Head of Department: Mrs P Wild
Why choose Physics at A Level?
The course aims to give you an understanding of the language physicists' use and of the subject so that you can apply your understanding to scientific and practical problem–solving and to considering, where appropriate, the social and economic relevance of Physics. We concentrate on the most important and useful concepts and modes of thought in Physics and aim to give you ideas and skills which should equip you for later learning, providing you with a facility to learn new ideas and an independent and mature approach.
What does the Physics course involve?
The course studied is Physics produced by AQA. The course is now linear and composed of two courses, these being AS and A level. We have chosen a course whose content includes the following topics: Mechanics, Electricity, Waves, Particle Physics, Radioactivity, Fields, Quantum Physics, Materials, and Capacitors. At A level there is an option course which this year is Astronomy. There will also be a significant proportion of the chosen course given to the application and testing of practical skills and analysis.
How will I study Physics?
The approach to the chosen course will involve a variety of approaches to include discovery through practical work, computer analysis of data, learning through discussion and practising of problem-solving methods.
A trip to CERN will be run in the Trinity term of the AS year to prepare students for a small section of the A level course.
You will be expected to read and discuss sections of certain books published by eminent Physicists and to research and present power points on more unusual aspects of Physics which may go beyond the boundaries of the chosen course.
There will be the opportunity to complete an engineering project under the leadership of the Engineering in Education scheme. This will take you through the complete engineering process from idea to the production of a prototype model. The scheme enables you to gain advice and knowledge from a working engineer from an outside company. The result would be a completed project report and a BA Gold Crest Award along with an experience that will take you smoothly through to an engineering degree course, possible sponsorship and a career in engineering.
External speakers who are at the forefront of Physics research will come in to school to provide lectures on relevant topics.
How will I be assessed?
The A Levels we are currently studying are examined on a linear basis. If you decide to take only the AS course then this will be examined at the end of one year of study. You will sit three written examinations. If you decide to take the full Physics A- level then you will sit six examination papers at the end of the two year course.
What qualifications do I need to start the Physics course?
Experience has taught us that students opting for the rigours of A Level Physics do best if at least a grade B, and preferably a grade A or A*, is achieved at GCSE. A competence in mathematics is also preferred since, whilst the mathematical content of the Physics A Level has been reduced significantly, the ability to reorganise algebraic equations is still essential.
With what other subjects does Physics fit?
The obvious choices would be Mathematics, Biology, Chemistry, Design and Technology and Geography.
What can I do at University with Physics A Level?
The range of course is wide: for example, students go on to read Accountancy, Architecture, Business Studies, Chemistry, Dentistry, Economics, Engineering, Law, Mathematics, Medicine and of course Physics.
How will an A Level in Physics help me in my future life and career?
The thought processes and rigours of the A Level course will produce students who have a careful and accurate approach to problem solving. An A Level in Physics is well respected by employers in many fields ranging from the obvious sciences to accountancy and law. We have past students who have gone into the aforementioned careers and it was their result in A Level Physics that gave substance to their applications.
Is Physics too difficult for me?
The A Level Physics course should not be taken up with any thought of getting through the course without any effort. It is not an easy option but what you can look forward to is being trained to apply yourself, to working hard, to developing a mature approach to problem solving which will stay with you. When you succeed you will be secure in the knowledge that you have a qualification that can take you into any field of employment from science to finance to engineering or journalism.