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The Best IB Chemistry Study Guide and Notes for SL/HL

Posted by Dora Seigel | Jul 31, 2015 6:20:58 PM

International Baccalaureate (IB)



IB Chemistry may not be quite as easy as this penguin makes it seems. So to help you out, I have compiled the best FREE online IB Chemistry Study Guides and Notes into one helpful article. I will order this IB Chemistry Study Guide using the IB Chemistry Syllabus.    

How to use this IB Chemistry Study Guide

If there is one specific topic that you need more help with, use the Command + F function on your computer to search this guide for that subject. So, if you hope to read about The Mole Concept, use Command + F to bring up the search function. Type in “Mole Concept” and it will bring up all of the study materials for The Mole Concept.

If you are looking for summary material to help you study for the IB Chemistry papers, check out the Overall Reviews section for great overall study resources. First, I will list the notes/guides by topic. 

How should you use this article during the school year?

You should glance at this article during the school year to help you study for in-class tests and quizzes if you need more assistance or if you struggled to understand certain lectures in your IB Chemistry course. If you want additional help, read our article on the Best IB Chemistry Books, Reviewed (Coming Soon!) to find additional study resources. You should be learning the material over the course of the school year and not cramming right before the IB Chemistry papers.   



What are the best study practices during the school year?

Make sure you are practicing related IB Chemistry past paper questions as you learn each new topic. You can find past IB Chemistry HL and IB Chemistry SL papers using our other article Where to Find IB Chemistry Past Papers - Free and Official (Coming Soon!). Also, if you are having a hard time comprehending a class lecture, you should be reviewing the corresponding chapter in a textbook or study guide. Find great IB Chemistry books in our other article The Best IB Chemistry Books, Reviewed (Coming Soon!).

Common errors IB Chemistry students make when studying

Many students struggle with IB Chemistry SL/HL. There are so many subjects to learn, and you cannot fall behind. You need to be learning during the school year in order to ace the IB Chemistry papers.

Common errors students make when studying are:

  1. Avoiding the topics you didn't fully comprehend in class. If you did not learn it in the classroom, you need to seek additional assistance whether through this IB Chemistry study guide, IB Chemistry Books (article coming soon!), or through tutoring.
  2. Only cramming a week or two before the IB Chemistry Exam. There are way too many topics to master in only a week or two (that is why the course is taught over 1 to 2 years). So, master the subjects as you learn them in class. Use this study guide if you need more help comprehending the topics you cover in class:



Otherwise, you will be as nervous as this kid during the test.


Core - 95 hours for SL and HL

Topic #1: Stoichiometric relationships - 13.5 hours for SL and HL

1.1 Introduction to the particulate nature of matter and chemical change

1.2 The mole concept

1.3 Reacting masses and volumes


Topic #2: Atomic structure - 6 hours for SL and HL

2.1 The nuclear atom   

2.2 Electron configuration





Topic #3: Periodicity - 6 hours for SL and HL

3.1 Periodic table

3.2 Periodic trends


Topic #4: Chemical bonding and structure - 13.5 hours for SL and HL

4.1  Ionic bonding and structure

4.2 Covalent bonding

4.3 Covalent structures

4.4 Intermolecular forces

4.5 Metallic bonding




Unfortunately, you will not learn about this type of bond. 


Topic #5: Energetics/thermochemistry - 9 hours for SL and HL

5.1 Measuring energy changes   

5.2 Hess’s Law

5.3 Bond enthalpies


Topic #6: Chemical kinetics - 7 hours for both SL and HL

6.1 Collision theory and rates of reaction


Topic #7: Equilibrium - 4.5 hours for SL and HL

7.1 Equilibrium





Topic #8: Acids and bases - 6.5 hours for SL and HL

8.1 Theories of acids and bases

8.2 Properties of acids and bases

8.3 The pH scale

8.4 Strong and weak acids and bases

8.5 Acid deposition


Topic #9: Redox processes - 8 hours for SL and HL

9.1 Oxidation and reduction

9.2 Electrochemical cells






Topic #10: Organic chemistry - 11 hours for SL and HL

10.1 Fundamentals of organic chemistry

10.2 Functional group chemistry


Topic #11: Measurement and data processing - 10 hours for SL and HL

11.1 Uncertainties and errors in measurement and results

11.2 Graphical techniques

11.3 Spectroscopic identification of organic compounds

Additional higher level (AHL) - 60 hours for HL

Topic #12: Atomic structure  - 2 hours

12.1 Electrons in atoms


Topic #13: The periodic table—the transition metals - 4 hours

13.1 First-row d-block elements

13.2 Coloured complexes





Topic #14: Chemical bonding and structure - 7 hours

 14.1 Covalent bonding and electron domain and molecular geometries

14.2 Hybridization


Topic #15: Energetics/thermochemistry - 7 hours

15.1 Energy cycles

15.2 Entropy and spontaneity


Topic #16: Chemical kinetics - 6 hours

16.1 Rate expression and reaction mechanism

16.2 Activation energy



Okay, you may not get to do this. 


Topic #17: Equilibrium - 4 hours

17.1 The equilibrium law


Topic #18: Acids and bases - 10 hours

18.1 Lewis acids and bases

18.2 Calculations involving acids and bases

18.3 pH curves



Topic #19: Redox processes - 6 hours

19.1 Electrochemical cells



Topic #20: Organic chemistry - 12 hours

20.1 Types of organic reactions

20.2 Synthetic routes

20.3 Stereoisomerism





Topic #21: Measurement and analysis - 2 hours

21.1 Spectroscopic identification of organic compounds

Option - 15 hours for SL and 25 hours for HL

Unfortunately, there are no free online study guides for the options, but look at our article on IB Chemistry Books (Coming Soon!) to find books that review the options topics.

Overall Reviews

What’s next?

Learn more about IB Chemistry:

Learn more about the IB Program through our other articles:

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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.

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