Topic 1: Orders of Magnitude

EXTRA TUTORIAL: Memorisation and questions involving orders of magnitude in Topic 1

I recorded this tutorial because of an email I received from one of the students in Ace Your IB Physics Exams. This extra tutorial addresses learning objectives 4, 5 & 6 in your revision list for Topic 1.

I’ll walk you step-by-step through a Paper 1 multiple choice question on solving ratios of orders of magnitudes.

Remember – no calculators for Paper 1! There is also a list of orders of magnitudes that need to be memorised.


Hi Sally,

I have a question regarding order of magnitude estimates

Are there any on which we should really really focus? For instance, I once came across an exercise where I HAD TO know the order of magnitude of nucleus…


You only need to know

  1. diameter of nucleus
  2. diameter of atom
  3. age of universe
  4. mass of universe

All shown at the end of this video

The only question you MIGHT need to use these estimates is in Paper 1 for one multiple choice questions about estimates of magnitude. The new specification doesn’t tend to include these types of questions any more – so I wouldn’t get too worried about memorising lots of magnitudes.

Hope this helps?


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