Link to OFSTED Report
Physics AQA Advanced GCE

Physics is an exciting subject which will help you to understand the world and universe around you, highly regarded and respected at A Level. A Level Physics stimulates and challenges while developing skills in logical thought and mathematical rigor, this it opens the doors to all sorts of courses and careers. The subject is valued by universities who rate it as a core facilitating subject, and it is either required or very helpful for many university degrees. All of the technology that surrounds us is based on the principles of physics, so if you are considering working in any area related to technology, studying physics is an essential first step. It is no surprise that those with a background in physics are in demand by many employers.

The course is designed to form strong scientific investigative skills while introducing pupils to the wonderful world of Advanced Physics. Practical work is a key part of the course but there are no controlled assessments. Studying A Level Mathematics is not a requirement, but candidates are advised to study Mathematics in order to access the many Physics and Engineering courses at university.

Most people these days have many careers during their working life. Having Physics will allow you a clear entry to many existing professions as well as many industries of the future, which will be driven by advanced technology and robotics. With Physics you could be designing the technology of the future rather than being replaced by it, and you can expect to be in high demand in future years.

Lower Sixth Topics
Topic 1: Measurements and their errors Topic 2: Particles and radiation
This will be presented as a separate topic after Topic 2. The principles will then be applied in practicals throughout the course. Particles
  • Constituents of the atom
  • Stable and unstable nuclei
  • Particles, antiparticles and photons
  • Particle interactions
  • Classification of particles
  • Quarks and antiquarks
  • Applications of conservation laws
  • Electromagnetic radiation and quantum phenomena
  • The photoelectric effect
  • Collisions of electrons with atoms
  • Energy levels and photon emission
  • Wave-particle dualityt Opportunities
Topic 3: Waves Topic 4: Mechanics and materials
  • Progressive and stationary waves
  • Longitudinal and transverse waves
  • Principle of superposition of waves and formation of stationary waves
  • Refraction, diffraction and interference
  • Scalars and vectors
  • Moments
  • Motion along a straight line
  • Projectile motion
  • Newton’s laws of motion
  • Momentum
  • Work, energy and power
  • Conservation of energy
  • Bulk properties of solids
  • The Young modulus
Topic 5: Electricity Topic 6 (part 1): Further Mechanics
  • Basics of electricity
  • Current–voltage characteristics
  • Resistivity
  • Circuits
  • Potential divider
  • Electromotive force and internal resistance/li>
  • Circular motion
  • Simple harmonic motion
  • Simple harmonic systems
  • Forced vibrations and resonance
Upper Sixth Topics
Topic 6 (part 2): Thermal Physics Topic 7: Fields and their consequences
  • Latent heat
  • Specific heat capacity
  • Gas laws
  • Molecular kinetic theory model
  • Fields
  • Gravitational fields
  • Electric fields
  • Capacitance
  • Gravitational fields
Topic 8: Nuclear physics Topic 12: Turning Points
  • Radioactivity
  • Nuclear radius
  • Mass and energy
  • Induced fission
  • The discovery of the electron
  • Wave-particle duality
  • Special relativity
Assessment Overview

Paper 1

  • 2 hour written paper testing Lower Sixth Form work and Further Mechanics.
  • 85 marks in total (34% of A-Level):
  • 60 marks of short and long answers, 25 multiple choice questions

Paper 2

  • 2 hour written paper testing Upper Sixth Form work, apart from the option. Knowledge of Lower Sixth Form work is assumed.
  • 85 marks in total (34% of A-Level):
  • 60 marks of short and long answers, 25 multiple choice questions

Paper 3

  • 2 hour written paper. 80 marks in total (34% of A-Level):
  • Section A: 45 marks of short and long answer questions on practical experiments and data analysis.
  • Section B: 35 marks of short and long answer questions on optional topic

Non-Exam Assessment – 12 Core Practical Activities which are assessed internally and are recorded as either a Pass or a Fail which are reported separately on the exam certificate.

Where will Physics lead you?

Some A Level pupils go on to study physics at university. This may lead to a career in research and development. 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 electronics, meteorology and the many branches of engineering. For these careers, A Level Physics is essential.

Another group of pupils choose to study physics because they feel that it will be useful even if not essential for their career. Those intending to follow a career in medicine, veterinary science or biochemistry fall into this category.

The remainder are going to follow a career in a completely unrelated area such as law or accountancy. This group of students may have chosen physics simply because they enjoy it or because they know that it is highly regarded by universities as a test of problem-solving ability and logical thought.

Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus