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Physics A-level  


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Course Leader: Mrs Sarah Horne 


What is it all about? 

To study Physics is to seek a better understanding of our universe. Physics is a science that is central to many other scientific disciplines and to all types of engineering. Physics deals with how and why things behave in the way they do. It helps to explain everything in our everyday world and beyond. Physics lies at the heart of all science, engineering, and features in much of our everyday lives. 

This course gives students a seamless transition from GCSE to University courses in Physics and Physics related disciplines. It maintains students' enthusiasm for Physics and develops their interest in the subject. 


We believe that Physics is fundamentally an experimental subject. As such, the Physics taught at West Somerset College will provide numerous opportunities to use practical investigations and experiences to link theory to reality and equip students with the essential practical skills they need. 


An A Level in Physics makes you highly employable. The range of skills covered means many job opportunities exist. There are many examples of jobs that people with A Level physics do, such as: careers in medicine and healthcare, veterinary medicine, product design, architecture, the computer industry including computer game design, meteorology, environmental conservation, and engineering. This is not an exhaustive list. Physics related careers are generally well paid and can take you all over the world. 


What are the entry requirements?  

Grades 9-4 in higher tier GCSE Combined Science courses or in GCSE physics course AND grade 6 or above in GCSE mathematics. 

A-Level Physics is a very demanding course and students should ensure they are prepared to work consistently to the best of their ability in order to meet these demands. This will include significant independent work. 



How will I be assessed? 

The A Level Physics course is assessed by sitting externally examined written papers. All examinations assessed in the summer of year 13 (3 exam papers in total). Practical work will be continually developed throughout the course and students will carry out 12 core investigations over the course of the A level, with the aim being to develop and demonstrate a deeper appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of How Science Works. These practical skills are assessed in written papers.  


40% of the overall assessment of A Level Physics will contain mathematical skills equivalent to Level 2 or above. At least 15% of the overall assessment of A Level Physics will assess knowledge, skills and understanding in relation to practical work. 


What will I learn on this course?  

In the first year you will study particles, quantum phenomena, materials and waves, mechanics, and electricity.  Year 2 follows a similar structure where you will study the three key areas of Thermal Physics, Further Mechanics, Fields, and Nuclear Physics. A final topic on Astrophysics completes the course. Throughout the course, you will learn new practical skills and there will be numerous opportunities to use practical experiences to link theory to reality. 


Is there anything else I need to know? 

You will be provided with laboratory coats and given the opportunity to purchase recommended books or revision guides.  We benefit from excellent technician support and the Physics department is well resourced with modern apparatus and hardware.  


We pride ourselves on a strong, open, and honest working relationship between teachers and students.  Our students are kept informed of their progress via short topic tests and verbal feedback.  We give students ample opportunity to practice their examination technique but also encourage interactive ways of learning and assessment.  


For More information on AQA Physics go to AQA website 


Who can I contact for further information?