Do you want to investigate the limits of space, the beginning of time and everything in between? You will already have come across some of the concepts of physics at GCSE: forces, energy, waves, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism. At A level you will start to see how these ideas work together, and begin to grasp the universal principles that apply to everything from the smallest atoms to the largest galaxies.
Of all the subjects listed for entry on to a degree, physics came second only to maths in the number of times it was listed as essential in a recent report by twenty of the leading UK universities. Not only is physics a preferred subject for university, it is also the first step towards careers in not just engineering and science, but also finance, law, architecture and journalism.
Method of assessment
For the year 13 qualification there are three exams, each of which are three hours in duration. There are short answer questions, long answer questions and multiple choice questions.
There is no internally assessed coursework. Practical work is assessed in the written papers. 15% of the total A-level marks are for practical knowledge and understanding. These marks come from questions based on set practical activities defined by the exam board and completed during the course.
A separate ‘endorsement’ of practical work will be assessed by teachers. This is not graded. If students pass, it will be reported on their certificate.
Topic areas covered
Year 12: Particles and radiation, waves, mechanics and energy, electricity, measurements and their errors.
Year 13: Further mechanics and thermal physics, fields, nuclear physics. Plus one option from: astrophysics, medical physics, engineering physics, turning points in physics, electronics.