Awarding Body:AQACourse Duration:1/2 Years
To study this subject, students must achieve the following GCSE grades:
5 A*-C grade GCSEs, including English plus at least an A and a B grade in ONE of the following combinations:
Physics is about asking fundamental questions and trying to answer them by observing and experimenting. For example, physicists want to know the answers to questions like "how did the universe begin?" and "What are the basic building blocks of matter?"
AS Physics is a one-year course, with exams at the end. Topics covered include:
A-Level Physics is a two-year course, with exams at the end. Topics covered in the second year include:
Making observations enables you to uncover the relationships between quantities in physics and so practical skills is an important part of the course. You will learn about the importance of the estimation of physical quantities and appreciate the limitations of measurements. The practical activities during the AS part of the course include:
The practical activities during the second year of the course include:
If you are going to understand physics, you will also need to get to grips with a certain amount of maths and so choosing to study mathematics alongside physics is highly recommended. Written communication is also important when reporting the results of your practical work and in answering questions in examinations. Computers are increasingly being used in the solution of scientific problems, particularly for modelling complex processes, and so you will make use of ICT throughout the course.
You will be given the opportunity to take part in enrichment opportunities including our annual trip CERN in Geneva, and to visit research facilities here in the UK such as the Diamond Light synchrotron at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. The physics department also runs activities such as Robotics in which students design and build a robot to compete in international competitions.
You will be tested on your ability to carry out mathematical calculations and written explanations through a range of multiple-choice, structured and longer questions.
AS level (end of year 1):- Two exams of 1 hour 30 minutes each
A-level (end of year 2):- Three exams of 2 hours each
There is no coursework, but the examination papers include questions on practical skills. The award of a separate practical endorsement at A-level depends on successful completion of the experimental tasks set during the course.
You will require a scientific calculator. The purchase of textbooks for use at home is essential. These are available from the college bookshop. Further information will be provided in a separate leaflet on Taster Day. The College has a Student Support Fund for those students needing help in meeting these costs.
Studying A-level Physics offers amazing career opportunities. It is essential (with Mathematics) for entry to Physics or Engineering degree level courses. Even if you don't end up working in a physics-related industry, physics develops skills that provide an excellent basis for a wide range of careers and Higher Education courses.
Studying physics is a good way of keeping your options open and earning a good salary. Possible careers include computing, economics, business, seismology, healthcare scientist, higher education lecturer, radiation protection practitioner, secondary school teacher, meterorologist, patent attorney, technical author. The opportunities are endless.