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Physics A-Level at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College

Course description

Physics is the branch of Science concerned with matter and energy in its different forms and its scope extends from the smallest sub-atomic particle to the entire universe. Physicists study the world in which we live and attempt to understand and interpret it.

The course, Advancing Physics, is a contemporary course developed by the Institute of Physics and examined by OCR. Its content is up-to-date and, as well as indepth coverage of topics first encountered in GCSE Physics, it also includes work as Cosmology, particle Physics, Relativity and Quantum Physics.

It sets Physics in a variety of contexts, illustrating connections with everyday life, people and places. Extensive use is made of electronic methods of delivery; a CDROM, to which all students have full access, contains a huge amount of information, and there is a dedicated web site and an e-mail network. The Physics Laptop Computers are a major resource in the Department, and students use computing facilities at College, and, if available, at home, throughout the course. A Student Book is issued, and many other reference books are available.

80% of the assessment is by written examinations and 20% is coursework, which comprises a variety of practical work together with presentation and research skills.

Course content

The course we follow is the OCR Physics Specification B, Advancing Physics; it consists of six modules, three at AS covered in the first year and three at A2 covered in the second year.

Physics in Action (AS Module)

  • Communications: Imaging, Sensing & Signalling
  • Designer Materials: Materials on Test & Looking Inside Materials

Understanding Processes (AS Module)

  • Wave and Quantum Behaviour
  • Space and Time: Mapping Space and Time & Computing the Next Move

Physics in Practice (AS Module)

  • Coursework: Measurement Task, Materials Research and Presentation

Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe (A2 Module)

  • Models and Rules: Creating Models, Out in Space & Our Place in the Universe
  • Matter in Extremes: Matter-Very Simple & Matter-Very Hot and Cold

Field and Particle Pictures (A2 Module)

  • Fields: Electromagnetic Machines & Charge and Field
  • Fundamental Particles of Matter: Probing Deep into Matter & Ionising Radiation and Risk

Researching Physics (A2 Module)

  • Practical Investigation
How it is taught

The teaching is aimed at developing students’ interests and helping them to gain an understanding of the underlying concepts and enables them to develop problem-solving skills. A Student Book is issued and this is the basis for working through the course both in and out of lessons. Extensive use is made of electronic methods of delivering the course. There is a CD-ROM to which all students have full access on the College network, a dedicated web site and an e-mail network.

The wide use of ICT means that computers play an important part in the course and the Physics Laptop Computers are a major resource in the Department. Physics is a practical subject and this is reflected throughout the course.

Entry requirements

The usual entry requirement to QE is 5 GCSE grades at C or above including Maths or English. A good number of students study four AS Levels in their first year and to do this we require at least 3B grades and 3C grades at GCSE including Maths and English Language. Students who do not achieve these GCSE grades take fewer subjects at A Level and will be required to do resits in GCSE Maths and English if they have not already achieved a grade C in these core subjects. The College is large enough to have a very flexible timetable that allows students to take almost any combination of subjects at A Level. The advantage of this system is that we can tailor your programme to suit your needs and abilities. We give lots of advice if you decide to apply to the College.

Subject Specific

Students should have at least one of the following:

  • Grade B at Core GCSE Science + Grade B at Additional Science
  • Grade B at GCSE Physics
  • Two B Grades from GCSE Core Science, Additional Science and Further Additional Science.

In addition students must have a Grade B in GCSE Maths. Students should also meet the general college entry requirements for Advanced Level study. Physics has a high mathematical content and so students must take AS Maths or Use of Maths alongside Physics.


Physics in Action
Exam – 1 hour - 1st Year June
Understanding Processes
Exam – 2 hours - 1st Year June
Physics in Practice
Coursework - 1st Year June
Rise and Fall of the Clockwork
Exam – 1¼ hours - 2nd Year June
Universe Field & Particle Pictures
Exam – 2 hours - 2nd Year June
Researching Physics
Coursework - 2nd Year June

Future opportunities

Most Physics students progress to higher education taking courses in all types of Engineering, Pure Sciences and in many branches of Applied Science. Many go on to work in a science-based industry or business, and increasingly in areas of Medical Physics such as Radiography and Medical Imaging.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 17 April 2015
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