The TOK exhibition is an individual project worth 33% of your final grade in Theory of Knowledge. You will choose from one of 35 prompt topics and explore it, using 3 real objects as your evidence.

This exhibition is a chance for you to showcase your critical thinking skills and explore the nature of knowledge through real-world objects. This guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies to create a standout exhibition that impresses the examiners.

The exhibition has two main parts:

  1. Presentation or Display: The format of this varies by school.
  2. Written Commentary: A 950-word explanation linking your objects to the chosen prompt, which is the part assessed for your final grade.

Structure for High Marks in Your TOK Exhibition Commentary

  • Selecting Your Prompt: The first step is picking a TOK prompt that genuinely interests you. This will fuel your enthusiasm and lead to a more engaging exhibition. Don’t be afraid to explore different prompts and see which one sparks your curiosity. Here’s a recommended structure to follow, using the prompt “1. What counts as knowledge?” as an example.
  • Finding Meaningful Objects: Now, it’s time to find three objects that hold personal significance and connect to the chosen prompt. Think about objects that have played a role in your experiences or challenged your understanding of knowledge. How do these objects influence how you learn and acquire knowledge? What limitations do they expose?

Object 1 (Around 300 Words)

What to write:
  • Image and Citation: Start with an image of your first object, centered on the page, approximately ¼ page in size. Use an image you’ve taken yourself.
  • Description and Context: Explain what the object is and its real-world context. For instance, “This is the calculator I use in SL Maths, especially to graph functions like f(x)=1/x. It helps me visualize functions without fully understanding them, questioning whether my ability to graph constitutes knowledge.”
  • Connection to the Prompt: Link the object to the prompt. For example, “This raises the question of how much my ability to graph functions counts as knowledge, given my limited understanding.”
  • Justification: Clearly justify why this object is relevant to the prompt. Make the link explicit and well-explained.

Object 2 (Around 300 Words)

What to write:
  • Image and Citation: Include an image of your second object, centered on the page.
  • Description and Context: Describe the object and its real-world context in detail.
  • Connection to the Prompt: Explain how this object relates to the prompt, ensuring it makes a different point from Object 1.
  • Strength in Diversity: Each of your three objects should address a different aspect of the chosen TOK prompt. This demonstrates a well-rounded understanding and your ability to analyze knowledge from various perspectives.
  • Knowledge Exploration: As you delve deeper, consider the “knowledge questions” each object raises. For instance, how does a historical artifact relate to the concept of bias in knowledge acquisition?
  • Justification: Justify the relevance of the object, making clear and explicit connections to the prompt.

Object 3 (Around 317 Words)

What to write:
  • Image and Citation: Present an image of your third object, centered on the page.
  • Description and Context: Provide a detailed description and the context of the object.
  • Connection to the Prompt: Link this object to the prompt, making a distinct point from Objects 1 and 2. 
  • Evidence & Analysis Go Hand-in-Hand: Don’t just describe your objects! Support your claims with strong evidence from reliable sources. Go beyond mere description and delve into critical analysis, using TOK vocabulary effectively. Explore the ways in which these objects challenge or reinforce traditional notions of knowledge.
  • Structure & Clarity are Key: A well-structured commentary with a clear introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion is essential. Ensure smooth transitions between ideas and a logical flow of arguments.
  • Justification: Justify the inclusion of the object, ensuring clear and explicit connections to the prompt.

Additional Tips for Excelling in the TOK Exhibition

  1. Understand the Role of Objects: Choose objects with specific real-world contexts. Avoid generic items from the internet.
  2. Connect Objects to the IA Prompt: Each object should contribute a unique point to answer the prompt.
  3. Support Your Points with Evidence: Use concrete examples and evidence to support your points.
  4. Treat the IA Prompt Like an Essay Question: Address the prompt directly and ensure clear links between objects and the prompt.
  5. Presentation Skills: Your commentary should be clear, coherent, and engaging.

Manage Your Time

  1. Plan Ahead: Start early to allow time for research, reflection, and revision.
  2. Set Milestones: Break down the task into smaller, manageable parts with specific deadlines.
  3. Avoid Last-Minute Rush: Complete your work well before the deadline to allow time for any necessary revisions.

Reflect on the IB Learner Profile

  • Thinkers: Show critical thinking in your analysis.
  • Inquirers: Demonstrate curiosity and a deep interest in your objects and prompt.
  • Communicators: Present your ideas clearly and effectively.


By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a compelling and insightful TOK exhibition.  For a more detailed plan and examples, consider signing up for our 1 to 1 lessons where you can expect expert help to help you craft your TOK exhibition. Good luck!