IB Physics – 7 Ways to Get a 7

IB Physics, especially at the Higher Level, is one of the most difficult subjects in the IB Diploma. Nonetheless, it is still very possible to attain a 7. In fact, according to the IB Statistical Report in November 2009, 31% of Standard Level Candidates and 20% of Higher Level Candidates received a 7. This means that on average, in a class of 20 HL students, 4 will get a 7.

So how do you get into that top 20%?

To find out, I’ve asked many successful past IB Physics students regarding their techniques, as well as IB Physics teachers, one of whom used to mark IB Papers. Combining this with my own experiences, I’ve found 7 key things that successful students are doing in terms of learning the course and IB Revision.

1) Know Your IB Physics Syllabus

One of the best aspects of IB Science subjects is the Syllabus. The Syllabus contains all the possible concepts that could possibly be examined. I know a teacher who actually writes IB Papers and he told me that every question that is written is closely checked according to the Syllabus and if it’s not relevant, it is removed. This means that if you can do every point in the Syllabus, then there is nothing that can surprise you in your final examination. So if you still have plenty of time before your final exams, make sure you have you syllabus next to you as you revise.

2) Annotate Your IB Physics Syllabus

We can go one step further. What I strongly recommend is printing out a copy of all of the relevant sections of the Syllabus. As you learn/revise, don’t just write down notes in your notebook, write your notes on your printed version of the syllabus! That way, as you learn, you’re cross-referencing to your syllabus. When you do this, you’ll be well aware of all the topics you’ve covered, the topics you’ve missed and importantly, the topics that you’re not yet familiar with.

3) Maximize Your IB Physics Internal Assessment (IA) Scores

Whilst the IB Physics exam may be difficult, the Internal Assessment is much easier. This is because you can do them without any time pressure whatsoever. Also, most teachers give you plenty of opportunities to maximise your IA scores. And most importantly, scoring high in your IAs means that you can score lower in your final exam and still get a 7. What I recommend is to look at your Physics Guide very closely and look at what is required of you for the IAs. If there is anything you’re unsure about, make sure you ask your teacher about it. If you don’t do as well as you’d hoped, find out why you lost marks. There should be no excuse for not scoring 40+ in your IAs.

4) Make Sure You Understand Each Point Before You Move On

This is crucial. As your teacher explains each point, make sure that you really understand it before they move on to the next point. First of all, most subsequent points will depend on an understanding of the first few points, so if you miss a concept, you may get lost. Secondly, it saves you a lot of time. It means that you won’t fall behind and need to catch up on concepts that you didn’t understand previously.

5) Effective Time Management

If you manage your time well, you can do in one day what would normally take another student three days. In fact, I believe that one of the key differences between a 7 candidate and a 5 candidate is their ability to use their time well. The most important thing is to remove distractions. When you’re studying from a text book, or doing past paper questions, make sure you’re not on Facebook! And try to keep things that you tend to fidget with or get easily distracted by out of sight. But I admit, it can often be fun to go Facebook. So what I suggest is to allocate times where you allow yourself to be distracted. Personally, I give myself ten minutes before my first block of work to look at Facebook, grab some snacks etc. before working. If possible, put yourself under some sort of time pressure. Parkinson’s Law states that the time taken to complete a task is proportional to the time allocated to it. If you’ve given yourself a whole day to write up a full practical, chances are, it’ll take you a day. But for those of you doing IB English A1, you’ll notice that you can write up 1500 word essays in 90 minutes. This is because you’ve set a time a limit and your brain will automatically focus on completing the task in that time. One way around this is to focus on past papers for revision and time yourself!

6) Do IB Physics Past Paper Questions

I know a new Syllabus has just been released and there aren’t many past papers on the new Syllabus. However, you’ll notice that there’s still quite a lot of overlap with the old Syllabus, so there’s no excuse for not doing lots of past papers. If you come across a question that’s not in your course, just skip it. Doing past paper questions, especially under timed conditions is very useful. It helps for you to sink in the knowledge from the theory – doing questions and actually writing things down helps in retention of knowledge. Also, it reveals holes in your understanding. If there are questions, or groups of questions that you can’t do, go back to the Syllabus and see what it is that you need revising.

7) Scrutinise IB Physics Mark Schemes One of the reasons why IB Physics is so hard, I’ve found, is because what is written in the text book often doesn’t match what’s required of you in your exam. In fact, when I compared the definitions of Deep Inelastic Scattering (Particle Physics Option) in the Hamper Text Book to that in the mark scheme, I found that they did not match (The text book definition would have gotten 0). Now this would be horrible, especially if the student memorised the text book definition and ended up getting no marks for it in the exam. The only things the examiners have in front of them are your paper and the mark scheme.

So make sure you have a good understanding of those mark schemes! So there you have it, the 7 key strategies that, I can guarantee, will be of enormous help to you in attaining that 7 in IB Physics!

Best Wishes,

Owen Yang

Founder – IB Blueprint

Executive Tutor – Australian IB Tuition

How to Plan a Worry Free Vacation

I've always done the Griswold family vacation. My dad, an amazingly competent person, always tried to control his vacations to the point that he knew what meals would have served each time we ate at a restaurant. After this, we always had to deal with the unexpected. This might be a 10 'extension cord when we turned out to need 12', or a car recall for possible shorts in the electric door locks we heard right after we stopped because the doors were on fire.

I've spent a few decades trying to foresee the next disaster and prevent it from happening. Perhaps, as a
reaction, I tend to be less structured in my vacations. I know where I'm going, and when I'll be there, but I tend to presume that I can deal with whatever comes up when the time comes. Thankfully, I've pretty much been able to manage without encountering major problems.

Either method can work for a good, enjoyable vacation. Knowing what kind of person you are, and what you want out of the vacation is required. Whichever plan you embrace, some preparation is required. You have to know what budget you can use. This is money and time at least. If you intend to fly, you will need to have tickets far enough ahead of time to get the best price. If you drive, the car needs to be serviced to limit the opportunities of something breaking at an inopportune time. A car should be stocked with an emergency kit, with first aid supplies, water, a blanket and possibly some survival rations of some sort. You should always keep an atlas and local map in the car.

Even when simply going somewhere reasonably close to your home town, you should always do your research. There are many little treasures you can find that are not normally considered tourist destinations. I've been able to visit places from movies, books and history that were not on any guided tour. Whenever possible, I ask people I know in person or through the internet about the places I intend to visit. This has worked both ways, with both the person living there and me, the visitor, likely to learn about the place.

One of the lessons I've learned from my father is that a spontaneous vacation, where you go to a city and then explore instead of following an itinerary, can benefit from planning. Like my father, I keep a folder with every document and message relating to the vacation. It greatly helps when the time comes to deal with troubles. The folder includes places that might be useful, like an embassy, ‚Äč‚Äčtourist center, welcome center or other such site.

The most important thing to remember about a vacation is to enjoy it. Bring what you need for comfort, plan for multiple things you might want to do, so you have available options in case something does not work. Do not be afraid to follow your nose if you find something exciting. Just do not break the budget you set when you started.

Unethical Search Engine Optimization Explained

If you've ever thought about hiring a professional search engine optimization (SEO) consultant or read about SEO as a subject then you may have seen the term "black hat" mentioned. Let's take a closer look at what black hat SEO really means.

To begin with, we'll revisit what is meant by the term search engine optimization (SEO). SEO referers to methods that improve search engine rankings for a particular website. Techniques can vary but will often involve making the most of the website by ensuring that its content and structure appeal to search engines, as well as visitors.

There are various schools of thought on how best to carry out such optimization. As far as the major search engines are concerned, there are ethical methods of improving search engine rankings and unethical methods.

Within the professional search engine community, ethical techniques are known as "white hat", while techniques that are viewed as unethical have been labeled "black hat".

White Hat SEO involves making the best use of the structure and content of the website to improve rankings. Black Hat techniques will often involve trying to fool a search engine into believing that a particular website is more relevant or highly regarded than it actually is.

Examples of Black Hat methods may include cloaking, which is where a search engine is effectively shown a different version of a website to visitors. Other techniques would include employing hidden text and links.

Although Black Hat SEO can have some impressive results, the major search engines are constantly trying to clamp down on such methods, banning websites who employ them.

For long-term results, ethical White Hat methods are the most effective.

London Luxury Hotels

Luxury hotels in London simply define opulence and the high life. The English are world-renowned for their hospitality, and many of these hotels have more than a century’s worth of experience in treating their guests like royalty.

The Gore at Queen’s Gate is one of the oldest and quaintest hotels in London. With the ambience of a grand Victorian mansion, it has an old-world charm to it. Dating back to the 19th century, each room is decorated with an amazing collection of antiques. The hotel also acts as a corporate retreat with its ancient boardroom. Sightseeing attractions like the Royal Geographical Society, Victoria and Albert Museum, Serpentine at Hyde Park are just walking distance from the hotel. Nightly rates for a standard double room start at $252, special offer rate.

The Hilton on Park Lane, the flagship of the hotel chain, has 450 rooms, each of which is the last word in luxury. With a superb view of the famous Hyde Park, the Hilton provides easy access to local attractions like the Wellington Museum, the Green Park and the Berkeley Square at Mayfair. The hotel’s Windows Restaurant and Bar is famous for its award-winning culinary spread. The nearest station is the Hyde Park corner tube. Nightly rates for a double room start at $316, special offer rate.

In the heart of London’s financial district is the sophisticated Threadneedles Hotel. This magnificent boutique hotel is the perfect retreat from the clamor of the surroundings. Built in what used to be a banking hall, the Threadneedles’ rooms are spacious and done up stylishly, in contemporary chic. All rooms come with a mini bar and trouser press. The Stock Exchange on Old Broad Street, St. Helen’s Church, and Lloyd’s of London are just minutes away. Nightly rate for a deluxe double room start at $600 plus tax.

The Langham Hotel on Regent Street spells sophistication and luxury. Apart from the modern lavishly designed rooms, the hotel offers a swimming pool and a state of the art gym. The London Palladium Theatre, the All Souls Church and the RIBA architecture gallery are some of the attractions at walking distance. Nightly rates for a standard double room start at $450 plus tax.