Physics students at Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) undertake a common core syllabus, a common internal assessment (IA) scheme and have some overlapping elements in the options studied. They are presented with a syllabus that encourages the development of certain skills, attributes and attitudes, as described in the “Aims” and “Objectives” section of this guide.

While the skills and activities of Group 4 science subjects are common to students at both SL and HL, HL students are required to study topics in greater depth containing material of a more demanding nature. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.

Students at both SL and HL study one option. Currently this is the topic Astrophysics. Students at SL are required to spend 40 hours, and students at HL 60 hours, on practical/investigative work. This includes 10 hours for the Group 4 project and 10 hours for completion of an Internal Assessment.

Purpose of Course

Physics is the study of energy and matter and as such tries to discover the fundamental laws that govern the universe. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the rigorous methodology of physical science.

This course aims to enable students to apply and use a body of knowledge, methods and techniques, which will develop their ability to analyse, evaluate and synthesise scientific information. Physics is a discipline that has always been, and still is, an international endeavour and this course will raise the awareness of students of the need for, and the value of, effective collaboration and communication during scientific activities.

Students construct hypotheses, use scientific method, analyse data and evaluate findings. Problem solving techniques and rigorous scientific explanations will be developed. Students are required to demonstrate the personal skills of cooperation, perseverance and responsibility appropriate for effective scientific investigation and problem solving. They also need to demonstrate the manipulative skills necessary to carry out scientific investigations with precision and safety.


Students intending on proceeding with Standard Level Physics should be working towards obtaining a minimum of 60% average in Year 10 Physics. Students intending on proceeding with Higher Level Physics should be working towards obtaining a minimum average of 65% in Year 10 Physics. Students should also be competent in Science Investigation Skills.

Click here to view Subject Brief – Physics SL

Click here to view Subject Brief – Physics HL