Anonymous(
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Hi there, is it okay if I use the Cambridge Physics HL textbook (by tsokos) to learn and understand the content in A level Physics? I’ve noticed that the concepts are explained very well in the the ib textbook and they use a lot more maths than the a level counterpart, which makes it much easier for me to understand things. Obviously there are things on the A level spec that aren’t on the ib spec, and I will definitely use the A level text for those topics. I’m mainly talking about topics that are common to both. Also, is it okay if I do the questions in the ib text instead of the a level one? (They look harder, more interesting and more mathematical). I do CIE btw, and will obviously still do CIE A level past papers to prepare. Thank you.
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artful_lounger
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Probably not, IB HL physics is calculus based as I recall and A-level physics is all algebra based. Also some of the topics may not be covered in one that are covered in the other and the exact way they're covered may vary.

In general for learning physics and developing you physical intuition it's fine, but for preparing for the A-level exams specifically it's not going to be ideal because none of the more mathematical (calculus based) approaches are going to be useable in the A-level exam and you may find yourself unable to answer the questions as a result.
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Probably not, IB HL physics is calculus based as I recall and A-level physics is all algebra based. Also some of the topics may not be covered in one that are covered in the other and the exact way they're covered may vary.

In general for learning physics and developing you physical intuition it's fine, but for preparing for the A-level exams specifically it's not going to be ideal because none of the more mathematical (calculus based) approaches are going to be useable in the A-level exam and you may find yourself unable to answer the questions as a result.
Hey, IB Physics HL is also completely algebra based and does not make use of any calculus. It’s just that in my CIE textbook, things are often explained in LONG paragraphs using nothing but words, and I find it very difficult to understand what they’re saying. Whereas in the IB textbook, first the concept is explained using mathematical expressions, and then I can easily explain it in my own words.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Anonymous()
Hey, IB Physics HL is also completely algebra based and does not make use of any calculus. It’s just that in my CIE textbook, things are often explained in LONG paragraphs using nothing but words, and I find it very difficult to understand what they’re saying. Whereas in the IB textbook, first the concept is explained using mathematical expressions, and then I can easily explain it in my own words.
Hmm, IB Physics used to be calculus based, I guess they changed the format. Good to know

Note that the "wordy" part is I understand important in A-level Physics as often they require you to give short response answers and you need to use very precise terminology from what I hear. Sinnoh might be able to comment more on that though. But you may find you need that wordier approach.

Why not use both books? You can use the IB one to develop your mathematical understanding of the topic and skills, while making sure you learn the relevant keywords and so on from the A-level textbook. You don't need to just use one or the other
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Hmm, IB Physics used to be calculus based, I guess they changed the format. Good to know

Note that the "wordy" part is I understand important in A-level Physics as often they require you to give short response answers and you need to use very precise terminology from what I hear. Sinnoh might be able to comment more on that though. But you may find you need that wordier approach.

Why not use both books? You can use the IB one to develop your mathematical understanding of the topic and skills, while making sure you learn the relevant keywords and so on from the A-level textbook. You don't need to just use one or the other
Yes, I’ve given some AS Physics topic tests and mocks, and am aware of the fact that ‘wordy answers’ are important in a level physics. It’s just that when I know the mathematics behind it, I find it much easier to explain what’s going on, and I make sure to check the mark scheme to see whether I have the key words or not. Luckily, for the exam board I do (CIE), most of the paper is just mathematics (at AS level at least) and CIE allows you to use mathematical equations and expressions when they ask a reasoning question. Yes, I mentioned that I will be using both in my original post. There are some topics that are exclusive to A levels, so I’ll be using the cie text for that and also to learn all the definitions/keywords etc. Can you comment on the last part of my original post? I’m basically asking whether it’s okay if I do the questions in the IB text and then use A level past papers for practice instead of doing the a level text questions? From what I’ve seen, the questions tend to be quite similar (CIE and IB are actually quite similar on a subject for subject basis), but the IB ones often require more problem solving ability and are indirect. They require a bit more thinking imo. Thanks !
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by Anonymous()
Yes, I’ve given some AS Physics topic tests and mocks, and am aware of the fact that ‘wordy answers’ are important in a level physics. It’s just that when I know the mathematics behind it, I find it much easier to explain what’s going on, and I make sure to check the mark scheme to see whether I have the key words or not. Luckily, for the exam board I do (CIE), most of the paper is just mathematics (at AS level at least) and CIE allows you to use mathematical equations and expressions when they ask a reasoning question. Yes, I mentioned that I will be using both in my original post. There are some topics that are exclusive to A levels, so I’ll be using the cie text for that and also to learn all the definitions/keywords etc. Can you comment on the last part of my original post? I’m basically asking whether it’s okay if I do the questions in the IB text and then use A level past papers for practice instead of doing the a level text questions? From what I’ve seen, the questions tend to be quite similar (CIE and IB are actually quite similar on a subject for subject basis), but the IB ones often require more problem solving ability and are indirect. They require a bit more thinking imo. Thanks !
I mean you could always do the questions from both - more practice is always good! However if time constraints limit you to one I would probably suggest focusing on the A-level book because that is going to be most aligned with the assessment format of the exam(s) you are preparing for.
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I mean you could always do the questions from both - more practice is always good! However if time constraints limit you to one I would probably suggest focusing on the A-level book because that is going to be most aligned with the assessment format of the exam(s) you are preparing for.
Yeah the time constraint is a problem. Thanks! I’ll stick to the A level one then!
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