Academic Group 4 Subjects

Overview: Chemistry HL

Note: First assessment 2016

Topics in Chemistry HL are divided into 3 sections: the core, the AHL units and the options. There are 10 units in which both SL and HL students study. All AHL content is an extension of the core topics going into a more in-depth exploration of each. 


  1. Stoichiometric Relationships
  2. Atomic Structure
  3. Periodicity
  4. Chemical Bonding and Structure
  5. Energetics and Thermochemistry
  6. Chemical Kinetics
  7. Equilibrium
  8. Acids and Bases
  9. Redox Processes
  10. Organic Chemistry
  11. Measurement and Data Processing and Analysis

For the options, teachers usually choose 1 out of the 4 to teach for Paper 3. Other times, this is a self-study unit chosen by the students.

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

All SL and HL students are required to write all three papers, complete an IA, and the group 4 project. The HL paper 3 is longer and includes one of the optional units (options) of study from above.

Paper 1

This paper consists of 40 multiple choice questions worth 40 points in total. Both core and AHL content is covered on this paper. No calculator nor data booklet is permitted, however, a copy of a simplified periodic table of elements is provided. On average, students are given 1 hour to complete this paper.

Paper 2

This paper consists of 10 questions (with sub-questions) worth 95 marks in total. This paper consists of both short answer and extended-response questions testing core and AHL content. Calculators and the data booklet are permitted for this exam. On average, students are given 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete this paper.

Paper 3

This paper consists of questions from all optional units of study. Students choose one option to answer out of the four. Calculators and the data booklet are permitted for this exam. On average, students are given 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete this paper.

Internal Assessment

The IA is a scientific investigation based on a topic of the students’ choosing. It should include an investigation component (i.e. laboratory experiment or field study) and an analysis of the data from the practical. In Chemistry HL, two types of IAs are allowed: a laboratory or a database-based investigation. The IA is out of 24 marks.

Group 4 Project

The group 4 project is a collaborative project completed by students from all science subjects in IB. The goal is to research a current scientific topic through investigation and presentation. My own group’s project was a 30-day challenge to spread awareness about the pollution in the Canadian Tar Sands, located in Alberta, Canada.

You may also like…

• Francine’s overview of Biology HL
• Nikki’s overview of Physics HL

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