Physics

Contact Teacher: Mr R Robinson, Science Faculty Coach

Exam Board: AQA

Why study Physics?

If you have enjoyed the Physics modules in your GCSE course; if you are interested in understanding the workings of the Universe and the fundamental particles of matter; if you want to know more about the laws which technologists and engineers use in their work; if you are puzzled by the strange ideas of relativity and cosmology - then you should consider studying Physics.

In recent years students have gone on to study all branches of Physics (including astrophysics, nuclear physics and environmental physics) and all kinds of engineering (including civil, mechanical, automotive, aeronautical, materials, electrical, electronic and chemical).

For others Physics has been a part of their Sixth Form course leading to further study in Chemistry, Biology, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Maths, Music, Oceanography, Psychology, Philosophy and a host of other careers not directly related to Physics.

Course details

Core content
1 Measurements and their errors
2 Particles and radiation
3 Waves
4 Mechanics and materials
5 Electricity
6 Further mechanics and thermal physics
7 Fields and their consequences
8 Nuclear physics
Plus either Astrophysics or Turning points in physics

How the course is taught and assessed

The A-level course is taught by a team of two teachers who split the specification between them, as recommended by the exam board. Each module is taught sequentially i.e. both teachers start with unit 1, followed by unit 2 and so on. The practical assessments are carried out during the teaching of units.

Paper 1
What’s assessed? - Sections 1 to 5 and Periodic motion from Section 6.
Written exam: 2 hours. 85 marks (60 marks of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content) 34% of A-level

Paper 2
What’s assessed? - Sections 7 and 8 and Thermal Physics from Section 6. There is also assessment of assumed knowledge from sections 1 to 6.
Written exam: 2 hours. 85 marks (60 marks of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content) 34% of A-level

Paper 3
What’s assessed? - Section A: Practical skills and data analysis. Section B: Students enter for one of the option sections.
Written exam: 2 hours. 80 marks (45 marks of short and long answer questions on practical experiments and data analysis, and 35 marks of short and long answer questions on either Astrophysics or Turning points in physics) 32% of A-level

Entry requirements

For success in this subject you should have at least a 6 grade at GCSE in both Science and Mathematics. Physics is not an easy subject, but most students find the course enjoyable and stimulating. Most Physics students also study mathematics; this is not essential, but they find it a useful support.