2018 Essay Productivity and Submission

Tuesday – We will be in the computer lab.  Bring to class all handouts related to writing the essay (you’ll need to fish through your first journal).  This includes:

  • The 2018 essay prompts on the pink paper (or print it out again)
  • Notes and handouts on Knowledge Questions from September and October
  • Your first brainstorming of an essay prompt
  • Your January brainstorming of a prompt (I still have these)

Today, your objective should be to finish your brainstorming.  In your brainstorming, be sure to think through:

  • What knowledge questions you have identified to guide your essay
  • Multiple perspectives or approaches to knowing that you might include in your essay –
  • Consider also the knowledge framework (you wrote this on the essay prompt pink sheet)  Here are two examples from Mathematics and the Natural Sciences
  • The two or more Areas of Knowledge that you intend to develop in your essay
  • The examples that you will include in your paragraphs to illuminate your analysis
    • Avoid hypotheticals
    • Avoid simplistic examples (Darwin, Copernicus, Hitler, etc.).  Pick unique examples to show your independent thought.  Perhaps something like the Higgs Boson. (Thanks, Daniel)
    • Include personal examples of real experiences
    • Do refer to areas of your IB experience that are relevant to this prompt
      • Coursework, CAS, EE…
    • Do NOT feel like this essay is a review of our ToK curricuclum.  You do NOT have to include things/topics we have covered in ToK.  Doing so usually results in a very generic essay with minimal personal thought.

You should start a draft tonight.

Wednesday –  We will be in the computer lab.   You will need be working on your ToK essay.  Today, as you draft, you should consider the rubric, and the guidance that past assessors have given students and teachers as a guide to essay writing.  Aim to have an essay that is 1,500ish words.  No, citations and works cited do NOT count toward your total word count.  The maximum allowed is 1,600 words.  They will NOT read words 1,601 and beyond – so, don’t go long.

Only after you are done with your initial draft on your essay, it might make sense to see the assessor feedback Nils found on an essay that was submitted from a previous year on a different set of prompts.  Here is also a group of bad and good essays that students have submitted from previous years (on different prompts).  Please notice that several of the examples shown are POOR examples and that you should consider the score that assessors have given based on the rubric.

Thursday –  We will be in the computer lab.  You will need be working on your ToK essay.  In theory, you are done with the first draft and have met with Mr. Braman for some guidance regarding the direction you have taken and your approach.  When you finish this conversation with him, you can write your reflection as the second interaction (we will later put this into managebac).

Upload your draft of your essay for a progress grade.  Grades will be entered 10 minutes into class.  If you’re not done by that point, just keep working and then upload your essay when you can.  Eventually, you will need to get essay editing feedback on a complete draft of your essay – even if this means that you need to print it out and get peer editing on paper.  If you failed to enroll, here you go.


Today’s Peer Editing and (when you’re done) self editing will happen in class. You should aim to incorporate the peer feedback into your essay and work to improve the essays before Friday.

Friday – We will be in the computer lab.  Submit your essay to www.turnitin.com for your on-time bonus.  Essays submitted by 3pm on Friday, February 16th will earn full credit for on-time submissions.  Then you can enjoy your break.

Late submissions:  If you do not submit your essay by 3pm on Friday, February 16th, I cannot guarantee that you will be able to receive my feedback by March 5th.  Once you miss the due date, you should still work to complete your essay by Tuesday of break and submit to turnitin.com when you are done.  Late is better than never.

Once you have received my comments back on your essay(3/5), you should write your third interaction comments on managebac.  Then, you will have three evenings to make revisions before uploading these essays to IB.  ALL REVISED, BEAUTIFIED, AND AMAZING ESSAYS MUST BE UPLOADED TO IB with your process document verifying that you have met the process requirements by March 8th at Midnight.  Managebac submission will happen at the same time – you will need to upload this to IB.  I will help with this process.

IB Essay Upload

To clarify –

  1. I really appreciate students who have uploaded their essays to IB already (see below).
  2. If you have yet to do so, please complete and submit to me a printed version of the TK/PPF form so that you can upload it to IB.  Forms are due before the end of class Monday.
  3. If you are one of the 30 or so who have yet to submit an essay to IB, please upload yours by Tuesday evening March 8th at 7pm.  I need to verify your work by March 10th. For your IB Essay upload, you will need to do the following steps.
    1. Once you have uploaded your essay to IB, please submit an identical version to turnitin.com.
  4. There are no penalties for essay submissions before Tuesday at 7pm.

Prior to upload, you will need to:

  • remove your name and any heading from your essay and the heading in your essay
  • make sure that at the top of your essay you have written the title number and prescribed title you are responding to in your essay.
  • It is best if you can make your essay double-space, 12 point font, Ariel font.  These are preferred by evaluators.
  • Include the word count at the bottom of your essay (don’t fudge the numbers, they will know!)
  • make sure that you do NOT
    • leave your name on your essay
    • write a Title at the top of your essay
    • have a cover sheet
    • mistype, paraphrase, or generalize the wording of the title(prompt)

Your essay will be loaded at candidates.ibo.org .  In order to get in, you will need to use your pin.  If you were in class Friday, you received your pin.  If not, Mrs. Lund now has the list with your pin.  Please ask her for the list.  When you are done, you will need to submit THE SAME VERSION OF YOUR ESSAY  to www.turnitin.com.

Afterward, you will need to also submit EMAIL to me a printed DIGITAL version  of your TK/PPF document you’ve been using to track your progress.  I will write on the back portion of the document to verify what you’ve submitted is accurate. AND THEN I can upload your document simply.

After that, I will return the form to you and you will upload a scanned version of your TK/PPF document you’ve been using to track your progress.

Your final peer editing [your 3rd] is for fluency –

Here’s your assignment for Thursday, February 13th.

  1.  Have an editor read your work for these items.
  2. Incorporate any useful suggestions into your work.
  3. Submit, to Mr. Braman, a paper version of these changes either today during class or tomorrow at the beginning of the class.
  4. Upload your essay to both turnitin.com and IB.

Essay Reminders – Fluency – You only get one first impression – your first sentence must be free from errors!  It should also be interesting.

Be concise – avoid linking verbs – ‘is’ ‘was’ ‘are’ ‘were’ – use active voice.  Change “Plato is arguing” to “Plato argues”.  Change “The purpose that Bogue had in creating this document was to show…” to “Bogue published this document intending to…”.   The one acceptable situation is when you must define terms.

Be economical – avoid listing two things with ‘and’…  are you really discussing both?

Be precise – “Thus” or “Therefore” mean that a necessary result follows.  Far too often, students use ‘thus’ when they really mean ‘and’.  Do you need ‘very’ ‘really’, etc?  Pick a better word than the word that follows.

Avoid runons – Try to have less than four ideas in a sentence.  Do you need several prepositional phrases to elaborate on the concept?

Avoid figurative language – especially using mixed metaphors like…“It is the key that provides the foundation upon which other ideas may be known.”


  • avoid overuse of simple conjunctions
  • avoid contractions [i.e. can’t]
  • If your sentence begins with “if”, then you need a comma before the word ‘then’.

For your essay process, you should realize…

that your work will be evaluated based on the effort and changes you make with your finished product.  All students (even those who have previously submitted the essay for evaluation in the fall) should be making substantial changes.  Only those few (three) students who earned a 30 or above on the first essay are exempt from making substantial changes to their work.  Please don’t think that sticking with the same (difficult) prompt exempts you from needing revisions to your initial draft.  Your grade will be determined with these two things in mind:

  •  the quality of peer editing you seek out
  • and the quality of the changes you have made based on that feedback.

Finished products are due prior to your departure on break [even if you leave early or unexpectedly].  We will upload essays on February 14th.