The TOK is a very important IB project that is often undervalued: we give you the best tips to get the best marks.

IB’s most important and significant projects are four:

  • Internal Assessment 
  • Extended Essay 
  • TOK (Theory of Knowledge)
  • CAS. (Creativity, Activity and Service)



The IB officially defines Theory of Knowledge as “a reflection on the nature of knowledge and how we know what we claim to know”.

It’s a compulsory project that forms part of the IB, part of the work you have to do to get the 3 points for the IB projects (along with the EE and the CAS, although remember that the CAs is just an approval). Informally: This is the other big, big paper that you will encounter along with the EE. 

The TOK asks questions about knowledge and the process of knowledge, that is, you are going to study how knowledge is learnt and obtained, what learning, education and knowledge transfer consist of. It would be a rather philosophical reflection on a topic of your choice that has to do with areas that the IB itself will provide you with.

Don't underestimate the Theory of Knowledge 🧐

The common problem with the Theory of Knowledge is that students (and even teachers) tend to underestimate it. Why? Because they have another project next to it, the Extended Essay, which is a priori much longer and more laborious. Students tend to think that the TOK is much more accessible and so they end up neglecting it, with the consequence of obtaining a low mark, when the average is made up of the two papers (EE and TOK). Therefore, our most important tip is that you should NEVER underestimate the TOK, you should take it seriously from the beginning.

How long does it take to do a TOK and how should your school explain it to you?


Officially, 18 hours of explanation and training are recommended for this work, but not even 2 hours are dedicated to explaining it. There are very few people trained in theory of knowledge, in fact, because it is usually underestimated, almost nobody in Spain is an expert.

What is the Theory of Knowledge divided into?

The TOK is a project that is divided into two parts: the written theoretical part, which is an essay (maximum 1600 words) and its subsequent oral presentation, which you will have to do in front of the class and the teacher, who will be the one to mark you and give you an average of the two parts.

IB Guide: follow it in detail

We always repeat this for all IB assignments: it is very important to have read the IB Guide of the project, in this case the TOK. Yes, it’s a lot of effort because it’s more than 100 pages long, but you can find summaries or ask for help from teachers or experts, so that they can also give you a personalised hand (we’ve been TOK experts for more than 20 years, so don’t hesitate to ask us for help).

Your paper has to have some obligatory characteristics that the IB guide will ask you for, not only when it comes to guiding you to do the paper (not only with the topic, but also with the design of the paper itself, bibliography, way of presenting it, etc.), but also so that you know how you will be marked, as you will always be graded based on this guide.

TOK Part 1: The Essay

The essay is the theoretical study area of the TOK. IB will ask you to do it on certain areas of knowledge (each year there are about 6 topics) and you should start from there. The most common areas (in terms of electives) are usually: Knowledge and technology, knowledge and language, knowledge and politics, knowledge and religion, knowledge and societies.

For example, if you like technology a lot you can think something about how teaching and the way of teaching has been transformed by the digital age and the digitisation of schools.


– A maximum of 1600 words, not including references, acknowledgements, drawings and graphics.

– Be based on one of the 6 topics/areas given each year by IB. That is, you cannot use topics from other years, which is very important.

– Spend approximately 10 hours to write a good essay.

TOK Part 2: The Exhibition

After you have done your theory part, it is your turn to give a presentation, which you will also be graded on. The presentation is done in front of the teacher, who will grade you, and with the whole class, so that you learn how to speak in public.

The new grading from 2022 onwards will be 33% for the presentation and 67% for the essay, and then you will be graded accordingly.

IB tries to make everything clear for the presentation so that there is a fair grade. Even the emotions and the, let’s say, subjective part, scores: for example presenting a confident attitude, will score you higher. 


– Full knowledge of your own work and a confident attitude.

– A maximum of 950 words for the presentation.

– Duration of 10 minutes, although in some group cases up to 30 minutes is allowed.

Two or three objects must be presented: one is the digital part (which is the presentation itself, if you only present with that you will fall short), also a physical one, for example, if you talk about technologies, take out something material: a computer, mobile phone and explain the essay about it. Other objects are for example: readings, debates, interviews…

– It is very important to make an impact, i.e. not just a monologue with a supporting presentation, but to contribute something truly different in order to get the maximum mark.

Examples of knowledge questions 👇

SCOPE: How do we decide whethet a particular discipline should be regarded as a human science?

Do the human sciences and literature provide different types of knowledge about human existence and behaviour?

How has technology had an impact on collective memory and how knowledge  is preserved? 

What is the difference between “data”, “information” and “knowledge”?

To what extent is our perspective determined by our membership of a  particular culture? 

To what extent does the fact that most early literature on indigenous societies  was written from a non-indigenous perspective affect its credibility?

PERSPECTIVES: Is there such a thing as “obsolete” knowledge in the arts?

Can art change the way we interpret the world? 

 Does the transmission of knowledge from one person or generation to another  depend on language? 

What knowledge might be lost if the whole world shared one common  language? 

METHODS AND TOOLS: Does convention play a different role in the arts compared to other areas of knowledge?

Does sense perception perform a radically different role in the arts compared to other areas of knowledge?

What impact has social media had on how we acquire and share political  knowledge? 

What role do reason and emotion play in the formation of our political affinities  or in our voting decisions?

ETHICS: How important is the study of literature in our individual ethical development?

Do we have an ethical responsibility to gain knowledge of different religions to  help us better understand the world and those around us? 

Does religion provide a way to systematize concepts of right and wrong?

Can we separate the moral character of the artist from the value of the artwork?

Best TOK manuals to help and inspire you

We especially like the Oxford ones.

Examples of TOKs

Some titles of TOKs approaches that some students have done:

  • “Doubt is the key to knowledge” (Persian Proverb). To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?
  • The vocabulary we have does more than communicate our knowledge; it shapes what we can knowEvaluate this. Claim with Reference to Different Areas of Knowledge


What? PRIVATE tuition to prepare students for IB projects such as the IA Internal Assessment or the T.O.K.

How? At TutorASAP we design a specific and individualised programme for the student’s needs, bringing out their maximum potential thanks to our T.E.O.K. algorithm.

When? You choose. Customised timetables to be defined.

Where? At our centre in Plaza Castilla, in a perfect central location in Madrid, or online (live streaming with the teacher).

Why with us? Because our tutors are not just any teachers: they are true experts in teaching specifically for IB projects and assignments. What characterises us is that we get students to produce mature, exquisite and well-planned projects.

Pass your subjects and projects thanks to our 10-hour courses! 😊

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