TOK exhibition IA prompts

Once you’ve understood the basics of the exhibition, and have grasped what the exhibition assessment rubric is looking for, you can think about which IA prompt to base your exhibition on. You’ll choose this from the list of 35 prompts in the TOK subject guide.
Your IA prompt represents the bridge between the three objects that you have chosen, and the TOK course, to enable you to demonstrate how TOK manifests itself in the real world. The context you’ll use to do this should 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.

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.
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.
How do I link the IA prompts to the TOK course? 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.

Ask a question

We’ll also be happy to respond to questions you might have on the TOK exhibition. We can’t, unfortunately, reply to all of these, but we will try our best to offer answers to the most frequently asked, and post them here. Use the contact form to get in touch.