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Physics AS & A Level at Archbishop Tenison's CofE High School

Course description

Physics at AS and A level requires from you and develops in you an intriguing range of skills: logical thought, written communication, practical skills and mathematical skills.   Physics is for you if you have ever found yourself wondering about CERN’s Big Bang experiments, CAT, MRI and PET scanners, evidence for dark matter, black holes, wave‐ particle duality, and such like!

Physics is not for everyone – it is a demanding preparation for the world of engineering, architecture, or physics/cosmology research.    It is also good fun and very satisfying.  If you have got the interest and GCSE grades B in 2 Sciences and Maths, it is likely that you have what it takes. The most successful students at AS and A2 level Physics work consistently and with determination, are confident in maths and take a real interest in the subject.   They keep in touch with current developments in areas of science, and apply what they learn in the laboratory to the world around them.

Course content

Students follow the OCR A syllabus and their progress is assessed on a regular basis, leading up to the AS Exams in June of Year 12.

A2 is if anything a more varied and interesting course. AS Physics consists of 3 modules leading to 2 AS exam papers and then 2 A2 exam papers in Year 13.  

The AS modules are:

  • Practical Experimental Skills – how to design experiments to answer scientific questions using lab equipment and then evaluate effectively.
  • Essential knowledge and tools – mostly about manipulating vectors to solve force and velocity problems.
  • Forces and Motion – what would be called “Mechanics” in a traditional physics course.
  • Electrons, Waves and Photons – some of the really big physics questions only answered in the 20th century, such as is light a wave or a particle?

Entry requirements

  • A minimum of 5 GCSEs at grade B (or grade 6 in English and Mathematics) is required to have a free choice of A‐ Level courses.   We would anticipate that you would achieve a minimum of GCSE grade 5 in English Language and Mathematics.
  • Students will be expected to achieve at least a grade B in the subjects they choose to take and this will be applied rigidly to Mathematics, Further Mathematics, the Sciences and Modern Foreign Languages.  


Examining Body:  OCR

As with all sciences, students will complete essential experiments which are recorded in a lab folder and assessed throughout the course. This evidence will be accumulated in a log book, which is available for students to take to interviews.

The AS exam consists of 2 papers:

  • Paper 1: Breadth in Physics which examines all topics in 90 minutes with multiple choice and short answer questions, worth 70 marks (50% of total).
  • Paper 2: Depth in Physics examining all topics in 90 minutes, with long “structured” questions, but also 6‐mark QWC question like at GCSE, worth 70 marks.

Future opportunities

Physics A‐Level is highly regarded by employers and universities for a very wide range of courses and careers. It leads particularly well into opportunities in Architecture, research in all area of Physics and Applied Maths, all types of Engineering, Electronics, Medicine and Forensic Science.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Archbishop Tenison's CofE High School directly.

Last updated date: 27 October 2016
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