# Basics

## What to expect

This section is the place to start if you are commencing your course or kicking your revision into gear. Having a good understanding of the basics is essential for the topics.

## Learning objectives

After studying this topic, you should be able to:

• Use mathematical techniques, such as number, equations, substitution, radians and trignometry, to solve physical problems.
• Use both Greek and English alphabets to choose the correct symbol for physical quantities.
• Use units and prefixes to present the magnitude of a physical quantity.
• Present data effectively using a range of techniques.
• Express the uncertainty in a calculated value.
• Distinguish scalar and vector quantities.

• ### Mathematics

In physics, maths is used as a tool to solve problems related to the relationships between quantities.

• ### Greek alphabet

Almost all of the letters of the Greek alphabet are used to represent physical quantities and units.

• ### Units

In IB Physics there are six fundamental units from which all others required can be derived.

• ### Prefixes

You actually get a list of these in the databook but it's better if you know them.

• ### Presenting data

There are a few rules to follow when presenting data...

• ### Error and uncertainty

An error is the difference between the value you determine and the true value.

• ### Vectors

All physical quantities can be classified as either a scalar or a vector.

• ### Density

Density is perhaps the most-used concept in physics that doesn't have a specific location in the Subject Guide. It can be used in gases, standing waves, gravitation, fuels and heat transfer.