IB Chemistry Content Overview

IB Chemistry Overview

Course Overview

Chemistry is a prerequisite for several other courses in tertiary education, such as medicine, environmental science and biological science. Students taking the IB chemistry course will undertake both theory and practical work and acquire investigation and manipulative skills. In addition, this course gives students opportunities to develop interpersonal, mathematical and information technology skills that are important to life.

By studying this course, students become aware of:

  • how chemical concepts underpin both physical and biological systems
  • how chemists work with one another
  • how experiments in chemistry are designed
  • how scientific data is collected
  • how experimental results are analysed
  • how scientific findings are critically evaluated and effectively communicated

Course Objectives

The objectives of the IB chemistry course are to provide students opportunities to:

  • acquire a body of knowledge and techniques that characterise chemistry and apply them to other areas of knowledge and the real world
  • develop the ability to analyse and evaluate information in chemistry
  • build experimental skills in chemistry using current equipment and technologies
  • hone their collaboration and communication skills through scientific activities
  • become aware of the ethical and environmental implications of using chemicals for investigation
  • analyse the strengths and limitations of chemistry

Curriculum Components

The following core topics are covered for students taking the chemistry course at both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL). The HL course gets into more detail and/or covers more subtopics for these core topics than the SL course. The same applies for the option topic as well.

Core topics

  1. Stoichiometric relationships
  2. Atomic structure
  3. Periodicity
  4. Chemical bonding and structure
  5. Energetics
  6. Chemical kinetics
  7. Equilibrium
  8. Acids and bases
  9. Redox processes
  10. Organic chemistry
  11. Measurement and data processing

Option topic (Choice of one out of four)

  1. Materials
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Energy
  4. Medicinal chemistry

Assessment

Assessments in IB chemistry are to ascertain the ability of students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of concepts, details and jargon in chemistry and communicate them effectively. Students are also required to develop and assess hypotheses, research questions and experimental techniques and carry out percipient investigations.

*The changes in assessment weighting for May & November 2021 are reflected below. 

Chemistry Standard Level (SL)

Paper 1

Marks for May/Nov 2021: 30
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: 30%
(Current Weighting: 20%)

Paper 2

Marks for May/Nov 2021: 50
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: 50%
(Current Weighting: 40%)

Paper 3

Marks for May/Nov 2021: Removed
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: N/A
(Current Weighting: 20%)

IA

Marks for May/Nov 2021: 24
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: 20%
(Current Weighting: 20%)

Chemistry Higher Level (HL)

Paper 1

Marks for May/Nov 2021: 40
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: 30%
(Current Weighting: 20%)

Paper 2

Marks for May/Nov 2021: 90
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: 50%
(Current Weighting: 36%)

Paper 3

Marks for May/Nov 2021: Removed
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: N/A
(Current Weighting: 24%)

IA

Marks for May/Nov 2021: 24
Modified Weighting for May/Nov 2021: 20%
(Current Weighting: 20%)

Suggested Program Curriculum

Year 1 (Units 1 to 6)

Syllabus ComponentSL
No. Of Hours
HL
No. Of Hours
Unit 1
Stoichiometric Relationships
13.513.5
Unit 2
Atomic Structure
66 + 2
Unit 3
Periodicity
66 + 4
Unit 4
Chemical Bonding & Structure
13.513.5 + 7
Unit 5
Energetics/Thermochemistry
99 + 7
Unit 6
Chemical Kinetics
77 + 6

Year 2 (Units 7 to 11)

Syllabus ComponentSL
No. Of Hours
HL
No. Of Hours
Unit 7
Equilibrium
4.54.5 + 4
Unit 8
Acids & Bases
6.56.5 + 10
Unit 9
Redox Processes
88 + 6
Unit 10
Organic Chemistry
1111 + 12
Unit 11
Measurement & Data Processing
1010 + 2

The Group 4 Project

The group 4 project is a collaborative activity for students from different group 4 experimental science subjects (chemistry, biology, physics, etc.) to work together. It mainly gives an opportunity for students from different disciplines to work together as a team and share concepts and perceptions with each other. Each team consists of around 3-4 students who take at least two different experimental science subjects. They work on a topic together and make a presentation at the end of the project. Scores for this project are included in the internal assessment marks.

*May 2021 Examination session — Group 4 Project requirement removed