Vectors can be used to represent many things and in many different ways. This makes them incredibly useful, but also fairly confusing to a first time user… but if you want to do physics, engineering or simply pass Math SL then you're going to need to learn something about them.

### Two Types of Quantities

**Scalar Quantities** - Quantities that only have "magnitude" or size. Things such as mass (kg) or temperature.

**Vector Quantities** - Quantities that have both direction and magnitude. Such as velocity (moving at 10 kph to the west) or force (10N down).

Its worth noting that the term "magnitude" gets used a lot with vectors. It essentially a fancy word for size or length. We'll talk more about it later.

### Different Vector Representations

Vectors get represented in many different ways. I have listed and attempted to describe the 4 that the IB uses below.

#### Directed Line Segments or "Arrows"

This is probably the easiest to understand and most intuitive representation of vectors.

#### Column Representation

The most common representation in Math SL.

#### Unit/Base Vectors

In my experience this was the most common representation used in university level physics. It's my personal favorite, but doesn't show up on exams too often.

#### What the IB calls "Position Vectors"

Used frequently along with column representation. These vectors often do not start at the origin.

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