TOK is a two-year course about critical thinking and inquiring into the process of knowing. TOK is a core element of the IB Diploma, and all DP candidates are required to take this course. TOK examines how we know what we claim to know. It does this by encouraging students to analyze knowledge claims and explore knowledge questions. A knowledge claim is the assertion that "I/we know X" or "I/we know how to Y", or a statement about knowledge; a knowledge question is an open question about knowledge. TOK also seeks to make a distinction between shared knowledge and personal knowledge.
The TOK course identifies eight specific ways of knowing (WOKs). They are language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, faith, intuition, and memory. The WOKs underlie the methodology of the areas of knowledge, and they provide a basis for personal knowledge.
TOK distinguishes between eight areas of knowledge. They are mathematics, the natural sciences, the human sciences, the arts, history, ethics, religious knowledge systems, and indigenous knowledge systems.
There are two assessment tasks in the TOK course: a 1600-word essay over a prescribed title and an exhibition. Both are externally assessed by the IB.
AHS IB Diploma students also have time allotted in their TOK course to write portions of their Extended Essays and document their CAS experiences.