The IB Physics A and B courses run in parallel. The Physics A course is a self-contained course in Waves, Quantum Mechanics, and the wave properties of condensed matter, while the Physics B course covers the main areas of classical physics -- Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics and Dynamics. Physics B also introduces scientific programming, using the C/C++ language. The mathematical level of the Physics B course is more consistently demanding than that of Physics A, reflecting the fact that the majority of students taking the subject will proceed to Part II/III Experimental and Theoretical Physics and other quantitative subjects.
Either course can be taken on its own, and this can lead onto Half Subject Physics in Part II Physical Sciences but does not lead to Part II Physics. Students taking both courses normally combine them with one other IB subject. This third subject is usually NST IB Mathematics for those who are strongly committed to Physics and have coped well with Part IA Mathematics for NST. The selection of another experimental subject gives greater choice of Part II/III courses. Common choices of the third subject are Materials Science, one of the Chemistry courses, Geology, Biochemistry, and History and Philosophy of Science.
Students may study either Physics A or Physics B as a single subject in Part IB of the NST or, by combining Part IB Physics A with Part IB Physics B, offer two subjects. It is expected that students who wish to proceed to Part II Physics will study both courses.
(Note: prior to 2007-08 Part IB 'Physics A' and Physics B' were know as 'Physics' and 'Advanced Physics' respectively).
- Course Details - Physics A and B (pdf)
- Advice on Part IB subject choices
- Learning aims and outcomes (NST website, external link)