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Physics A Level at St Leonard's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Comprehensive School

Course description

Physics at A Level is designed to give a seamless transition for students from their previous studies of Physics 1 (core science Y10) and Physics 2 (additional science Y11). The specification aims to develop interest and enthusiasm in the subject by introducing students to new and exciting areas of physics and to developing essential knowledge and understanding of key principles.

Course content


The AS course consists of five modules. Each module is testable in two written papers completed by the students at the end of their first year of study. Both papers are 1½ hours and make up 50% of the AS grade. Paper one covers all five modules and is made up of short and long style questions. Paper two is split into three sections: section A, a twenty mark paper testing the students’ knowledge on practical skills and data handling; section B, a twenty mark paper covering modules 1 – 5; and section C, a thirty mark multiple choice paper.

Section 1: Measurements and their errors This section is a continuing study for a student of physics. A working knowledge of the specified fundamental units of measurement is vital.
Section 2: Particles and Radiation This section introduces students both to the fundamental properties of matter, and to electromagnetic radiation and quantum phenomena.
Section 3: Waves Here students will further their GCSE studies of wave phenomena and extend their knowledge of the characteristics, properties, and applications of travelling waves and stationary waves.
Section 4: Mechanics and Materials Vectors and their treatment are introduced followed by development of the student’s knowledge and understanding of forces, energy and momentum.
Section 5: Electricity
This section builds on and develops earlier study of these phenomena from GCSE. It provides opportunities for the development of practical skills at an early stage in the course and lays the groundwork for later study of the many electrical applications that are important to society.

The A Level Course

The A level course consists of eight standard modules and one option module. All modules are testable in the three written papers completed by the students at the end of their two year study. All three papers are two hours long and make up 100% of the A level grade.

Section 6.1: Periodic Motion The students earlier study of mechanics is further advanced through a consideration of circular motion and simple harmonic motion (the harmonic oscillator).
Section 6.2: Thermal Physics This section allows the students to gain a greater understanding of the thermal properties of materials, the properties and nature of ideal gases, and the molecular kinetic theory.
Section 7: Fields and their consequences The concept of field is one of the great unifying ideas in physics. The ideas of gravitation, electrostatics and magnetic field theory are developed within the topic to emphasise this unification.
Section 8: Nuclear Physics This section builds on the work of Particles and radiation to link the properties of the nucleus to the production of nuclear power through the characteristics of the nucleus, the properties of unstable nuclei, and the link between energy and mass.
Option Choice: Section B of paper three offers students the opportunity to study one of the following optional topics to gain a deeper understanding and awareness of a selected branch of physics;
- Astrophysics
- Medical physics
- Applied physics
- Turning points in physics.

Future opportunities

Many universities recognise that physics is a difficult A level subject and often lower the entry grade required accordingly. Physics is a requirement for most engineering courses and is highly desirable for many other courses related to science. It can be used as a subject for any university course.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Leonard's Roman Catholic Voluntary Aided Comprehensive School directly.

Last updated date: 06 July 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years