The Best IB Geography Study Guide and Notes for SL/HL

If you’re an IB Geography SL/HL students in search of some extra free help, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re looking for IB Geography notes for a test on a single topic or cramming for the final IB Geography papers, this guide has all the information you need.

I created this IB Geography study guide using the best free online materials for IB Geography and ordered the materials following the newly-revised

IB Geography SL/HL syllabus



2021 IB Exam Changes Due to COVID-19

Because of the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic,

May 2021 IB assessments will have two routes, exam and non-exam, depending on which your school chooses

. Stay up to date with the latest information on what this means for IB diplomas, course credit for IB classes, and more with

our 2021 IB COVID-19 FAQ article


How To Use This Article

If you want to study a specific topic, use the Command + F function on your keyboard to search this article for specific IB Geography notes. For example, if you hope to read about Population change, use Command + F to bring up the search function. Type in “Extreme Environments and it will bring up all of the study materials for that topic.

I’ve separated the resources into:

  • Notes:

    notes (generally 2–4 pages) if you want a summary of each overall topic. Some resources also have video explanations.

  • Case studies:

    case studies for each topic to help you better understand that topic using specific real world examples.

If you’re looking for summary material to help you study for the IB Geography papers,

check out the notes with supporting video for each topic.

These notes are brief and great for a quick refresher.

How To Use This Guide Throughout the School Year

Use this guide throughout the school year as a review for in-class quizzes if you need more help learning the material.

You need to be mastering the topics throughout the school year

and not just waiting to cram before the IB Geography papers.

The Best Study Practices for IB Geography

Make sure you’re practicing related IB Geography past paper questions as you learn each new subject. You can find

free IB Geography HL and IB Geography SL past papers here

. Also, if you’re having difficulty understanding your in-class lesson, you should be reviewing the corresponding chapter in a textbook or this study guide.

Common Study Mistakes IB Geography Students Make

For IB Geography, there are lots of topics to master, so you can’t fall behind. Common mistakes students make are:


Trying to avoid the material you didn’t learn in class.

If you didn’t understand it in class, you need to find more help whether through this article or tutoring.


Only studying a week or two before the IB Geography papers.

You will not be able to master all of the topics below in only a week or two (that is why the course is spread out over 1 to 2 years). Make sure you are learning the topics as they’re taught to you in class. Use this article for additional support learning the topics:

Part #1: Geographic Themes—60 Hours for SL, 90 Hours for HL

The IB Geography syllabus gives you seven options for study. If you’re on the SL track, you’ll need to master two subjects; if you’re on the HL track, you’ll need to master three.

Part #1: Geographic Themes

Option A: Freshwater

Option B: Oceans and Coastal Margins

Option C: Extreme Environments

Option D: Geophysical Hazards

Option E: Leisure, Tourism, and Sport


Option F: Food and Health

Option G: Urban Environments

Part #2: SL and HL Core: Geographic Perspectives—70 Hours SL/HL

Since this is core knowledge, both SL and HL students will be tested over the following material.

Topic A: Population Distribution—Changing Population

Topic B: Global Climate — Vulnerability and Resilience

Topic C: Global Resource Consumption and Security


Part #3: Geographic Perspectives: Global Interactions—HL Only, 60 Hours

If you’re HL, you’ll also be tested over the following three topics.

Topic A: Power, Places, and Networks

Topic B: Human Development and Diversity

Topic C: Global Risks and Resilience


Part #4: Internal Assessment: SL and HL Fieldwork—20 Hours

In order to do well on the internal assessment, students have to meet the following criteria (which we’ve taken directly from the IB Geography syllabus):

#1: Students must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of specified content

#2: They must demonstrate application and analysis of knowledge and understanding

#3: Students must demonstrate synthesis and evaluation

#4: Students have to select, use, and apply a variety of appropriate skills and techniques

With that in mind, here are two examples of successful internal assessments:


What’s Next?

Learn more about IB Geography:

Learn more about other IB Classes:

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