Group 4: Experimental Sciences

Group 4: Biology, Chemistry or Physics

Biologists investigate the living world at all levels using many different approaches and techniques. Chemistry is an experimental science that combines academic study with the acquisition of practical and investigational skills. Physics is the most fundamental of the experimental sciences, as it seeks to explain the universe itself from the very smallest particles to the vast distances between galaxies.

What does this course involve?

Higher level (240 hours)
Internal assessment (individual investigation): 20%
External assessment: 80%

Standard level (150 hours)
Internal assessment (individual investigation): 20%
External assessment: 80%

Key features of the curriculum and assessment models

  • Available at standard (SL) and higher levels (HL)
  • The minimum prescribed number of hours is 150 for SL and 240 for HL
  • Students are assessed both externally and internally
  • Biology, Chemistry and Physics students at SL and HL undertake a common core syllabus and a common internal assessment (IA) scheme.

While there are core skills and activities common to both SL and HL students, students at HL are required to study the options and some topics in greater depth as well as some additional topics. The distinction between SL and HL is one of breadth and depth.

A practical approach to the course delivery is emphasised through the interdisciplinary group 4 project and a mixture of both short-term and long-term experiments and investigations.

Internal assessment accounts for 20% of the final assessment and this is assessed through a single individual investigation. This investigation may involve a hands-on approach, use of data-bases, modelling, simulation or a hybrid. Student work is internally assessed by the teacher and externally moderated by the IB.

The external assessment of the sciences consists of three written papers. In paper 1 there are 30 (at SL) or 40 (at HL) multiple-choice questions. Paper 2 contains short-answer and extended-response questions on the core (and Additional Higher Level (AHL) material at HL). Paper 3 has two sections; Section A contains one data-based question and several short-answer questions on experimental work on the core (and AHL material at HL). Section B contains short-answer and extended-response questions from each of the four options