TOK exhibition IA prompts

The TOK exhibition prompts

Once you’ve understood the basics, and have grasped what the assessment rubric is looking for, you can think about which IA prompt to choose. This comes from the list of 35 prompts in the TOK subject guide.
Your IA prompt links your three objects to the TOK course, and enables you to demonstrate how TOK manifests itself in the real world. The context you’ll use for this will be either the core theme or one of the optional themes.

Selecting an exhibition prompt

The ‘BQ filter’

35 prompts mean that there is a lot of choice with your exhibition, and it’s easy to get lost amongst all the possibilities. By applying a filter to the prompts you’ll understand them better, and be able to make more sense about what they are asking. Our way of structuring the course should help you. We divide the course up into 6 ‘Big questions’ (BQs), each one of which exploring a different aspect or concept related to TOK. You can see the BQs on here.

Step 1

Think about the aspect or concept behind each BQ, and then match this up to what’s being asked by the IA prompts. For example BQ2 looks at the relationship between knowledge and how we construct our values. This links to several IA prompts that focus on ethics, such as 16 and 27. BQ4 explores bias and perspectives. A lot of the IA prompts relate to this; for example, 12 and 28.

Step 2

After you have matched up the BQs to the IA prompts, you begin choosing one that will work for you. Be motivated by what interests you, what matches up to concepts you’ve found interesting during the TOK course, and what resonates with your own experiences, both inside and outside school.

Step 3

Your exhibition should be set within the context of the core theme, or the optional themes. So your third step is to head over to those sections of the site, and have a look at the Big Question that relates to your IA prompt. Check out the quotes, the notes, and the real-life situations that we’ve put together. This will give you more of an idea about what your exhibition will focus on, and the objects that you’ll select.

Putting this in context…

Let’s say that you’ve decided to construct an exhibition that deals with the way we communicate ideas. This aligns with Big Question 3. You like the look of IA prompt number 24, which looks at the effect of the context which knowledge is presented. You’d like to base your exhibition on technology.

You’d head over to this page of the site, and find quotes and real-life situations that relate to this BQ/IA prompt, within the context of technology. Note that if your school has membership to the site, you’ll be able to access the ‘exploration points’, which identify key terms and words, and suggestions on how to unpack the media sources.

TOK exhibition pages

The TOK exhibition rubric

Learn about how the exhibition is marked, and the skills you are expected to demonstrate in order to succeed. Find out more here.

The TOK exhibition prompts

Find out about the IA prompts used to write your exhibition commentary, and tips on choosing the right one. Read more here.

The TOK exhibition objects

Find out what ‘exhibition objects’ are, how to choose effective ones, and linking them to a theme and prompt. Read more here.

The TOK exhibition commentary

Learn about the 950-word exhibition commentary, ways to link it to your IA prompt, and how to set it within a theme. Find out more here.

Putting on the exhibition

Get tips on how to set up a TOK exhibition, talking in public, and showing off your TOK knowledge to a public audience. Find out more here.

More support for the TOK exhibition

Make sure that your TOK teacher has given you access to all the documents and online material that support the exhibition. These include the TOK Subject Guide (for the 2022 syllabus) – where you’ll find the IA prompts, and the exhibition rubric – and the exemplar TOK exhibitions (found in ‘MyIB’, which is accessible to teachers).
Follow the links above to take you to the three different elements of the TOK exhibition; we’ve also created a page giving some tips on how to put on your exhibition if your school is running a public ‘exhibition day’ which you can visit here. It suggests ways of presenting ideas to an audience.
If your school is a member of, we have designed a series of lessons on the exhibition, with a three practice exhibition tasks. These will familiarize you with the IA prompts, how to select effective objects, and the assessment rubric. If you are signed into the site, you can access these lessons here.

Access our exhibition prompt decoder

Our exhibition prompt decoder enables students to link each of the 35 IA prompts to the 12 key TOK concepts, to the BQs, and to the core and optional themes. It will allow students to explore their choice of prompt for the exhibition via questions, quotes, media sources, and key thinkers.

You can also find out our thoughts on the TOK exhibition (and the TOK essay) in several webinars that we have delivered. The main one is the TOK Assessment 2022 webinar, but we also consider this form of assessment in our free webinars on the 2022 course. You can see these webinars on this page of the site.

FAQs about the exhibition IA prompts

How many TOK exhibition prompts are there?

There are 35 TOK exhibition prompts. You will choose one of them, and it should relate to each of your three objects.

Where can I view the TOK exhibition prompts?

The prompts are found on pages 40-41 of the TOK subject guide (for the 2022 syllabus). Your TOK teacher will give you a copy of this, or give you the list of prompts on a separate document.

The IB strongly recommends (ie, this is what you should do) that your IA prompt should be explored within the context of the core theme or one of the optional themes. So when you choose one of the prompts, think about how it relates to knowledge & the knower, language, technology, etc.

Can I change the way the IA prompt is worded?

Absolutely not – just like the , you should explore it exactly as it is expressed.

Get real with TOK by subscribing to the newsletter

Step into the real and unpackaged world by subscribing to our unique monthly TOK newsletter. You’ll receive links to great media sources from all over the world that place the TOK themes and areas of knowledge into an authentic context.

You’ll meet great thinkers and ideas, hone your understanding of key TOK concepts, and build up a library of examples for the essay and exhibition. Subscribe HERE!