Physics A Level at Newport Girls' High School
Physics A level is widely regarded as the most mathematical, mentally stimulating and challenging of all the three sciences. For this reason it is highly valued by admissions tutors and employers. It provides an insight into the world around us at all scales, from the inner workings of the atom to the birth and formation of the universe, as well as everything else in between. It is at the heart of all big technological advances in transport, communications, power, manufacturing and industry, computing, robotics and materials to name but a few.
The course trains students to take a logical, problem-solving approach to whatever situations they may find themselves in. The subject engenders independent thinking and resilience as well as a tenacious approach and the ability to pay attention to detail. Physics students explore concepts and methods of science and gain analytical, thinking and experimental skills that are not only widely applicable in many professional areas but also highly regarded by every sector. It follows that physicists are employed in many areas e.g. research, health and medicine, transport, industry and commerce, business, law, finance, marketing, environment, engineering of all types, space, architecture, communications, energy, theatre, teaching, utilities and infrastructure.
A-level Physics is an expected entrance qualification to university degrees in Physics, Applied Physics, Geophysics and all Engineering degrees where it pairs well with Maths, Further Maths and Chemistry A-levels. Among others, topics such as Flight Design and Aeronautics, Medical Physics, Mining, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Naval Engineering, Planetary and Space Science, Astrophysics, Robotics, Materials Science and Biophysics benefit from an A-level in Physics. It is also viewed favourably when applying into areas such as Architecture, Medicine, Optometry, Food Science, Climatology, Oceanography or even where its relevance is not immediately obvious such as Accountancy, Philosophy and Law.
Physics is a very satisfying (and fun!) subject to study at A-level. If you are curious about the world you live in and you thrive on a challenge then Physics is the subject for you.
The A-level course is a 2-year linear course, with all assessments taking place at the end of the two years.
In Year 1 (AS) we will be looking at forces, motion, energy, materials, electricity, waves, particles and radiation. In addition, there is a large practical and experimental skills component. In Year 2 (A-level) we explore forces and the concept of force fields in more detail. We will be looking at gravitation, electric and magnetic fields, circular motion, simple harmonic motion, nuclear physics and radioactivity, and thermal physics. There is also an optional topic. The current available choices are Astrophysics, Medical Physics, Engineering Physics, Turning Points in Physics and Electronics.
The approach will be to develop good thinking and problem solving skills while gaining a solid understanding of the various topics. Practical skills will be developed throughout the course and these will be assessed via structured tasks.
A minimum grade A in Additional Science or Separate Science Physics is required.
There are three exams at the end of the second year. Paper 1 and Paper 2 contains short and long answer questions as well as multiple choice questions. Each of Papers 1 and 2 have 85 points and account for 34% of the A-level. Paper 3 contains short and long answer questions on practical experiments and data analysis and the optional topic. Paper 3 has 80 marks and counts towards 32% of the A-level grade.
Subject content of each paper:
Paper 1 Measurements and their errors, Particles and Radiation, Waves, Mechanics and Materials, Electricity and Simple Harmonic Motion.
Paper 2 Further Mechanics and Thermal Physics, Fields and their consequences, and Nuclear Physics.
Paper 3 Practical Skills and Data Analysis and Optional Topic (choice from: Astrophysics, Medical Physics, Engineering Physics, Turning Points in Physics and Electronics)
In addition, there are a set of practical skills (Apparatus and Techniques) that each candidate must demonstrate through at least 12 required practical activities across the two years. Although grades in practical work will not count towards the final A-level grade, candidates must attain a “pass” mark on all these skills to gain the A-level, and Papers 1 and 3 will include questions that assess aspects of these compulsory skills and practical activities.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Newport Girls' High School directly.