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IB 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.

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


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%)


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%)


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

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