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Physics at Colmers School and Sixth Form College

Course description

Physics is a demanding but incredibly rewarding subject when studied at A’ level. There are a wide range of topics areas to cover from electron microscopes to hadrons. There are also many opportunities to perfect practical skills. You will be taught by well-qualified staff with a passion for the subject.

What do other students study with this subject?

Maths, Chemistry and Biology, are the most traditional partner subjects. We recommend choosing Maths and at least one from Chemistry and Biology, however this is a recommendation and not a condition of offer. Many students find that Maths and Physics complement each other well because of the large amount of mathematical content that the Physics A’ Level has.

What will I Learn?

Our exam board is AQA. In the AS course, you will develop skills that are necessary for the assessed practicals. You will also study some of the more traditional Physics topics such as particles, radiation, waves, electricity and mechanics.

The A level course builds on the AS course as well as introducing some more advanced topics. You will study Nuclear Physics, fields and their effects and Astrophysics.

Course content

Topics:

  • Measurements and their errors: including the use of SI units and their prefixes, limitations of physical measurement, estimation of physical quantities.
  • Particles and radiation: including constituents of the atom, particle interactions, and collisions of electrons with atoms.
  • Waves: including progressive waves, interference and diffraction.
  • Mechanics and energy: including projectile motion and Newton’s laws of motion.
  • Electricity: including current/voltage characteristics, circuits, electromotive force and internal resistance
  • Further mechanics and thermal physics: including periodic motion, thermal energy transfer and the molecular kinetic theory model.
  • Fields: including Newton’s law of gravitation, orbits of planets and satellites and magnetic flux density.
  • Nuclear Physics: including evidence for the nucleus, radioactive decay and nuclear instability.
  • A further option module – yet to be decided upon.

Entry requirements

Indication of desirable GCSE achievements:

At least a grade B in both Core and Additional Science or at least a B in Physics if you have studied triple Science

At least a grade B in Maths at GCSE

Choice of other A Level subjects as well as component scores for each module could allow you to be considered for our course even if you do not meet the initial entry requirements above. We are interested in pupils with a passion for Physics.

Assessment

This will be assessed by 3 papers each lasting two hours. There is a variety of question styles. A mix of long and short answer questions as well as multiple choice questions and questions about data analysis and practical experiments.

Practical skills will be assessed ‘in house’ and pupils will receive a pass or a fail for these skills. All pupils will carry out standard practicals that will be referred to in some of the examination questions.

Future opportunities

Physics is an extremely versatile course because of the skills that you will develop during your studies. Physicists are highly sought after and in short supply. Many Physics students go to become lawyers, accountants, journalists or radiographers as well as the more traditional routes of PhD level research, engineering or lecturing.

Further information

Extra

We are always on the lookout for interesting trips and events to attend. We would like to use links with local universities to arrange expert speakers and trips for students studying the A’ level.

Reading / Research

‘Big Bang’ by Simon Singh – a story all about how the Universe began for anyone with an interest in where we came from.

http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html - a website about everything to do with Physics from Georgia State University in America.

‘The Big Questions: Physics’ by Michael Brooks – a book full of fundamental questions and answers about Physics such as “Is everything ultimately random?” and “What happened to Schrodinger’s cat?”.

Contact Mrs C Gladstone (cgladstone@colmers.school) for more details about the course and how it links with the other Science subjects offered.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 29 September 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 year AS or 2 year A level

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