Physics (A Level)
What Do I Need To Study This Course?
6 or above in Physics (If triple science studied) OR 7 or above in combined science AND 6 or above in maths.
What Will I Study?
In year 12 we will learn about the very building blocks of nature, atoms and how scientists at CERN are experimenting to unlock the secrets of the atom – ahead of a trip to CERN. We will experiment with electricity, building on your understanding and learning how and why it behaves the way it does in circuits and how this is useful to us, including new ideas such as superconductivity.
We will delve into the weird and wonderful world of quantum physics where light behaves as a wave as well as a particle and we’ll explain what this means to us. Building on your knowledge from GCSE we will also look at the way forces affect the motion of objects and make predictions about the forces acting on static structures using equations and vectors. You will learn to quantify the mechanical properties of materials by testing in the laboratory. We will look at the science behind waves, from the sea to musical instruments and light, explaining why they behave the way they do and how waves can diffract and interfere. You will even be able to use laser light to determine the thickness of your hair! Throughout all of this, we will discuss and apply the importance of precision in measurements, calculating uncertainty and being able to take steps to make experimentation as accurate as possible.
In year 13, if you’ve ever wondered why the earth orbits the sun and wanted to know a bit more than just ‘gravity’ then this module will delve into the world of fields. We will explore how fast an object would need to be propelled to escape the Earth’s gravitational field, explain braking using electromagnetic induction and find out how electric fields can be used to accelerate particles. We will also relate fields to everyday things such as the motor, the orbits of satellites and the working of a capacitor inside your camera flash. We will delve into the physics of nuclear power; gaining and understanding of Einstein’s famous E=mc2 equation and analysing the disasters such as Fukushima and Chernobyl. We will look at the physics of fission and fusion and see how nuclear fusion could be the solution to our energy needs. We will explore practically the way heat transfers and consider the changes that take place in a gas when it is heated or squeezed together. Finally, in the option unit we will look in detail at Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, a theory that explores how speed affects mass, space and time.
How Will I Be Assessed?
There will be three exams at the end of year 13.
Paper 1 (85 marks) will cover the year 12 content, and will be worth 34% of your final grade.
Paper 2 (85 marks) will cover the year 13 content, and will be worth 34% of your final grade.
Paper 3 (80 marks) will cover the year 13 option unit, as well as assessing your practical skills, and will be worth 32% of your final grade.
You will also gain a practical endorsement as part of the course by completing the 12 required practical tasks to a good standard throughout the course which is highly valued by universities.
You could go on to study physics or engineering at university, or consider a range of apprenticeships that link to physics. Physics and the problem solving skills it develops is useful in many different job families including agriculture, plans and land, environmental sciences, construction, engineering and manufacturing, medicine and nursing, medical technology, and science and research. You really will open yourself up to a wealth of opportunities with a physics A level. You can find more information on possible careers here https://sites.google.com/horsforthschool.org/horsforthalevelphysics/why-physics