IB Physics (HL & SL)

Course description

The course presents the best aspects of traditional physics along with modern concepts in an exciting and flexible way. Pupils will question the way they learn, reflecting on how knowledge and understanding are obtained. Pupils will also be expected to explore ideas, investigate different physical situations by means of simulation, modelling and experimentation and to develop key skills, such as: analysis and presentation of data, communication and empathy with peers and scientific researchers and educators.

Standard Level

The course covers the following core topics:-

  • Measurement and Uncertainties
  • Mechanics
  • Thermal Physics
  • Waves
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Circular Motion and Gravitational Fields
  • Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Energy Production.

The students also study an additional optional topic.  Options which the teacher could choose include Astrophysics, Engineering Physics, Imaging or Relativity.

The students are also required to carry out practical work throughout the course which will be assessed in the final written papers and via an individual internal assessment practical project.

They will also have the chance to work with students studying other IB Science courses via the practical Group 4 project.

Higher Level

The course covers all of the core material studied by Standard Level students (listed above.)  In addition, Higher Level students cover the following topics:-

  • Wave Phenomena
  • Fields
  • Electromagnetic Induction
  • Quantum and Nuclear Physics

The students also study an additional optional topic.  Options which the teacher could choose include Astrophysics, Engineering Physics, Imaging or Relativity.

The students are also required to carry out practical work throughout the course which will be assessed in the final written papers and via an individual internal assessment practical project.

They will also have the chance to work with students studying other IB Science courses via the practical Group 4 project.

Assessment structure for SL and HL

20% of the overall mark is for the individual internal assessment practical project.

Requirements

Pupils must have attained at least a grade 8 in IGCSE or GCSE Physics or the MYP equivalent and have a strong understanding of scientific principles. IGCSE or GCSE Maths at A* is also essential.  Perhaps more importantly, successful pupils will be highly motivated, well organised, industrious, open-minded and inquisitive.  The course and the individual assessment practical project, in particular, require all of these attributes.

Potential careers

The successful Physics pupil will find a wide range of careers open up. Skills acquired on the course, along with the discipline and rigour of the core material, will allow pupils to consider a range of future pathways, from university courses in science, business or language to direct employment in city, or country, environments in this country or abroad.