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Physics

Physics is the study of matter and energy at a fundamental level. Using the tools provided by Mathematics, physicists unravel the rules by which nature operates, developing theories and testing them against experiment.
COURSE STRUCTURE

A level topics

  1. Measurements: uncertainties in measurements, SI units, estimation
  2. Particles and Radiation: atomic structure, particle physics, spectra
  3. Waves: interference, diffraction
  4. Mechanics: kinematics, projectiles, Newton’s Laws, energy in mechanics
  5. Electricity: circuit calculations, EMF, resisitivity
  6. Further Mechanics: Simple Harmonic Motion
  7. Thermal Physics: heat transfer, kinetic theory of matter
  8. Fields: gravity, orbits, magnetic fields
  9. Nuclear Physics: radioactive decay, nuclear instability

One Option from the following:

  • Astrophysics
  • Medical Physics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Turning Points in Physics
ASSESSMENT COMPOSITION

PAPER 1
Topics 1-5
Assessment – Written paper 2 hours
34% of A level Assessment Written paper

PAPER 2
Topics 6-9
Assessment – 2 hours
34% of A level Assessment Written paper

PAPER 3
Data analysis, Option topic
Assessment –2 hours
32% of A level

Practical Physics:
Candidates do a series of twelve practical tasks set by AQA. These remain the same from year to year. Understanding of practical skills is tested in the written papers and there is no coursework. A separate Pass/Fail endorsement is made. This is only reported on a candidate’s certificate if they pass.

WHY STUDY PHYSICS?

Your prime reason for studying A level Physics should be that you enjoy it. Successful physicists are those with an interest in the subject, stemming from a real desire to understand how the world works. If you enjoy the rewards of overcoming challenges, are willing to apply yourself and enjoy using Mathematics to solve problems, then Physics may be an ideal subject for you. It will be vital if you intend to pursue a career in Engineering.

PROGRESSION OPPORTUNITIES

Physics A level is a highly regarded qualification, leading to a huge range of possible degrees and careers. A good grade in A level Physics shows that you have excellent numerical and analytical skills together with problem solving ability. It also shows that you can think laterally when approaching a problem, can approximate where necessary and can think rigorously. Physics is a useful,
though not essential, A level if you plan to study Medicine, but is vital for degrees in Engineering. Those studying Physics often go on to take degrees in subjects such as Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Economics and Medicine.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The Physics Department emphasises experimental work throughout the course. Students undertake a range of practical work that both prepares them for the written papers and reinforces the theoretical concepts being studied. We recommend that at least a grade B is achieved at Physics GCSE level if A level Physics is to be studied. We are also aware that students from outside The Grange may have studied Dual Award Science and may therefore not have studied certain A level topics at GCSE. Any such pupils should speak to the Head of Physics in September to identify such topics so preparatory work may be undertaken if necessary. A level Mathematics is not essential for studying A level Physics. If your algebra is fluent and you enjoy solving equations you should
not find the demands excessive. Please talk to the Head of Department if you have concerns regarding this.