Physics

A Level Physics gives you the chance to explore the phenomena of the universe and to look at theories that explain what is observed through a combination of practical skills with theoretical ideas to develop descriptions of the physical universe.

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Entry requirements

What you learn

During the course you will have the opportunity to build on ideas and knowledge you have met at GCSE in more detail and find out how they are interconnected. You will also learn how to apply maths to real-world problems and explore new areas such as particle physics, quantum phenomenal and special relativity to gain a real understanding of the universe around us.

Furthermore, you will develop skills that can be transferred to just about any other area of work. A good grade in A Level Physics demonstrates to an employer that you have analytical and mathematical skills that you can apply to real life situations. Additionally, it is an incredibly attractive A Level to University providers for a wide range course. So, even if you don’t go on to become a physicist, learning to think like one will help you make connections and identify  solutions that are not obvious to others. Physics won’t give you all the answers, but you will definitely be able to ask the right questions!

The Course Structure

AQA Physics specification covers:

 Year 12

  1. Measurements and their errors
  2. Particles and radiation
  3. Waves
  4. Mechanics and materials
  5. Electricity

In these units 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.

Year 13

  1. Further mechanics and thermal physics
  2. Fields and their consequences
  3. Nuclear physics
  4. Turning points in physics

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 turning points option you will explore Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity and be able to explain why a twin send on a space journey to Jupiter and back would age more slowly than you as an Earth bound observer!

During the course you will be given the opportunity to take part in a joint year 12 and 13 trip to CERN in Switzerland to see the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle collider and the largest machine in the world! This fantastic opportunity is one not to be missed and an excellent chance to see how the Physics you learn about in the course is applied in current research in the scientific community.

Please note – if you are opting to study Physics and not opting to study Mathematics then we recommend taking Level 3 Core Maths as your 4th option (rather than EPQ or work experience).

 

Potential Careers

  • Accountant
  • Actuary
  • Aerospace engineer
  • Architect
  • Astronaut
  • Dentist
  • Doctor
  • Engineer
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Medical physicist
  • Nuclear Power Engineer
  • Patent attorney
  • Research Fellow
  • Software developer
  • Teacher

 Entry Requirements

Subject Qualification (Level 3) Required GCSE Grades
(in addition to Sixth Form entry requirements)
Additional Information
Physics A Level 6+ Physics or 7+ Double Science and 6+ Mathematics  

What You Learn

Our Learning Journeys have been created to give you a flavour for the types of topics students study in each year at our school. They show what will be covered throughout the year and during each half-term, but please note there is some flexibility to what is taught when. We hope you find them helpful.