphs in the essay.

Before you start writing your essay, you’ll need to develop a knowledge question from the prescribed title.

Your goal here is to change the title from a statement or broad question into a question of knowledge.

For example, if you choose a prescribed title like “what makes mathematics convincing?”, your knowledge question can be something like “to what extent is mathematics more reliable than other areas of knowledge?”

IB TOK teachers recommend starting your KQ with phrases such as how reliable is, to what extent, and how certain is a perspective.

These openings are powerful because they allow you to talk about multiple areas of knowledge and ways of knowing to demonstrate your TOK thinking.

Don’t make the common ToK essay mistake of making your question to be about something such as sociology. Instead, it should be one that directly relates to knowledge. Also, the KQ should relate to any three ways of knowing or three areas of knowledge.

What to Write in the 9 TOK Paragraphs


The introduction to your TOK essay should be one paragraph. In 150 to 200 words, identify your essay prompt and construct your knowledge issue or question.

Follow that with your thesis statement, which should answer the knowledge issue.

Go deep with your explanation.

Demonstrate what you intend to show the reader in the body section of the essay. Your introduction should give a preview of the points you intend to make in relation to the essay prompt.

By making clear how you’ll explore WOK and AOKs, it becomes easier for your TOK teacher to know exactly what to look for when reviewing your assignment.


The body section of your Theory of Knowledge essay should have six paragraphs and be 1,200 words long. To make this section easier to explain, we break it further into three sections, and each section has two paragraphs.

Section 1: Two Paragraphs

Section 1 of your TOK essay addresses your first knowledge issue, and it should be approximately 400 words.

Paragraph 2

Start with a claim. This is your topic sentence, which clearly outlines your argument about your knowledge question.

Using your first AOK or WOK, give a reason or reasons to show your thesis statement is true. Follow this with an explanation, which not only elaborates your claim but also clarifies it.

Your TOK teacher expects you to use a real life example to justify your position. The example you use should not only be personal and specific, it should also be precise and real.

It’s important to use theory of knowledge terminologies when exploring your knowledge issue. Finish by transitioning to the next paragraph.

Paragraph 3 

Here, you argue against your first claim. We call this counterclaim in argumentative writing.

It’s necessary to address opposing point of views because it makes your essay unbiased and stronger.

Primarily, it serves as a reminder to your readers that you recognize the other opposing views and you would otherwise make your position on an issue weak if you failed to address those opposing views.

In TOK essay writing, you use counterclaims to show the possibility of a different outcome if you were to use a different system of analysis.

Give an example to support your counterclaim. While one example is enough to prove that your thesis has its limitations, you can give a maximum of two examples.  

For example, if you claim that we can rely on mathematics because it’s a logical system, you can counter argue that some mathematical systems, such as the hyperbolic and spherical geometry, can’t demonstrate that the sum of the interior angles of a triangle is 180 degrees.

You need to provide research to justify your counterclaim, and then end your counterargument by linking back to the knowledge question.

Section 2: Two Paragraphs, 400 Words

Paragraph 4

Write a claim that addresses the second knowledge issue. Explain the claim and provide a real life example. Make sure you observe everything we’ve highlighted in the first section of the body paragraphs.

Paragraph 5

Give a counterclaim for your argument. You should also give an example or two in this section. Conclude the paragraph by linking the issue back to your knowledge question.

Section 3: Two Paragraphs, 400 Words

Paragraph 6

In about 200 words, explore the third knowledge issue using your third way of knowing or area of knowledge. Give a real life example to justify your position, and don’t forget to use TOK terminologies as you write.

Paragraph 7

Repeat the counter argument process exactly as we’ve described in the first section of the body paragraphs.


Paragraph 8

This paragraph should explain the significance of your thesis as well as the knowledge issues that you have covered in the essay. Also, the paragraph should demonstrate an alternative perspective of your thesis. In other words, show how someone else in a different culture is likely to view your thesis statement.

Paragraph 9  

Finish by reviewing your thesis. You can reiterate it so your work doesn’t appear redundant. Also, review the main points that you’ve made throughout the article and then finish by summing up your argument.

About the author 

Antony W is a professional writer and coach at Help for Assessment. He spends countless hours every day researching and writing great content filled with expert advice on how to write engaging essays, research papers, and assignments.

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