What is the IB Core? Theory of Knowledge, CAS & the Extended Essay, Explained!

The Diploma Programme of the International Baccalaureate is one of the most popular international curriculum of choice for high school students around the world. The core the of the Diploma Programme is one of the elements that makes the Programme truly unique and challenging. Yet, what the IB Core is, still remains a mystery to many parents and prospective students.

The Extended Essay (EE), Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Creativity, Activity, Service (popularly known as CAS), are the three elements that together make the core of the Diploma. They are the elements that add breadth of understanding and rigour to the course. Here’s an overview of each of the three elements:

  1. The Extended Essay
    The Extended Essay is a 4000 word essay that students seeking the IB Diploma must complete. The essay may focus on any research topic that is of particular interest to the student, and can be from across his/her Diploma subject electives. The Extended Essay is very research oriented and encourages students to develop their academic and analytical writing skills, by investigating a research question (RQ) of their choice. At DRS International School, students complete the EE under the guidance of a supervisor from the faculty over approximately 40 hours in the duration of their programme.
  2. Theory of Knowledge
    Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is a course that requires students to critically examine the larger questions ‘how do we know?’. As a highly interdisciplinary course, it encourages students to examine questions about the validity, reliability and accuracy of the knowledge we acquire and produce through the lens of Areas of Knowledge (AOK) and Ways of Knowing (WOK). Students are expected to complete a 1600 essay on a prescribed title as well as deliver a rigorously analytical presentation to complete the TOK Course. At DRS International School, we have a range of analytical thinking challenges, thought-experiments and discussions that bring the TOK course to life.
  3. Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS)
    The Creativity, Activity, Service Programme (CAS) is an integral part of the Diploma core that requires students to actively pursue a range of activities parallel to their academic endeavours. These purposeful activities and projects correspond to the three strands and are expected to challenge students into a journey of self-discovery and meaningful growth through experential, hands-on learning.

Central to the realization of the IB Vision and its philosophy, the three components work in tandem with each other as well as other subject electives within the programme to enrich and strengthen it from within. The Core is compulsory for students who wish to complete the IB Diploma Programme successfully.

If you have further questions about the IB Diploma Programme or the core, please write to us @ int.school@drsinternational.com.