Physics AS/A Level 3

Science and Mathematics

Science and Mathematics
Science and Mathematics
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What will you be working towards?

Qualification Type GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Qualification Level Level 3
Course type Full Time


Exam Board: AQA

Physics is a highly regarded and respected subject at A Level. It is stimulating and challenging while developing skills in logical thought and mathematical rigor. Those pupils considering taking both courses (AS and A2) are also advised to take Mathematics. The course is designed to form strong scientific investigative skills while introducing pupils to the wonderful world of Advanced Physics. At AS the course covers the more traditional mechanics, materials, waves and electricity modules as well as introducing pupils to particle and quantum phenomena. At A2 the course goes on to study fields and further mechanics. At both AS and A2 the course includes a practical skills assessment in the form of an Investigative Skills Assignment (ISA) investigation and exam.

Most people these days have many careers over their working life. Having Physics will allow you a clear entry to many existing professions as well as many industries of the future. There are fewer and fewer people studying Physics and because of the extra demand from technology, medicine, international business and environmental issues, people who have the skills you learn in Physics, will make more money over their lifetime. Physics is an A Level that is highly respected by employers and course admissions tutors. It is an A Level that will make you stand out from all other pupils. Those pupils studying Physics can expect to be in high demand in future years.


The AS Level course, contained in Units 1 & 2, builds on the knowledge, understanding and skills taught in the GCSE Science courses and is completed in the first year of Sixth Form. Two examinations are taken in June.


Particles, Quantum Phenomena and Electricity- Exam 1 hour 15 minutes

Particle physics introduces pupils to the fundamental properties and nature of matter, radiation and quantum phenomena. In contrast, the study of electricity builds on and develops previous GCSE studies and provides opportunities for practical work and looks into important applications.

AS  40%    A2  20%



Mechanics, Materials and Waves – Exam 1 hour 15 minutes

The first section introduces vectors and then develops knowledge and understanding of forces and energy from GCSE Additional Science. Section 2 covers materials and their bulk properties/tensile strength. The final section extends GCSE studies on waves, including refraction, diffraction, superposition and interference.

AS   40%    A2  20%


Internal Practical Assessment

AS   20%     A2  10%



The full A2 Level qualification is made up of the 3 AS units plus 3 more units studied at a higher level in the Upper Sixth year. Units 4 & 5 depend to some extent on the concepts and experimental skills learnt in the AS course.


Fields and Further Mechanics – Exam 1 hour 45 minutes

The first section advances the study of momentum and introduces circular and oscillatory motion and covers gravitation. Electric and magnetic fields are covered, together with basic electromagnetic induction. Electric fields lead into capacitors and how quickly they charge and discharge through a resistor. Magnetic fields lead into the generation and transmission of alternating current.




Nuclear Physics, Thermal Physics and the choice of one option from two – Exam 1 hour 45 minutes

The first part looks at the characteristics of the nucleus, the properties of unstable nuclei and how energy is obtained from the nucleus. Thermal properties of materials and the properties and nature of gases are then studied in depth. The two options offered to choose from are Astrophysics and Medical Physics.



Internal Practical Assessment



Your next steps...

You could take this course to complement other advanced level courses such as Chemistry and Biology or to prepare for the A2 part of an Advanced GCE in Physics, which could lead onto higher education in a science related subject or more general higher education courses. It is useful for pupils considering a future in medicine or veterinary science, as we teach the Medical Physics option. If entering higher education, pupils will find A Level Physics a useful qualification for entry into any degree course – especially in any scientific or engineering discipline. Physics is as useful to a vet or doctor as to an information scientist or to a genetic engineer. When finally leaving education, a degree in Physics or a related subject is the key to many careers, not just as a scientist. Physicists may be found in merchant banking, accountancy and as lawyers. A numerate and logical graduate is always highly sought after. With further training, you could go into a job related to Physics such as Science Technology or Electronics Engineering. The course will also help you develop the skills, understanding and knowledge that many employers across lots of industries are looking for.