Physics A Level

(equivalent to one A Level)

A Level | AQA

A Level Physics allows you to explore laws that underpin why everything in the universe – from Black Holes to Beta Particles.

You will study and learn about various aspects of matter and energy. The first year includes some topics that follow on from GCSE studies, including Mechanics, Electricity and Waves. You will also be introduced to some new areas of Physics including Particle Physics and Quantum Physics.

The second-year covers Fields and Further Mechanics, Nuclear Physics and Thermal Physics. The course also includes the study of an Option Topic. There is a choice from Medical Physics, an interesting and worthwhile application of Physics in the real world, Astrophysics, a popular topic in modern Physics, Engineering Physics, Electronics or Turning Points in Physics.

Course details

What are the entry requirements?

The entry recommendations are five GCSE subjects at Grade 4 or above including Grade 6 in Mathematics and 6 in Physics or two grade 6s in Combined Science. You do not need to have done separate sciences - we have students joining us from a wide range of schools, and many of these do not offer separate sciences.

You are also very strongly recommended to take Mathematics alongside Physics. If you choose not to study Maths, we will ask you to join a one-period-per-week support course provided by the department.

How will I be assessed?

All aspects of the main qualifications are assessed by written test papers. These will include papers to test your knowledge and application of the theory content and your understanding of experimental procedures, including data analysis.

Examinations cover all aspects of the 2 year course including your selected option topic.

There will also be a separate endorsement of practical skills, but there are no major coursework projects in A level Physics.

What extra work can I do?

You will be given guidance on what you need to do to support your classwork and regular homework will be set, including practical report writing and numerical problems. However, Physics is a demanding subject and you will need to support your work with background reading.

If you are keen to do some preliminary reading, we can recommend some suitable textbooks. In particular, ‘Oxford’ and ‘Hodder’ publish a series of books specifically for AQA courses.

You are also recommended to read scientific articles in books, newspapers and magazines, the Internet, and to watch scientific television programmes.

Physics is both challenging and fun! It can be your passport to an exciting future.

What skills will I learn?

The course is delivered through theory lessons, practical sessions and individual or group tutorials. Theory lessons exist primarily for explaining the principles of the subject, and you will need to make notes for your own use. The lessons will be a mixture of formal tuition, class demonstration, problem-solving and smaller practical exercises.

Each group has two teachers for theory classes, and one of these will also supervise the main weekly practical session. You will usually work individually in the laboratory and choose from a wide range of experiments. Some exist to support your understanding of Physics topics, others to introduce a particular experimental skill, and there are some exercises that introduce you to the use of the departmental IT facilities.

What is the department like?

The Physics Department consists of four enthusiastic and well-qualified teachers. We are housed in a suite of well-equipped rooms in the main College building. There is a large laboratory with computing facilities and a range of modern equipment, and a classroom with an electronic whiteboard.

Over 150 students study Physics across the two year groups. The Department has enjoyed excellent results in recent years, with many of our students achieving top grade passes.

The department places a strong emphasis on experimental work, both to reinforce the theory and to develop practical and problem-solving skills. We hope you will derive enjoyment and satisfaction from the study of Physics.

Progression

What are the progression routes for this qualification?

Physics is recommended for many Scientific, Engineering and Caring professions. Physics is essential for degree courses in Astronomy, Computer Technology, Engineering, Geophysics, Meteorology and Physics itself.

You are strongly recommended to combine the subject with Mathematics. For a Science career, research has shown that the combination of Maths, Physics and Chemistry is the most versatile.

It is also possible to take Physics as a complementary course with other Arts and Humanities subjects, however, you should ideally still take Maths to keep your career options open.

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