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IB Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge (TOK)

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a compulsory course taken by all IBDP students and accounts for 3 points in your overall IBDP score together with the Extended Essay (EE). Unlike other subjects, students are not necessarily required to learn anything new in TOK. Rather, they are expected to examine and reflect on the ideas of knowledge and the process of gaining knowledge. Students must think about their knowledge, opinions, and the beliefs they have accumulated throughout their lives, both academically and outside of school. TOK is intended to allow the growth of empowered, sceptical, and critically thinking individuals.

The aims of TOK

  • To allow students to reflect on the question, “how do we know that?”, and to understand the value of that question.
  • To enable students to see that not all questions have solutions; there exists also uncertainty, ambiguity, and multiple answers.
  • To provide students the ability to understand the world better allowing them to prepare for new and complicated situations.
  • To help students understand their own perspectives and to be able to think about their beliefs and assumptions critically.
  • To expose students to different perspectives, allowing them to see the world with an open-minded, multicultural understanding.
  • To equip students with the ability to connect different academic disciplines together by letting them see the underlying ideas, facilitating the ability to compare and contrast the different methods used by separate areas of knowledge.
  • To ask students to think about the ethical considerations of the creation, transference, communication, and use of knowledge, allowing an understanding of their own responsibilities and values.

Content and Assessment

Throughout the course, students focus on the exploration of knowledge questions. These are open, debatable questions about knowledge itself, for example: “what counts as a good justification for a claim?” While students may find knowledge questions initially daunting, they become easier to understand and apply when linked to real life examples.

Students are assessed in two different ways during their study of TOK, via an exhibition (counting for 1/3 of their overall grade) and an essay (providing the other 2/3). In the exhibition, students are assessed on their ability to examine how TOK is seen in the world around them. It is an internal assessment and is marked by their TOK teacher/s. The Essay asks students to engage more formally in response to one of six possible titles (released by the IBDP 6 months or so before the due date of the essay) in a longer piece of writing (1,600 words). The essay is based on the examination of a title using the areas of knowledge and is marked externally by IB examiners.

How Students Score in the Top Bands

Through the assessments noted above, a student should be able to show the following skills:

  • TOK thinking through a critical exploration of the knowledge question
  • seeing and examining connections amongst the knowledge question and the real world
  • seeing and examining connections amongst areas of knowledge and the knowledge question
  • creating and delivering clear, coherent and relevant arguments
  • providing evidence and examples to discuss a claim
  • showing the understanding and evaluation of many perspectives
  • thinking about the implications of claims and their conclusions.

At CANA Elite, dedicated tutors from a variety of backgrounds all over the world aid students in widening their perspectives and understanding the daunting nature of knowledge. They help students organise their ideas into workable exhibitions and essays by providing them guidance in organisation and exploration.

Commonly Asked Questions


Here at CANA Elite, we truly believe that every student is unique and has the potential to reach their goals with the right guidance. Academic excellence is derived from both passionate teachers and eager students. That is why we provide a unique learning experience tailored to each individual student. Named after the location of the first miracle in the Bible, we hope CANA elite can be the place of miracles for all our students, allowing them to achieve their dreams.