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Theory of Knowledge

Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is obligatory for every IB Diploma candidate, as it is a key element in the educational philosophy of the IB. Its purpose is to stimulate critical reflection upon the knowledge students have acquired in their schooling and in their life outside the classroom. It examines the origins and validity of various forms of knowledge.  Areas of TOK will also be incorporated into each of the student’s subject area classes as well throughout the course.  Furthermore, the various subject areas may come under evaluation and discussion within the TOK class itself.

Students are given opportunities to:

  • Contemplate upon the experience and knowledge that they have gained and to challenge their soundness
  • Realize that there are limits on the certainty of knowledge in all areas
  • Recognize their own biases and those of others
  • Expand personal thinking and the practice of critical evaluation and evidence as represented in discerning arguments
  • Explore the variance of worldviews and their connection to beliefs

TOK is a course that is taken by the student during the junior and senior years of their program. It is a discussion based course that concentrates on the following topics:

(a)  knowledge, belief, and reality

(b)  knowledge and the inherent roles of thought and language

(c)  the principles of sound reasoning

(d)  systems of knowledge – mathematics, natural sciences, human sciences, history

(e)  values and judgments – moral, political, aesthetic

(f)   knowledge and truth

TOK requires students to:

  1. complete an externally assessed essay (one essay of 1,200-1,600 words on a prescribed title).  
  2. individually prepare one oral presentation.  The TOK teacher provides internal assessment on the presentation.  

The student’s combined achievement will fall into one of the following bands:



26-30 marks



21-25 marks



17-20 marks



11-16 marks



1-10 marks

Refer to the points of matrix under ‘Grading System’ for guidelines on the bonus points to be earned towards the IB diploma for the assessment of TOK work.



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