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Physics at The Sixth Form College Solihull

Course description

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences, with its ultimate goal being to understand any and all aspects of how our universe, from the apparently simple (e.g. the motion of a dropped object) to the highly complex (e.g. the search for the Higgs Boson at CERN). This course is for those who want to know just how and why the natural world works as it does, and covers a wide range of physics topics from the tiniest scale of sub-atomic particles to the evolution of the cosmos. It aims develop an interest and enthusiasm for the subject along with the full skill-set needed to be successful within it (practicing Physics requires a high level of mathematical, communication and thinking skills).

Course content

Over the two years of the course, the following topics will be studied:
Particles and Quantum Phenomena – wave-particle duality, quantisation and the standard model of particle physics.
Electricity – basic electrical properties, electrical components and circuits.
Mechanics and Energy – forces and motion (including Newton’s laws and projectile motion), energy and power, momentum, tuning effects and circular motion.
Materials – the properties of materials (density, elasticity, etc.) and their uses.
Waves and Oscillations – the basic properties of waves, refraction, diffraction, interference, simple harmonic motion, resonance and damping.
Fields – investigates the similarities and differences between gravitational and electric fields in terms of the forces they apply and the energy transfers within them, along with applications of the motion of particles within them.
Capacitance – the effect of capacitance and the use and operation of capacitors.
Electromagnetism – investigates the magnetic fields produced by the flow of a current, including the forces applied by them and electromagnetic induction.
Nuclear Physics – the structure of the nucleus, radioactivity, nuclear instability and the uses of this, including nuclear energy.
Thermal Physics – the thermal properties of materials, ideal gases and the kinetic theory of gases.
Astrophysics – the physics of stars and cosmology.

Practical Skills – completion of a set of exam-board specified practicals developing the student’s ability to select and use equipment, make observations and measurements, process and present data using standard scientific conventions, analyse and evaluate results, calculate uncertainties of quantities and link outcomes to theory.

It should be noted that few of the above topics can be taken in isolation; most build on previous work (e.g. the Mechanics and Energy topic needs to be understood before the Fields topic can be successfully completed).

Entry requirements

3 A level Programme:
The majority of our students will choose to study 3 A level courses and will commit to these subjects for the full 2 years. Entry requirements for this programme are:

• At least two grade 6s or B grades at GCSE
• At least a further three grade 4s or C grades at GCSE
• You should have at least a grade 4 or C grade in GCSE English Language AND Mathematics.

Please note that there may be additional entry requirements specific to particular courses – please check each course listing on our website carefully to ensure you understand these entry requirements.

4 A level Programme:
Some very able students may choose to study 4 A level subjects. This will include all students who choose to study A level Further Mathematics, who will pick Mathematics, Further Mathematics and two other subjects. These students must commit to these 4 subjects for the full 2 years. Entry requirements for this programme are:

• At least five grade 7s or A/A* grades at GCSE
• You should have at least a grade 6 or B grade in GCSE English Language AND Mathematics.
• Students picking Mathematics and Further Mathematics will need to get at least a grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics.

Students must have either:
• Grade 6 in Maths and a grade 7 in Physics or a grade 6-7 in Combined Science OR
• Grade 7 in Maths and a grade 6 in Physics or a grade 6-6 in Combined Science.
Students enrolling on A level Physics must also choose A level Maths. In addition, standard A level entry requirements apply.


100% exam (no coursework). All papers to be sat the end of the second year of the course. This includes two theory papers assessing topics across the two years of the course, using a mixture of multiple-choice and written responses (the majority of marks for the latter) and one paper testing practical knowledge, including practical design, analysis of specimen data and links to theory. In addition to this, a certificate of practical competence is awarded, dependent upon performance within specified practical work.
Examining Board – AQA.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Sixth Form College Solihull directly.

Last updated date: 20 September 2017
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