Physics A Level

Physics A Level

Physics A Level

Course outline:

The course builds on the understanding of Physics gained at GCSE level in either combined Science (two GCSEs) or Physics GCSE. Students will gain insight into the ways Physics profoundly affects our view of the universe and will be applying their understanding to solve problems on topics ranging from subatomic particles to Cosmology. A-Level Physics seeks to develop high level analytical skills, problem solving and competence in experimental and practical skills, qualities which are highly sought after in many wide ranging degree courses, jobs and high level apprenticeships, and the course places a strong emphasis on understanding how the theory relates to the world around you. It is a valuable A-Level for students interesting in studying in the fields of engineering, medicine, computing, meteorology, law and many other career paths including, of course, pure Physics.

Course structure:

The course contains 6 modules:

Module 1: Development of Practical skills in Physics

Year 1:
Module 2: Foundations of Physics
Module 3: Forces and Motion
Module 4: Electrons, waves and photons
Year 2:
Modules 5: Newtonian World and astrophysics
Module 6: Particles and medical physics

Module 1 involves the development of practical skills and this is ongoing throughout the course, culminating in the Practical Endorsement. This is assessed by the teacher regularly throughout the two years and is not graded but is reported separately from the overall A-Level grade attained as either pass or fail.

At the end of the two years students will sit three exams: Modelling Physics (which will assess content from Modules 1, 2, 3 and 5), Exploring Physics (which will assess content from modules 1, 2, 4 and 6) and Unified Physics (which will assess content from all modules).

Some of the A-Level questions will assess the students’ skills in specified practical activities.

Within the written exams, 40% of the marks available will be for the assessment of mathematics within a Physics context at Level 2 or above, including some A-Level standard maths. Mathematical skills will be taught as an integral ongoing part of the course assuming a starting point of Level 6 but revising key elements from GCSE.

Key Facts:

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    Examination Board

    OCR – Physics A (H556)

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    Two years

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    Minimum entry requirements:

    • Five GCSEs at Level 5 or above, including Maths GCSE at Level 5 or above. Two science GCSEs at Level 6 or above.
    • Mature students by negotiation

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    Possible combinations:

    With A-Levels in other Sciences or BTEC Level 3 Applied Science or Mathematics, Philosophy, Geography, and Computing

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    Enrichment opportunities:

    • Duke of Edinburgh Award (Silver or Gold)
    • A programme of activities through our Sixth Form Academy programme
    • Visiting speakers
    • Science trips eg. Visit to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland

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    Skills developed:

    • Practical skills
    • Data-handling skills
    • Designing experiments
    • Using apparatus
    • Interpretation of results
    • Problem-solving
    • Research
    • Mathematical skills

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    Likely next step opportunities:

    • Higher education for degree courses in physics, engineering, other sciences or medicine
    • Career opportunities in a wide range of engineering, medical, technical and scientific occupations or those which require high level analytical skills such as law

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    Assessment summary:

    Externally assessed examinations and internally assessed practical competence

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