Physics – IB

A. Curriculum Overview – Topics you will learn

Topic 1: Measurements and uncertainties

1.1 – Measurements in physics

1.2 – Uncertainties and errors

1.3 – Vectors and scalars

 

Topic 2: Mechanics

2.1 – Motion

2.2 – Forces

2.3 – Work, energy and power

2.4 – Momentum and impulse

 

Topic 3: Thermal physics

3.1 – Thermal concepts

3.2 – Modelling a gas

 

Topic 4: Waves

4.1 – Oscillations

4.2 – Travelling waves

4.3 – Wave characteristics

4.4 – Wave behaviour

4.5 – Standing waves

 

Topic 5: Electricity and magnetism

5.1 – Electric fields

5.2 – Heating effect of electric currents

5.3 – Electric cells

5.4 – Magnetic effects of electric currents

 

Topic 6: Circular motion and gravitation

6.1 – Circular motion

6.2 – Newton’s law of gravitation

 

Topic 7: Atomic, nuclear and particle physics

7.1 – Discrete energy and radioactivity

7.2 – Nuclear reactions

7.3 – The structure of matter

 

Topic 8: Energy production

8.1 – Energy sources

8.2 – Thermal energy transfer

 

Additional higher level (AHL)

Topic 9: Wave phenomena

9.1 – Simple harmonic motion

9.2 – Single-slit diffraction

9.3 – Interference

9.4 – Resolution

9.5 – Doppler effect

 

Topic 10: Fields

10.1 – Describing fields

10.2 – Fields at work

 

Topic 11: Electromagnetic induction

11.1 – Electromagnetic induction

11.2 – Power generation and transmission

11.3 – Capacitance

 

Topic 12: Quantum and nuclear physics

12.1 – The interaction of matter with radiation

12.2 – Nuclear physics

 

Options (HL)

A: Relativity

Core topics

A.1 – The beginnings of relativity

A.2 – Lorentz transformations

A.3 – Spacetime diagrams

Additional higher level topics

A.4 – Relativistic mechanics (HL only)

A.5 – General relativity (HL only)

 

B: Engineering physics

Core topics

B.1 – Rigid bodies and rotational dynamics

B.2 – Thermodynamics

Additional higher level topics

B.3 – Fluids and fluid dynamics (HL only)

B.4 – Forced vibrations and resonance (HL only)

 

Option C: Imaging

Core topics

C.1 – Introduction to imaging

C.2 – Imaging instrumentation

C.3 – Fibre optics

Additional higher level topics

C.4 – Medical imaging (HL only)

 

Option D: Astrophysics

Core topics

D.1 – Stellar quantities

D.2 – Stellar characteristics and stellar evolution

D.3 – Cosmology

Additional higher level topics

D.4 – Stellar processes (HL only)

D.5 – Further cosmology (HL only)

 

 

B. Assessment

External assessment details—SL

Physics IB Syllabus SL.png

Paper 1

Duration: 3/4 hour

Weighting: 20%

Marks: 30

  • 30 multiple-choice questions on core, about 15 of which are common with HL.
  • The questions on paper 1 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
  • The use of calculators is not permitted.
  • No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
  • A physics data booklet is provided.

 

Paper 2

Duration: 1¼ hours

Weighting: 40%

Marks: 50

  • Short-answer and extended-response questions on core material.
  • The questions on paper 2 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
  • The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
  • A physics data booklet is provided.

 

Paper 3

Duration: 1 hour

Weighting: 20%

Marks: 35

  • This paper will have questions on core and SL option material.
  • Section A: one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work.
  • Section B: short-answer and extended-response questions from one option.
  • The questions on paper 3 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
  • The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
  • A physics data booklet is provided.

 

External assessment details—HL

Physics IB Syllabus HL

Paper 1

Duration: 1 hour

Weighting: 20%

Marks: 40

  • 40 multiple-choice questions on core and AHL, about 15 of which are common with SL.
  • The questions on paper 1 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
  • The use of calculators is not permitted.
  • No marks are deducted for incorrect answers.
  • A physics data booklet is provided.

 

Paper 2

Duration: 2¼ hours

Weighting: 36%

Marks: 95

  • Short-answer and extended-response questions on the core and AHL material.
  • The questions on paper 2 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
  • The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
  • A physics data booklet is provided.

 

Paper 3

Duration: 1¼ hours

Weighting: 24%

Marks: 45

  • This paper will have questions on core, AHL and option material.
  • Section A: one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work.
  • Section B: short-answer and extended-response questions from one option.
  • The questions on paper 3 test assessment objectives 1, 2 and 3.
  • The use of calculators is permitted. (See calculator section on the OCC.)
  • A physics data booklet is provided.

 

C. Specimen/ Examples of questions

Physics Paper 1 SL

Physics Paper 2 SL

Physics Paper 3 SL