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Physics A level at The Becket School

Course description

AS/A level Physics aims for students to: sustain and develop their enjoyment of, and interest in, physics; develop essential knowledge and understanding in physics; develop the skills needed for the use of this knowledge and understanding in new and changing situations where appropriate; and develop an understanding of the link between theory and experiment

Students will also need to: appreciate how physics has developed and is used in present day society; show how physics links with social, philosophical, economic, industrial and environmental matters; recognise the quantitative nature of physics; understand how mathematical expressions relate to physical principles; bring together knowledge of ways in which different areas of physics relate to each other; and study how scientific models develop. A level physics is suitable for students who: have an interest in, and enjoy physics; want to find out about how things in the physical world work; enjoy applying their mind to solving problems; enjoy carrying out investigations by the application of imaginative, logical thinking; want to use physics to support other qualifications or progress onto further studies or employment.

Course content

The AS course involves the study of 4 topics:

  • Topic 1: Mechanics -  rectilinear motion, forces, moments, energy, power and efficiency, momentum and its conservation.
  • Topic 2: Electric Circuits – current, voltage, resistance and power, resistivity and drift velocity.
  • Topic 3: Materials – behaviour of fluids, density, upthrust, viscosity, laminar and turbulent flow, behaviour of solids under tension and compression.
  • Topic 4: Waves and Particle Nature of Light – reflection, refraction, diffraction, polarisation, interference and lenses; the particle nature of light, the photoelectric effect and line spectra.

The A2 course involves all of the material covered in the AS course as well as the following topics:

  • Topic 5: Further Mechanics – conservation of momentum in 2 dimensions, elastic and inelastic collisions, energy and circular motion.
  • Topic 6: Electric and Magnetic Fields – electric fields and capacitors including the exponential nature of capacitor discharge, magnetic fields, Faraday’s Law, Lenz’s Law and electromagnetic induction.
  • Topic 7: Nuclear and Particle Physics – atomic structure, particle accelerators and detectors, the behaviour of charged particles in magnetic and electric fields, the equation E = c2m and the Standard Model of Particle Physics
  • Topic 8: Thermodynamics – specific heat capacity, specific latent heat, internal energy and ideal gases, gas laws and black body radiation.
  • Topic 9: Space - measuring astronomical distances, the behaviour of stars, redshift and the expansion of the Universe.
  • Topic 10: Nuclear Radiation – radioactive decay, types of nuclear radiation, binding energy and decay equations.
  • Topic 11: Gravitational Fields - the equation of gravitation and gravitational potential.
  • Topic 12: Oscillations – simple harmonic motion, resonance and damping.

Entry requirements

Students are expected to have achieved at least a GCSE Grade B in Physics or BB in Science (Double Award).It is necessary to have followed a course in Mathematics to higher level GCSE and to have gained at least a grade B.


AS Level

  • Paper 1: Core Physics 1 (1 hour 30 minutes)  -  50% – Topics 1 and 2
  • Paper 2: Core Physics 2 (1 hour 30 minutes)  -  50% – Topics 3 and 4

These papers will be taken at the end of Year 12

A2 Level

  • Paper 1: Advanced Physics 1 (1 hour 45 minutes)  -  30% – Topics 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7
  • Paper 2: Advanced Physics 2 (1 hour 45 minutes)  -  30% – Topics 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12.
  • Paper 3: General and Practical Principles in Physics (2 hours 30 minutes)  -  40%

Questions in this paper may draw on any of the topics in this specification. The paper will include synoptic questions that may draw on two or more different topics. For example, a question could ask students to compare electric fields with gravitational fields. The paper will include questions that assess conceptual and theoretical understanding of experimental methods (indirect practical skills) that will draw on students’ experiences of the core practicals

Future opportunities

Physics leads on to a wide range of courses and careers. Physics can support other qualifications or help progression onto further studies or employment. This could be, for example, courses ranging from Physics, the Sciences, Medicine to Engineering and Computing; Chemical Engineering and related programmes; radiography; and biotechnology. In fact Physics is recognised as an entry qualification for a wide range of Higher Education courses and employment.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Becket School directly.

Last updated date: 11 October 2016

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