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AS/A-Level Physics

Teacher in charge of Subject

Overview

It’s fun and interesting to understand how the universe works.  The Universe is full of incredible mysteries such as how black holes are formed or whether anything can travel faster than the speed of light.  Physics uses mathematics to unravel these mysteries and give us an insight into worlds which we were previously unaware of!

Once you understand how the universe works, you might be able to use that knowledge to your advantage.  Nearly every piece of electronics equipment since the transistor is the result of our understanding quantum mechanics, a 20th century physics discovery.  You could go on for quite a while listing proven and developing technologies that rely on physics discoveries.

The fundamentals of physics (Newton’s laws or Maxwell’s laws of electromagnetism) are the foundation of just about every field of engineering there is.  So every engineer or scientist of any quality needs to know these basics.

  1. Course Title

    A-Level Physics

  2. Exam Board and Specification No.

    Edexcel A-level Physics (9PH0)A

What do I need to have studied/have knowledge of?

Physics is a very mathematical subject. The course requirements are as follows:

  • GCSE grade B in mathematics
  • GCSE grade B in physics
  • 2 more Science GCSE grade B GCSE Science, GCSE Additional Science, GCSE Physics or GCSE Astronomy
  • Ideally GCSE grade B in English (helps with the coursework requirement)

It is highly recommended that students take at least A level Mathematics alongside A level Physics.

What will I learn on this course?

The content is split between A level and AS level.  The AS course will be taught over one year, the A-level course over two.  The breakdown is as follows:

  • AS Paper 1: Working as a Physicist, Mechanics, Electric Circuits.
  • AS Paper 2: Working as a Physicist, Materials, Waves, The Particle Nature of light.

For the A level paper you will be required to study, in depth, the practical application of physics in the laboratory and you will be assessed through completion of 16 ‘Core Practicals’ which cover the full spectrum of physics topics and skills.  These will run throughout the AS and A level course.

  • A level Paper 1: As for AS paper 1, plus – Further Mechanics, Electric and Magnetic Fields, Particle Physics.
  • A level Paper 2: As for AS paper 2, plus – Thermodynamics, Space, Radiation and Oscillations.

What key skills will I develop?

Students will develop a variety of skills essential for many professions.  These skills include numeracy, literacy, verbal communication, organisational skills, teamwork, independent thinking as well as practical capabilities in lab work.

Physics students are considered extremely employable due to the transferrable skills that they will gain.

How will I be assessed?

The AS course involves two exam papers, both of 1hr 30min duration.

The A level course requires two exam papers of 1hr 45mins and one paper of 2hr 30mins.  The final paper will assess you laboratory and practical skills, along with the physics you have learnt throughout the course.

For the full A level you will also be required to pass a Certificate of Competency in Practical Skills.

What could this course lead to?

An A level in physics is a highly recognised and prized qualification in all careers and professions.  Universities particularly value it and as such it helps students gain admittance to varied types of degree courses, not just in the pure and applied physical sciences such as astronomy or engineering.

Additional events, trips or enrichment activities

Students have the opportunity to enter into the British Physics Olympiad competition, along with other nationally recognised competitions.

As a practical course A-Level Physics contains a rich programme of practical work. In addition it will include opportunities to visit university and/or industrial research labs.

Are there any additional costs for this course?

The course text book will be required (currently in the region of £15).

Revision guides are an optional extra cost.

Any trips may incur an additional cost.

Who do I contact if I have any further questions?

Ms S Holmes – sholmes@commonweal.co.uk