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Science

Physics - A level

What will I learn?

Concepts studied at GCSE are built upon further with the study of Physics at A level. Students will develop a greater understanding of atomic structure, leading to an appreciation of the quantum nature of particle physics. Forces and motion are studied in more depth with the study of the SUVAT equations; the applications of this in vehicle safety and performance are encountered.

Content covered includes:

Core content

  • Measurements and their errors
  • Particles and radiation
  • Waves
  • Mechanics and materials
  • Electricity
  • Further mechanics and thermal physics (A level only)
  • Fields and their consequences (A level only)
  • Nuclear physics (A level only)

Options

  • Astrophysics (A level only)
  • Medical physics (A level only)
  • Engineering physics (A level only)
  • Turning points (A level only)
  • Electronics (A level only)

What skills do I need?

The topics covered at AS and A level are at a much greater depth than those covered at GCSE and as a consequence the approach to learning these must include increased independent study. This will include:

  • Reading around the subject both prior to and after the lesson.
  • Researching given topics.
  • Being able to manage your time.

Entry requirements are decided with individual students once final GCSE results are known, but as a general rule:

  • GCSE Grade B (or better) in both Additional and Core Science. A Grade A (or better) in GCSE Additional Science is advisable.
  • For students intending to take the full two year A level course, Grade Bs (or better) in both GCSE courses are advisable.
  • Given the highly mathematical nature of these courses, a Grade B (or better) in GCSE Mathematics is advisable.
  • Students will also need a grade B or above in Mathematics at GCSE.

How is the course graded?

AS level A level
Paper 1 – 1 hour 30 minutes, 75 marks 50% of AS level Assessing any content from first four units assessed plus relevant practical skills. Paper 1 – 2 hours, 91 marks 35% of A level assessing any content from topics 1-4, plus relevant practical skills.
Paper 2 – 1 hour 30 minutes, 75 marks 50% of AS level assessing any content from first four units assessed plus relevant practical skills. Paper 2 – 2 hours, 91 marks 35% of A level assessing any content from topics 5-8, plus relevant practical skills.
  Paper 3 – 2 hours, 78 marks 30% of A level assessing any content from topics 1-8, plus relevant practical skills.

What is next for me after this course?

A physics A level allows you to access traditional science degree courses such as: medicine, dentistry, veterinary science, astronomy, engineering, aviation, civil, electrical and mechanical due to the fact that an A level in physics demonstrates the ability to think logically and to process large amounts of information. It is also welcome in most degree courses and careers, from law and journalism to archaeology and architecture.