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Basics

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.