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


IB Physics HL and SL are difficult courses. Even with the best teacher, you will likely need to spend some time studying on your own to understand the most difficult concepts covered in the course. I remember I did when I took IB Physics HL.

In this study guide, I've compiled links to all of the best free IB Physics study guides so you can easily find notes on the topic you're interested in. I organized this guide using the IB Physics syllabus.



2022 IB Exam Changes Due to COVID-19

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, the IB has decided to extend the adaptations which were put in place for 2021 to 2022. May 2022 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 our IB COVID-19 FAQ article.


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.




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


Additional Higher Level Concepts


Option B: Engineering Physics

  • 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

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


Additional Higher Level Concepts




Option D: Astrophysics


Additional Higher Level Concepts


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.


Tips for Using These IB Physics Notes

Now that you know where to find IB Physics notes, what's the best way to use them? Follow these three tips to get the most out of your notes.


#1: Don't Ignore a Topic That You Don't Understand

If you learn about a new topic in class and don't quite understand it, it can be be tempting to just forget about it and move onto the next lesson. Don't do this! The longer you wait to go over the topic, the harder it will be to actually understand it because you will have forgotten more of what you learned about it in class. If you're not sure of a certain concept or equation, use these notes to learn more, read the corresponding chapter in your textbook, and/or ask your teacher for more explanation.


#2: Review Material Throughout the Year

There are so many topics you cover in IB Physics that if you do not keep up with the material during the school year, you will find it nearly impossible to catch up. Don't wait until the last minute to begin your review. You will not be able to master it all in a few days or even a few weeks (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.


#3: Don't Forget About Practice Tests

Practice tests are also a key part of studying. Once you feel you're pretty confident with your knowledge of the material, take a few practice exams to get a feel for what to expect on test day. Check out our guide on IB Physics past papers for free resources you can use.


What's Next?

Want more IB Physics study resources? Access more IB physics study tools by looking at past IB Physics papers.

We also have a few articles on the PrepScholar blog that you might find helpful for physics studying. Read up on the law of conservation of mass, the specific heat of water, and the formulas you need to calculate acceleration.

Not sure which other IB classes to take? Learn more about the other IB classes offered and which IB classes are offered online.

Almost finished with your IB courses? Check out our guide to learn when your IB exam scores will be available.



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Dora Seigel

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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