Link to OFSTED Report
Physics AS/A2 Level
What will you be learning?

The syllabus is designed to make pupils more aware of the relevance of Physics to many aspects of their own lives. Throughout both the AS and the A2 Level courses, there is a great deal of numerical, theoretical and practical work. Those pupils considering taking both courses (AS and A2) are advised also to take Mathematics.

NOTE: Any pupil in the school is eligible to follow the AS Level course irrespective of their choice of GCSE options i.e. pupils who opted for Double Science award are not precluded from following the AS Level Physics course.

(AS 40%, A2 20%)
Particles, Quantum Phenomena and Electricity- Exam 1 hour 15 minutes
Particle Physics introduces pupils to the fundamental properties and nature of matter, radiation and quantum phenomena. In contrast, the study of electricity builds on and develops previous GCSE studies and provides opportunities for practical work and looks into important applications.
UNIT 2 (AS 40%, A2 20%)
Mechanics, Materials and Waves – Exam 1 hour 15 minutes
The first section introduces vectors and then develops knowledge and understanding of forces and energy from GCSE Additional Science. Section 2 covers materials and their bulk properties/tensile strength. The final section extends GCSE studies on waves, including refraction, diffraction, superposition and interference.
UNIT 3 (AS 20%, A2 10%)
Internal Practical Assessment

The full A2 Level qualification is made up of the 3 AS units plus 3 more units studied at a higher level in the Upper Sixth year. Units 4 & 5 depend to some extent on the concepts and experimental skills learnt in the AS course.
UNIT 4 (A2 20%)
Fields and Further Mechanics – Exam 1 hour 45 minutes
The first section advances the study of momentum and introduces circular and oscillatory motion and covers gravitation. Electric and magnetic fields are covered, together with basic electromagnetic induction. Electric fields lead into capacitors and how quickly they charge and discharge through a resistor. Magnetic fields lead into the generation and transmission of alternating current.
UNIT 5 (A2 20%)
Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics and the choice of one option from two – Exam 1 hour 45 minutes
The first part looks at the characteristics of the nucleus, the properties of unstable nuclei and how energy is obtained from the nucleus. Thermal properties of materials and the properties and nature of gases are then studied in depth. The two options offered are Astrphysics and Medical Physics.

UNIT 6 (A2 10%)
Internal Practical Assessment

Enrichment Activities: Pupils are advised to read as widely as possible with subscriptions to magazines such as New Scientist or Physics Review.

When? Start date: September.
Duration: 2 years.
How is it delivered? Usually as part of a full-time programme.
Availability: Current and continuing.
Time Slot: Daytime.

Who can do it? Age range: 16 - 19.

What will you be working towards?
Qualification: AQA Level 3 Advanced GCE in Physics A (500/2615/X).
Awarding Body: AQA.
Type: A2 Level.
Sector: Science.

Qualification: AQA Level 3 Advanced Subsidiary GCE in Physics A (500/2569/7).
Awarding Body: AQA.
Type: AS Level.
Sector: Science.

What happens when you have finished?
You could take this course to complement other advanced level courses such as Chemistry and Biology or to prepare for the A2 part of an Advanced GCE in Physics, which could lead onto higher education in a science related subject or more general higher education courses. It is useful for pupils considering a future in medicine or veterinary science, as we teach the Medical Physics option.

If entering higher education, pupils will find A Level Physics a useful qualification for entry into any degree course – especially in any scientific or engineering discipline. Physics is as useful to a vet or doctor as to an information scientist or to a genetic engineer. When finally leaving education, a degree in Physics or a related subject is the key to many careers, not just as a scientist. Physicists may be found in merchant banking, accountancy and as lawyers. A numerate and logical graduate is always highly sought after.

With further training, you could go into a job related to Physics such as Science Technology or Electronics Engineering.

The course will also help you develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.

Where Can I Find More Information?
To find out more about this qualification, contact our Admissions Manager at or by phone on 01892 520902, ask your Connexions Personal Adviser or school/college careers staff.

Also see related pages: Curriculum and Prospectus