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Physics A Level at Birkenhead Sixth Form College

Course description

Have you ever wondered why the Universe behaves the way it does? Why is Physics necessary to take scans of the human body? How do architects and engineers use Physics to design bridges, buildings, roads, aircraft and cars? How is Physics used to date archaeological remains?

Course content

Year 1

Development of practical skills in physics

You will develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments in physics.

Foundations in physics

This module will introduce you to important conventions in physics including understanding of physical quantites, S.I. units, scalars and vectors.

Forces & motion

You will explore the physics of projectiles and motion, forces and energy and examine the mechanical  properties of materials  in extreme situations. You will investigate what happens to materials  subject to stress and strain and learn how to calculate the energy transferred by projectiles and in collisions.

Electrons, waves & photons

You will explore the topic of electricity looking at what current is, how and why it moves and how we can utilise it. You will also learn about the properties and behaviour of waves, including interference and diffraction, before studying the principles of Quantum Physics and the wave/particle duality of light.


Year 2

Development of practical skills in physics

You will continue to develop skills in planning, implementing, analysing and evaluating practical experiments in physics.

Newtonian world & astrophysics

You will explore Mechanics in more depth, learning about Newton’s Laws, the physics of collisions, circular motion, oscillations, gravity and the orbits of the planets. You will also investigate thermal physics which examines the four states of matter, temperature and heat and the behaviour of ideal gases. This module also allows an opportunity to appreciate how the scientific ideas of the Big Bang have developed over time.

Particles & medical physics

You will examine electric and magnetic fields, magnetism and capacitors. You will also learn about nuclear physics, the fundamental particles, radioactivity and nuclear fission and fusion. The unit then explores medical imaging including ultrasound, X-Rays and MRI & PET scanners.


The A level in Physics is assessed in three written papers that assess content from all six modules that have been studied. A practical endorsement in Physics is also awarded at A level as a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ alongside the overall grade for the qualification. 40% of the marks available within written examinations will be for assessment of mathematics in the context of Physics.

Future opportunities

A-Level Physics is an important qualification for many careers. Many universities prefer (and some require) you to have studied Physics for degree courses in the Physical Sciences (including Physics, Electronics, Astronomy and Material Science) and the Medical Sciences (including Medicine, Dentistry, Physiotherapy and Radiography). It is also important for many applied subjects such as Architecture and many types of Engineering. Many students go on to study Physics at university, which can lead to a career in research and development, either in a university or in industry. Students of Physics are particularly welcome in areas such as Law, Accountancy and Computing as it is highly regarded by employers as a test of problem-solving ability and logical thought.

Further information

Check our website for the most up-to-date course details.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Birkenhead Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 20 November 2017
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