What is IB Physics and What Does it Mean?

The International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program's higher-level physics course is an exploration of this fundamental experimental science, which seeks to explain the universe from the smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. Both AP Physics 1 and Physics 2 are algebra-based courses, meaning that no calculations are necessary to excel. However, it is recommended that students have studied Geometry and Algebra I before entering AP Physics. Physics 1 is an introductory course, teaching the most basic concepts of physics such as movement, force, gravity and electricity.

Physics 2 follows Physics 1, providing more information on topics related to electricity and introducing new areas such as thermodynamics and fluid mechanics. It is worth noting that fluid mechanics is only widely offered in AP Physics 2 and not in any other physics curriculum. Despite the exciting and extraordinary development of ideas throughout the history of physics, observations remain essential to the very core of the subject. There is no required course for this exam, so whether you take AP, A Level, or IB Physics, you can take the physics subject exam.

The IB Diploma Program's higher-level physics course has two levels: Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL). Although both levels have the same core of eight subjects, the HL covers four additional concepts that are likely to be the most challenging in high school physics. Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, since it seeks to explain the universe itself, from the smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies. It includes scientists who have made significant contributions to the field of physics (Newton, Kepler, Rutherford, Einstein and more) and some concepts of quantum physics, such as black holes and superconductivity.

Much of this information is drawn directly from the physics subject guide, available to all IB teachers in the program's resource center. Unlike AP Physics where you can choose which subjects to study, A Level Physics has a defined curriculum that all students must complete. There was no point in teaching calculus-based physics to students who were in mathematics (SL) and had not yet reached calculus), so AP teachers make no such promises. In addition, for the topic of the option in Document 3 (choose one of four options) of IB Physics, HL students have additional content to study, making the exam difficult.

As part of the IB Physics course, you'll cover additional subjects of your choice from a list provided by your teacher. Both IB Physics SL and HL have the same basic requirements consisting of the same number of hours. Physics C Mechanics covers many of the same topics in Physics 1 such as kinematics, momentum and circular motion. However, it has some additional content of its own for which you have to study including discoveries of modern physics and historical figures of physics.