Tips for Cambridge IGCSE physics exam prep

Physics exam

Preparing for your Cambridge IGCSE physics exams can be daunting and overwhelming most of the time, from trying to cram up all the theories in one go and constantly reviewing the equations, but having a good, comprehensive, and well-structured study plan can help to ease your mind. 


While having a pile of practice work and a sheet of never-ending notes sounds like a good strategy to follow, overloading your brain capacity like pushing a boulder up a hill isn’t really the best for you at this time.

So what should I do instead?

Here is a guide for you on Cambridge IGCSE physics exam prep, get your pen and papers ready, it is time to learn the right way!


Key tips to help you prepare:

  • Review the Syllabus: Make sure you know the syllabus inside and out. This will help you know what to expect from the exam and what topics to focus your revision on.
  • Practice Exams: Practice exams are a great way to get a feel for the exam structure and practice answering questions.
  • Review and Revise: This is where you go over the topics you studied for the exam, focusing on the areas you struggled with.
  • Take Breaks: Studying for hours on end can be mentally and physically exhausting, so make sure you take regular breaks and keep your energy levels up.
  • Take Time to Relax: Make sure you take some time each day to relax and unwind. This will reduce stress and help you stay focused and motivated.
  • Stay Organized: Create a revision plan and stick to it. This will help you stay on track and motivated.
  • Refresh Your Memory: Review key concepts and formulas often to help keep them fresh in your mind.
  • Get Enough Sleep: Make sure you get a good night’s sleep so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the exam.


Tips to boost your confidence:

Exploiting and self-learning various techniques and getting resources to make physics lessons more easier to follow works in your favor overall.

Remember these tactics from the cambridge experts themselves;

1)Use a track sheet 

To avoid last minute panicking over what you may have missed out during your study time, why not make a simple checklist to help yourself out?

After careful reference to your syllabus, jot down the relevant topics and create a table. You may include columns such as “needs to be reviewed”, “done” etc… to guide yourself. Don’t forget to keep your checklist with you every time you study and tick off to see your progress. 


2)Make a note on keywords and concepts

In your study plan, try to create graphical tables, charts, drawings etc… as this will help you to understand more information using lesser explanations. Don’t forget to state appropriate units. 

For example; you can make a drawing to represent forces, such as friction along with its formula


3)Learn the command words and what exactly they mean

As a physics student, you must use the right physics terminology in your answers. This equally adds up to your final grading. 

The list below are command words from the Cambridge 2023-2025 IGCSE physics syllabus to help you out;


Comment – give an informed comment on the given idea 

Compare – identify/comment on similarities and/or differences

Deduce – conclude from the given  information

Define – give a precise meaning

Calculate – work out from given facts, figures or information

Describe – state the points of a topic / give characteristics and main features

Determine – establish an answer using the information available

Give – produce an answer from a given source or recall/memory Identify name/select/recognise

Justify – support a case with evidence/argument

Explain – set out purposes or reasons / make the relationships between things evident / provide why and/or how and support with relevant evidence

Predict – suggest what may happen based on available information

Sketch – make a simple freehand drawing showing the key features, taking care of proportions

State – express in clear terms

Suggest – apply knowledge and understanding to situations where there are a range of valid responses in order to make proposals / put forward considerations


4) Pay attention to the marks given to the question 

Sometimes you could end up writing either less or more than what the question has asked you to cover and this could lead to losing a few marks. To avoid this, look at how many marks are being awarded for a question, for example, if questions with an equation to follow up is given 3 marks, then your marks are going to be awarded not just for writing the word equation and the answer, you are also awarded for showing the workings as well as the correct unit for your final answer.

Is it possible that I will have tricky questions in the physics paper?

Yes! If your question seems to be about a scenario that is outlined with a lot of details- any explanation that does not answer the question will not get you the required score.

Do my graphs and tables have to be clear?

Yes, when drawing graphs and tables make sure you use a sharp pencil, a ruler and good plots to trace your line.


Now that you have reached the end of this guideline, let’s start from the beginning to ace your paper!

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