If you are curious about how the material world works, then Physics is the subject to pursue. It is a fascinating subject and is an important qualification in a wide range of careers in technology and science, particularly in engineering. It is also useful for medical and veterinary careers. Perhaps surprisingly, physics is also a very welcome qualification in law, banking, accountancy, media and marketing etc. since a good A Level pass proves you possess good analytical and problem solving skills and are mathematically competent.
The qualification (AQA Physics) builds on the prior knowledge, understanding and processing skills that have been developed in GCSE Science. Students study five units in Year 12:
1. Measurement and their errors
2. Particles and radiation
4. Mechanics and material
In Year 13, students study three further modules:
6. Further mechanics and thermal physics
7. Fields and their consequences
8. Nuclear physics
The fourth module is an optional module and consists of a choice from astrophysics, medical physics, engineering physics, turning points in physics or electronics.
Students will sit all their exams in the final summer. The A Level course is assessed through three written examinations consisting of long and short answer questions and multiple choice questions. There is no coursework in A Level Physics as your practical and data analysis skills will be assessed in the exams.
A Level Physics is suitable for students who:
- Have an interest in the subject and want to find out how things in the physical world work;
- Enjoy applying their mind to solving problems;
- Enjoy carrying out investigations by the application of imaginative, logical thinking;
- Want to use physics to support other qualifications or progress to further studies.
Physics is suitable for those who want a grounding in a relevant worthwhile qualification to either complement their Maths/Sciences or as a separate Science to support and balance a more artistic selection of subjects. Candidates would generally be expected to possess a minimum of grade 7 in GCSE Physics, or 7-7 in Science (Double Award). It would be very helpful to also have at least a grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics, as numeracy and mathematical skills are important in physics. We work closely with the Mathematics Department to provide extra support for those students who do not study A Level Mathematics.
Communication is also important in physics, as students need to be able to convey their ideas effectively. The ability to undertake research and think critically to explore different approaches to problems are also valuable skills for students. You will learn theoretical content and develop relevant practical and analytical skills throughout the course. An internal assessment of practical skills is continually undertaken throughout the two years and successful students will receive a practical endorsement at the end of the A Level.
A student’s perspective
‘Physics at A Level is a challenging, yet rewarding course. It provides invaluable explanations for many processes, from how a kitchen light comes on to the marvels of E=mc2. At A Level you will experience topics familiar from GCSE, but at a far deeper level allowing you to understand and enjoy the topic. I have enjoyed this stimulating course immensely.’
For full course specification visit: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/science/as-and-a-level/physics-7408