Introduction to the TOK and how IB tuition can help

The TOK (theory of knowledge course) is a compulsory IB subject that all IB students must take in order to receive their IB Diploma. In this article, we would provide you with valuable information regarding the TOK course and how our IB tuition can help students in the TOK

However, unlike all the other IB subjects, it is not graded from a 1 to 7. Instead, it is graded from a scale of A to F. As you may know, the full score in IB is 45 marks, with 42 points coming from the 6 subjects and 3 points being decided by the student’s TOK and EE score.

Thus, the TOK is of considerable importance.

Since the TOK accounts for 3 out of 45 IB points, it can often mean the difference between making a university offer and not making it. It is critically important for IB students aspiring to top universities to strive for the best in TOK.

What is the TOK course designed for?

The TOK course is essentially a course to explore knowledge. This includes how knowledge is obtained and the process of knowing. The most essential question is “how do we know what we know?” in various contexts. It is an extensive course involving at least 100 hours of instruction.

Some of the major objectives are:

  • Develop an understanding on the construction of knowledge in academia and in the wider world

  • Develop an understanding on how knowledge is examined in a critical way

  • Become aware and develop an interest regarding assumptions made when constructing knowledge

  • Ability to critically reflect on one own’s assumptions

  • Understand the significance and power of knowledge

The TOK Curriculum explores 3 main components

  1. Knowing about knowing

The course explores how we know what we believe we know. Throughout the course, students are required to critically evaluate various knowledge claims, which is essentially an assertion about knowing something. Moreover, students would analyse and explore knowledge questions, which is essentially a question about knowledge. These materials are designed to help students understand the nature of knowledge on a deeper level.

2. Ways of knowing

Students will also study various ways of knowing, which are channels in which we can obtain knowledge. There are 8 ways of knowing in the TOK course, including: memory, intuition, faith, imagination, reason, emotion, sense perception and language.

3. Areas of knowledge

Areas of knowledge are essentially the different subject areas. In TOK, the main areas of knowledge explored are: indigenous knowledge systems, religious knowledge systems, ethics, history, arts, human science, natural sciences, and the mathematics. Through exploring these various areas of knowledge, students can gain a deeper understanding of knowledge

In order for students to get the highest possible score in the subject, which is an A, they would need to demonstrate their ability to:

  • Evaluate and analyse justifications to knowledge claims

  • Create evaluate, analyse and answer knowledge questions

  • Critically examine how various areas of knowledge create knowledge

  • Understand how various ways of knowing are used to construct both personal and shared knowledge

  • Evaluate and explore the relationship between knowledge questions, claims, ways of knowing and areas of knowledge

  • Show an understanding of various perspectives and points of views

  • Ability to explore a Real world situation from the TOK framework.

The relationship between TOK and other IB subjects

The TOK course is complementary to all other IB subjects studied. Firstly, the TOK course can help students understand how knowledge in different subjects areas are constructed. This can help students to develop a deeper interest in the subjects they study. Moreover, the TOK course can help students understand the connection between various IB subjects studied.

How would TOK help a student later on in life?

Many university courses require students to be able to question the sources of knowledge and to understand how knowledge is constructed and be aware of the ever-changing nature of knowledge. Thus, many elements of theory of knowledge is actually embedded in university courses and the TOK course can help students to prepare for this. Moreover, the TOK course improve students’ critical thinking skills which is very important in university education.

Moreover, as the media landscape changes in recent years, and the rise of social media, false information or fake news are being spread at a very fast paste.Critical thinking skills developed in the TOK course can help students to critically evaluate these information.

The major assessments

The TOK Essay

The TOK essay counts for 67% of a student’s TOK score. The IB would come up with a list of 6 different questions and the student would need to pick one of them to answer

The TOK presentation

The TOK presentation accounts for 33% of the student’s total score. It is a 10 minute presentation and the student can pick any topics that they wish

More information on a Tok presentation

The TOK presentation is a compulsory assessment as part of the TOK course. The objective of the TOK presentation is for students to apply TOK concepts in real world situations.

Firstly students would need to pick a real life situation that interests them and then develop a knowledge question, which will be the basis of the presentation. Then throughout the presentation, students would need to develop claims and counter claims regarding the knowledge question. In the TOK presentation, it is also very important to to explore various areas of knowledge and ways of knowing.