Having taught IB Physics since 2004, I've seen literally hundreds of students walk through the door - day one, and then a couple of months later are like, "what the ...?"
Look, you've got six different IB subjects. You've got ToK, you've got extended essays, you've got CAS, you've got internal assessments. The work just builds up and up, and can feel overwhelming.
If you're in year one of IB Physics, there's a chance you might be feeling the same.
So what I have for you today is five super simple, super easy to implement tips that will help you improve your confidence in IB Physics, but more importantly, help you manage your workload and make you feel like you're on top of things.
So let's go.
Tip number one.
It's hard at the start, just face it. Look, IB Physics is a two-year course for a reason. It takes two years to develop the advanced problem solving skills and the expert exam technique necessary for you to get that seven in IB Physics. And you can't just walk in on day one and be like, "I got this." Your teacher has been employed to help you develop those skills and nurture those skills. And that is a two-year process. So if you find IB Physics har at the start, just face it, it's okay, you will get better. Let your teacher do their job. Be okay with the challenge of IB Physics and I guarantee things will get easier. Don't give up or close up to help when the going gets tough.
Tip number two,
is to write your revision notes from day one. Sorry, but you're gonna have to do exams in IB Physics. And in the weeks before those exams, you do not want to be focusing on your revision notes. That's a complete waste of your time. You would like to be focusing I'm sure on exam technique and past papers, but the bummer is you do actually need revision notes that YOU have written because that's the best way to embed that knowledge into your head. So, my tip to you is as you finish every topic in class, take 15 to 30 minutes to condense that whole topic down into two sides of A4 paper.
Now, I won't leave you hanging on that because that sounds like a tricky task.
So at the end of this video, I have a free template for you to use and some simple instructions on how to exactly make those revision notes and how to exactly condense them in just 15 minutes. So hang on to the end.
Tip number three
is to learn to love problem solving. Let's cast our memory back to middle school physics where you'd simply learn a couple of formulae, read your textbook, write a couple of notes in different color pens, try some past papers, and BOOM! top marks. Well, I'm really sorry, but that doesn't work in IB physics. IB physics relies on a really good ability to problem solve. And these IB physics problems, they're not easy. They are multi-layered, they span different topics, and they rely on a fundamental understanding of mathematics. Most of all, they rely on you practicing them. Now practicing means you
don't get everything right straight away. It means you're going to get most of them wrong to begin with, and you're going to find them a challenge. But if you learn to love problem solving and learn to love that process, then IB physics is going to be a much easier and more enjoyable experience for you.
Tip number four
is to practice past exam questions from day one. Make it your mission to find some, okay? As I said before, you're probably going to get most of them wrong to begin with, but practicing and recognizing the style of questions that come up early on is your biggest tool in getting that seven in IB physics. Now there's literally thousands of past paper questions out there, so don't worry about using them all up. Okay? Start from day one. And if possible, just focus on past paper questions on specifically the concept or the topic that you're focusing on right now. Start early. I promise it works.
Tip number five,
get the relationship with your teacher right. If you're stuck, then you really should be able to expect further help from your teacher. But do remember that that relationship is built on respect from both sides. Spend time nurturing the relationship with your teacher so that they are more willing to help you. Let me give you some examples.
Situation number one,
student sits in the class and at the end of the lesson says to the teacher,
"Sir, you know that waves tests we got tomorrow. I don't understand waves so can you help me?"
Okay. First of all, waves is a huge topic.
And the idea that you would be helped with waves the night before a test shows that you haven't done enough individual study to warrant that help. You haven't come in with a specific question. You've just said, "can you help me with waves?" And I don't know if you've noticed, and I know I'm obsessed with politeness because I'm British, but the student didn't even say please. So if I was a teacher in that situation,
I would very simply say, "no," because I don't feel that the respect has been shown towards the teacher.
Let's look at situation number two.
Situation number two takes place at the start of the lesson. The student walks up to the teacher and says,
"Excuse me, Miss. I am preparing for that test next week on waves. I worked through all the past
papers that you've given me and the mark schemes helped me work out where I was going wrong. However, I still really don't understand questions 2c, 5a, and question eight, I was wondering if you could
go through them with me."
Now, as a teacher, here's what I'm thinking,
"wow, that student has worked and they've devoted their own time to individual study. And they respect my time by asking specific questions at the start of the lesson. So I can go and prepare that for them at the end of the lesson."
Now, can you see the difference between the two situations?
You have to build a relationship that works between you and your teacher, and good relationships
are built on respect, so respect their time and they'll respect yours. So tip number five is to build that relationship with your teacher.
If you need more help from me, not just your teacher, then can I recommend my IB
Physics starter study kit?
It's free to download.
There's a link here (www.gradepod.com/study) and it'll take two seconds. All I need from you is your email. And what you'll get is a revision note template, something called a magic marking grid, and much more further help from me on how to organize your work in IB physics.
Please take it. It's there for you. I made it for you.
Okay, I hope those five super simple tips were super useful and I will see you soon.