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Physics A Level at Harris Academy Beckenham

Course description

In a change from previous years, to complete the full A Level in Physics students must complete all modules and be assessed on them all at the end of two years of study – i.e. in Year 13.  The A Level is no longer formed of ‘AS’ plus ‘A2’.

Course content

Year 12 Content

In year 12 students will study 5 modules. These along with the 4 modules in year 13 will contribute to the overall A-Level.

Module 1 – Measurements and their errors

The content of this module is embedded throughout all the content of the Physics specification.  This module is designed to develop the skills of planning, implementing, analysis and evaluation.  Evaluating methods and interpreting results of practical investigations will be assessed through the written examinations at AS and A Level, in addition to the Practical Endorsement which is internally assessed throughout the course at A Level only - where students receive a pass/fail practical certificate alongside their grade at the end of the full Physics A Level.

Module 2 – Particles and radiation

In this module students learn about the fundamental properties of matter, radiation, and energy. Students will also gain awareness of the ongoing development of new ideas in physics and of in-depth knowledge to well-established concepts.

Module 3 – Waves

This module student’s look at wave measurements and general properties of waves. Some of these properties apply to all waves – including refraction, diffraction and interference. Students will also find out how to create standing waves.

Module 4 – Mechanics and materials

This module student’s look at the principles and applications of mechanics and materials. These areas underpin many work-related areas including engineering, transport, and technology. A lot of technologies and devices have been developed in these subject areas, including vehicle safety features and nanotechnology.

Module 5 – Electricity

Students will get to deepen their understanding of GCSE electricity in this module, as well as gain experience of practical work in electricity, which will help them to design and construct low-voltage electric circuits and to analyse circuits that have different components.

Year 13 Content

Students will complete a further three modules in year 13, as well as an option module.  The modules in year 13 have a synoptic element to them. This means that the skills that were developed in year 12 are built into some of the concepts with the year 13 modules.

Module 6 – Further mechanics and thermal physics

The impact Newtonian mechanics has on Physics is shown in this module.  The microscopic motion of atoms can be modelled using Newton’s laws and hence provide us with understanding of macroscopic quantities such as pressure and temperature.  

Module 7 – Fields and their consequences

In this module, learners will learn about different types of fields. They will get to look at the differences between gravitational, electric and magnetic fields, as well as look at how all of these fields are incredibly similar.

Module 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. Students should become aware of the physics that underpins nuclear energy production and also of the impact that it can have on society.

Option Module

There is also an optional module where there is the option for students to study astrophysics, medical physics, engineering physics, turning points in physics or electronics.

Entry requirements

Students require a grade 5 in English Language, and grade 6 or above in Physics GCSE and Maths GCSE. Students also need to study A Level Maths.


Exam Board: AQA

Students sit examinations in their A Level courses at the end of Year 13. All students will take internal end of year examinations at the end of year 12 to determine suitability to continue with the subject in Year 13. Students who do not meet the required pass grade in the Year 12 end of year examinations will not be permitted to progress into Year 13.

There are three written papers to assess A Level Physics. Paper 1 assesses modules 1 to 5 along with 6.1, whilst paper 2 assesses 6.2, 7 and 8 (Knowledge of the other sections is assumed). Both of these papers are 85 marks and worth 34% and are made up of 60 marks of short and long answer questions along with 25 multiple choice questions. The practical skills of students are assessed throughout the course, leading to a separate certificate called ‘Practical Endorsement in Physics’ – this is simply pass/fail depending on skills shown throughout the course.

Future opportunities

Physics is a very useful qualification and is recognised as important for a wide variety of careers.  Physicists have gone on to work in Medicine, Computing, Telecommunications, Electronics, Engineering, Research and any disciplines requiring a high degree of numeracy and/or problem solving e.g. Accountancy.  A Level Physics is an excellent preparation for further study in Higher Education and physicists are in demand for many types of careers.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Harris Academy Beckenham directly.

Last updated date: 07 November 2017
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