Physics

Does the universe fascinate you?

Are you always questioning the way things work?

 

What will I study?

Physics is one of the purest searches for knowledge that there is. Physics is the study of the way the world works, striving to understand the Universe via both experiment and mathematics. A level physics gives you the basic skills required to go on and study engineering, architecture and many other subjects, including of course physics. Physics also gives you the transferable skills of being highly numerate and literate, with good communication skills.

In A level Physics you take the key skills you studied at GCSE and extend and strengthen them, putting them in a more exacting mathematical and experimental context. Although the basic topics are generally familiar, the structure and rigour and the emphasis on experiment and problem solving are less so. Forces, energy, waves, electricity and motion make up the core topics of Year 12, along with the newly studied concepts of quantum physics. Year 13 is made up of the study of fields, thermal physics, capacitors and medical physics. The basics of cosmology are also covered. Experimental skills are assessed in the A level exams, but also in a separate Practical Endorsement, which is gained by students by the demonstration of a range of physics practical skills viewed via the standard class practicals done as part of the two year course.

 

Exam Board

OCR Physics A Syllabus

 

How should I prepare for A-level study?

To prepare for A level Physics first you need to make sure you are fully conversant with the topics studied at GCSE, especially those from Year 11. Several good books, including one from CGP, exist to help bridge the gap between GCSE and A level. You need to know ideas about speed, velocity and basic electricity as well as have good graph and data handling skills. Mathematics is also a key skill and students need to come equipped with the GCSE skills of algebra (re-arranging simple formulae), trigonometry, standard index form and the use of significant figures. Several books detailing the mathematical skills required for scientists exist and practising these skills would benefit anyone starting the course.

 

Future Careers

Physics is a perfect course for scientists, mathematicians and engineers and also those who want to follow any numerate career, such as those wishing to work in the banking or financial sector. It is highly regarded by all Universities and is known as a facilitating subject. To be successful, you have to work hard, both in and out of lessons. For this reason, good grades in A level Physics are a valuable addition to any CV. Some people are concerned that A level Physics is a ‘hard’ A level. Its level of challenge is more than compensated by its level of reward. If you are an ambitious scientist interested in understanding the world around you in a methodical and rewarding way, physics is for you.

 

“Life need not be easy, provided only that it is not empty.”

― Lise Meitner ( Nuclear physicist who explained Nuclear Fission and discovered Protactinium)