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Physics deals with the structure of matter and how the fundamental constituents of universe interact. It is the study of natural phenomena and everything around us!

It studies objects ranging from the very small using Quantum Mechanics to the entire universe using General Relativity.

International Baccalaureate (IB) in the Diploma Programme (DP) offers Physics in Group-4 sciences.

In the schools, Theory and Experiments should be undertaken by all the students.

The students are taught Practically and have the opportunity to design investigations, collect data, develop experimental skills, analyze and evaluate the observations with peers also Independently. The Diploma Programme allows students to develop interpersonal and Digital Communication skills which are extremely important in modern scientific era.

IB DP physics course allows students to develop traditional Practical Skills and techniques which complements their abilities in the use of “mathematics – considered as the language of physics”.

The curriculum for Physics in IB Diploma Programme (DP) includes essential principles of the subject but also gives the freedom to choose one Optional topic of their interest. The course is available at both SL and HL level, and comprehensively designed the course for students who wish to pursue physics as their major subject in Higher education and those who do not.

Difference between SL AND HL:

IB presents with a syllabus the encourage the development of Scientific knowledge and skills covering a varied diversity of the topics.

The distinction between SL and HL is one of Breadth and Depth.

The students of International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) in Group 4 Physics studies a common core syllabus, a common Internal Assessment (IA) scheme and some common topics in the Option taken.

Students at HL require to learn some topics in depth from the Additional Higher Level content and the option chosen.

Syllabus Outline:

Core – Both SL and HL – 95 Hours  
Measurement and UncertaintiesMechanicsThermal PhysicsWavesElectricity and MagnetismCircular Motion and GravitationAtomic, Nuclear and Particle PhysicsEnergy Production  
Additional Higher Level (AHL)  – 60 Hours
HL ONLY   Wave PhenomenaFieldsElectromagnetic InductionQuantum and Nuclear Physics  
OPTION – choose one SL – 15 Hours HL – 25 Hours
  RelativityEngineering PhysicsImagingAstro Physics  


A practical approach to the course delivery is emphasized through the short-term and long-term investigations and experiments.

  1. Practical Activities – Students perform activities related to the course syllabus in Laboratory or through simulation soft wares.

SL- 20 Hrs.

HL – 40 Hrs.

  • Group 4 Project

Students are separated in Groups and are supposed to conduct an Experiment and write a Report

10 Hours for both SL and HL

  • Individual Investigation: Each Students Performs an individual Investigation and write a detailed Report – This is Used for the Internal Assessment (IA) and it counts 20% weightage for your Physics IB Score.

Syllabus Content:

Core – both for SL and HL

TOPICNo. of hoursSub-topics
Measurement and Uncertainties5 Measurements in Physics Uncertainties and errors Vectors and scalars  
Mechanics22 Motion Forces Work, Power and Energy Momentum and Impulse  
Thermal Physics11 Thermal Concepts Modelling a gas  
Waves15 Oscillations Travelling waves Wave characteristics Wave behavior Standing waves  
Electricity and Magnetism15 Electric Field Heating Effect of Electric current Electric cells Magnetic effect of Electric Current  
Circular motion and Gravitation5Circular Motion Newton’s law of Gravitation  
Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics  14Discrete Energy and Radioactivity Nuclear Reactions The structure of matter  
Energy Production8 Energy sources Thermal Energy Transfer  

Additional Higher Level (AHL)


TOPICNo. of hoursSub-topics
Wave Phenomena17Simple Harmonic Motion Single Slit Diffraction Interference Resolution Doppler Effect  
 Fields11Describing FieldsFields at work
 Electromagnetic Induction16Electromagnetic InductionPower Generation and TransmissionCapacitance  
 Quantum and Nuclear Physics16The interaction of Matter with RadiationNuclear Physics  


(choose one)

Topic (15 Hours for both SL and HL)Sub-Topics  Additional HL Topics ( 10 Hours – HL ONLY)
RelativityA.1 Beginning of Relativity A.2 Lorentz Transformation A.3 Space time DiagramA.4 Relativistic Mechanics A.5 General Relativity  
Engineering PhysicsB.1 Rigid Bodies and Rotational Diagrams B.2 ThermodynamicsB.3 Fluid and Fluid Dynamics B.4 Forced Vibrations and Resonance  
ImagingC.1 Introduction to Imaging C.2 Imaging Instrumentation C.3 Fibre Optics  C.4 Medical Imaging
Astro Physics  D.1 Stellar Quantities D.2 Stellar characteristics and stellar evolution D.3 CosmologyD.4 Stellar Processes D.5 Further Cosmology  

Assessment for IB DP Physics

The most important aim of assessment in the Diploma Programme is that it should encourage effective student Learning. External and Internal assessments are used in the IB Diploma programme. The External Assessment is designed to record student achievement at towards the end of the Diploma programme. The Internal Assessment (IA) is an investigation performed by the student and needs to submits towards the end of the course of the study.

 IB examiners mark the summative assessment, while Internal Assessment is marked by the teachers and externally moderated by IB.

Assessment outline:

The External Exams are conducted in the following manner:

30 Multiple choice questions (core) Time – 45 minutesTotal – 30 marksNo negative marking   Data Booklet Provided Calculator – NOT allowed Weightage – 20%  Short answer and extended response questions (core) Time – 75 minutesTotal – 50 marks   Data Booklet Provided Calculator –  allowed Weightage – 40%  SECTION A – Data based questions and short answer questions on Experimental Work  Section B – Short-answer and extended response question from one option Time – 60 minutesTotal – 35 marks   Data Booklet Provided Calculator –  allowed Weightage – 20%      
40 Multiple choice question (core & AHL) Time – 60 minutesTotal- 40 marksNo negative marking   Data Booklet Provided Calculator – NOT allowed Weightage – 20%  Short answer and extended response questions (core & AHL) Time – 135 minutesTotal – 90 marks   Data Booklet Provided Calculator –  allowed Weightage – 36%  SECTION A – Data based questions and short answer questions on Experimental Work  Section B – Short-answer and extended response question from one option Time – 75 minutesTotal – 45 marks   Data Booklet Provided Calculator –  allowed Weightage – 24%      

Internal Assessment (IA)

Internal assessment is an integral part of the course and is mandatory for both SL and HL. It allows the students to demonstrate the applications of their knowledge in the practical aspect of their interest.

The work submitted has to be the student’s own work. However, teachers need to ensure that the students are familiar with the format and assessment criteria of the IA. Students should be encouraged to initiate discussions with the teacher to ask for the advice and information.

The assessment model for Physics IA uses five criterions to assess the final report:

CriteriaMarksWhat the criteria assesses?
Personal Engagement2 (8%)Assesses the extent to which the student engages with the exploration and makes it their own  Include addressing personal interests, showing evidence of independent thinking, creativity or initiative in the designing, implementation or presentation of the investigation  
Exploration6 (25%)Assesses the extent to which the student establishes the scientific context for the work, states a clear focused aim and uses concepts and techniques up to the level of Diploma programme.  
Analysis6 (25%)Assesses the extent to which the student’s report provides evidence that the student has selected, recorded, processed and interpreted the data in the ways relevant to Research question and can support a conclusion  
Evaluation6 (25%)Assesses the extent to which the report provides evidence of evaluation of investigation and the results with regard to Research Question.  
Communication4 (17%)Assesses whether the investigation is presented and reported in a way that supports effective communication of the focus, process and outcomes  
TOTAL24 (100%) 


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