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Physics A Level (Block C) at St John's Catholic Comprehensive School

Course description

Why choose Physics?  Physicists look for all the hidden laws that explain why all matter (that’s every physical thing) and energy in the known universe exists, where it comes from and how it behaves the way it does.

So if you’re wondering how forces of nature, like gravity, work or how aircraft stay up in the air, you’ll need to go to a physicist like Brian Cox, Stephen Hawking or Albert Einstein for an explanation.

Physicists use the laws they uncover to develop new materials, machinery, and technology to improve our lives and help us explore the universe further, from computers to telescopes and spacecraft.

Physics is taught mainly as a content-led approach. Teaching of practical skills is integrated with the theoretical topics and they’re both assessed through written papers and, for A-Level only, a teacher assessed Practical Endorsement. The Edexcel Physics specification aims to encourage you to develop:

  • Essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other.
  • A deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods.
  • Competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills.

Course content

The specification is divided into topics, each covering different key concepts of physics:

■ Topic 1 – Working as a physicist                                                    

■ Topic 2 – Mechanics

■ Topic 3 – Electric Circuits                                                               

■ Topic 4 – Materials

■ Topic 5– Waves and Particle Nature of Light                                              

■ Topic 6 – Further Mechanics

■ Topic 7 – Electric and Magnetic Fields                                            

■ Topic 8 – Nuclear and Particle Physics

■ Topic 9 – Thermodynamics                                                             

■ Topic 10 – Space

■ Topic 11– Nuclear Radiation                                                                       

■ Topic 12 – Gravitational Fields

■ Topic 13 – Oscillations

Physics brings a lot of scientific theory and thinking together, and a good A-Level grade in the subject demonstrates that a student can apply themselves in problem solving, practical skills and scientific writing; all of these qualities are highly prized in today’s competitive job market.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 5 subjects at A* to B grade (Grade 5 or higher) or equivalent, including a Grade 5 in GCSE English and Grade 6 Maths.

In addition, Students must also have Combined  Science (Grade B/Grade 6 or higher) 


In AS Physics, Modules 1-5 are assessed while all modules are assessed at A-Level Physics. At AS you sit two separate papers where you are assessed on your knowledge of topics 1-5 and your ability to apply this knowledge to unfamiliar situations.

In the full A-Level all 13 topics are assessed, again requiring you to apply your knowledge to both familiar and unfamiliar situations and there is an additional synoptic paper. Practical work is only assessed at A-Level by the teacher as Pass/Fail however Core Practicals are examined in the written papers at both AS and A level.

A minimum of 40% of the marks in both AS and A level Physics are for mathematics.


Future opportunities

Physics is a seriously useful subject for the majority of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) careers and you will find physicists everywhere in industry, medicine, transport, government, universities, the armed forces, the secret service, games companies, research labs and more.

Physics brings a lot of scientific theory and thinking together and a good A-Level grade in the physics demonstrates that a student can apply themselves in problem solving, practical skills and scientific writing; all of these qualities are highly prized in today’s competitive job market.

Whilst physics is the backbone of the Engineering industry it is also highly regarded in other careers such as Medicine, Architecture, Computer Science, Music Technology and even Law. Due to the variety of skills involved in physics, such as logical thinking, designing and evaluating experiments, it is considered a valuable qualification in careers not involving physics directly.

You could take this course with other advanced level courses such as Chemistry, Biology or Electronics to prepare for higher education in a science related subject or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to Physics such as Science Technician or Electronics Engineer. The course will also help you develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.

Further information

To find out more about this qualification, contact us, ask your CXK Personal Adviser or school/college careers staff.


How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 15 November 2017
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