Materials Science

Back to guide home page.


The lectures in the Michaelmas term mainly build from the content in IA, so it’s good to look through the content from ‘Microstructure’, ‘Mechanical Behaviour of Materials’, and ‘Materials under Extreme Conditions’ from IA.   The topics in the Lent term are new and more manageable. If you’re also taking Chemistry A, Course F in the Easter term overlaps to a large extent with what’s taught in Chemistry A.   Michaelmas:
  • Course A: Metals and Alloys
  • Course B: Mechanical Properties of Materials
  • Course C: Materials Chemistry
  • Course D: Structure and Characterisation
  • Course E: Non-Metallic Materials
  • Course F: Electrical Properties of Materials


The supervision sheets have the same format as those in IA (i.e. one sheet per week).


In Michaelmas, there is one practical per week. The format is the same as the labs in IA, i.e. lab notes submitted on Moodle after the lab. There is also a microscopy booklet to be completed during the term.   In Lent, there are practical sessions in alternate weeks. In the week where there is no practical, there is something called ‘Project Tasks’. There are 5 tasks in total, covering topics such as 3D printing, and each one is a OTOT task to be submitted before the deadline. This was something new this year and might be modified for the next few batches.   No practical in Easter term!

Revision and Exams

IB Materials Science has 2 papers with 3 hours each. The format is the same as IA – choose 5 questions out of 7 to do. Paper 1 is made up of questions from Course A and B while Paper 2 is made up of questions from Course C to F (usually 2 from Course C, 1 from Course D, 2 from Course E, and 2 from Course F). Questions in Paper 2 are generally easier than those in Paper 1 (the average marks from past Tripos Examiners’ Reports are also higher for Paper 2).

Useful resources 

Our Sponsors

Science AAAS