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

Posted by Dora Seigel | Nov 8, 2015 10:50:00 AM

International Baccalaureate (IB)


IB Physics HL and SL are difficult courses. Even with the best teacher, you will likely need more help outside of the classroom to get through the more difficult concepts and topics. I remember I did when I took HL.

In this study guide, I compile all of the best FREE online IB Physics Study Guides (including IB Physics Notes and IB Physics Revision) into one useable resource. I order this guide using the IB Physics Syllabus


How to Use this IB Physics Study Guide

If there is one topic that you need to review, use the Command + F function on your keyboard to search this guide for that topic. For instance, if you want to study Relativity, use Command + F to bring up the search function. Type “Relativity” and it will bring you to all of the material for Relativity.

If you are looking for overall study material for the IB Physics Exam, skip to the end of this guide to the Overall Reviews section for great overall study resources.

First, I give you resources by IB Physics Topic. I label the resources as:

  • Quick Reference: a one-page summary of the material if you just need a quick refresher.
  • Longer Notes: notes (generally 3-10 pages) if you are looking for a more in-depth explanation.
  • Slideshow: PowerPoint presentation on the material.
  • Video: video reviews of topics and demonstrations of how to solve problems related to that topic.


How to Use This Guide For Preparation Throughout the School Year

Use this guide as a refresher before tests or for extra help if you struggled to understand a class lecture. You need to be studying during the school year. Do not wait to cram until a week before the IB Physics exam!


Good Study Practices for IB Physics

Integrate real practice questions when you are learning a new topic. You can purchase past IB Physics HL and IB Physics SL papers from the IBO or find free past papers online.


Common Study Mistakes Students Make When Studying for IB Physics

The majority of students struggle with IB Physics. There are so many topics that if you do not keep up with the material during the school year, you will find it nearly impossible to catch up. Here are some common mistakes students make when studying for IB Physics:

  • Ignoring the topics you didn't understand in your class lecture. If you don’t get it, you need to look for more help whether it is in this IB Physics Study Guide or through tutoring.
  • Only studying a week or less before the IB Physics papers. As I said before, there are too many topics. You will not be able to master it all in a week (which is why the class is taught over 1 to 2 years). Make sure you conquer the topics when your teacher covers it in class. Use this study guide for additional help:



Here's a complete set of IB Physics notes on every topic.

Topic #1: Measurements and Uncertainties

Topic #2: Mechanics

Topic #3: Thermal Physics

Topic #4: Waves

Topic #5: Electricity and Magnetism


Topic #6: Circular Motion and Gravitation


Topic #7: Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics

Topic #8: Energy Production

Additional HL Topics

Topic #9: Wave Phenomena

Topic #10: Fields



Topic #11: Electromagnetic Induction

Topic #12: Quantum and Nuclear Physics


Option A: Relativity

  • Slideshows
  • A.1 The Beginnings of Relativity
  • A.2 Lorentz Transformations
  • A.3 Spacetime Diagrams

Additional Higher Level Concepts

  • Slideshows
  • A.4 Relativistic Mechanics
  • A.5 General Relativity


Option B: Engineering Physics *NOTE no material found

  • B.1 Rigid Bodies and Rotational Dynamics
  • B.2 Thermodynamics
  • H3: Additional Higher Level Concepts
  • B.3 Fluids and Fluid Dynamics
  • B.4 Forced Vibrations and Resonance


Option C: Imaging *NOTE no material found

  • C.1 Introduction to Imaging
  • C.2 Imaging Instrumentation
  • C.3 Fibre Optics

Additional Higher Level Concepts

  • C.4 Medical Imaging


Option D: Astrophysics

Additional Higher Level Concepts

  • D.4 Stellar Processes
  • D.5 Further Cosmology

Overall Reviews

These are notes, practice, questions, and videos covering all of the IB Physics topics mentioned above. These are great resources to use when reviewing for the IB Physics exam:


What’s Next?

Access more physics study tools by looking at past IB Physics papers. Learn more about the other IB classes offered and which IB classes are offered online. Almost finished with your IB courses? Learn when your IB exam scores will be available.


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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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