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Physics A Level at Raynes Park High School

Course description

Physics is a challenging and interesting subject which will help you to understand the world and universe around you! Modern society heavily depends on the contributions made by Physicists. Advances such as x-ray machines and ultrasound scanners in hospitals, even radiotherapy to treat patients would have been impossible were it not for the work of physicists. Where would we be without our mobile phone, I-pod, TV or favourite games console? The mechanics of how things move accelerate and fall is applied to so many everyday situations that we take for granted. The course enables students to develop skills in experimental techniques including prototyping, design, visualising and abstract thinking, observation, handling and evaluating skills, logical thinking and written and oral expression. Some students go on to study physics at university. This may lead to a career in research and development, either in a university or in industry. High temperature semiconductors, a better understanding of sub atomic particles and more efficient ways of storing energy for cars are just three areas of research being pursued at the moment. Perhaps the majority of those who study A-Level Physics do so in order to apply their physics knowledge in another subject area at university. Examples of this are the many branches of engineering, electronics and meteorology. For these careers, A-Level Physics is essential. Another group of students choose Physics because they feel that it will be useful even if not essential for their career. Those intending to follow a career in medicine or biochemistry fall into this category. The remainder are going to follow a career in a completely unrelated area such as law or accountancy. This group of students may have chosen Physics simply because they enjoy it or because they know that it is highly regarded by universities as a test of problem-solving ability and logical thought. We hope that for whatever reason students choose to study physics at RPHS, they find it exciting and stimulating.

Course content

Year 1 Units - AS

1 Measurements and their errors

2 Particles and radiation

3 Waves

4 Mechanics and materials

5 Electricity


Year 2 Units – A level

6 Further mechanics and thermal physics

7 Fields and their consequences

8 Nuclear physics

9 Optional topic - Astrophysics

Entry requirements

Acceptance onto the course requires a minimum of two Grade B’s at GCSE in Core and Additional Science at higher tier. Students need a secure understanding of Physics and Mathematics to succeed at AS therefore it is crucial that they have sat the higher papers. It is also crucial that students can demonstrate an awareness of ethical issues and how Physics relates to current social developments. Finally, a good grasp of mathematical concepts is required and so need a Grade B in English and Maths GCSE. Students will have to choose AS Maths in addition to this course.


On-going teacher assessment for each topic, through assessment for learning tasks, summary questions, extended writing tasks and exam questions.

Through external exams at the end of year 1 and 2. Year 2 exams:

 Paper 1: Topics 1-5,  2 hours, 34% of exam.

 Paper 2: Topics 6-8, 2 hours, 34% of exam.

 Paper 3: Topic  9 + data analysis, 2 hours, 32% of exam.

Future opportunities

Accountant, Aeronautical Engineer, Agricultural Engineer, Architect, Astronomy, Automobile Engineer, Banking, Chemist, Climatologist, Cosmologist, Design Engineer, Economics, Electrical Engineer, Ergonomics, Food Scientist, Geophysicist, Geotechnical Engineer, Mechanical Engineer, Medical Engineer, Medical Physicist, Meteorologist, Mining Engineer, Nanotechnology, Naval Architect, Nuclear Physicist, Oceanographer, Optical Physicist, Optometry, Patent Law, Physicist, Radiographer, Science Journalist, Sound Engineer, Teaching.

Activities will include practical investigations, independent research, group and individual work, presentations, ICT work, past examination questions, essays and written examinations.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Raynes Park High School directly.

Last updated date: 05 April 2017
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