A Level Physics

 

What is it about at sixth form level?

Physics is crucial to understanding the world around us, the world inside us, and the world beyond us. It is the most basic and fundamental science. Physics challenges our imaginations with concepts like relativity and string theory, and it leads to great discoveries, like computers and lasers, that lead to technologies which change our lives—from healing joints, to curing cancer, to developing sustainable energy solutions.

A level Physics teaching uses a flexible approach where the specification is divided into topics, each covering different key concepts of Physics. As you progress through the course, you’ll build on knowledge of the laws of Physics, applying your understanding to many areas.

Science began with Physics: Physics encompasses the study of the universe from the largest galaxies to the smallest subatomic particles. Moreover, it’s the basis of many other sciences, including Chemistry, oceanography, seismology, and astronomy.

Lower sixth

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Physics: Practical skills assessed in a written examination; Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement. Module 2 – Foundations of Physics: Physical quantities and units; Making measurements and analysing data; Nature of quantities. Module 3 – Forces and motion: Motion; Forces in action; Work, energy and power; Materials; Momentum. Module 4 – Electrons, waves and photons: Charge and current; Energy, power and resistance; Electrical circuits; Waves; Quantum Physics.

Upper sixth

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Physics: Practical skills assessed in a written examination; Practical skills assessed in the practical endorsement. Module 2 – Foundations of Physics: Physical quantities and units; Making measurements and analysing data; Nature of quantities. Module 5 – Newtonian world and astrophysics: Thermal Physics; Circular motion; Oscillations; Gravitational fields; Astrophysics and cosmology. Module 6 – Particles and medical Physics: Capacitors; Electric fields; Electromagnetism; Nuclear and particle Physics; Medical imaging.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Physics A level students will develop essential knowledge and understanding of different areas of the subject and how they relate to each other; develop and demonstrate a deep appreciation of the skills, knowledge and understanding of scientific methods; develop competence and confidence in a variety of practical, mathematical and problem solving skills; develop their interest in and enthusiasm for the subject, including developing an interest in further study and careers associated with the subject; as well as understanding how society makes decisions about scientific issues and how the sciences contribute to the success of the economy and society.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

You will need to have obtained 5 GCSEs at A*-C including a C grade at English. You will need to have gained a grade B or above in Physics GCSE, a Double Science GCSE or their equivalent. Students should also have gained a B or better at GCSE Maths.

How is the course assessed?

Lower sixth

Breadth in Physics (Component 01) is split into two sections of compulsory questions and assesses content from all teaching modules, 1 to 4. It includes multiple choice, short answer (structured questions, problem solving, calculations, practical) and extended response questions. Depth in Physics (Component 02) assesses content from across all teaching modules, 1 to 4 with compulsory questions. Question styles include short answer (structured questions, problem solving, calculations, practical) and extended response questions, including those marked using Level of Response mark schemes. AS Component 01 and AS Component 02 will be sat at the end of the AS year, with each paper contributing 50% towards the stand-alone AS qualification, but will not contribute towards the overall A level.

Upper sixth

Modelling Physics (Component 01) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 3 and 5. Exploring Physics (Component 02) assesses content from teaching modules 1, 2, 4 and 6. Both include multiple choice, short answer (structured questions, problem solving, calculations, practical) and extended response questions. Unified Physics (Component 03) assesses content from across all teaching modules 1 to 6 with compulsory questions. Question styles include short answer and extended response questions. Practical endorsement in Physics (Component 04) is a separately reported non-exam assessment component which rewards practical skills. Students may work in groups but must be able to demonstrate and let teachers record independent evidence of their competency. The activities will take place throughout the Lower sixth and Upper sixth.

Reading

A Level Physics A for OCR Student Book
By G. Bone, N Saunders
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835218-1 

A Level Physics A for OCR Year 1 and AS Student Book
By G. Bone, G. Chadha, N. Saunders
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835217-4

A Level Physics A for OCR Year 2 Student Book
By G. Bone, N Saunders
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0-19-835766-7

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: OCR-A H156, A level: OCR-A H556

Anastasia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”

Julia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AABB

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”

Andrew

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”

Cynthia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*A

Progressed to
University College London (Economics)

“My subject teachers and Personal Tutor have been very patient and helpful in supporting my studies and university application.”

Akmaral

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”