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Where to Find IB Chemistry Past Papers - Free and Official


Taking the IB Chemistry exam will be a nerve-wracking experience, but having seen a real IB past paper before taking the actual test will be a huge advantage since you'll have experience with the test format, the length, and style of the test.

In this article, I'll show you where to find IB Chemistry past papers, both free and paid. I'll also share tips on how to study most effectively using these IB Chemistry past papers.



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.


Where to Find Free Tests and Past Papers

The IB has been diligent about seeking out and destroying illegally uploaded official papers for the past few years, so a lot of sources that used to be out there are no longer readily available. Currently, the only free official IB Chemistry test legally available is this Chemistry HL paper 3.




Where to Find Paid Tests and Past Papers

The IBO store sells IB Chemistry SL and HL past papers from May 2015 to November 2021. Navigate to the Diploma Program page, then search "chemistry exam." This is the only safe place to get IB Chemistry past papers to download.

Each paper and each mark scheme costs $3.99 (or $3 for older papers and mark schemes). Buying all of the past papers and mark schemes can be costly, so if you are looking to spend as little as possible, I recommend just purchasing the most recent (November 2021 and November 2020) past papers as they will be closest to what you learned.




3 Tips for Using IB Chemistry Past Papers Productively

Since each practice IB Chemistry exam will take you 3 hours for SL or 4.5 hours for HL, it's imperative that you get the most out of each test. Here are a few helpful practices to keep in mind when you're taking these papers:


#1: Complete Papers 1 and 2 in One Sitting

The IB Chemistry SL and IB Chemistry HL papers are intense, forcing you to sit and concentrate for two hours for SL and 3 hours and 15 minutes for HL. You need to build up your mental strength so you don't make careless errors by the end of paper 2.

By taking the practice tests in one session, you build up your mental strength in preparation for the real test. If you don't have time for a 2 hour or 3 hour 15 minute session, then you can take each paper on separate days. However, you need to obey the next rule:


#2: Stick to Exact Timing

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you get used to the stressful timing of this test:

IB Chemistry SL:

  • IB Chemistry SL Paper 1—45 minutes
  • IB Chemistry SL Paper 2—1 hour 15 minutes
  • IB Chemistry SL Paper 3—1 hour
IB Chemistry HL:
  • IB Chemistry HL Paper 1—1 hour
  • IB Chemistry HL Paper 2—2 hours 15 minutes
  • IB Chemistry HL Paper 3—1 hour 15 minutes

In this allotted time, you need to finish:

IB Chemistry SL:

  • Paper 1: 30 multiple-choice questions
  • Paper 2: two parts, Section A: answer all of four short responses and Section B: pick one essay question (you choose between three options)
  • Paper 3: Answer all of the questions for your two options: six short response questions that each can have between 2-5 parts

IB Chemistry HL:

  • Paper 1: 40 multiple-choice questions
  • Paper 2: two parts, Section A: answer all of four short response questions that each can have between 3-10 parts and Section B: pick two essay questions (you choose between four options)
  • Paper 3: Answer all of the questions for your two options: seven or more short response and essay questions (varies based on the options that you covered in your class)

Do not practice with extra time. If you give yourself extra time, you can complete more questions and increase your score. We want to use these practice tests as realistic predictors of your exam score.


#3: Check Your Answers

After you complete a practice exam, you need to review every error you made. Do not skip this step. If you do, you will not learn from your errors, and you will make the same ones on the IB Chemistry test.

So make sure to spend at least 1.5 hours reviewing every full practice tests. This may seem like a lot of time, but emphasize quality of learning over quantity of learning. I'd rather see you take two tests with meticulous review than five tests with no review.



What's Next?

Need help reviewing some chemistry concepts? Read up on how to balance chemical equations here.

Learn more about IB Chemistry:

Looking for ways to apply your chemistry knowledge to your everyday life? Get three different recipes for making your own slime and learn how to (safely) use muriatic acid to clean household items.



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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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