Hi, I'm Sally Weatherly. I'm a Physics Teacher, Author and CEO of GradePod. Welcome to my podcast "Stress Free IB Physics" where we'll discuss strategies and tips to make IB Physics as stress free as possible for you but still get top marks. Little known fact about me is that my first ever job, when I was 17 was to work in the local theme park and dress up as the park mascot, Rory the Lion, in a very fluffy and sweaty suit. I had to dance to the YMCA every day in that suit. I'd love to say that it was a great experience but it wasn't. I earned just £3.25 per hour. I suppose it taught me resilience and for that I'm very grateful!
So I have a really important question for you.
And this question for somebody in my profession, should have a very clear cut answer.
Here we go.
My question is, do you believe in magic?
Because I know I do.
My name is Sally Weatherly and I've been teaching physics in the International Baccalaureate Specification since 2004 and I believe in magic.
Although I'm not sure about ghosts 'cause ghosts really freak me out.
So what do I mean, I believe in magic
So to help out, I went to our good friend, Google, and I Googled what the definition of magic was.
Here we are.
Magic is the power of apparently influencing events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
Well, today all you IB Physics students out there, I have the supernatural forces that will help you excel in IB Physics.
What is this Hocus Pocus..? I hear you ask!
Well, my supernatural force is my magic marking grid.
My magic marking grid is designed
to help you improve your problem solving in IB Physics.
That sounds boring.
Well, wait a minute, if you improve your problem-solving in IB Physics, then surely you improve your class test grades, then surely you improve your homework grades, then surely you improve your prediction in what you might get in your exams, and you definitely will improve your final grade in your IB physics exams.
So I reckon that this magic marking grid really is a supernatural force that YOU really would benefit from.
Let's go back to the start.
So, every single day I get lots of emails from IB Physics students all over the world. And they usually asked me about two main things. Two main questions will crop up over and over again.
Question one, is my IA research question okay?
Oh my goodness, if I had a pound for every question on that, then I would be a rich lady by now. But that question is a whole other podcast and video blog.
I'll do it soon. So if you are wondering if your research question for your internal assessment is okay, then look out for future podcasts and video blogs.
The second question I would get is,
I understand physics concepts quite well in class but I just can't answer the questions.
Now, this second question and this second issue is what makes IB Physics really hard. Because in GCSE, you can g and you can learn concepts and answer questions quickly. But the jump from GCSE to IB, that skill has to be learned from the beginning because the questions in IB Physics and the problems in IB Physics are really hard. You have to develop good problem solving skills to get a seven, in IB Physics.
Now, I know what you're thinking.
You're thinking, I need to develop good problem solving skills. And honestly I must say that hundreds of times a day. But how do you develop good problem solving skills?
Well, one you practice and two, you use my magic marking grid.
And what my magic marking grid will do is it will help you improve your problem solving skills, which ultimately improves your scores in IB Physics class tests, and ultimately improves your final IB Physics mark. So, if we think about my magic marking grid, here are the guarantees that I will give to you that will help you in IB Physics.
I guarantee this magic marking grid will one, provide outstanding individualized feedback on your performance in tests. Two, improve your exam technique. Three, engage you in your own learning and self-development. Four, encourage you to self-analyze and improve.
So how does that magic marking grid sound?
Want one? Wow.
So how does this magic marking grid work and where can you get one?
Well, you can get one inside my IB Physics Starter Study Kit and you can download that for FREE at www.gradepod.com/study. I made it for you. Go and download it, it's got loads of other good stuff in it. You could have it, please take it.
So that's where you get the magic marking grid from.
How does it work?
Well, let's get down to business in my four step plan.
Step one, you have to start by doing some work.
You have to try and complete some physics problems. It could be a class test that you've done. It could be some homework you've been set. It could be that you're a really diligent, IB Physics student and you're preparing your revision by looking at some past paper questions. But you need to have tried some physics problems. Otherwise, we can't improve your problem solving.
So step one is you need to do some work first. Not a lot, five, six, maybe seven problems.
And that's step one complete.
Step two, these problems have to be marked using a markscheme.
So for example, say you have completed a class test and your teacher has marked that for you. Perfect, you are ready and completed step two. Say you've done some homework and it consisted of maybe 10 physics problems and your teacher has marked that for you. Brilliant, you've completed step two. Say you are working from home and you've done some problems in your textbook and the answers are at the back. Great, mark your questions give yourself a mark out of 10 or whatever the question's about, and you have some marked work.
Now, in this marked work , we're not looking for comments, we're not looking for feedback, we're not looking for anything. We're simply looking for a mark out of what the mark has given. For example, say you have a calculation question and the calculation question is out of two marks, you simply need to know, have you got zero marks, one mark or two marks for that question?
That's step two.
Step three, let's say you have a question that has not achieved full marks.
Let's use an example of impulse, which is a concept you'd find in Topic 2: Mechanics. I'll give you an example of a question.
Calculate the magnitude of the average force exerted on a block by a rope.
That's an example of a calculate question, and it might be worth two marks. You need to assess why you did not get two marks in that question and where exactly those marks were lost.
Possible reasons for not getting full marks in a calculate question are:
- You didn't know which formula to use.
- It was a simple unforced error.
- Maybe you pressed the wrong button on your calculator or something.
- Maybe you didn't show any units
- Maybe you didn't show any working.
- Maybe you didn't perform a reasonableness check. Is your answer reasonable? Is it physically possible?
- Or maybe you just didn't have a clue.
What I'd like you to do is beside the question that you did not get full marks for, I'd like you to write down the reasons that you didn't get full marks. And just note down for the moment, it's easier if you're using my magic marking grid, but it's not necessary. The magic marking grid will help you see a pattern more easily, but it's not necessary.
I just want you to note down why you did not get full marks in that question.
Continuing on with step three, we're going to take a different question. Let's say an explain question. And that explain question, maybe something like,
Explain why intensity maxima are observed in Young's double slit experiment.
Now a question like this would probably be worth about three marks in an exam. And if you didn't get three out of three for that question, you'd be looking to explain why you did not get three marks.
Possible reasons might be:
- you didn't understand the question,
- you had poor use of the correct scientific vocabulary,
- you didn't link the concepts together well,
- or you just had a basic lack of knowledge and you had no idea about intensity maxima.
Just write it down beside the question why you did not get the marks.
Which leads us to step four, 'cause once you've completed this analysis of four or five, six, maybe seven questions, it's likely that you'll begin to see a pattern forming. This pattern forming is very clear to see on my magic marking grid, but equally, if you're just going through work, you'll start to see the same things come up over and over again.
For example, you might notice in calculate questions that you don't show your working and you've written that down a couple of times. And you might notice in explain style questions that you're not using the correct scientific vocabulary.
Well, guess what?
You now know that in future work you need to work on improving showing your working in calculate questions. You need to work on improving your scientific vocabulary.
Now it's pretty depressing, I'm not going to lie, to look at all the stuff you're doing wrong and to write it all down, but it does give you a clear and focused path about how to improve. And ultimately that's how to be more efficient and how to be more effective in your study. It's not to concentrate on what you're good at. It's not to concentrate on what you get full marks on. It's to concentrate on what you're not good at so you can improve.
If you follow this process, and again, my magic marking grid is the best way to do it, try it once and you'll get probably lots and lots of errors.
It'll be full.
The grid will be full of stuff you've got wrong. And that's okay. Because the next time when you use the magic marking grid again, you'll start to see less and less errors because you've identified the ones before that were doing you no good and you've started now to improve those skills. And the idea is, if you start now using this magic marking grid, and you start now by addressing the weaknesses in your problem solving, by the time you get to the next class test, or by the time you get to your exams, those exam techniques skills and those problem solving skills are excellent.
And that's how you get seven in IB Physics.
Now, I think you will agree with me, I think that is magic, don't you?
The supernatural force is the magic marking grid.
And I think you should use that today. And if you don't use the grid, no problem, but do be aware that there are skills that you have to improve and this identifying those skills is the single most important way of improving your score and improving your confidence ultimately, in IB Physics.
I promise it works BUT, and there is a BUT...
YOU have to do the work.
I can't do it for you.
Your teacher can't do it for you.
You have to be motivated and you have to be diligent to do that.
Now, my job, as I see it is to make that process as efficient and easy as possible for you, but I can't do it for you. So, you're the one that has to take this forward and I really wish you all the luck in the world.