Physics AS & A Level
Physics will give you the chance to investigate and understand some of the fundamental laws of the universe, ranging from the tiniest particles of matter to vast star systems.
A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above. Physics must be studied in conjunction with AS Maths. You must have a grade 6 in Maths and a 5 in Physics (if taken), otherwise a 5 in Additional or 55 in Double Science.
What will I study?
First year topics include simple electrical circuits, fundamental particles, quantum mechanics, waves and optics; as well as Newtonian mechanics, which deals with forces, motion, energy and power. The course builds on your knowledge of physics from GCSE. Topics are revisited as you progress through the first year to build confidence and help develop your understanding. In the second year, additional topics include radioactivity and thermal physics. The additional topic is ‘Turning Points in Physics’: this investigates some important experiments which helped to define our current knowledge of physics, and it links well with the main body of the course.
All the theoretical work is underpinned by regular practical work that enables you to improve your understanding of theory and develop important practical skills. Lessons are taught in specialist laboratories with access to an extensive range of practical equipment.
Method of delivery
You will typically be in College four days per week, with lesson style varying according to subject. In-College delivery is supported by online resources, and students develop strong independent learning skills to equip them for their next steps.
How will I be assessed?
You will receive a variety of classwork and homework exercises throughout the course allowing you to practise the theory and skills you have learnt during the course. This will include past paper questions, enabling you to develop the technique needed to be successful in the A Level exams.
In addition to theoretical work, the science courses have a significant practical element and you will undertake a series of practical activities that allow you to develop your skills and techniques. You will be continually assessed on this element of the course, with feedback provided to allow you to improve and meet the requirements. On completion of the course you will receive your exam grade together with a Practical Endorsement, which shows that you have the skills and ability to work in a laboratory and use the equipment safely to carry out practical tasks and research.
Good course combinations
In addition to Maths, Physics works well with Chemistry, Computer Science and Geology.
Your next steps
Physics is a valued subject as it develops many transferable skills such as problem solving, data analysis and team working. Together with Maths, Physics is essential if you wish to study physics or engineering related courses and highly desirable for many other courses at university including maths, computing, architecture and medicine. Physics graduates are highly employable and are sought after in fields such as technology, education, finance and commerce. Past students have gone on to university to study engineering, theoretical physics, astrophysics, computing, electronics, accounting, maths, medicine and many other subjects.