The key deadlines and dates of the TOK course

The deadlines for the essay and exhibition for the different sessions that most schools follow are summarized in the table below.


May session (northern hemisphere)

November session (southern hemisphere)





May or June

November or December

Most schools will spend the first year of the course trying to help you build a clear understanding of the concepts of TOK, such as ‘knowledge questions’, ‘perspectives’, and ‘implications’, and familiarizing you with the five areas of knowledge, the core theme, and the optional themes. In the second year, you will apply that understanding to the production of the two assessment tasks.


The prescribed essay titles (PTs) are released approximately six months before you are due to complete your essay. You are obliged to meet with your teacher for three formal interactions. During these meetings you will:

  1. Discuss these PTs and your reasons for choosing your title.

  2. Create an essay plan.

  3. Go over your draft essay.

Your teacher is allowed to provide you with written comments of a ‘global’ nature in the last of these interactions.

You will record the content of these interactions in your PPF (planning and progress form).

In total, you should be spending around 10 hours on your TOK essay.


The exhibition should be carried out in four stages as described below.

  1. Select your Internal Assessment (IA) prompt from the list of 35 options. As you do this, think to yourself how they can be linked to the course, via the ‘optional’ or ‘core’ themes of the course.

  2. Select your three ‘objects’. You can run these by your teacher, but they should have a specific real-world context, and be of interest to you.

  3. Write a 950-word commentary about how they link to the prompt, within the context of one of the TOK themes.

  4. Submit all this (with digital images of your objects) in a single exhibition file, together with citations and references.

The IB recommends that you spend around 8 hours in total on the exhibition.

Last updated