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Physics A Level Edexcel at Ralph Thoresby School

Course description

What are ‘strange particles’? Will nuclear fusion ever solve our energy problems? How powerful are black holes? Can a particle be in two places at once?  Will graphene revolutionise computing? What is spintronics? A-Level Physics addresses some of the questions key to areas as diverse as engineering, medicine, the environment and computer science. The course requires a high level of analytical and mathematical skill, as well as the ability to work logically and methodically to explain how and why physical phenomena occur.

Course content

Students begin Y12 studying the basics of measurements and how errors can be quantified. This is followed by four units: Particles and radiation, Waves, Mechanics and materials and Electricity. We look at the vast range of fundamental particles that make up matter and the forces that govern their interactions, how waves can interfere to either cancel or amplify the energy delivered to a point, how atomic structure influences the properties of materials and why electrons carrying electric charge are so crucial to the modern world.

 

In Y13 Further mechanics and thermal physics, Fields and their consequences and Nuclear physics are studied. We look at predicting the motion of satellites in orbit, how levitating trains work and calculate the energy produced every second in the heart of the Sun. There is an optional unit; students can choose from the following: Astrophysics, Medical physics, Engineering physics, Turning points in physics or Electronics. This year students chose Astrophysics and have been enjoying studying the bizarre objects found in our Universe and the methods used to analyse and understand them.

Entry requirements

Students need 2 B grades or higher in GCSE Sciences.

Either

GCSE Physics and GCSE Biology or Chemistry

Or

GCSE Core Science and GCSE Additional Science

In addition students must have at least a B grade in GCSE Mathematics.

Assessment

Assessment

The course is linear and therefore assessed by 100% exam at the end of Y13:

 

Paper 1

Paper 2

Paper 3

What’s assessed

Measurements and their errors

Particles and radiation

Waves

Mechanics and materials

Electricity

Periodic motion

Thermal physics

Fields and their consequences

Nuclear physics

 

Assumed knowledge of paper 1 content

Section A: Compulsory section: Practical skills and data analysis

 

Section B: Students enter for one of the following options: Astrophysics, Medical physics, Engineering physics, Turning points in physics, Electronics

How it’s assessed

Written exam – 2 hours

85 marks

34% of A-Level

Written exam – 2 hours

85 marks

34% of A-Level

Written exam – 2 hours

80 marks

32% of A-Level

Questions

60 marks of long and short answer questions

25 multiple choice questions

60 marks of long and short answer questions

25 multiple choice questions

45 marks of long and short answer questions on practical experiments and data analysis

35 marks of long and short answer questions on optional topic

 

A separate endorsement of practical skills is taken alongside the A-Level. This will be assessed by teachers and is based on direct observation of students’ competency in a range of skills that are not assessable in written exams. Students will build a portfolio of evidence covering the 12 required practical tasks, and be awarded a pass/fail grade as a separately reported result.

 

Future opportunities

Many students chose to take applied science and engineering courses such as: Aeronautical, Automotive, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Computer Games Design, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Medicine, Optometry and Robotics.

Further information

Staff contacts:

Ms Head at Ralph Thoresby School

CHead@ralphthoresby.com 

 

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: 17 October 2016
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