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Physics AS A2 at Thomas Becket Catholic School

Course content

The new OCR Advancing Physics course was developed with the approval of the Institute of Physics. Physics is the study of the properties and interactions of matter and energy. Our understanding of many features of the everyday world relies on knowledge drawn from the ideas and methods of Physics. In this course the basic principles of Physics are introduced and, through example, placed in the context of the world in which Physics is used. At a later stage you will be considering the different scales of Physicists interests, from planets to atoms. Advancing Physics is a new course supported by textbooks, CD-Roms and a website for both students and teachers. It can be taken at AS level as part of a broad programme following GCSE. This also forms a solid foundation for continuation to the Advanced GCE award. Subjects that go well with Physics at AS or Advanced Level include Mathematics, Chemistry, Biology, Economics or Geography. You may wish to broaden your studies and combine AS Advancing Physics with Humanities or Modern Languages. 

Entry requirements

Before starting this course; you should have studied Science to Double Award Science GCSE.


To get a certificate for Advanced Subsidiary (AS), you will need to have studied and been assessed on 3 AS units.To get a certificate for Advanced GCE, you will need to have studied and been assessed on the 3 AS units, plus 3 further units, known as A2 units, making a total of 6 units.The AS units of work you will study are as follows:Module A : Physics in ActionThis module is in two parts:Communication looks at collecting, presenting, shaping, analysing and transmitting information. Imaging is considered in a variety of contexts including medicine and astronomy.Designer materials, covers a wide range of kinds and uses of materials. You will look at selecting natural and human-made materials for a job, including: metals, ceramics, glasses, polymers, fibres, wood etc. You will think about how materials behave and why.Unit of assessment: A terminal 90 minute written examination.Module B : Understanding processesWave and quantum behaviour is about trying to understand the true nature of light - a story from history, passing from the ideas of Huygens and Newton, Young and Fresnel, to the modern quantum perspective.Space and time starts by thinking about journeys and how we describe them using graphs and charts. Vectors are introduced and used to think about what happens when moving objects accelerate.Unit of assessment: A terminal 90 minute written examination.Module C : Practical courseworkThroughout the AS course you will have been developing your practical and investigative skills as well as other key skills. The assessed coursework will reward these skills. You will be asked to carry out three short tasks that form the assessment for this module : a project to investigate a sensor, a presentation about a material that interests you and an analysis of some experimental data. You may find that these tasks can also be counted towards your Key Skills Portfolio. The A2 units of work you will study are as follows:Module D : Rise and Fall of the Clockwork UniverseModels and rules introduces some simple computer models to show how mathematical rules can be used to predict the future. The section then goes on to the story of our exploration of the planets and we look at evidence for the idea of an expanding Universe. Finally, we think about where ideas about relativity come from.Matter in extremes begins with a simple model of a gas and uses the predictions of simple chaos to think about energy and energy conservation. The module ends by looking at extreme temperatures from the very cold to the very hot.Unit of assessment: A terminal 70 minute written examination.Module E : Field and particles physicsFields covers both magnetic and electric fields. You will find out how electromagnetic machines work and deliver power. You will consider the design of the accelerators that use electric and magnetic fields to move charges.Fundamental particles of matter begins by looking at how physicists 'see' inside atoms and molecules to develop our ideas about the fundamental particles. Moving out slightly, the Module finishes by thinking about the ways in which we use ionising radiation and how we manage the risks that use implies.Unit of assessment: A terminal 70 minute written examination.Module F : Advances in PhysicsYou will look at a variety of case studies in which ideas from physicswork together to solve a problem.Unit of assessment: A terminal 90 minute written examination will test the knowledge, understanding and skills you have learnt throughout the course. Thepaper will include a comprehension passage that you will receive some weeks before the examination, so that you have an opportunity to prepare.

Future opportunities

With a qualification in Physics you could go onto Further or Higher Education, studying Physics or Engineering, one of the other sciences or a variety of other subjects; or you could go on to work in a science-based industry or business.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 26 May 2015
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