One of the toughest subjects in the IB Diploma curriculum is IB Physics. It is especially difficult to pass at the Higher Level.To back this fact, the November 2009 IB Statistical
Report states that only a mere 31% of Standard Level Candidates and 20% of Higher Level Candidates manage to receive a 7. On the average, therefore, in a class of 20 Higher Level students, only 4 are expected to attain a 7. Despite this, it is still quite possible to be in the top 20% that can attain a 7. To achieve this, I have drawn from the combined experiences of past IB Physics students, IB Physics
teachers, oneof whom was an IB Papers examiner, and myself.Here, I suggest 7 techniques for both a better learning experience and more effective revision IB course.
The syllabus should be your key revision material. This is because the syllabus is actually used as guide for setting the examination questions. In other words, care is taken to ensure that all questions asked have relevance to the concepts in the syllabus. Therefore, if you do your revision in accordance with the contents of the syllabus, the examination cannot spring any surprises on you.
Simply print out the parts of the syllabus that are relevant to your study and revision. Then, as you work, write your revision notes straight onto your printed copy of the syllabus. What this study strategy does for you is to automatically turn your syllabus into cross-referencing material, allowing you to keep efficient track of the topics you have covered, those you have missed and those you have not yet mastered.
Admittedly, the IB Physics Exam is difficult. However, the internal Assessment is a much easier challenge because it does not subject you to time pressure, while most teachers go out of their way to offer you opportunities to enhance your IA scores. What is even more important is that a higher IA score affords you the luxury of scoring lower in the final exam and still score a 7. My suggestion is that you get very familiar with your Physics guide, and make sure that you clarify any vague areas with your teacher. Frankly, you should be able to score a 40+ in your IA with relative ease.
It is of paramount importance that you understand all the concepts you are taught as you progress along a topic. This is because adequate grasp of one point is likely to depend on your understanding of previous points. Besides, this allows you to save time by not lagging behind in the struggle to grasp previously unclear concepts.
Effective management of your time can allow you to work at a faster pace than others. The crucial thing is to eliminate distractions as much as possible. Proper management of your time can present its own special challenge, especially in this age of the Social Media. The truth is that Facebook browsing can be fun. It is probably wiser to realistically allocate time for facebook and other activities that would usually distract you. Then, use self-imposed time pressure to discipline yourself. You might keep Parkinson's Law in mind. It states that the time you take to complete a task is proportional to the time you allot to it. The secret to this is that as soon as you adopt a time limit for an assignment, your brain automatically attempts to complete the task in that time. A convenient way to practice time management is to answer past questions and time yourself as if you were in an examination hall.
While it is true that a new syllabus was only recently released, it is still true that it overlaps in a lot of places with the old syllabus. If you encounter questions that are not in your course, simply leave them, and move on. Timed attempts at past question papers are extremely useful because they assist what you have learnt to take root in your brain. Writing down things from your own knowledge actually helps you to retain even more information, and more effectively too. Also, lapses in your understanding will become more obvious, and you can go back to the syllabus to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.
One of the most amazing facts I discovered is that information in the textbooks often do not match what the mark scheme requires from you. Yet, all the examiner has in front of him are your answer paper and the mark scheme! Clearly therefore, it becomes crucial to get familiar with mark schemes and what they demand from you as a candidate. There you are! I hope the seven strategies I have suggested will be of some help in your journey towards a 7 in IB Physics. Good luck!