How to get a 7 in IB Physics

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IB Physics is one of the most difficult IB subjects. Wouldn’t you be proud of yourself if you finished your course with the highest grade? Of course, you would! But how to get a 7 in IB Physics without sacrificing other subjects, your social life, and your mental health?

Steve, a tutor at TutorsPlus and a former Vice-Principal with over 20 years of Physics teaching experience, will help you find the answer. Please note that these tips concern a new IB Physics syllabus, the first assessment in 2025.

IB Physics Grading System

For starters, we need to figure out what a 7 in IB Physics is and what this score is made of.

International Baccalaureate uses a numeric grading system for all the subjects, including Physics. The highest possible grade is 7, the lowest is 1, and a passing grade is 4. To earn your grade, you need to sit an exam and submit a practical project.

As you can see in the IB Physics syllabus, the exams take place at the end of the two-year programme and consist of two papers:

  • Paper 1 makes up 36% of your final grade and lasts 1,5 hours for SL students and 2 hours for HL. Part A of the paper features multiple-choice questions, while Part B – data-based questions.
  • Paper 2 contributes 44% to your final grade. It includes both short-answer and longer questions. While its duration for SL is similar to Paper 1 – 1,5 hours, HL students sit this exam within 2.5 hours.

In addition to the exams, you need to design and conduct a scientific investigation. This project allows you to put your physics knowledge into practice. You’ll start by identifying a specific physics phenomenon or problem that interests you, convey your own, self-directed experiment, analyse its results, and create a written 3000-word report.

This internally assessed investigation contributes 20% to your final grade.

How to Get a 7 in IB Physics

With such an intensive assessment system, scoring well in IB Physics might seem like a daunting task. But don’t worry, you can do it without being stressed or overwhelmed.

In short, the secret to your success lies, before all, in strategic planning and time management. And here is how to get a 7 in IB Physics in more detail.

Look at the Syllabus and Find the Gaps

Your road to getting a 7 in IB Physics starts with understanding everything in the syllabus. But this doesn’t mean that you just need to read it. What you should really do is try to figure out where your knowledge might be lacking. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Try old exam papers. Practising with past papers and self-assessing your answer using the mark scheme can help you find topics you don’t quite understand;
  • Check your grades. Look at your past tests and assignments. Are there any topics where you consistently score lower? Those are likely areas where you need more practice;
  • Ask your teacher. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher for help. They can point out specific areas where you might be falling behind.

Remember, the key is being honest with yourself. If you find any gaps in your knowledge, focus on filling them. By using the syllabus as a guide and tackling your weak spots, you’ll be much closer to achieving that top score in IB Physics.

Identify Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Once you’ve figured out the areas where you might struggle, keep improving your knowledge until you become an expert.

Once again, it is important to work on past papers. Not only do they put your grasp to the test, but also allow you to familiarise yourself with different question formats such as long answers, short answers, and multiple choice.

If your mock exams weren’t ideal, analyse the questions you lost the most marks on. These are your weaknesses. This means you need to go back and study these specific concepts more.

Once you’ve taken care of the most challenging topics, move on to those you know a bit better. This way, you can work your way up from the hardest to the easiest topics. In the end, this should give you the confidence to answer any type of question in your exam.

Practice More

They say that practice makes perfect for a reason. The more you practice, the better you feel on D-Day. But don’t just focus on past papers. Instead, you should use as many varied resources as possible.

These could be online resources like video tutorials, quizzes, or physics simulations. While more fun than plain text in your textbook, they can actually help straighten your knowledge.

At the same time, your IB Physics textbook is still a storehouse of knowledge, so use it for your revision as well. Go back to the specific chapters or sections related to your weak areas and re-read the material carefully. Pay close attention to definitions, key formulas, and core principles.

One more effective way to study and revise Physics is a study group. Discussing challenging concepts with classmates can provide different perspectives and solidify your grasp of the material.

Answer Questions Strategically

No doubt, it is a challenging quest to get a 7 in IB Physics. But not at all impossible. Interestingly, solid knowledge is only half the battle. Sometimes, a difference between the highest score and something lower lies in your approach towards answering questions.

Don’t settle for short, one-sentence answers, especially for high-value questions. Remember, the number of marks available often reflects the expected level of detail in your response.

If it awards 1 mark, your answer should be concise – don’t waste your time adding more detail. On the other hand, when there are 6 marks on the table, you need to make sure you give a full answer.

While calculations are important, the final exams consider the quality of your explanations as well. Ask yourself: “Have I provided a detailed enough explanation to secure all the marks for this question?”

The bottom line, when it comes to higher-mark questions, you need to try to cover all the key points in your answer. This way, you increase your chances of securing the full score.

Use Effective Time Management

Effective time management is crucial for success in IB Physics, especially since the syllabus covers so much material.

This means that you need to develop a realistic and consistent study schedule that allocates enough time for each topic. Start with the most challenging concepts and dedicate more time to those areas. If a topic is particularly large or difficult, you should break it into smaller, more manageable chunks. Such a study plan can help you stay organised and avoid last-minute cramming.

In the same vein, you should use time management for working with past papers.

Set a timer and answer the questions under exam conditions as this mimics the pressure and pace you’ll experience in the actual exam. Track how much time you spend on each question type (multiple choice, short answer, long answer). This will let you know how much time you require to answer and, as a result, you can develop a realistic strategy when it’s time to sit your finals.

One more element of time management is to know when to stop. Studying is important but you need schedule breaks to maintain a healthy study-life balance. With sufficient time to rest, you can avoid burnout and approach your studies with a fresh mind.

Study with a Tutor

Needless to say, you need to study not only hard but also smart to get a 7 in IB Physics. However, sometimes this may not be enough. If you find yourself stranded, support from a tutor can be a way out.

This is how you can benefit from professional tutoring:

  • A tutor can provide individualised attention and tailor their teaching methods to your specific needs;
  • A tutor is able to provide practice problems and quizzes specifically designed to address your weaknesses;
  • You can get valuable insights and strategies for approaching IB Physics exams effectively. This may include time management techniques and question-solving approaches.
  • Regular tutoring sessions can help you stay on track with your study schedule and ensure you cover all the necessary material effectively.

How to Get a 7 in IB Physics with TutorsPlus

Are you ready to make your revision as effective as it can be? Great, because at TutorsPlus, we can help you find the right tutor who specialises in IB Physics and understands the specific requirements of the exams.

We are at your disposal whether you need general Physics tutoring or focused support for your IB Physics exam. We can even provide IB revision courses – click here to find out more.

Don’t waste your opportunity to pull off one of the most challenging subjects in International Baccalaureate. Contact TutorsPlus today at 022 731 8148 or info@tutorsplus.com to schedule a consultation and discuss how our expert tutors can help you reach your full potential.

<img class=”alignleft size-thumbnail wp-image-10343″ src=”https://tutorsplus.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/3-150×150.png” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”150″ /> <em>By Sara Lloyd</em>

Sara has been an education consultant for TutorsPlus for 15 years, and is an expert on international IB education.  She is also a parent of two lively children.

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