IB TOK Presentation Guide (Updated 2021)

Let us walk you through acing your TOK Presentation. This article has everything one needs to curate a high quality presentation

Zoé Harper
13 OCT 2021
ib tok presentation guide

What up? What up?


Welcome to this well-written article of Nail IB: your secret weapon for moving closer to a perfect score of 45. This article is the first step towards answering how to make a tok presentation. Before you answer this question, you must familiarise yourself with the fundamentals of the TOK presentation.


Remember, ee at Nail IB give priority to your journey of becoming a thinking intellectual. This is done by understanding the fundamentals of the diploma the likes of which include  IB TOK presentation, TOK EssayExtended EssayInternal Assessment, and CAS. 


In this particular article you will learn about:


1) What is a TOK Presentation?

2) 5 Key points for your TOK Presentation

3) Basics for your Presentation

4) Structure of TOK presentation

5) Example Outline for a TOK Presentation

6) Improve your Presentation Style


Before you read this beautiful article, browse a quick video by Amanda Elise!



What is a TOK Presentation?

TOK presentation is quite similar to TOK Essay. Both IB concepts emphasize on your assessment of critical thinking skills. A TOK Essay takes a more conceptual starting point inspired by the questions released by International Baccalaureate Organisation whereas an IB TOK presentation, in particular, helps an examiner evaluate your understanding of acquired knowledge based on a real-life situation. To know the tips and hacks for your essay, click here. If you wish to learn how to ace your presentation, continue reading!


TOK presentation requires the student to demonstrate a solid analysis of a real-life situation (RLS). This is done by choosing a question as a framework for examining the practical implementation of theoretical knowledge in everyday life. In essence, the question for your presentation should be inspired by a real-life situation.



So good so far?



Keep in mind that a knowledge-based question is not the focus but a means for a critical discussion. It is but a way for you to explore the real-life situation and the areas of knowledge connected with it. 


Okay, so a recap! You need to find a real-life situation. Then you need to think about the areas of knowledge directly connected to the situation. Once you do that, you need to forge a question that helps you connect the dots for the audience and walk them through your thinking process. This knowledge question will be the basis of your presentation as you attempt to develop different perspectives to answer the question. The scope of finding a real-life situation varies from a situation in your local community or an issue at international broader. 


5 Key Points For Your IB TOK Presentation:


  • Planning Document
  • TOK presentation topic 
  • KQ & RLS (Knowledge Question & Real Life Situation)
  • Conclusion (Creating a connect from the first slide to the last)
  • Confidence (Most important when it comes to presentations and sadly mostly neglected as well)


Once you have these 5 pillars set, there is nothing that can stop you from acing your TOK presentation.


Basics for your Presentation

Now let’s shed some light on the basics, to begin with. Presentations are an integral part of every course known to 'studentkind'. Every other course that we do requires it. With IB, it is one of the two compulsory TOK assignments. The IB TOK presentation is meant to test your understanding of TOK concepts in relation to a real-life situation. 


TOK presentation is done individually, in pairs or in groups of three. An IB TOK presentation must be delivered in a language known to all members of the class. Each presenter must take approximately 10 minutes, totalling to a maximum of approximately 30 minutes per group. After the presentation, discussion time should be scheduled. 

Moving ahead, the first question that comes to a student’s mind is, where to begin. Don’t worry, that will be the exact first question that I’ll answer hereafter. 

You start with your planning document. This document will be your blueprint to building everything around your presentation and will help you maintain your workflow and the direction (just in case you get lost in the real-life situations, knowledge questions, claims, counterclaims, etc). 

Why is this easy?
1. You have done this before in your TOK ESSAY i.e. application of your concepts in the development section. The idea is mostly the same except for the presenting part.

2. You are conceptually clear with your Knowledge questions, claims and implementation in real-life situations (also, covered by you in the essay).


I will break down what content must go on each slide alongside what you must address while explaining that slide to everyone. You can always make modifications on the basis of your requirements. The structure will help you make yourself clear to the audience whilst maintaining flow to your TOK presentation. 


Slide 1: Title Page

  • The title of your presentation.
  • Your group members’ names. 


What to address

Introduce a real-life situation (RLS). Elaborate on your perception of the situation when you first encountered it. Emphasize why it is of significance to you.


Slide 2: Decontextualization 

  • Talk about your initial thoughts about the RLS. You need to start transitioning from using 'layman' words to explaining everything using TOK terminology. This can be done by using some of the key terms from the Areas of Knowledge associated with your RLS. 

What to address

Explain a few things about the RLS and how we know them. For example, our senses may provide some insights, while our emotions provide other ones.  To put it in TOK terms, you can analyze the extent to which these insights are valid/authentic? Address the limitations of your RLS and your interpretation of it. All of this will help you show your journey from the RLS to your Knowledge Question. 


Slide 3: Knowledge Question 

  • Talk about your Areas of Knowledge (AoKs) and Ways of Knowing (WoKs) that you will use to explore your Knowledge Question. Explain their connection to your Knowledge Question (KQ). 


What to address: 

Mention 2 Knowledge Questions that you considered and the one you are investigating. Explain how the Knowledge Question that you have chosen will help you to explain the RLS. For each of your AOKs/WOKs, preview how they can help to answer your KQ. Explain any assumptions you’ve made about your KQ (if any). Dig deep into the key terms that need to be explained in order for us to understand your KQ.


Slide 4: Development (1) 

  • Briefly, state your claim for the first AOK and Ways of through which you have decided to answer your KQ
  • Support your claim through a piece of scientific evidence (a scientific theory).
  • Briefly, state your counterclaim (an opposing idea in the same AOK/WOK). For example, if you are examing your situation through a philosophical point of view and your way of knowing was sensory, state that philosophy is, to a large extent, abstract science and therefore your interpretation can be scrutinized in a very different way if it is examined through a scientific lens. Furthermore, you can challenge your way of knowing by stating that sensory means of acquiring knowledge can be deceptive as one relies on memory to recall how one felt at a particular point in time. 


Alright. Breathe! I know all of this can sound way over the top. I felt the same way when I first encountered TOK. But this is exactly how you are supposed to feel. So you are on the right track. Read on!


What to address


Explain your claim and how it is supported by evidence. Clarify how it would answer the KQ. Then do the same for your counterclaim and support it by evidence. Ensure to clarify how your counterclaim could answer the KQ in a different way than your claim did. Use your conclusion to connect the claim and counterclaim.


Slide 5: Development (2) 

Repeat the steps mentioned on slide 4 using your second Area of Knowledge and Way of Knowing.


Slide 6: Development (3) 


Repeat the steps mentioned on slide 4 using your third Area of Knowledge and Way of Knowing.


Slide 7: Conclusion 

  • Write down your conclusion.
  • Write down a possible flaw in your conclusion.


What to address: 


Explain your conclusion and elaborate on how this conclusion is supported by the insights you’ve drawn along the way. Address the possible weakness or a flaw in your conclusion. You can explain with an example of someone from a different perspective (a different gender, age, time, or culture) who might disagree with this conclusion.


Slide 8: Link back to the RLS 


  • Write 2 interesting ways that your conclusion applies to the RLS.
  • Write down two other real-life situations (which are perhaps related). If possible provide pictures for these two other situations, so they can be quickly understood. One of these should be personal to you (something one of you encountered) and another which is more of a shared experience.


What to address


Clarify how your conclusion applies to the RLS. Explain how this conclusion can help to explain the other 2 RLS you have on your previous slides.


Good Job! Your work here is done. Just leave this slide up on the screen and watch your professors go gaga on your wonderful presentation. (You can thank us later ;))



As a suggestion, it is recommended that you have your knowledge question written on the bottom as footer. It helps the audience to relate your various insights to the knowledge question easily.


Here are some links to TOK presentation examples:

  1. Click here to access the presentation on Decision Making.
  2. Click here to access the presentation on Language.


IB TOK presentation topic

For referral purpose, you can look into some previously chosen TOK presentation topics from the links below to get going:


  1. Check out this list of knowledge questions by Larry Ferlazzo to get inspired. 
  2. The student room has a good conversion in choosing a good presentation topic. Make sure to give it a read.
  3. Click here for some more same topics


Example Outline for a TOK Presentation


You must have noticed that we use a Claim, Counterclaim, Mini-Conclusion structure as described in our TOK Essay article. We follow the process of claim, counterclaim, mini-conclusion for each of your developments (AOKs or WOKs) at least thrice. Here’s an example, for one of your developments:


-For example, your claim might be that emotion is reliable when trying to achieve new artistic knowledge and you show this using some theory (evidence) you learned from your professor.


-Your counterclaim is a problem (a limitation) with your claim or an opposing idea from the same perspective. It might be that emotion can sometimes lead to unreliable insights in the arts (i.e. art is open to many interpretations). You show this using (as evidence) an example from your own life experience or theory that accentuates the unreliability of human emotion.


-And then, in the mini-conclusion, you basically have to find a way to draw together the two opposing sides. You have to somehow synthesize these two insights to arrive at a more insightful understanding. For instance, you might say that emotion can be both reliable and unreliable at the same time, or perhaps there are situations where it's pretty hard to know whether emotions are helping or not (in terms of achieving reliable knowledge). So your MC (mini-conclusion) is that emotions are extremely reliable given that the individual is able to keep his/her personal biases away from the situation being experienced.

When you reach towards the end with your big conclusion, the key is to draw together and synthesize the insights from all your mini-conclusions. This shows an intellectual approach towards answering your KQ. It also makes your presentation more compelling.


Evidence can be:

  • Examples from the course or from your research. For example, stories of real scientific experiments or how society responded to a certain piece of art.
  • Personal examples. Specific and realistic examples from your own life experiences are really powerful in presentations as they are the most convincing.


Improve your Presentation Style

A few pointers to keep in mind while presenting:

  • Golden rule - practice makes perfect. As you will be presenting in front of an audience (your classmates and your teacher), you will need to make sure you can articulate your ideas effectively. Rehearse well for your final showdown. 
  • Be clear and loud enough to be heard. The positive aspect of a presentation is that since it is verbal, it allows you to create a lot of links. E.g. ‘referring back to the first slide of the presentation’. 
  • Creating a set of notes to aid yourself to be well aware of what’s next helps maintain your flow. This amps up your preparedness. However, you should avoid sticking to the notes too much. Eye contact is extremely important to make your audience feel addressed.
  • Avoid cramming everything on the slides. Keep minimal content and avoid putting in full-blown long sentences. 
  • If you are using images to display something, make sure they are not pixelated and are clearly visible to the audience.
  • Ensure you don’t exceed your time limit for the presentation.
  • Don’t be scared of the questions at the end. The questions asked by your teacher are there to help you. If you’ve missed something in your presentation that is key to answering the knowledge issue, this your opportunity to gain back marks. If you can’t answer the question, simply make a statement or give an opinion. A classic way of avoiding questions is to make your own question, ‘That’s a very good question, but I think the main issue here is….’ But try to answer them because they are very likely to be beneficial. 
  • The audience can ask questions too. Avoid planting a question in the audience as it is too obvious and often creates a bad impression.
  • Lastly, confidence is the key. You need to have faith in yourself and the amount of work you have put in. You deserve all of your trust and confidence for the hard work you have done, so it reflects in your way of presenting and is communicated to the evaluator and the audience effectively. 



We hope this article will act as the foundation for understanding how to make a tok presentation. One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to confidence is preparation ~ Arthur Ashe


If you are still struggling heaps with your TOK essay feel free to subscribe to our tok notes bundles or get access to more than 500+ IBDP notes and past papers here.

Nail IB is your virtual companion that helps you hustle through your diploma and provide you with the right resources at the right time. To know more about acing IB, click here.


Before you go!


You can also refer to my previous TOK Essay article to understand KQ, AOK, WOK, etc explained in depth.

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