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Physics A Level at Dame Alice Owen's School

Course description

Physics A-Level opens the door to a wide range of possible careers in areas such as medical imaging, meteorology, finance, engineering and astronomy.   It is a suitable choice for anyone who has enjoyed Physics at GCSE and wishes to expand their knowledge further as well as those who wish to study science or engineering at university.

The A Level course involves a range of classical physics topics such as motion and gravity as well as modern physics including particle physics and special relativity.  The courses include a series of practical experiments which all students will undertake which include standing waves on strings and measuring the acceleration due to gravity.  In common with all science courses the practical work does not directly contribute to the final grade.  However, some exam questions will be based around the required practical experiments.

There is an extensive range of electronic support resources available through the school Virtual Learning Environment (Life) which students can access from home.  In recent years we have run a visit to CERN in Geneva during year 13 to learn about the latest developments in Particle Physics.

Course content

Year 1

  • Measurements and their errors
  • Particles and radiation (Particle Physics and Quantum Mechanics)
  • Waves
  • Mechanics and materials (Motion and properties of solids)
  • Electricity

Year 2

  • Further mechanics and thermal physics (Circular motion and oscillations)
  • Fields and their consequences (Gravity, electric fields and electromagnetism)
  • Nuclear physics
  • Turning points in physics (including special relativity)

Entry requirements

The minimum requirement for A level Physics is a 6,7 grade in Combined Science GCSE or grade 6 in GCSE Physics and a grade 6 in Maths. Those students with a 6,7 grade in Combined Science are expected to have achieved a grade 7 in the Physics components.  Students should be aware that Physics is an academically demanding subject and a willingness to work hard is essential for success.

Studying Maths alongside Physics is not a requirement but it is useful.  Those considering studying Physics or Engineering at University should note that most Physics and Engineering degrees require A-Level Maths as well as Physics.


Examination Board - AQA

Exam Structure:

Paper 1 (34%) – 2 hours:

  • Topics 1 to 5 and the further mechanics part of topic 6
  • Multiple choice, short answer and long answer questions

Paper 2 (34%) – 2 hours

  • All topics covered but with main focus on the thermal physics part of topic 6,  topic 7 and topic 8.
  • Multiple choice, short answer and long answer questions

Paper 3 (32%) – 2 hours

  • Practical skills and data analysis (with assumed knowledge of all topics)
  • Turning Points in Physics
  • Short answer and long answer questions

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Dame Alice Owen's School directly.

Last updated date: 31 October 2018
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years