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Physics OCR A Level at St Bernard's High School

Course description

This course will suit those students who want to ask the big questions about how the universe works, those who want to design solutions to human problems and those who want to apply mathematics in real situations.

Course content

Year 12

  • Physics in Action
  • Communication: circuits and sensors, waves as signals, digital imaging.
  • Designer Materials: properties of materials, how these depend on material structure, choosing a material for a given purpose.
  • Understanding Processes
  • Waves and Quantum Behaviour: superposition phenomena of waves, the quantum behaviour of photons and electrons.
  • Space, Time and Motion: classical mechanics, including vectors.

Year 13

All Year 12 content plus:

  • Rise and Fall of the Clockwork Universe
  • Models and Rules: simple rules model radioactive decay, behaviour of capacitors, the harmonic oscillator.
  • Out into space: orbits and gravitational fields.
  • Our place in the universe, special relativity.
  • Matter in Extremes: atoms, the kinetic theory of gases, thermal behaviour of matter and the effect of temperature.
  • Field and Particle Physics
  • Fields: electromagnetism, electric fields and potential.
  • Fundamental Particles: atomic, nuclear and sub-nuclear structure.

Entry requirements

  • GCSE Grade 7 in Mathematics plus
  • GCSE Grade B in Science and GCSE Grade B in Additional Science or GCSE Grade 7 in Mathematics plus
  • GCSE Grade B in Physics and GCSE Grade B in one other of Chemistry


  • Biology or GCSE Grade 6 in Mathematics plus
  • GCSE Grade A in Science and GCSE Grade A in Additional Science


  • GCSE Grade 6 in Mathematics plus
  • GCSE Grade A in Physics and GCSE Grade A in Chemistry with GCSE Grade B in Biology


  • GCSE Grade 6 in Mathematics plus
  • GCSE Grade A in Physics and GCSE Grade A in Biology with GCSE Grade B in Chemistry


Written papers:

Fundamentals of Physics:

  • 41% of marks
  • 2.25 hour

Scientific Literacy in Physics:

  • 37% of marks
  • 2.25 hour

Practical Skills in Physics:

  • 22% of marks
  • 1.5 hour

Practical Endorsement in Physics:

  • based on practical work carried out during the course
  • this is reported separately from the A level grade.

Future opportunities

A key facilitating subject accepted and valued for entry to many degree courses. Medical careers including medical imaging and radiography, design and architecture. A required subject for most engineering degrees.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Bernard's High School directly.

Last updated date: 05 January 2017

Key information


  • More information
    • In line with current educational thinking, all Key Stage 5 courses have fully integrated the full range of Thinking Skills.  These ensure that our students develop life-long transferable skills, become independent and resilient learners and are ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.  These enable all students to be independent enquirers and creative thinkers who can be focused team workers and effective participators because they can be self-managers of their workload and thus reflective learners.

      All courses emphasise opportunities to develop the core skills of communication and ICT, with many also placing emphasis on application of number.  In addition, the process of learning is enhanced through a problem-solving approach to the curriculum which facilitates students in improving their own learning and performance. These skills dovetail with the development of independent learning, so crucial for a successful Sixth Form student. Students will have the opportunity to broaden their skills by participating in either of the following as part of their core curriculum: AS Citizenship, AS Government & Politics or an AS Critical Thinking Programme. These provide students with an additional AS qualification and increased UCAS points for university entry.  In addition, students will have the opportunity to undertake an Extended Project Qualification should they desire.  This is designed as a ‘stretch and challenge’ opportunity and is highly regarded by major universities and potential employers. All Sixth Form students also undertake a general RE course which focuses on transferable skills of research, debate and presentation.

      In order to support a healthy lifestyle, students also have the opportunity to continue with a range of PE and sporting activities.

      A full tutorial programme is offered which focuses on the needs of young adults as they make the transition from the school environment.  In addition, the ‘Gifted, Able and Talented’ Programme will offer the opportunity to attend external conferences, as well as Easter and Summer Schools.

      Work Experience and work shadowing can be arranged and are a valuable preparation for the next stage of a student’s career.