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Physics AS and A-level at Queen Elizabeth Grammar School Penrith

Course description

Physics is an exciting and challenging subject, and physics at A level is a requirement for entry to many university courses in architecture, design engineering, education, nursing, space science, automotive engineering, civil engineering, materials science, computing, electronics, electrical engineering, meteorology, geophysics and metallurgy, to name just a few.

Course content

First Year
  • Particles and radiation-including antiparticles, photons and the quark model.
  • Waves-including longitudinal and transverse waves, progressive and stationary waves, refraction, diffraction and interference.
  • Mechanics and materials- including motion along a straight line, projectile motion, Newton’s laws of motion, momentum, energy and power.
  • Electricity -including electrical quantities, resistivity, circuits and components.
Second Year
  • Further mechanics and thermal physics - including circular motion and simple harmonic motion, aswell as the thermal properties of materials, ideal gases and the kinetic theory of gases
  • Fields and their consequences-including gravitational fields, electric fields, capacitors, magnetic fields, alternating current and electromagnetic induction.
  • Nuclear physics-including radioactivity, nuclear instability and nuclear energy.
  • Medical physics - including the eye, the ear, biological measurements, non-ionising imaging and X-ray imaging.

Entry requirements

The course is aimed at those with grade A in Physics at GCSE level and grade A or better in Mathematics.


Students will take AQA Physics [specification 7407/8] and the course is linear in nature. Each of the two years consists of 4 theory units, but practical work is woven into the course. During the two years there are a dozen compulsory practicals which may be assessed in the written examinations. In addition to this there is an entirely separate practical endorsement, based on demonstration of core practical competencies.
Throughout the two-year course there is a healthy emphasis on practical work. Students are taught how to make measurements of a range of quantities including length, current, potential difference and temperature. They will develop an awareness of the nature of measurement errors and of their numerical treatment.
The course is examined by three 2-hour papers in June of the second year. The third paper will include a number of questions that will be based on the compulsory practicals that have taken place during the two years of the course.


Future opportunities

Physics provides a route into many careers, and opportunities exist throughout the world. These prospects are not confined to research-they extend into a wide range of industries, into food, medicine, finance, marketing, business and management. The general skills of analysis and problem-solving that physicists develop are highly valued in many different fields of employment.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 15 August 2016

Key information


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    • The school was founded by Royal Charter in 1564. It was formerly situated in the centre of Penrith near St. Andrew's Church, but moved to the new buildings on its present site in 1915. The main school was extended in 1937 and 1958. The Donald Fay Memorial Building consisting of four Technology rooms and two Information Technology rooms was completed by September 1995 and a new building providing six Science laboratories, four Mathematics rooms and another Technology room was opened in July 1998. In November 2001, the Peter Kremer Sports Hall and four English rooms were completed. Further building work in 2004, 2009 and 2014 has provided additional office space and four classrooms. The extensive playing fields are adjacent to the school.