TOK -- What Is It?

The Presentation

The ToK presentation counts for 30% of the overall final grade and is given a score from 1-10 depending on the quality. The world average grade (according to the IB examiners report) is around a 7/10, meaning that while the competition is stiff, it is difficult to get a very high grade on the presentation itself. ToK presentations can be presented in groups or individually, but with the rule that the presentation must last for 10 minutes by head (10 for 1, 20 for 2…).  Most agree that the most favourable way to tackle this is to collaborate in groups of 2 because the allotted 20 minutes is long enough to get the necessary analysis in while not being overly long and running out of things to say. The actual presentation in itself is not actually graded, what is is the PPD form wherein candidates detail the structure of their plan (introduction and conclusion) along with any analysis.

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The Essay

The ToK essay counts for 70% of the total grade, and is attributed a letter grade from A to E. The average grade given is a C, again showing the apparent difficulty/disregard for ToK as a subject. The essays are developed over a few weeks of independent work and are written according to one of the list of essay titles released by the IB. There is a maximum word limit of 1600 words making it rather short and necessitating conscience and developed writing. The most important thing to keep in mind when writing the essay is the choice of topic as, as is the case for all essays, some will be easier than others. Choose wisely according to the Ways of Knowing and Areas of Knowledge which were studied in your school and do not tackle a topic where you are unsure of any Real Life Situations which you could use, or any developments and analysis which you could bring.

Tips and Tricks

  • Use the ToK journal: when it comes time to write the essay you will benefit from a list of real life situations ready to use

  • Make sure that the Knowledge question which you are to use for the presentation is clear and concise enough while allowing for individual opinion

  • Ask any ToK teachers for clarification if need be

  • Be sure that whatever you do, it is “ToK” as in it focuses on knowledge and how it is acquired 

  • Because of this, it is prudent to tread cautiously around ethics as students have a tendency to be overly ethical (it is after all ToK and not Ethics)

  • Use the textbook, it is clear and can help you understand Areas of Knowledge and Ways of knowing skirted over

  • Chose a good partner for the presentation as you will share the grade