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Physics A Level Block A & B at Gravesend Grammar School

Course description

Physics at A level incorporates new, interesting and challenging material as well as fresh slants on the material covered at GCSE. Students will encounter a range of new ideas stretching from the very small; quantum phenomena and particle Physics, to the very large, Newtonian dynamics, material Physics and wave phenomena. The precise problem solving involved in Physics A level makes it a very desirable and challenging qualification.  It is essential for all Engineering and many science degree courses but is also highly regarded in other careers/further study areas such as Maths, Medicine, Architecture, Computer Science, economics, and the mathematical problem solving skills of physicist also make them desirable for work linked to finance and accounting.  

Course content

1.    Measurements and their errors: Fundamental (base) units. Use of mass, length, time, quantity of matter, temperature, electric current and their associated SI units.

2.    Particles and radiation: This section introduces students both to the fundamental properties of matter, and to electromagnetic radiation and quantum phenomena.

3.    Waves: GCSE studies of wave phenomena are extended through a development of knowledge of the characteristics, properties, and applications of travelling waves and stationary waves.

4.    Mechanics and materials: Vectors and their treatment are introduced followed by development of the student’s knowledge and understanding of forces, energy and momentum. The section continues with a study of materials considered in terms of their bulk properties and tensile strength.

5.    Electricity:  This section builds on and develops earlier study of these phenomena from GCSE. It provides opportunities for the development of practical skills at an early stage in the course and lays the groundwork for later study of the many electrical applications that are important to society.

6.    Further mechanics and thermal physics: The earlier study of mechanics is further advanced through a consideration of circular motion and simple harmonic motion (the harmonic oscillator). A further section allows the thermal properties of materials, the properties and nature of ideal gases, and the molecular kinetic theory to be studied in depth.

7.    Fields and their consequences: The concept of field is one of the great unifying ideas in physics. The ideas of gravitation, electrostatics and magnetic field theory are developed within the topic to emphasise this unification. Practical applications considered include: planetary and satellite orbits, capacitance and capacitors, their charge and discharge through resistors, and electromagnetic induction.

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.

Optional topics include: Astrophysics, Medical physics, Engineering physics, Turning points in physics, or Electronics: 

Entry requirements

You are required to achieve:

  • A Level 6 in GCSE Physics, or a Level 6 in the higher Physics paper if double award GCSE is studied.

If you want to study more than one science subject at A Level, a Level 7 in each GCSE will be required.

A high grade in GCSE Mathematics will help your understanding of Physics at A level. Most Physics and Engineering courses at degree level require A level mathematics. We strongly recommend students opt for A level Mathematics to study alongside Physics.


Please refer to the course content section.


Future opportunities

Physics A level is a well respected qualification recognised and valued by the Russell group of Universities.  Due to the high level thinking skills and precise problem solving activities involved in Studying Physics at A level it keeps ‘career doors’ open and also expands the number of possible career/further study paths for the student.  

Further information

In the past there has been a trip to Switzerland to visit the particle accelerators at CERN the site of the world’s biggest and most expensive experiment (this trip is subject to progress at CERN). The department offers a lot of support to compliment the high level of expectation through informal and formal help sessions arranged on a regular basis. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Gravesend Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 08 December 2017
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