IB Physics Exam Breakdown

Exam Papers, Formats, Timings and Weightings

IB Physics Exam Breakdown: Formats, Timings and Weightings

Paper 1: Multiple Choice – SL & HL 20%

This exam paper tests all of your core syllabus knowledge through multiple choice questions.

Each question has 4 answer options (A/B/C/D). Questions can take any form including diagrams, images and tables.

You are not allowed a calculator or data booklet.

Standard Level

Total marks - 30:

  • 30 multiple choice questions
  • 4 answer options (A/B/C/D)

Timing - 45 minutes:

  • 1.5 minutes per mark

Higher Level

Total marks - 40:

  • 40 multiple choice questions
  • 4 answer options (A/B/C/D)

Timing - 60 minutes:

  • 1.5 minutes per mark

Paper 2: Written Response – SL 40%, HL 36%

This exam paper tests all of your core syllabus knowledge through two sections.

Section A contains shorter answer questions, where each question has multiple parts (i/ii/iii).

Section B contains a choice of 3 extended response sets, where each set is made of 3 longer questions (often 2,6,8 marks). Candidates choose which extended response set(s) to answer.

You are allowed a calculator and a data booklet.

Standard Level

Total marks - 50:

  • Section A: 5-7 multi-part (i/ii/iii) short answer questions

Timing - 75 minutes:

  • 1.5 minutes per mark

Higher Level

Total marks - 90:

  • Section A: 7-9 multi-part (i/ii/iii) short answer questions

Timing - 135 minutes:

  • 1.5 minutes per mark

Paper 3: Data Analysis – SL 20%, HL 24%

This exam paper tests your experimental skills and all of your option topic knowledge, through two sections.

Section A contains shorter answer questions on experiments or data (using examples from the core syllabus), where each question has multiple parts (I/ii/iii).

Section B contains shorter answer questions on the option topics, where each question also has multiple parts (I/ii/iii). Candidates choose which option topic to answer based on their class curriculum.

You are allowed a calculator and a data booklet.

Standard Level

Total marks - 35:

  • Section A: 2-3 multi-part (i/ii/iii) short answer questions on experiments or data
  • Section B: 4-8 multi-part (i/ii/iii) short answer questions on the option topic

Timing - 60 minutes:

  • 1.7 minutes per mark

Higher Level

Total marks - 45:

  • Section A: 2-3 multi-part (i/ii/iii) short answer questions on experiments or data
  • Section B: 4-8 multi-part (i/ii/iii) short answer questions on the option topic

Timing - 75 minutes:

  • 1.6 minutes per mark
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