Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 7 in Physics or combined science | Grade 7 in mathematics

What will you learn?

A-level Physics combines both theory and practical aspects to understanding physical phenomenon around us. The course builds on the GCSE knowledge, tackles a few abstract phenomena and also takes you to cutting edge studies in particle physics and beyond.

  • Particle Physics : This section starts with classification of various fundamental particles, tries to shed some light upon quantum phenomena and explores nuclear physics.
  • Waves : This section deals with progressive and stationary waves. Various experiments help us to understand wave phenomena like Young’s Double Slit
  • Mechanics : This section builds on Newtonian physics and leads into material physics which is extremely important for future engineers.
  • Electricity : This section begins with analysis of charge flow and investigates Kirchoff’s laws. The section presents many real life applications.
  • Fields and Astrophysics : This section develops knowledge of gravitational, electric and magnetic fields, the forces which cause them and their interaction. Astrophysics takes us into the cosmos with analysis of telescopes, black holes and stellar evolution.

What does the assessment look like?

You will sit three 2 hour examinations covering a combination of content and practical skills.

Papers 1 and 2 contain short and long answer questions with 25 multiple choice questions. Paper 3 contains structured questions on practical techniques and data analysis, plus long and short answers on the optional module.

Choose this subject if you…

Want the opportunity to explore the phenomena of the universe and to look at theories that explain what is observed. This subject combines practical skills with theoretical ideas to develop descriptions of the physical universe.

Your problem-solving skills will develop immensely.

What can an A-level in this subject lead to?

Students taking physics can go onto study physics at university as well as any of the following:

  • Natural sciences and applied science
  • Electrical engineering
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Computer science
  • Engineering in manufacturing technologies and material sciences
  • Construction and built environment
  • Information technology
  • Statistics, geography, geology

Recommended reading:

  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson;
  • Why don’t penguins’ feet freeze? by New Scientist,
  • The Quantum Universe: Everything that can happen does happen by Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw.
  • Good websites for physicists include www.iop.org and www.physicsworld.com