SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

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

author image
Posted by Dora Seigel | Apr 4, 2021 10:35:00 AM

International Baccalaureate (IB)


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.



2021 IB Exam Changes Due to COVID-19

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, May 2021 IB assessments will have two routes, exam and non-exam, depending on which your school chooses. Stay up to date with the latest information on what this means for IB diplomas, course credit for IB classes, and more with our 2021 IB COVID-19 FAQ article.


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've separated 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


Option B: Oceans and Coastal Margins


Option C: Extreme Environments


Option D: Geophysical Hazards


Option E: Leisure, Tourism, and Sport




Option F: Food and Health


Option G: Urban Environments



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


Topic B: Global Climate — Vulnerability and Resilience


Topic C: Global Resource Consumption and Security




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


Topic B: Human Development and Diversity

Topic C: Global Risks and 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:




What's Next?

Learn more about IB Geography:

Learn more about other IB Classes:


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:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

Raise Your ACT Score by 4 Points (Free Download)


Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!

author image
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.

Get Free Guides to Boost Your SAT/ACT
100% Privacy. No spam ever.

Student and Parent Forum

Our new student and parent forum, at, allow you to interact with your peers and the PrepScholar staff. See how other students and parents are navigating high school, college, and the college admissions process. Ask questions; get answers.

Join the Conversation

Ask a Question Below

Have any questions about this article or other topics? Ask below and we'll reply!