The 50 theory of knowledge (TOK) essays selected for this publication were recently submitted for the May and November 2008 and May 2009 examination sessions. Each essay is an example of an excellent response to one of 20 prescribed titles set by the International Baccalaureate (IB) for these sessions. All IB regions have been represented and at least two essays appear for every title to ensure a wide range of contrasting approaches.

Submitted to meet the requirements of the theory of knowledge course outlined in the Theory of knowledge guide published in March 2006 (for first examinations in 2008), these essays fully meet the requirements for a high A grade.

50 Excellent Theory of Knowledge Essays ideally complements recently published curriculum materials such as Theory of knowledge assessment exemplars (published in March 2009) and IB Prepared: Approach your assessment the IB way-Theory of knowledge (published in March 2010). The Theory of knowledge guide can be purchased from the IB store at http://store.ibo.org.

The student work

These essays show a level of personal engagement and reflection that make them outstanding responses to prescribed titles from 2008 and 2009 examination sessions. All essays have been reproduced in their entirety; examiner comments and school or candidate identifiers have been removed where necessary but no errors have been corrected. Teachers are encouraged to use this publication to inspire their students as they research and write their own essays. The range of examples of excellent work demonstrated here should help students to develop their own individual responses to future prescribed titles.


The IB wishes to thank all the students and supervisors for their outstanding contribution to this publication. In some instances we could not reach the students to obtain permission to publish their names; in these cases the essays appear anonymously.

Thanks also go to Nick Alchin, Anita Bjelke Holt, Julian Kitching and Daniel Leserre for the recommendations that have shaped 50 Excellent Theory of Knowledge Essays.

Software requirements

This CD-ROM includes HTML (hypertext markup language) files for the navigation pages and PDF (portable document format) files for the projects.

To access this publication you will need:

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