Why should I study this subject?
In Physics we try and answer some of the big questions in life: What is the universe made of? How can we make matter? How can we predict what will happen next? How can we describe the way things interact? How might we get “clean” energy in the future? Along the way we stumble across answers to smaller questions such as why it’s important to keep your loudspeakers the right distance from the wall and why different materials are different colours.
We also look at the physics behind important technologies and related questions, including how to balance the risks and benefits of using radiation in medicine. Physics is a fascinating subject that relies on maths and very precise use of language to try to fully explain the physical world.
What will I study?
Waves, including the strange things that can happen when waves meet.
Particles and Radiation, including antiparticles, quarks and quantum phenomena.
Mechanics and Materials, including projectile motion and collisions.
Electricity, including resistivity and the potential divider.
Measurements and their errors, allowing us to evaluate experimental results.
Further Mechanics, including oscillations and circular motion.
Fields and their consequences, including electrical fields, capacitors, gravitational fields, orbits, magnetic fields and electromagnetic induction.
Nuclear Physics, our knowledge of the nucleus and its application.
An optional unit, “Turning Points in Physics”, which builds on a range of the physics studied in earlier sections.
Some of the content areas will be familiar from GCSE but the level of mathematical content and depth of explanation may not.
What are the entry requirements?
What skills do I need?
Good skills of observation, measurement, analysis, problem solving, and evaluation.
The drive to keep going, work and think hard when you find a concept tough, so you gain the satisfaction of a deeper understanding.
At least 40% of marks will need higher level maths. We strongly recommend combining physics with A-Level maths. A-Level Maths is almost always a requirement for Physics and Engineering degrees.
How will I be taught?
You will be taught by one specialist teacher, using a variety of methods.
How will I be assessed?
Three 2 hour papers, with long, short and multiple choice questions, covering both years’ content. Practical skills and data analysis are assessed in exams. A-Level Physics also has separate “practical endorsement” if you have completed 12 core experiments.
What will the course prepare me for?
Physics is perfect if you choose to continue your studies onto any higher education science or engineering course, or if you enter science-based employment directly. You may go on to pursue a career in Engineering, Medicine, Dentistry, Veterinary Science, Computer Science, Electronics, Architecture, the Armed Forces, Business or any other area that values the skills developed.
As a Physicist you are a numerate problem solver and so very marketable!
How much private study should I expect to do?
Expect to spend as much time on Physics outside lessons as in (4.5 hours a week), doing set homework and independent study.
What materials will I need to purchase?
You will need a scientific calculator. We like the Casio fx-80 range (e.g fx-85GTplus) and can help you get the most from it.
What is the exam board?
This subject is for you if…
you like to understand, predict and explain the physical universe in words and maths.
This subject is not for you if…
you are happy not understanding!