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The ULTIMATE IB Physics Exam Breakdown

Being strategic about your exams will help you maximise your marks in IB Physics

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7 Simple Steps to Achieving a 7 in IB Physics

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SALLY HAS WORKED WITH:

STOP INEFFICIENT REVISION NOW FOR YOUR IB PHYSICS EXAMS!

This 15 minute video will walk you through the IB Physics exams. It will allow you to be strategic in your revision for the IB Physics exams, which will maximise your marks and prevent you from wasting time on inefficient revision.

PAPER 1

FACTS about Paper 1:

    • The Standard Level (SL) paper is 45 minutes long and has 30 multiple choice questions. It makes up 20% of your final IB Physics mark.
    • The Higher Level (HL) paper is 1 hour long and has 40 multiple choice questions.  It makes up 20% of your final IB Physics mark.
    • NO calculator is allowed but you can use the data booklet
    • Paper 1 is designed to be difficult and around 50% of questions required multiple steps.
    • Grade boundaries are usually quite low for paper 1 (Averaging around 72% for a 7 in HL and 63% for a 7 in SL)

Most Commonly Examined Topics in SL Paper 1 are:

  • Topic 2: Mechanics
  • Topic 4: Waves
  • Topic 5: Electricity and Magnetism
  • Topic 7: Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics

Most Commonly Examined Topics in HL Paper 1 are:

  • Topic 2: Mechanics
  • Topics 4 & 9: Waves
  • Topic 11: Electromagnetic Induction
  • Topic 12: Quantum and Nuclear Physics

Top Tip!

There is usually only ONE mark available to Topic 1 (Measurement and Uncertainties) in Paper 1. Don’t bother revising Topic 1 too much when preparing for Paper 1.

ADVICE for Paper 1

    • Prioritise the most commonly examined topics above in your revision
    • Use gradegorrilla.com to practice multiple choice questions for the most commonly examined topics.
    • You only have between 1-1.5 minutes per question – skip if you really don’t know where to start.
    • Don’t panic

PAPER 2

FACTS about Paper 2:

    • The Standard Level Paper takes 1.25 hours and is worth 50 marks. It makes up 40% of your final IB Physics mark.
    • The Higher Level Papers takes 2.25 hours and is worth 95 marks. It makes up 36% of your final IB Physics mark.
    • It consists of short-answer and extended response questions
    • Calculators are allowed and the data booklet is necessary!
    • It is designed to be difficult and you probably won’t finish it…
    • Grade boundaries are usually very low for paper 2 (Averaging around 59% for a 7 in HL and around 63% for a 7 in SL)

Most Commonly Examined Topics in SL Paper 2 are:

  • Topic 2: Mechanics
  • Topic 4: Waves
  • Topic 5: Electricity and Magnetism
  • Topic 3: Thermal Physics

Most Commonly Examined Topics in HL Paper 2 are:

  • Topic 2: Mechanics
  • Topics 4 & 9: Waves
  • Topics 5 & 11: Electromagnetism
  • Topic 12: Quantum and Nuclear Physics

Top Tip!

It is likely that there will be no questions on Topic 1 (Measurements and Uncertainties) in Paper 2.

ADVICE for Paper 2

    • Prioritise the most commonly examined topics from above in your revision
    • Practice exam-style questions fully in the weeks before the exam
    • Choose the question order carefully.
    • Skip a question if you really don’t know where to start.
    • Identify the topic of the question and open your data booklet to that topic.
    • If you’re stuck on a graph – you’ll most likely have to calculate the gradient or area
    • Be careful for until on graph axes (e.g. mA instead of A)
    • Don’t panic

PAPER 3

FACTS about Paper 3:

    • The Standard Level paper will be 1 Hour long and is worth 35 marks. The whole paper makes up 20% of your final IB Physics mark.
    • The Higher Level paper will be 1.25 hours long and is worth 45 marks. The whole paper makes up 20% of your final IB Physics mark.
    • The paper is made up of short-answer and extended response questions
    • You are allowed a calculator and data booklet
    • Paper 3 is MUCH easier than papers 1 and 2
    • It is split up into sections:
      1. One data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work. 
      2. Short-answer and extended-response questions from one option. 

Here is how the marks are broken down in SL Paper 3:

Section A

  1. It is only 15 Marks
  2. Worth 9% of your final IB Physics mark
  3. All about Topic 1 (Measurements and Uncertainties) and the list of required practicals given by the IB.

Section B

  1. It is only 20 Marks
  2. Worth 11% of your final IB Physics mark
  3. All about your chosen Option Topic

Here is how the marks are broken down in HL Paper 3:

Section A

  1. It is only 15 Marks
  2. Worth 7% of your final IB Physics mark
  3. All about Topic 1 (Measurements and Uncertainties) and the list of required practicals given by the IB.

Section B

  1. It is only 30 Marks
  2. Worth 13% of your final IB Physics mark
  3. All about your chosen Option Topic

ADVICE for Paper 3

    • Learn ALL the definitions for Topic 1 AND Option topic
    • Open your data booklet to the right page for your option topic
    • Practice as many past papers for your option topic as you can – the examiners tend to ask the same questions over and over again

Top Tip!

Paper 3 is always examined the morning after Papers 1 & 2. Use the night before the exam to:

  1. Memorise definitions from Topic 1 and your option topic
  2. Read through all the required practicals you have done in class
  3. Read through your revision notes for Topic 1 and your Option Topic

If you’d like to learn how to write effective revision notes QUICKLY – watch this video tutorial.


CONCLUSION

Hope this has helped you form a strategy on how to tackle the IB Physics exams.

Remember!

Make sure you are very good at the most commonly examined topics listed above. Start being strategic in your revision and you’ll be more efficient and effective in your results!

Have fun!

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7 Simple Steps to Achieving a 7 in IB Physics

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