Practical work

Practical work

IB physicists are required to complete 40 (SL) or 60 (HL) hours of practical work as part of their course.

Section of course Number of hours (approx.)
Recommended practicals 15 SL / 20 HL
Internal Assessment 10
Group 4 Project 10
Additional classtime practicals 5 SL / 20 HL

Some schools will ask you to maintain a lab book logging all required and additional classtime practicals to develop towards the Investigation marking criteria.

Recommended practicals

The Subject Guide details certain experiments that could be examined in Paper 3. You could attempt each of these during your course in person or on a simulation such as PhET or Algodoo.

Use this as a revision checklist for the apparatus, methods and analytical techniques that you should know for the exam.

Group Topic Title
SL/HL 2.1 Determining the Acceleration of Free-fall
SL/HL 3.1 Investigating Specific Heat Capacity by Electrical Method
SL/HL 3.1 Investigating Specific Heat Capacity by Method of Mixtures
SL/HL 3.1 Investigating Specific Heat of Fusion
SL/HL 3.1 Investigating Specific Heat of Vaporisation
SL/HL 3.2 Investigating Boyle's Law
SL/HL 3.2 Investigating Charles' Law and Absolute Zero
SL/HL 3.2 Investigating Lussac's Law (The Pressure Law)
SL/HL 4.2 Investigating Resonance - Determining the Speed of Sound
SL/HL 4.4 Determining the Refractive Index of Glass by Real and Apparent Depth
SL/HL 4.4 Investigation Refraction of Light, Refractive Index and Critical Angle
SL/HL 5.2 Investigating factors that affect Resistance
SL/HL 5.3 Determining the EMF and Internal Resistance of a cell
SL/HL 7.1 Investigating Radioactivite Decay and Half-Life
HL only 9.3 Determining the Wavelength of Laser Light Using Young's Double Slits
HL only 11.2 Investigating a Diode Bridge Rectification Circuit

Option practical work

These experiments are referred to in the subject guide but will not be tested in the opening questions of Paper 3.

Engineering only B.1 Investigating Energy Transfer and Energy Loss of a Rolling Ball
Imaging only C.1 Investigating the Focal Length of a Converging Lens
Imaging only C.2 Investigating the Optical Compound Microscope
Imaging only C.2 Investigating a Simple Optical Astronomical Refracting Telescope

Group 4 Project

The Group 4 Project contributes 10 hours to your practical work. It is compulsory for all IB Diploma Programme students but not assessed.