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Physics is the science that is of immediate relevance to everyday life, allowing you to make sense of many environmental and technological issues, whilst at the same time addressing momentous questions concerning the existence and properties of the Universe.

Much of the appeal of physics lies in the beauty of its logic. In addition it involves creativity since originality and imagination are vital for developing novel solutions to problems, theoretical explanations and experimental approaches.

Course Outline

Core topics:

  • Measurement and Uncertainties 

  • Mechanics 

  • Thermal Physics

  • Waves and Wave Phenomena

  • Electricity, Magnetism and Electromagnetic Induction

  • Circular Motion and Gravitation 

  • Fields

  • Atomic, Nuclear, Quantum and Particle Physics 

  • Energy production 

In addition to the core topics, one option topic will be covered from:

  • Relativity
  • Engineering Physics
  • Imaging
  • Astrophysics 


Paper 1  Multiple choice questions (20%)
Paper 2 Short answer and extended response questions on theory content (36%)
Paper 3 Short answer and data analysis questions on the compulsory experiments; short answer and extended response questions on the Option topic (24%)
Internal Assessment One extended practical investigation (20%)

Practical Work

You will have the opportunity to design investigations, collect data, develop your manipulative skills, analyse results, collaborate with peers and evaluate and communicate your findings 

Experimental skills will be developed by spending 10 hours on the collaborative Group 4 project and completing a programme of 40 hours of practical work in lessons. It will be assessed through an investigative task spanning a further 10 hours of Physics lesson time, and some aspects of experimental work will be examined in the formal written papers. 

Maths skills 

We suggest that you take Maths at at least Standard Level in order to follow the Higher Level Physics course.

Recent IB Physics results

  2017 2018 2019
Entries (all HL) 5 9 3
% 7 20 22 0
% 7-6 60 33 66
% 7-5 100 55 66
% 7-4 100 100 100

 2019 Physics students university destinations

Subject Destination
Economics Bath
Mathematics Cambridge
Mathematics Edinburgh
Engineering USA
Music Kings College London
Financial Mathematics and Statistics London School of Economics

Medicine and Surgery

History and Economics Oxford
History of Art Warwick
Motorsport Engineering Oxford Brookes
Biomedical Sciences University College London
Mathematics University College London
Engineering Sheffield

Group 4: Experimental Sciences