Format of the syllabus

The format of the syllabus section of the group 4 guides is the same for each subject physics, chemistry and biology. This new structure gives prominence and focus to the teaching and learning aspects. Under the overarching 'Nature of Science' theme there are two columns. The first column lists "Understandings", which are the main general ideas to be taught. There follows an "Applications and skills" section that outlines the specific applications and skills to be developed from the understandings. A "Guidance" section gives information about the limits and constraints and the depth of treatment required for teachers and examiners. The contents of the "Nature of Science" section above the two columns and contents of the first column are all legitimate items for assessment. In addition, some assessment of international-mindedness in science, from the content of the second column, will take place as in the previous course.

The second column gives suggestions to teachers about relevant references to international-mindedness. It also gives examples of TOK knowledge questions (see Theory of knowledge guide published 2013) that can be used to focus students' thoughts on the preparation of the TOK prescribed essay. The "Links" section may link the sub-topic to other parts of the subject syllabus, to other Diploma Programme subject guides or to real-world applications. Finally, the "Aims" section refers to how specific group 4 aims are being addressed in the sub-topic.

Format of the guide

Essential idea:

This lists the essential idea for each sub-topic.

Nature of Science:

Relates the sub-topic to the overarching theme of Nature of Science.


• This section will provide specifics of the content requirements for each sub-topic.

Applications and skills:

• The content of this section gives details of how students are to apply the understandings. For example, these applications could involve demonstrating mathematical calculations or practical skills.


• This section will provide specifics and give constraints to the requirements for the understandings and applications and skills.

• This section will also include links to specific sections in the data booklet.