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GCE A Level Physics at Bournville College

Course description

The course is divided into a variety of topics, each containing different key Physics concepts. Once you have learnt the key features of a particular topic, you move on to consider the applications in real situations.

Course content

Motion – velocity, acceleration, forces, kinematics, moments, projectiles
Energy – gravitational potential and kinetic energies; work and power
Momentum – Newton’s second law of motion, conservation of linear momentum

Electric circuits
Electrical quantities – current and voltage relationships, resistivity, semiconductors
Complete electrical circuits – electrical circuit rules, potential dividers

Fluids – density and upthrust, drag, terminal velocity
Solid material properties – Hooke’s law, young modulus, stress-strain graphs

Waves and the particle nature of light
Waves and their behaviour – phase, superposition, diffraction, interference
Optics – Refraction, total internal reflection, lenses, polarisation
Quantum physics – wave particle duality, the photoelectric effect

Practical work
Students will need to maintain a lab book giving details of the practical work they have carried out in class. Questions in the written examination papers will assess the knowledge and understanding that students have gained while carrying out the practicals.

In the second year of the A-level Physics course, students learn about:

Further mechanics
Further momentum – energy in collisions, more collisions
Circular motion – circular motion basics, centripetal force

Electric and magnetic fields
Electric fields – electric fields, Millikan’s oil drop experiment, Coulomb’s law
Capacitors – charging and discharging capacitors
Electromagnetic effects – magnetic fields, electric motors, generating electricity 

Nuclear and particle physics
Particle accelerators and detectors – the large hadron collider
The particle zoo – particle interactions, particle reactions

Heat and temperature – internal energy, ideal gas behaviour

Nuclear radiation
Radioactivity – fission and fusion, nuclear power stations

Gravitational fields
Gravitational fields – gravitational forces, gravitational fields

Space – starshine, stellar classification, distances to stars, the age of the universe

Oscillations – simple harmonic motion, SHM mathematics, resonance

Practical Endorsement
To achieve a pass in this component of the course, students must demonstrate that they are competent in all the expected practical skills. The written examinations will include questions that assess students’ understanding of experimental methods.

Entry requirements

Year 1 of A-level Physics requires 6 GCSEs at grades A*-C with a B or above in Triple Science Physics and a B or above in another Triple Science. Students with two Bs in Double award Science will also be considered. You also need to have a B or above in Maths and a C or above in English (on the higher papers). Enrolment is subject to a satisfactory completion of an induction period.


There are two exams at the end of year 1 for AS Physics. There will be three exams at the end of year 2 for A-level Physics. In addition, students need to gain a pass in the practical component of the course.

Future opportunities

Throughout the course, candidates are introduced to the ideas of physics and their application to a variety of contexts. The course thus provides a valuable foundation for students who go on to do physics or related subjects at university. Some of the careers, students can eventually progress on to are: Aeronautical Engineer, Architect, Climatologist, Doctor, Nuclear Scientist, Pharmacist, Teacher, Mathematician.

Further information

If you are interested in studying this course please contact the Advice Zone on 0121 477 1300

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: 07 September 2016
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