Physics

Jenny Wilson
Jenny Wilson

WHAT IS PHYSICS?

Physics is about questioning how the world around us works and looking for answers through a combination of experiments and theoretical work. Physics is used to answer some of our most fundamental questions relating to our origins and existence. It is a mathematical course, using formulae and logic to solve problems, predict events and describe observable phenomenon.

WHY STUDY THIS COURSE?

Physics enables you to apply models and formulae to understand the key concepts behind everyday things. For example, building structures such as bridges, looking at the electronic components used within modern technology, how sub-atomic particles interact with each other and the fundamental forces of the universe that act as the building blocks of life.

WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT FROM PHYSICS?

You will challenge your ability to use logic and mathematicss to solve problems and develop new ideas, and there are ample opportunities to fine tune your practical skills throughout the course.

You will learn many new terms and theories to support your development, and benefit from external exposure to subject experts and trips that will enhance your understanding.

HOW IS THE COURSE ASSESSED?

You will complete three examinations at the end of the two-year course, and be assessed throughout the year on your practical skills.

WHO IS THE COURSE SUITABLE FOR?

There is a lot of new terminology to learn, so independent study skills and a good level of motivation are vital. If you enjoy mathematics and physics at GCSE and like to see a real-world application of your skills, physics could be the subject for you.

WHAT CAN I DO WITH AN A-LEVEL IN PHYSICS?

An A level in physics is a valuable one and can lead to university degrees in physics, mathematics, engineering, geography and medical science. It shows a high level of numeracy, logic and reasoning, and is desirable for universities and employers. Physics can lead to careers not just in science but for all other industries, for example visual effects for films, modelling the economy, journalism and many more.

WHAT WILL I STUDY?

In Year 1 you will study in more detail than at GCSE topics such as Mechanics, Materials, Waves and Electricity. Formulae are learnt and applied to different situations, for example to determine a particle’s motion taking account of any forces acting, to calculate moments and whether an object is experiencing a rotation; calculating the resultant path of projectiles using the constant acceleration formulae, workingout the value of the extension of a metal wire under tension and learning how to set up basic electrical circuits and calculating current and potential difference at particular locations. The AS level course also includes a new topic which teaches particle theory – here you will learn about the sub-atomic particles that exist in each atom, how they interact, and understand about the different types of radiation produced under certain conditions.

In Year 2 you will study further mechanics, building on the work studied in Year 1 but including circular motion and simple harmonic motion. Other topics include thermal physics, nuclear physics, and gravitational, electric and magnetic field theory.

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES WITHIN THIS SUBJECT

A trip to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland is planned for each academic year, and places allocated on a first come, first served basis. Students also have the opportunity to take part in the CREST award as part of the Science and Maths Honours programme, and participate in the Engineering Careers Awareness Day run by STEMNET. The opportunity to apply for the Nuffield Summer Placement scheme is also encouraged for able students. In addition, each year new enrichment opportunities are sought.

Entry Requirements

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 4 – 9, across four separate subjects, to include GCSE Mathematics and English Language.
  • In addition, a grade 6 or above is required in GCSE Mathematics and a grade 6-6 in Combined Science, or a 6 in Physics. You must also study A-Level Mathematics.