You must work hard to do well in your IGCSE Physics. However, it doesn’t have to be a struggle. Instead, use these tips from IGCSE teachers to find the best learning techniques for you. Then stick to them throughout the course and your revision.
These strategies can significantly reduce stress come revision time, so keep reading to learn how to study smart to get the best grade in your final IGCSE Physics exams.
Is IGCSE Physics Hard?
Among all science-related topics, IGCSE Physics comes out on top as the most difficult one for many students. The equations, formulas, and complex concepts can be tough to master.
In fact, if you have difficulty with Maths, you may need to work on these fundamental skills as well. As a guide, you need to make sure that you are comfortable with percentages, ratios, the use of formulas, fractions, decimals, powers (especially to the power of 10), averages (mean, mode and median), and square roots.
If any of these areas are difficult for you try revisiting some of the basics of key stage 3 Maths until you feel you have mastered these areas.
The key concepts you will need to understand are motion, thermal physics, waves, electricity, magnetism, forces and energy among others.
Formats of IGCSE Physics Exams
Early in your IGCSE Physics journey, you should get your hands on the subject specification and syllabus. It details everything that you’re about to learn as well as the format and criteria of the final assessment. As you probably already know, there are three exam boards, and each has its own specification.
Edexcel International GCSE Physics exam is comprised of two papers. Paper 1 can bring you up to 110 marks. During the 2-hour assessment, you will be answering questions of various styles including multiple-choice, open-response, structured, and short-answer questions. Paper 2 has questions of the similar but it is 45 minutes shorter and awards a maximum of 70 points. The top grade with Edexcel IGCSE Physics is 9.
Cambridge CAIE IGCSE Physics introduces a two-tier grading method. The more preferable tier for apt students is Extended since it allows scoring the maximum. For students whose knowledge is weaker, there is the Core tier. You can also choose a grading system. The 9-1 system underlies the Cambridge 0972 IGCSE Physics while the 0625 IGCSE Physics features the A*-G. With the Core tier, your maximum is only 5 or C.
Both tiers are required 3 papers. The first 45-minute paper has multiple-choice questions and provides up to 40 marks. With the next paper, you can get 80 marks by solving structured and short-answer theoretical questions. You have 1 hour and 15 minutes to answer. The final paper is one hour long, and it features Alternatives to Practical assignments based on practical skills (although it is not a practical exam). A maximum of 40 marks is available with this paper.
Oxford AQA International GCSE Physics assessment consists of two papers. You can earn 90 marks with each. Within the 1.5-hour assessment, you will need to answer structured and complex questions based on the 8 topics of the syllabus. The grading system Oxford AQA utilizes is 9-1.
IGCSE Physics Tips to Do Well in Your Exam
Don’t hesitate to use various learning opportunities, techniques, and resources to make Physics more intelligible. Some of them are as simple as keeping your notes neat, the others are as fun as experimenting at home. Here are some tactics you can try.
Keep Your Notes Organized
There is a plethora of formulas and equations you must learn. If you don’t want to lose track of them, keep these formulas in the same place. It is a good idea to complete formulas with terminology explaining variables and units.
You can even make a drawing representing the physical forces described by the formula. In the same way, you can take notes on every topic in the syllabus.
Focus on keywords and concepts and try to create as many visuals (drawings, graphics, tables, etc.) as you can. This will allow you to process more information using fewer words.
Learn the Command Terms
Read the questions carefully and fully and make sure you understand EXACTLY what the examiner is asking for. The best way to do this is to make sure you understand your command terms clearly.
Here is the list of command terms from the Cambridge 2023-2025 IGCSE Physics syllabus:
Calculate – work out from given facts, figures or information
Comment – give an informed opinion
Compare – identify/comment on similarities and/or differences
Deduce – conclude from available information
Define – give a precise meaning
Describe – state the points of a topic / give characteristics and main features
Determine – establish an answer using the information available
Explain – set out purposes or reasons / make the relationships between things evident / provide why and/or how and support with relevant evidence
Give – produce an answer from a given source or recall/memory Identify name/select/recognise
Justify – support a case with evidence/argument
Predict – suggest what may happen based on available information
Sketch – make a simple freehand drawing showing the key features, taking care of proportions
State – express in clear terms
Suggest – apply knowledge and understanding to situations where there are a range of valid responses in order to make proposals / put forward considerations
Finally, look for clues in the question as to the depth of the answer you need to give. For example, if it is a two-mark question then that means you need to give a brief answer, giving two valid points to gain both marks.
Find out Your Learning Style
Are you a visual learner, or do you retain information best by making flashcards, or doing quizzes?
YouTube is of great help to physics enthusiasts who want to know more. On top of experiment-related content, there are many educational videos explaining complex concepts in simple words and with a lot of fun.
You can also try physics quizzes and educational online platforms. These resources activate different areas of your brain, and this largely facilitates the learning process. The Quizlet app is one of teachers’ favourite tools for flashcards and quizzes.
The most important point is that by this time you should have found the learning techniques that work best for you.
Join Forces with a Friend
Whatever your learning approach, it is often a great idea to buddy up with a friend.
Doing anything is more fun if you’re in good company, and Physics is no exception. If you have a friend who fails to keep up, you can try to teach them. This is not entirely altruistic since repetition of topics is good for you, too. Besides, you are able to try different ways of explaining things until you find the most concise and clear one. Encourage your friend to ask questions because this may help find gaps in your knowledge.
Have a friend who is equally strong (if not stronger) in Physics? That’s great since you can learn from each other. Your study buddy may offer simple solutions to complex concepts, and you will gain benefits from getting to know them.
Practice with Past Papers
This is not the place to start, but as a revision tool, it is essential.
Want to find out which sorts of questions are likely to be in your exam? Past papers can provide this information.
Papers’ content change every year but their core remains the same. Practicing with these papers is like sitting a real exam, especially if you complete it under exam conditions.
They can show you where you’re at a certain point in your revision, and the gaps that you have to tackle.
After answering a paper, it’s worth looking in your textbook or notes to see if you got everything right. If there are mistakes, focus on them during the revision.
Look at the mark scheme to see where you dropped valuable marks, so you don’t miss out in the final exam itself.
Try different papers as many times as you can until there are no mistakes anymore.
Get your Head Around the Equations Early
One of the best approaches is to think of equations as the vocab which makes up the language Physics. Without words, you can’t master the language itself. So, get on with learning the equations by rote.
Once you have done this you will work a lot faster and it will give you confidence as you head into your final exams.
As you are doing your calculations it is also really important to get into the habit from the start of showing your workings. As this means you will pick up marks for your method, even if the final result is wrong.
Finally, when you have finished a calculation, look for silly mistakes. If you take a step back does the answer seem to make sense? Often, this will allow you to pick up small errors in your work.
Make Sure you Know Your Graphs
As you go through the course ensure that you are able to draw, plot, and read line graphs. It is likely that you will need to do both in your exam.
Always use a sharp pencil for graph work, so that you can be precise and take care to plot each point accurately. Usually, we ask students to use a small, neat cross and to draw a thin line.
Look at the checklist below and ensure that you can do each of these:
Interpret graphs accurately
Plot graphs and charts from data
Determine the gradient of a line graph
Be able to draw a tangent
Use and name suitable axes and scales
Correctly understand proportionality
This list is not exhaustive, but it presents the key graph skills you may need to exhibit.
Read Examiner’s Report
Every year, exam boards issue a report outlining how well students did in their IGCSE physics. These reports highlight the most common mistakes previous generations of IGCSE students had and why they were wrong.
They also explain how strong candidates performed in their papers and what the best points in their answers were. Basically, these reports explain what examiners require from the exam papers. Use this information to provide answers meeting their expectations.
Get Extra Help
Extra help can come in various shapes, whether it is your gifted classmate, Physics teacher, forums, or educational platforms. There is one more source of extra help you may want to try – a physics tutor.
Unlike your teacher, a tutor will always have time to answer your questions. They are more attentive to your needs and oftentimes easier to talk to. On top of that, input from a different person is extremely valuable. There can be many ways to explain the same concept, and you want to get to know them to see what works best for you.
Want to make use of an excellent opportunity to improve your performance in IGCSE Physics?
Then don’t hessite to contact TutorsPlus at 022 731 8148 or email@example.com. We pride ourselves on providing a personalized learning experience for students who want to make the most of their time and aptitude. Getting the top grade in IGCSE Physics is easier than you think, let us prove it to you.