Tips on how to get top marks in the final IB Physics exam from our expert teacher Steve
First, we talk to IB Physics teacher Steve about how IB students can score top marks in their IB Physics exam.
Also, how Physics IB students can revise to achieve a 7. Note – this article relates to the the syllabus with last examinations in 2024.
Plus, we look at what to do if their IB Physics mock exam results are disappointing.
Use the IB Physics syllabus as a checklist.
First, getting a 7 in the IB physics exam is a tall order.
For one thing, it goes without saying that you have got to learn the course, then you’ve got to learn the facts that you have missed. To do this you need to go through all elements and make sure you understand them.
In fact, I get a lot of students that come to me after they have had a rough time in the mock. Often, I see that they would have a better chance of getting top marks in their Physics IB if they were to start revising from the beginning of the course sequentially.
In this way, they can make sure that they really understood the content all the way through. In fact, this is the only way to get 7 points in your final IB exam.
Test yourself with past IB Physics questions from ALL papers.
Consequently, I often find with students we come to the situation where they say: “I understand that, I get that, I see how that is related to that, so why can’t I answer the questions?” It’s so common, particularly in Physics, because it is applied Maths understanding and that comes with a lot of practice.
Next, you need to get confident in answering lots of different types of Physics exam questions. For instance, there are multiple-choice, short answer questions, and we have also got long answer questions. As I have said, you need the experience of getting those questions answered correctly every time to achieve the very top marks of the full 7 points in your IB Physics exam.
Generally speaking, it isn’t easy, it takes time and organisation in order to do that.
So this is what we cover in tutorials, we work with lots and lots of past questions. In this way, we increase the chance that each student will be able to hit those top marks in their IB Physics exam and get those magic 7 points.
If a student has disappointing mock results they should think about which part of the course did they really not like. After that, they can pick the piece they are worst at and become an expert at that first. By doing this they will gain marks on the bits that have been letting them down in the past.
Find a tutor to help you get top marks in your IB Physics HL and SL exams here.
To get top marks in IB Physics don’t leave marks on the table!
By the time you have learned the course you think “I am going to go into that exam and I’ve done the hard work and I deserve those marks and I’m not leaving without them.”
So when you get to the paper you are going to spend some time looking at how many marks will be awarded for each question. For example, if this is a big 6 mark question, don’t just do a sentence or two answer.
Instead, you need to think back after you have given your answer and ask yourself “how many marks for this one? For example, I’ve got one for that, I’ve got one for that, mmm what else are they looking for?” Let’s come away with 6 marks because we’ve done the work.
Earlier, I was looking at a question that was about an ion drive spacecraft like the Dawn Project that went to the asteroid Siris and orbited that for a while to just have a look and it took weeks and weeks for it to build up speed by spitting these ions out of the back of the spacecraft and the question said: “estimate the maximum velocity that it achieved and explain why it is an estimate.”
Count the marks for each question as you go.
Similarly, you can approach the question like this; “this is for 3 marks so instantly what I am thinking, what do I need to do for those 3 marks?” In addition, here is an example of how I would recommend you approach it to get top marks:
First, I’ve got to use the principle of conservation of momentum, so If I can demonstrate I have used that, I’ve got 1 mark. Secondly, calculating the velocity, there’s my second mark. Thirdly, the final mark has got to be why is it an estimate because by spitting these ions out of the back the spacecraft is getting lighter, it’s losing some mass, and the acceleration will increase. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to answer the next question until I know I have got 3 marks worth. In addition, if I have got 4 good answers and I’m going to put them all in to maximise the marks I can get here.
In summary, these are the tactics and strategies you need to score top marks in your final IB Physics exams.