If you’re an IB Geography SL/HL students in search of some extra free help, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you're looking for IB Geography notes for a test on a single topic or cramming for the final IB Geography papers, this guide has all the information you need.
I created this IB Geography study guide using the best free online materials for IB Geography and ordered the materials following the newly-revised IB Geography SL/HL syllabus.
How To Use This Article
If you want to study a specific topic, use the Command + F function on your keyboard to search this article for specific IB Geography notes. For example, if you hope to read about Population change, use Command + F to bring up the search function. Type in “Extreme Environments” and it will bring up all of the study materials for that topic.
I separate the resources into:
- Notes : notes (generally 2-4 pages) if you want a summary of each overall topic. Some resources also have video explanations.
- Case studies: case studies for each topic to help you better understand that topic using specific real world examples.
If you’re looking for summary material to help you study for the IB Geography papers, check out the notes with supporting video for each topic. These notes are brief and great for a quick refresher.
How To Use This Guide Throughout the School Year
Use this guide throughout the school year as a review for in-class quizzes if you need more help learning the material. You need to be mastering the topics throughout the school year and not just waiting to cram before the IB Geography papers.
The Best Study Practices for IB Geography
Make sure you’re practicing related IB Geography past paper questions as you learn each new subject. You can find free IB Geography HL and IB Geography SL past papers here. Also, if you’re having difficulty understanding your in-class lesson, you should be reviewing the corresponding chapter in a textbook or this study guide.
Common Study Mistakes IB Geography Students Make
For IB Geography, there are lots of topics to master, so you can’t fall behind. Common mistakes students make are:
#1: Trying to avoid the material you didn't learn in class. If you didn’t understand it in class, you need to find more help whether through this article or tutoring.
#2: Only studying a week or two before the IB Geography papers. You will not be able to master all of the topics below in only a week or two (that is why the course is spread out over 1 to 2 years). Make sure you are learning the topics as they’re taught to you in class. Use this article for additional support learning the topics:
Part #1: Geographic Themes—60 Hours for SL, 90 Hours for HL
The IB Geography syllabus gives you seven options for study. If you're on the SL track, you'll need to master two subjects; if you're on the HL track, you'll need to master three.
Part #1: Geographic Themes
Option A: Freshwater
- Topic 1: Drainage Basin Hydrology and Geomophology
- Topic 2: Flooding and Flood Mitigation
- Topic 3: Water Scarcity and Water Quality
- Topic 4: Water Management Futures
Option B: Oceans and Coastal Margins
- Topic 1: Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions
- Topic 2: Interactions Between Oceans and Coast Places
- Topic 3: Managing Coastal Margins
- Topic 4: Ocean Management Futures
Option C: Extreme Environments
- Topic 1: Characteristics of Extreme Environments
- Topic 2: Processes & Landscapes
- Topic 3: Managing Extreme Environments
- Topic 4: Extreme Environments Futures
Option D: Geophysical Hazards
- Topic 1: Geophysical Systems
- Topic 2: Geophysical Hazard Risks
- Topic 3: Hazard Risk and Vulnerability
- Topic 4: Future Resilience and Adaptation
Option E: Leisure, Tourism, and Sport
- Topic 1: Changing Leisure Patterns
- Topic 2: Tourism and Sport at the Local and National Scale
- Topic 3: Tourism and Sport at the International Scale
- Topic 4: Managing Tourism and Sport for the Future
Option F: Food and Health
- Topic 1: Measuring Food and Health
- Topic 2: Food Systems and the Spread of Disease
- Topic 3: Stakeholders in Food and Health
- Topic 4: Future Health and Food Security and Sustainability
Option G: Urban Environments
- Topic 1: The Variety of Urban Environments
- Topic 2: Changing Urban Systems
- Topic 3: Urban Environmental and Social Stresses
- Topic 4: Building Sustainable Urban Systems for the Future
Part #2: SL and HL Core: Geographic Perspectives—70 Hours SL/HL
Since this is core knowledge, both SL and HL students will be tested over the following material.
Topic A: Population Distribution—Changing Population
- Knowledge Area 1: Population and Economic Development Patterns
- Knowledge Area 2: Changing Populations and Places
- Knowledge Area 3: Challenges and Opportunities
Topic B: Global Climate — Vulnerability and Resilience
- Knowledge Area 1: Causes of Global Climate Change
- Knowledge Area 2: Consequences of Global Climate Change
- Knowledge Area 3: Responding to Global Climate Change
Topic C: Global Resource Consumption and Security
- Knowledge Area 1: Global Trends in Consumption
- Knowledge Area 2: Impacts of Changing Trends in Resource Consumption
- Knowledge Area 3: Resource Stewardship
Part #3: Geographic Perspectives: Global Interactions—HL Only, 60 Hours
If you're HL, you'll also be tested over the following three topics.
Topic A: Power, Places, and Networks
- Knowledge Area 1: Global Interactions and Global Power
- Knowledge Area 2: Global Networks and Flows
- Knowledge Area 3: Human and Physical Influences on Global Interactions
Topic B: Human Development and Diversity
- Knowledge Area 1: Development Opportunities
- Knowledge Area 2: Changing Identities and Cultures
- Knowledge Area 3: Local Responses to Global Interactions
Topic C: Global Risks and Resilience
- Knowledge Area 1: Geopolitical and Economic Risks
- Knowledge Area 2: Environmental Risks
- Knowledge Area 3: Local and Global Resilience
Part #4: Internal Assessment: SL and HL Fieldwork—20 Hours
In order to do well on the internal assessment, students have to meet the following criteria (which we've taken directly from the IB Geography syllabus):
#1: Students must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specified content
#2: They must demonstrate application and analysis of knowledge and understanding
#3: Students must demonstrate synthesis and evaluation
#4: Students have to select, use, and apply a variety of appropriate skills and techniques
With that in mind, here are two examples of successful internal assessments:
- The Internal Assessment: A Step-By-Step Guide
- This guide walks you through each step of the Internal Assessment by walking you through a sample topic (urban renewal in East Berlin)
- Examples of the Internal Assessment
- This site includes sample cover pages, booklets that go over data collection, and even a PowerPoint introduction to the assignment
Learn more about IB Geography:
Learn more about other IB Classes:
- Every IB English Past Paper Available: Free and Official
- Every IB Math Studies Past Paper Available: Free and Official
- Every IB History Past Paper Available: Free and Official
- Every IB Economics Past Paper Available: Free and Official
Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
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.