MEMBER LOGIN CONTACT US

May 2021 TOK essay titles

M21 prescribed essay titles

The May 2021 TOK prescribed essay titles are currently being written by Northern Hemisphere schools, for a mid-March deadline. Find out more about the titles in our M21 TOK essay webinar.

Below you’ll find the key words to pin down in your essay introduction, links to the BQ framework, and consideration points to bear in mind as you write your essay.

Prescribed title 1

The ideas you see here roughly correspond to the initial unpacking session you will have with your TOK teacher. You’ll then go on to have three face-to-face interactions with your teacher, in which you’ll discuss your progress in writing the essay, working through any difficulties and challenges you experience.

Make sure you pin down…
  • Accepting
  • Always
  • Element of Trust
relates to…
  • BQ3 – linking faith to other AOKs
  • BQ7 – the role of trust when producing new knowledge
  • BQ4 – trust may be determined by whether this is shared or personal knowledge
BEAR IN MIND…
  • Trust what? (the knower? the evidence offered? A combination?) 
  • Be careful about that word ‘always’, and keep it in mind when writing the essay. 
  • Is trust ever absent (given that we can’t be 100% certain of anything) – viability of counterclaims?

Prescribed title 2

The ideas you see here roughly correspond to the initial unpacking session you will have with your TOK teacher. You’ll then go on to have three face-to-face interactions with your teacher, in which you’ll discuss your progress in writing the essay, working through any difficulties and challenges you experience.

MAKE SURE YOU PIN DOWN…
  • Differentiate 
  • Change vs. progress
RELATES TO…
  • BQ7 – the nature of knowledge change over time 
  • BQ2 – assessing whether knowledge is becoming more valuable (indicating progress)
  • BQ6 – the crucial role of perspective in determining progress
BEAR IN MIND…
  • How to evaluate progress? – be careful about progress related to knowledge
  • Is there such a thing as progress? 
  • ‘How’ questions – more difficult to provide claims/counterclaims

Prescribed title 3

The ideas you see here roughly correspond to the initial unpacking session you will have with your TOK teacher. You’ll then go on to have three face-to-face interactions with your teacher, in which you’ll discuss your progress in writing the essay, working through any difficulties and challenges you experience.

MAKE SURE YOU PIN DOWN…
  • Labels 
  • Necessity
  • Organization of knowledge
  • Constrain
  • Understanding
RELATES TO…
  • BQ1 – linking our understanding of something to an preconception of what its name represents 
  • BQ5 – language-use shifting the meaning of ideas and concepts; words carry with them loaded meaning, etc.
  • BQ8 – perhaps expertise is characterized by not being misled by labels 
BEAR IN MIND…
  • Students will find claims easy to make, but struggle with counterclaims – but this shouldn’t put them off!
  • Perhaps organizing knowledge and understanding are inseparable?

Prescribed title 4

The ideas you see here roughly correspond to the initial unpacking session you will have with your TOK teacher. You’ll then go on to have three face-to-face interactions with your teacher, in which you’ll discuss your progress in writing the essay, working through any difficulties and challenges you experience.

MAKE SURE YOU PIN DOWN…
  • Statistics 
  • Conceal
  • As much as
  • Reveal
RELATES TO…
  • BQ5 – using quantitative data to understand and communicate ideas about the world
  • BQ8 – an expert knower is someone who is aware of the pros and cons of statistics
BEAR IN MIND…
  • Although statistics are drawn on widely  in most of the AOKs (but not all), this is a relatively narrow focus point – may attract or turn off students
  • Obviously statistical information is rarely used in isolation – it would be rather contrived to claim otherwise

Prescribed title 5

The ideas you see here roughly correspond to the initial unpacking session you will have with your TOK teacher. You’ll then go on to have three face-to-face interactions with your teacher, in which you’ll discuss your progress in writing the essay, working through any difficulties and challenges you experience.

MAKE SURE YOU PIN DOWN…
  • Most useful 
  • In combination
RELATES TO…
  • BQ3 – this question is essentially what this BQ is all about 
  • BQ6 – perhaps as a way of avoiding bias we apply multiple AOKs to produce knowledge
  • BQ8 – a combination of AOKs is perhaps one of the marks of expert knowing
BEAR IN MIND…
  • Perhaps areas of knowledge are only ‘useful’ in combination? Can we ever separate them from each other? 
  • The ‘areas of knowledge’ themselves are often rather arbitrary – where does natural sciences end and human sciences begin? Mathematics spills over into the natural sciences. Ethics is often hard to disentangle from religious knowledge systems. And so on…

Prescribed title 6

The ideas you see here roughly correspond to the initial unpacking session you will have with your TOK teacher. You’ll then go on to have three face-to-face interactions with your teacher, in which you’ll discuss your progress in writing the essay, working through any difficulties and challenges you experience.

MAKE SURE YOU PIN DOWN…
  • Avoiding 
  • Bias 
  • Commendable goal 
  • Recognizing 
  • Positive
RELATES TO…
  • BQ6 – Considering the effect that bias has on how we view the world
  • BQ5 – our biases may lead to us presenting information in a certain way
  • BQ8 – accepting that biases can be useful as well as misleading is the sign of an expert knower
BEAR IN MIND…
  • Bias is a great topic to consider; this is quite a nice essay in that it gets us thinking a little counter-intuitively.
  • Is this ever the goal when it comes to producing knowledge? Does anyone view avoiding bias as a possibility – particularly in certain AOKs (history, for example)?

M21 essay webinar

This webinar discusses the M21 titles, and how to begin writing the TOK essay. We look at the key words of the titles, link them to the BQs, and run over possible approaches. Purchasing a ticket gives access to the video recording, event presentation, and responses to FAQs.

  • Group ticket – $39.99
  • Individual ticket – $19.99

Using the exploration points

The EPs enable you to develop a deeper understanding of the AOKs, via media sources and unpacking suggestions, links to TED talks, guidance on the 12 key concepts of TOK, and other features. Join us to gain access to this incredibly useful tool for supporting your essay arguments.

Get real with TOK by subscribing to the newsletter

Step into the real and unpackaged world by subscribing to our unique monthly TOK newsletter. You’ll receive links to great media sources from all over the world that place the TOK themes and areas of knowledge into an authentic context.

You’ll meet great thinkers and ideas, hone your understanding of key TOK concepts, and build up a library of examples for the essay and exhibition. Subscribe HERE!