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Physics explains what goes on in the universe: from subatomic particles, to galaxies containing billions of stars.

As physicists, we ask the questions "why?" and "how?", using theory and experiment to explore the fundamental laws which underpin all natural phenomena. Through studying Physics, you'll learn about the science behind advances at the forefront of modern technology and develop your ability to solve problems. 

Course Content

The same topics are covered in both SL and HL. The topics are studied in more depth in HL. Core topics covered will be:

  • 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 HL: 60 minutes, 20% of total marks.
Paper 1 SL: 45 minutes, 20% of total marks.

Multiple choice questions from across the whole syllabus. Non-calculator. Data booklet provided.

Paper 2 HL: 2 1/4 hrs, 36% of total marks 
Paper 2 SL: 1 1/4 hrs, 40% of total marks 

Short and extended response questions from across the whole syllabus. Calculator permitted. Data booklet provided.

Paper 3 HL: 1 1/4 hrs, 24% of total marks 
Paper 3 SL: 1hr, 20% of total marks
Data based question and short answer questions based on experimental work Short and extended response questions on option topic. Calculator permitted. Data booklet provided.

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 practical work in lessons. It will be assessed through an investigative task spanning a further 10 hours of lesson time, and some aspects of experimental work will be examined in the formal written papers. 

Maths skills 

Physics is a quantitative subject and you will learn to apply the skills that you have learnt in Maths to explain real world phenomena. 

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