How to Ace your TOK Presentation

But first, what is the TOK presentation and what does it actually involve?

The presentation is one of two compulsory TOK assignments. The TOK presentation is meant to test your understanding of  TOK concepts in relation to a real-life situation. The real-life scenario can be based on a situation in your local community or an issue of broader international scope. From this real-life scenario, you need to develop a knowledge question. This knowledge question will the basis of your presentation as you attempt to develop different perspectives to which to answer the question from.

How to ace a TOK Presentation:

Simplify your Real-Life Situation

Don’t choose a real-life scenario which requires extensive explanation. Instead, choose a real-life situation and topic that you have a solid foundation in. When I was doing my presentation, my group decided to explore topics within our one mutual IB subject – Psychology. In class, we had just talked about how men/women look for different characteristics when looking for a partner. Building on this study, we started brainstorming relevant topics which we could explore. In the end, we settled to explore how society measures beauty and the consequences of these conceptions on individuals.


As you begin to research your topic, you’ll see different perspectives. When you look at these perspectives in more detail, also consider: How can you relate them to Areas of Knowing or Ways of Knowing that you’ve been discussing in class? Simply mentioning a real-life situation and knowledge question are related to a specific Area of Knowing or Way of Knowledge will not do. Rather, you will only receive points once you begin to compare them in relation to each other. Indeed, the IBO states that the best presentations will not only acknowledge that their question can be answered from different perspectives but also investigate these perspectives in relation to each other.

Spend time on your TOK Presentation Planning Document!

The TOK Presentation Planning Document (PPD) seems like a silly document you need to complete in relation to your presentation. However, the PPD is the only evidence that the IBO has that you completed a TOK presentation, as it is the only part of your work which is externally moderated. Specified as being a max of 500 words, you want to make sure you clearly and concisely explain your thought process. The IBO specifies that you should do the following:

  • Describe your real-life situation
  • State your central knowledge question
  • Outline how you intend to develop your presentation, with respect to perspectives, subsidiary knowledge questions and argument
  • Show how your conclusions have significance for your real-life situation and beyond

Make sure you follow these guidelines and refer to the TOK assessment criteria as you are completing the PPD. The TOK assessment criteria can be found at the back of your TOK subject guide. Having the criteria next to you and referring to as you are writing your PPD may make a significant impact on how you will score.

Develop an effective presentation style 

As you will be presenting in front of an audience (consisting of both your classmates and teacher), you will need to make sure you can articulate your ideas effectively. Regardless of how great your ideas are, you will not score highly should you be unable to deliver your presentation. To ensure you do this, I suggest you make sure you understand the component parts of your presentations.

I recommend that you practice your presentation several times, both with an audience and without one. I personally liked to practice my presentations in my bedroom alone, just trying to speak through my information while looking at the door. Thus, before anyone gave me any feedback, I could determine whether I actively understood my topic. If I could, I would transition into presenting in front of my parents. I would ask them to come with concrete feedback – did all my points make sense? Are you staying on topic? Do I have good body language when I present?

Practicing your presentation on your own and with an audience will help you structure your presentation more coherently and determine whether your presentation has a flow. In a flow, it is vital that you know how to transition between your points. If you need more advice on how to deliver an effective presentation, click here! –

That’s it from us – but if you still feel like you need more help, don’t worry! With Lanterna’s Assignment Package, you can get tailored one-on-one private tuition to review your presentation with an elite IB tutor. To get more, click here!

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