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IB Physics Tuition

IB subjects can seem daunting in their differences to national curricula. Find out more about them and how they're assessed below.

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Physics

'Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself, from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. Despite the exciting and extraordinary development of ideas throughout the history of physics, observations remain essential to the very core of the subject. Models are developed to try to understand observations, and these themselves can become theories that attempt to explain the observations.' (IBO Subject Brief)

May 2021 Examination Changes

The IBO has announced significant changes to the assessment methods for the May 2021 Examination period. Almost all subjects have seen the weighting of certain papers amended, the length of exams reduced, and many have seen entier assessment components removed.

Physics Examination Changes for May 2021

Paper 3 removed - Optional Topic and Data on Experimentation Questions
Group 4 Project - Never part of final grade

Read our May 2021 Exam Changes Report
Our 'May 2021 Examinations Report' goes into detail into all the changes the IBO have announced for every IB subject, as well as how to to respond and work with educators to minimise disruption as much as possible.
'May 2021 Examination Changes' Report ↗
Read more about Physics

Physics is the most analytical of the pure sciences available in the IB Diploma Program. It explores the fundamental workings of the physical world, rationalising and quantifying the forces and principles that determine both microscopic and macroscopic outcomes. Outside of the subject, it teaches students to analyse situations and determine relevant concepts, and combining these to reach sometimes unintuitive yet irrefutable conclusions.

Need help chosing your IB subjects?
History or Economics? Maths HL or SL? Choosing DP subjects can feel like a ticking time bob. We've been helping IB families weigh their options for nearly a decade and can help you make sure you balance your future plans and aptitude with loving your IB subjects.
IB Subject Selection Advice >
This subject's group:
Group 4: Sciences
It is a requirement of the programme that students study at least one subject from group 4. Six subjects are available: Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Design Technology, Physics, 'Sports, Exercise and Health Science', and Environmental Systems & Societies - which meets the Group 3 and Group 4 requirements.
Find out more about Subject Groups >
Advice from our tutors

Physics is the most quantitative of the group 4 subjects, requiring a strong grasp of the mathematics course to fully appreciate its intricacies. However, in order to apply these skills correctly, a solid understanding of its ideas is key. Ensure that you neglect neither as you progress through the course: be familiar with both the derivations/calculations and their rationale as you build up your understanding of each topic and sub-topic.

Assessment

The IB Physics syllabus provides a solid grounding in a broad range of topics in preparation for undergraduate study, from Mechanics, through Electromagnetism and Wave Phenomena, to Quantum and Nuclear Physics. It is designed to be accessible to students who have not taken Physics as a separate science in the past, but exposure to Physics prior to the DP will help greatly. It will also draw on the maths course, particularly calculus and kinematics, so be aware that some parts of the course will only make intuitive sense once they have been covered both in subjects.

Students can also choose one of four options to suit their interests: Engineering Physics, Relativity, Astrophysics, and Imaging. As with other group 4 subjects, there will be both experimental and theoretical components to the course, with relevant experiments to each topic, both laboratory and computer-simulated. The IA will also contribute a significant portion of the final grade.

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Next steps

Physics in the International Baccalaureate is a requirement for many undergraduate courses, including Engineering and Medicine (if you are not doing Biology and Chemistry), and will be useful for a variety of careers. Examples of directly relevant careers are research, academia, and all forms of engineering. The analytical and mathematical skills of a Physics degree are also highly valued by accounting, consulting, and financial firms. Further studies can be within the subject or potentially law conversion and graduate medicine.

Applying to UK universities?
History or Economics? Maths HL or SL? Choosing DP subjects can feel like a ticking time bomb. We've been helping IB families weigh their options for nearly a decade and can help you make sure you balance your future plans and aptitude with loving your IB subjects.
EIB Admissions >
Brief & Examinations
Read the information provided for this subject by the IBO.
Subject Brief ↗Announced Exams (May 2021) ↗

Read more about Physics

Physics is the most analytical of the pure sciences available in the IB Diploma Program. It explores the fundamental workings of the physical world, rationalising and quantifying the forces and principles that determine both microscopic and macroscopic outcomes. Outside of the subject, it teaches students to analyse situations and determine relevant concepts, and combining these to reach sometimes unintuitive yet irrefutable conclusions.

Need help chosing your IB subjects?
Chemistry or Biology? Maths HL or SL? Choosing DP subjects can feel like a ticking time bob. We've been helping IB families weigh their options for nearly a decade and can help you make sure you balance your future plans and aptitude with loving your IB subjects.
IB Subject Selection >
This subject's group:
Group 4: Sciences
It is a requirement of the programme that students study at least one subject from group 4. Six subjects are available: Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Design Technology, Physics, 'Sports, Exercise and Health Science', and Environmental Systems & Societies - which meets the Group 3 and Group 4 requirements.
Find out more about Subject Groups >
Advice from our tutors

Physics is the most quantitative of the group 4 subjects, requiring a strong grasp of the mathematics course to fully appreciate its intricacies. However, in order to apply these skills correctly, a solid understanding of its ideas is key. Ensure that you neglect neither as you progress through the course: be familiar with both the derivations/calculations and their rationale as you build up your understanding of each topic and sub-topic.

View the IBO's brief for this subject
Read the information provided for this subject by the IBO.
Subject Brief >
What can you do with this subject?

Physics in the International Baccalaureate is a requirement for many undergraduate courses, including Engineering and Medicine (if you are not doing Biology and Chemistry), and will be useful for a variety of careers. Examples of directly relevant careers are research, academia, and all forms of engineering. The analytical and mathematical skills of a Physics degree are also highly valued by accounting, consulting, and financial firms. Further studies can be within the subject or potentially law conversion and graduate medicine.

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Find out more about our IB subject support

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