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How To Score A* In IGCSE Physics Paper 2

Updated: Apr 10

A young educator sweating while trying out a difficult IGCSE Physics Paper 2 (MCQ)


The dreaded CIE IGCSE Physics Paper 2 is often underestimated, yet it contributes 30% to your overall grade! Throughout our many years of teaching, we find students overlooking the multiple-choice questions, mistaking them for an "easy win." But beware! Paper 2 can be tricky, testing your understanding across all six syllabus chapters. Don't be caught off guard! Let's explore strategies to conquer this paper and unlock your full potential.

Understanding IGCSE Physics Paper 2 Format:

  • Forty questions, 60 marks: Each question carries 1.5 marks, contributing significantly to your final grade.

  • All chapters covered: Unlike IGCSE Physics Paper 4, where some chapters might be excluded, Paper 2 (multiple choice questions) tests you on everything!

  • Question order: Generally, questions follow the chapter order in your IGCSE Physics syllabus, starting with Chapter 1: General Physics and concluding with Chapter 6: Space Physics.

  • Chapter weightage: The chapters in the paper have varying lengths, with Chapter 1 being the longest and Chapter 2 being one of the shortest. Therefore, it is likely that there will be more questions from Chapter 1 and fewer questions from Chapter 2 among the 40 questions, as can be seen in the table below.

Table summarizing the chapter weightage and estimated number of questions from each chapter.
Table: Chapter Weightage and Estimated Number of Questions From Each Chapter

IGCSE Physics Paper 2(Multiple Choice Questions) Breakdown and Chapter Weightage
Download PDF • 82KB

Conquering the "Tricky" Factor:

Paper 2's MCQs go beyond simple recall. They often:

  • Spend more time revising longer chapters: As seen in the breakdown above, longer chapters, like Chapter 1: General Physics and Chapter 4: Electricity and Magnetism, will have more questions, so prioritize revising them accordingly.

  • Test your application of formulas and concepts. Brush up on critical formulas and practice applying them in different scenarios.

  • Present unfamiliar contexts. Don't get hung up on specific numbers or scenarios. Focus on understanding the underlying principles.

  • Requires careful reading and interpretation. Take your time to read each question carefully and underline the critical information before choosing an answer.

Data-Driven Study Strategies:

1. Analyze Past Papers:

We usually do this for our students, but you can do this by yourself as well or ask a tutor to assist you. Don't just do past papers passively! Actively analyze them using this method:

  • Categorize by chapter: As you solve each question, note down the chapter to which it belongs.

  • Track your performance: Record your score for each chapter. Identify your weaker areas.

  • Target your revision: Prioritize revising the chapters where you scored lower.

The following example demonstrates how to use the three steps mentioned above.

Example of applying data-driven study strategy

It is advisable to prioritize revising the chapters in which you have scored the lowest average percentage-wise. This is because changing those chapters will lead to the most significant increase in your marks. For instance, in the given example, improving Chapter 4 alone will result in six additional marks! Once you have revised the topic, attempt another past year's paper and re-evaluate your performance.

2. Utilize Free Resources:

  • Free Online Course: Take advantage of our free online course to improve your understanding of challenging chapters. Select the chapter with the lowest performance to see immediate progress!

  • Formula Sheet: Ensure you learn the essential concepts for the exam! Our formula sheet includes all the equations you need to know.

  • Past Paper Solutions: Access comprehensive solutions for past papers to understand the thought process behind each question.

Pro Tips for Exam Day:

1. Time Management:

  • Allocate time based on question type and difficulty: Aim for 1.5-2 minutes per question, adjusting for length and complexity. Allocate more time to trickier questions you flagged during reading.

  • Track your time: Use a watch or timer to stay vigilant. Consider marking time intervals on your answer booklet as a visual reminder.

  • Don't get stuck: If you're struggling with a question, move on and return later if time permits. Skipping a question prevents you from getting stuck and wasting valuable time.

  • Practice time management: Do mock exams under timed conditions to simulate the exam experience and refine your time allocation strategies.

2. Stay Calm:

  • Practice relaxation techniques: Deep breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization can help manage exam anxiety. Practice these techniques before and during the exam.

  • Positive self-talk: Challenge negative thoughts with positive affirmations. Remember your preparation and focus on doing your best instead of the outcome.

  • Maintain a healthy routine: Get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and exercise regularly in the days leading up to the exam. Feeling physically and mentally well can boost your confidence and focus.

  • Visualize success: Imagine yourself calmly and confidently tackling the exam and achieving your desired result. This positive visualization can reduce anxiety and boost motivation.

3. Double-check:

  • Review your answers: Allocate 5-10 minutes at the end to review your entire answer booklet.

  • Check for basic errors: Look for careless mistakes like typos, unit conversions, or misinterpreting questions.

  • Verify calculations: Re-do any calculations you're unsure of, especially in structured and extended response questions.

  • Mark down questions you are unsure of: Use your pencil and note down questions you are unsure of or want to reconsider later.

4. Additional Tips:

  • Arrive early: This reduces stress and allows time to settle in before the exam begins.

  • Read instructions carefully: Don't rush. Make sure you understand what each question is asking before attempting it. Careful of double negative statements >.<

  • Don't be afraid to ask the invigilator for clarification: If you're unsure about anything, ask the invigilator politely.

  • Learn more about the best physics tuition: The tips provided in this article are based on years of experience in tutoring students. If you find these tips and strategies helpful, you can join our physics tuition program. You can contact us directly via email at or message us through WhatsApp at +60129006955.


Conquering the IGCSE Physics Paper 2 requires strategic preparation and a focused approach. Understanding the format, embracing "tricky" questions, and utilizing data-driven study techniques can unlock your full potential and help you ace this crucial paper. Start your revision today using the tips mentioned in this article, and don't be afraid to seek help if needed. Believe in yourself, stay focused, and remember, practice makes perfect! Visualize your success and approach the exam with confidence. Good luck!


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