Physics

Subject Leader
Mr Smith
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Aims of the course

Develop an interest in and enthusiasm for Physics, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject.

Course outline

Guideline entry requirements: Grade 7 in Physics GCSE (or 7-7 in GCSE Trilogy Science) is strongly recommended to study Physics at A‑Level. Grade 7 in GCSE Maths is very strongly recommended as the course has a 40% maths component.

The course consists of nine different modules:

  1. Measurements and their errors.
  2. Particles and radiation.
  3. Waves.
  4. Mechanics and materials.
  5. Electricity.
  6. Further mechanics & thermal physics.
  7. Fields and their consequences.
  8. Nuclear physics.

The ninth unit is taken from one of the five options:

  1. Astrophysics.
  2. Medical physics.
  3. Engineering physics.
  4. Turning points in physics.
  5. Electronics.

Assessment

Paper 1: This paper is 2 hours long and is worth 34% of the total A level. It examines content from modules 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6.1 (periodic motion).
There are 60 marks of questions consisting of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content.

Paper 2: This paper is 2 hours long and is worth 34% of the total A level. It examines content from modules 6.2, 7 and 8 (and assumes knowledge of sections 1 to 6.1).
There are 60 marks of questions consisting of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content.

Paper 3: This paper is 2 hours long and is worth 32% of the total A level. It examines content on practical skills and data analysis and the option choice from sections 9 to 13.
The first section has 45 marks and the questions consist of short long answer questions on practical experiments and data analysis.

The second section has 35 marks of short and long answer questions on the optional topic.

There is also an assessment of practical skills that is not assessed by exam and is a pass or fail. It takes place throughout the two years and does not form part of the A level grade but is reported separately.

The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.

  • AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures.
  • AO2: Apply knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, processes, techniques and procedures:
    • in a theoretical context
    • in a practical context
    • when handling qualitative data
    • when handling quantitative data.
  • AO3: Analyse, interpret and evaluate scientific information, ideas and evidence, including in relation to issues, to:
    • make judgements and reach conclusions
    • develop and refine practical design and procedures.

Each exam covers all three assessment objectives to varying levels.

40% of the overall assessment of AS Physics will contain mathematical skills equivalent to Level 2 or above. At least 15% of the overall assessment of AS Physics will assess knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to practical work.

Career opportunities

The top seven degree courses taken by students who take Physics A level are:

  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Civil Engineering
  • Economics
  • Business

Physics at A level or degree level shows that, as well as being highly numerate, analytical and logical, the chances are that you are also a creative thinker, excellent at problem solving and meticulous – skills that are relevant in any work environment.

Studying A level Physics offers a number of amazing career opportunities including:

  • Geophysicist/field seismologist                      Healthcare scientist, medical physics
  • Lecturer / Teacher                                             Radiation protection practitioner
  • Research scientist (physical sciences)           Scientific laboratory technician
  • Meteorologist                                                      Structural engineer
  • Acoustic engineer                                               Systems developer
  • Technical author                                                Product/process development scientist