Physics is the study of the whole range of science dealing with matter and energy and the relationship between them. Physics is used in practically every aspect of our lives from when we put on toiletries in the morning to switching on our laptops to use the internet in the evening. Unlike other sciences, it really has no limits. From why the sky is blue, raindrops are round or the mysteries of space, physics covers it all. Even why your toast lands buttered side down can be answered by physics!
You will cover a wide range of topics including particles, electricity, rectilinear and non-linear motion, waves, particles and quantum phenomena. Lessons will be a mixture of theory and practical sessions exploring the theoretical aspects of physics, laws of physics and links to applications of physics around the world.
Physics A content is split into six teaching modules: Modules 1 to 4 constitute the stand-alone AS Level qualification; Modules 1 to 6, combined with the Practical Endorsement, constitute the full A Level.
The modules can be summarised as:
Module 1: Development of practical skills
- Skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation
Module 2: Foundations of physics
- Physical quantities and units
- Scalars and vectors
Module 3: Forces and motion
- Forces in action
- Work, energy and power
- Newton�s laws of motion and momentum.
Module 4: Electrons, waves, and photons
- Charge and current
- Energy, power and resistance
- Electrical circuits
- Quantum physics.
Module 5 and 6 - Full A Level Only
Module 5: Newtonian world and astrophysics
- Thermal physics
- Circular motion
- Gravitational fields
Module 6: Particles and medical physics
- Electric fields
- Nuclear and particle physics
- Medical imaging.
Your work will be assessed through written exams. You will also have your practical abilities assessed by your teacher which is either pass or fail, this is called Practical Endorsement for Physics.
At AS Level:
Papers 1 and 2 can assess any content from Modules 1 to 4.
At A Level:
Paper 1 assesses content from Modules 1, 2, 3 and 5
Paper 2 assesses content from Modules 1, 2, 4 and 6
Paper 3 assesses content from Modules 1 to 6.
Five or more GCSE grade 9-4/A*-C or equivalent, including Grade 4 in English.
Grade 6 in Science Core and Additional / Grade 6 in Physics PLUS Grade 5 in Mathematics
Due to the demands of physics it is a subject that relatively few study, but as such it is a qualification that is extremely highly sought after by a range of employers in areas from accountancy to engineering. Therefore it is a useful qualification to have when applying for a range of university courses.
Some students go on to study physics at university. This may lead to a career in research and development, either in a university or in industry. High temperature semiconductors, a better understanding of sub atomic particles and more efficient ways of storing energy for cars are just three areas of research being pursued at the moment.
Perhaps the majority of those who study A-level Physics do so in order to apply their physics knowledge in another subject area at university. Examples of this are the many branches of engineering, electronics and meteorology. For these careers, A-level Physics is essential.