A Level Physics

Did you know?
83%
of entries achieved A*-B in Physics at A Level in 2016.

Why should I study Physics?

If you are intrigued by nature, enjoy finding out about how the world works, are inquisitive, logical, imaginative, rigorous, questioning and intellectually courageous, then Physics is the subject for you.

During the course you will learn about our current understanding of the Universe, from the tiniest subatomic particles and the fundamental forces that dictate their behaviour to the nature of stars, galaxies, space and time. By the end you will not only have learnt about how nature works, but equally importantly you will have developed a range of valuable skills including analytical, critical and creative thinking, the ability to collect, analyse and interpret evidence, powers of logical deduction and effective communication of complex information in a variety of formats.

Success in Physics is prized both by universities and employers as the sign of a strong intellect and the possession of these skills is a highly valued qualification for a wide variety of scientific, technical, commercial and creative professions.

What will I need to study Physics?

The course covers a lot of ground in a short time, so you must also be prepared to work hard from the start. Generally, those who put the most into the subject gain the most satisfaction from it.

Candidates taking A Level Physics will be expected to have at least an A in Physics GCSE or an A grade equivalent in the Physics component of the Science & Additional Science GCSE. It is not necessary to take A Level Maths in order to study Physics to A Level, but students should have at least an A in Maths GCSE. (Students should note that it is difficult to study Physics beyond school without Maths A Level.)


Structure and Outline of the course:

Year 12
• Measurements and their errors, including use of SI units and their prefixes, limitations of physical measurement, estimation of physical quantities
• Particles and radiation, including constituents of the atom, particle interactions, collisions of electrons with atoms
• Waves, including progressive waves, interference, diffraction
• Mechanics and energy, including projectile motion, Newton’s laws of motion
• Electricity, including current/voltage characteristics, circuits, electromotive force and internal resistance

Year 13
• Further mechanics and thermal physics, including periodic motion, thermal energy transfer molecular kinetic theory model
• Fields, including Newton’s law of gravitation, orbits of planets and satellites, magnetic flux density
• Nuclear physics, including evidence for the nucleus, radioactive decay, nuclear instability
• Astrophysics, including classification of stars by luminosity, Doppler effect, detection of exoplanets

 


Method of Assessment:

There will be three papers.

Paper 1 topics 1 – 5 and periodic motion.

Paper 2 will be on topics 6 – 8.

Paper 3 will be on Astrophysics, Data Analysis and Practical Skills.

Practical skills will be assessed internally by teachers and reported separately from the course grade.


Student Comments:

“If cannot ask too many questions in Physics, nobody knows the answer because new discoveries are being made every year – a lot of what you learn is cutting edge.”

 “Physics combines well with several other subjects such as Maths and the other Sciences. At A Level you extend your knowledge of GCSE topics as well as covering new material. It is fascinating and thought-provoking.”  “Physics: ideas that make you think!”

“Physics supports a wide range of careers, such as Engineering and Architecture.”

 


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