4 EASY Exam Hacks To Improve Your IB Physics Exam Score (by up to 11% !)

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There's no fluff today.

I'm going to get straight into it, because I know why you're here.... You're here to learn my 4 SIMPLE exam hacks to improve your grade by up to 11%.

These exam “hacks”, it's a trendy word and I feel like I'm on TikTok or something, but…


They've worked with hundreds of students who've been in my course and they work. No matter what your ability, no matter what stage you are in IB Physics, they work.

Each of these exam hacks can increase your grade by a significant percentage. It's quite mind blowing when you look at it from a strategic point of view.

As you go through these exam hacks, you will be motivated, you'll be excited about what the possibility is. You may also want the opportunity to work with me more after these exam hacks. Because they are just a tiny, tiny introduction into what's possible inside GradePod and Ace Your IB Physics Exams.

But if all you get from today's video are these four exam hacks, then I'm happy. I've given you advice to go away and push those grades up.

EXAM HACK #1: Get that easy additional 1 - 2% in paper 1

How easy is it?


This analysis is from an examiner subject report.

The most questions left blank by students are at the end of the paper 1. You can see that the difficulty index is evenly spread throughout the paper. What that tells me about standard level paper 1 exams is that

Students typically run out of time in Standard Level Paper 1 IB Physics exam

If they run out of time, they're missing out on easier questions at the end of the paper.

My advice for you is,

“If you're running out of time, head to the back of the paper and never, never leave a multiple choice question blank.”

I'm telling you, that that could increase your final grade in IB Physics, including internal assessment and everything by 1 - 2%.

Now I know what you're thinking…… how did I come up with that figure?

Well, there are 30 marks in the standard level paper and paper 1 accounts for 20 to 30% of your final grade. So you're really looking around about 0.7 to 1% per question. Now, if you're tempted to leave four questions empty, you're missing out on a potential 4% on your final grade. I'm not suggesting you'll get all of those four correct if you just guess, but your likely to get one of them correct out of four, or two of them correct out of four. That's just statistics. There's only four answers. You've got a 25% chance of getting them right. So if you're the kind of student who might leave four unanswered questions in paper 1, you're missing out. You're missing out on a possible 1 - 2% of your final grade by doing so.


It's the same situation for Higher Level IB Physics Paper 1.

The last few questions of the paper, were the most common to be left blank, suggesting that higher level students are running out of time as well, but you can see the difficulty index is spread evenly throughout. It's the same issue. Higher level students are missing out on those marks too.

Now the whole point about the above image is that Fanny was one point off a seven. Fanny was still delighted with her 6, but she was one point off a 7….. And I'm just wondering, “did she leave any blank?” I'm not sure.

EXAM HACK #2: Just memorize stuff for 9 - 11%.

Well, what's the stuff?

Let's talk about that stuff.

I've gone through the last 14 years of past papers, and I've done a deep dive, a deep analysis of what those past papers are asking for. I've done a deep analysis of the strategy to really acing those past papers. And what I found is that 9 - 11% of your final IB mark, is just down to memorizing stuff. And by stuff, I mean,

  1. Definitions
  2. approximate values
  3. descriptions

So let's talk today about how we tackle those three areas of stuff to make sure that your grades increase by 9 - 11%.


  • The very clear feedback we're getting from examiners is that definitions must be memorized in the most precise and correct manner. There is no point in memorizing a fluffy definition for Newton's third law. There's no point because you'll get no marks.
  • If you compile a list of definitions and then devote time and energy to memorizing those definitions, you are statistically more likely to get lots more marks.
  • How do you learn those definitions? Well, I have two suggestions for you down here. I have a YouTube playlist and it's called, Drunk on Definitions and it's seen great success in the past in helping students learn definitions towards the exams. I also have another solution and that's Ace Your IB Physics Exams. That's my course inside GradePod. It has compiled a glossary for you for those inside Ace Your IB Physics Exams, of the exact definitions you should learn for each topic. And I teach you how to learn those definitions very quickly and painlessly as well.

 Approximate Values.

  1. I'm talking about ballpark figures. The speed of light is around about 300,000,000 metres per second. Or the refractive index is around about 1.3 of glass. These ballpark figures will make a massive difference to you as you progress through your papers, because you quite often are asked to estimate. Or you might do a calculation and it's unsure whether the answer's correct or not.
  2. These ballpark figures will make a massive difference allow you to conduct a reasonableness check and that is where you're going to wait for exam hack number 4, where I explained that in more detail.


  1. Explanations are different. Explanations are harder. I’m talking about descriptions. Descriptions are just stuff that needs to be memorized. An example might be, “describe how a transformer works”. That would be a three or four mark question in an exam
  2. You could very easily narrow down that description into three easily memorable bullet points. And that's what I recommend you do.
  3. And once you've bullet-pointed your description, I highly, highly, highly recommend you put them into your revision notes and you can get your revision note template from the GradePod website.

Students who compile a glossary and spend time and energy learning them will inevitably do much better. And that has been highlighted by the examiners in past subject reports as well.

Well, that's great news for Anders!

EXAM HACK #3: One simple exam command for 6% more on your IB Physics grade

That one simple exam command is, calculate.

The word calculate is very heavily examined in paper 2 of your final exams. In fact, it is very heavily examined in all papers and your IB Physics exams. But it has a very specific meaning that I don't think students quite understand yet. That very specific meaning is, obtain a numerical answer, showing the relevant stages of working. What that means is you must show you're working to get the marks. And if you don't believe me, can you believe the examiners? Here's an actual examiner comment. It says,

"The presentations of many calculations consisted of a jumble of arithmetic, with numbers usually appearing out of nowhere. Candidates need to be well aware that their answers should read logically well."

So examiners are not only saying, "Show you're working", they're also saying, "It needs to be logical." And that's a skill that you need to learn.


Inside Ace Your IB Physics Exams, we have a step-by-step system on how to improve the calculate questions. It's very simple. You follow the step by step system and you improve your ability to answer those questions. You don't only see calculate words in the exam, you see lots of other exam command inside the exam.

Free download that lists all the exam command words you might see and what they exactly mean as specified by the examiners.

Once you have that, you can develop your own systems or your own strategies for dealing with those questions. If your inside Ace your IB Physics in GradePod, I give you that strategy. I teach you my strategy for knowing exactly what to do when you see an IB Physics past paper question. And in particular, we deal with the really tricky things like explain questions, derive questions, draw and defined questions. You may not think they're tricky, but once you see the examiners description of them, they can be quite tricky. So moving on, once you have a step-by-step system for tackling each exam command word, past paper questions become completely simple. And that's true.

So it does work. If you understand what the command word means and what the examiner is looking for, it does make a huge difference to your final grade.

EXAM HACKS #4: Know what's impossible for an extra 1 - 2%


That's not a word we use in GradePod!

Well, actually some things are impossible. No object can go faster than the speed of light. That's impossible. And there are values in IB Physics that you should just know. Because if you complete a calculation in paper 1, 2 or 3, you need to know if that answer is reasonable or not.

Once you know these answers, every time you complete a calculation, you conduct a reasonableness check in your head. You look at the answer and you see, is it reasonable? It's as simple as that. Because if your answer is not reasonable, you've either:

  1. used the wrong formula
  2. got a power of 10 error
  3. just tapped the numbers into your calculator.

So it's really quick and easy to go back and just check those things to make sure that you've got them right. Now, I've said by conducting a reasonableness check, you can improve your grade by 1 - 2%. And that's true. My advice, always conduct a reasonableness check on any calculated answer in your paper.

Let’s end with a success story.

I just wanted to let you know that there's impossible stuff in physics, but a 7 is possible!

A 7 is possible. I promise you! And it's not something that I would say without really genuinely believing it.

I've spent many years, since 2018 tutoring students like yourself online through my course, Ace Your IB Physics Exams, to start thinking strategically, to start developing that main state that IB Physics is not overwhelming.

IB Physics is not hard.

You might feel that in a classroom setting where you see your teacher three or four times a week, and you've got all your other topics on top of you and you don't really know how to study. And every time you look at a question, it feels undoable.

But if you sit down, work hour by hour, step-by-step and you do it with me online, IB Physics is not hard. I promise.

And people who have been through this course with me, they believe it too.

They didn't even think they were going to pass IB Physics and suddenly they're getting 7's. So I'm telling you some stuff is impossible in physics. I'm telling you that you can't travel faster than the speed of light, but getting a 7 in IB Physics? that's possible! That's possible for any student, at any ability, so it's possible for you....

Hope this helps

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