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Physics A-Level at Polam Hall School

Course description

A Level is a demanding but interesting course that can be taken by students who have studied either two or three units of physics as part of their GCSE science award. Calculations play a major part of the course and so any student embarking on the course must be a reasonably competent mathematician: we recommend that they must have achieved at least grade B at GCSE level. Whilst most A Level students combine their A Level Physics, with other science subjects or Mathematics, it is possible to study Physics as the only Science A Level.

At Polam Hall School we will study AQA Physics A; a course that combines traditional Physics with an opportunity to study a very contemporary topic such as Medical Physics or Astrophysics in detail at A2 Level. It will allow smooth progression from the new GCSE courses and contains a broad base of physics principles relevant to the 21st century.

Course content

AS Units

Unit 1 (1¼ hrs) Electricity, Quantum phenomena including photo-electricity and wave particle duality, Particles including the quark model and antiparticles.

Unit 2 (1¼ hrs) Mechanics including projectiles and Newton’s laws of motion, properties of matter including Young’s modulus, waves including interference and stationary waves.

Unit 3 Assessment of practical skills throughout the year and an ISA (Investigative skills assignment) consisting of two parts; a practical investigation that is then followed by a written paper.

A2 Units

Unit 4 (1¾ hrs) Fields including gravitational, electric and magnetic, electromagnetic induction and capacitors. Further mechanics including momentum, circular motion and simple harmonic motion.

Unit 5 (1¾ hrs) Section A – Probing the nucleus, radioactivity, nuclear energy, thermal properties of materials and the kinetic theory of gases. Section B – Medical physics including physics of the eye and ear, biological measurements, non-ionising imaging, x-ray imaging.

Units 6 Practical skills assessments as for the AS examination.

A significant proportion of time will be devoted to practical work during lessons to support the work done in theory lessons and develop the practical skills that are required for success in units 3 and 6.

Entry requirements

The minimum entry requirement for Advanced Level study is 6 A* - C grades. Students’ GCSEs must include Mathematics and English at least at Grade C. 4/3 subjects at AS level are usually studied in the first year.


Future opportunities

Physics is a valuable A Level subject for students wishing to follow a university course in medicine (including radiology), veterinary science or any form of engineering. It is also very relevant to a wide range of courses that concentrate on topical issues such as environmental pollution, waste management, global warming or sustainable energy resources. Physics can be studied on its own at university or it can be combined with a wide range of subjects. These can include computing, mathematics, meteorology, astrophysics, electronics, geophysics, etc. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Polam Hall School directly.

Last updated date: 22 April 2015
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