IB Physics HL - 2024

IB Higher Level Physics is a comprehensive and challenging two-year course that surveys many core areas of Physics with a focus on conceptual understanding. The experimental aspect of the course builds skills in experiment design and analysis. Graduates of IB HL Physics are well-prepared for further studies in Physics at the university level.

Course Structure and Content

All HL Physics students will study the eight Standard Level topics as well as four topics that are exclusive to Higher Level.

Together, these cover the core concepts of classical and modern physics, including Mechanics, Thermal Energy, Waves and Oscillations, Electricity and Magnetism, Radioactive Decay, and Quantum and Particle Physics. Students will also study an Option Topic, selected from a choice of Engineering Physics, Astrophysics, Relativity and Optics. Students are assessed on their understanding through three examination papers administered at the end of the course. The practical component of the IB HL Physics course includes an Internal Assessment that consists of a report on an investigation designed and performed by the student. Practical knowledge and the manipulation of experimental data and uncertainties are also assessed on the written exam.

New Science Syllabus

The cohort of students starting the course in the second half of 2023 will be following the newly released International Baccalaureate Physics syllabus. The new syllabus takes students through five themes: Space, Time and Motion, The Particulate Nature of Matter, Wave Behaviour, Fields, and Nuclear and Quantum Physics. Although there are no optional topics, a considerable amount of content from the optional topics from the previous syllabus have been migrated to the new IB HL syllabus. Students are assessed through two examination papers administered at the end of the course. The practical component of the IB Higher Level course is largely unchanged from the previous syllabus.

Tips for Success

  1. Focus on the key concepts. Once you have a good understanding of the fundamental principles of physics, you can develop the flexibility to analyze and answer any question. This can be done by working with the easiest questions first, as they normally focus on the key concepts in straightforward terms. These can be found at the start of the questions in the Questionbank and also in the lower-leveled Revision Ladders. Only once you have a sound understanding of the key concepts should you move on to tackling the more difficult questions.
  2. Always check your work carefully against the Markscheme provided. The expectations for the terminology and detail in solutions and explanations required can be very strict. Be very self-critical when comparing your answers to the mark scheme, checking carefully to ensure that your response would receive full marks. All Revision Village questions have markschemes similar to those on IB questions, so keep this in mind when solving the problems.
  3. Watch your timing! Once you start to become proficient in answering questions, check on your efficiency in solving the problems. Our Popular Quizzes come with suggested completion times that compare well with the time allowed on the IB examinations. Remember, Paper 1 questions should take on average 90 seconds to solve, and Paper 2 question pacing is about one mark every minute.

RV HL Physics is designed to maximize your academic results through providing a large Questionbank and resource set of Revision Ladders, Practice Quizzes and Mock Exams so that you can complete targeted practice in all areas required for success on the final examination.

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Frequently Asked Questions

IB Physics Higher Level (HL) is one of the science courses introduced in the current IB Science curriculum (2016 - 2024). The Physics HL course is a traditional science course, whereby students develop a deep understanding of scientific concepts and solve both real and theoretical problems, with and without technology. The Physics HL course should be considered by students who are strong at science, and are interested in pursuing courses and pathways involving science or engineering after their IB Diploma Program.

The IB Physics HL course consists of four assessment items that contribute to a student’s overall score for the course. There are three exam papers and an internally assessed independent investigation. Paper 1 consists of multiple-choice questions, Paper 2 consists of short-answer questions, and Paper 3 consists of data-based questions, short-answer questions on practical experimentation, and short-answer questions from one option. The use of a calculator is prohibited for Paper 1 but permitted for Papers 2 and 3. A data booklet with useful constants and equations are provided for all three papers.

There are two phases students progress through in their two-year IB Physics HL course: the learning phase and the revision phase. The learning phase occurs in class, with their teacher and textbooks, where students first encounter and explore scientific concepts and consolidate their understanding by solving questions specific to that concept. The revision phase, which is what Revision Village is specifically designed for, is when students consolidate their understanding of all of the concepts in the Physics HL course and appreciate how the concepts are connected. In the revision phase, the most effective strategy is to practice lots of IB Physics HL exam questions to build confidence, reach mastery, and be prepared for the Physics HL examinations.

Revision Village is specifically designed to support IB students in the revision phase of their IB Physics Higher Level course. Revision Village has four main sections, each for different revision purposes: 1) Questionbank: a large library of IB Physics HL exam questions categorised by topic and ordered by difficulty, 2) Practice Exams: a carefully designed set of quizzes and mock papers for students to use in their final phase of revision, 3) Past Paper Video Solutions: step-by-step video tutorials of past Physics HL exam questions, taught by experienced IB Teachers, and 4) Key Concepts: short concise videos that recap the important theory in the Physics HL course. Revision Village is the perfect place for IB Students to learn, practice and prepare for their IB Physics exam stress-free, with all of the resources they need in one place.