Some Tips for TOK



Q: What advice would you offer for doing TOK?

A: To whoever is reading this, first of all, jiayou! TOK is not easy but the struggle is immensely rewarding.

1. Choose KIs and AOKs you know well or are willing to learn more about. For the presentation, choose a KI that you feel passionate about. It doesn’t only help with scoring on the Knowers’ Perspective component of the rubric – if you are passionate about your KI, you’ll be motivated in your research/have a perspective on it. My KI was about the ways in which one can know that one is Singaporean, which is an issue I feel very strongly about and that really helped me in my presentation! For my essay, my AOKs were the Natural Sciences and History; I wasn’t well-versed in the former, so I read a number of philosophy of science books and used the ideas in those books in my essay. (Also, this might be a bit late, but you should pay attention and take notes during the TOK lectures – I found my notes terribly helpful in generating ideas to incorporate in my essay.)

2. Be clear in your structure – if you’re using slides your presentation, you can use a different colour for the slide background when you move to the next part of your presentation (e.g. for mine I structured it by the WOKs, and each WOK had its own colour theme). For the essay, I had two KIs and set the structure at the outset for my essay (i.e. which KI I’d address first and in relation to which AOKs).

3. Signpost signpost signpost! Always WOK the TOK (haha get it?). Use the TOK terms liberally and avoid synonyms for them (e.g. if you refer to reason as the WOK, just keep using “reason” and don’t try to substitute in other words like “logic”).

4. Get people to proofread, proofread and proofread! This applies not only to the essay but also to the presentation. Get people to help proofread your script and rehearse in front of friends/family. Also remember to return the favour to your friends!

Adapted with permission from

Moira Low is from the graduating batch of 2013. She is currently reading Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford.

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