IGCSE Physics

The course

Physics is the study of why and how things work. In physics, the structure and motion of the material world is analysed in terms of fundamental laws, which allow its behaviour to be predicted. In this course students will be exploring many areas of physics, from mechanics to telecommunications, and there will be many opportunities to do practical work. Students are encouraged to ask questions and participate in class discussion in order to extend their understanding of the subject. The IGCSE builds a strong foundation for A level study. 

The IGCSE course has seven sections. In Section 1 (Forces and motion), you will look at the basic concepts of movement, position, forces, movement, shape and momentum. You will also consider them in the context of astronomy. Section 2 (Electricity) looks at mains electricity, energy and potential difference in circuits, and electric charge. In Section 3 (Waves), you will look at the properties of waves, the electromagnetic spectrum, and light and sound. 

In Section 4 (Energy resources and energy transfer), you will look at the concepts of energy transfer, work and power, and energy resources and electricity generation. Section 5 (Solids, liquids and gases) looks at the concepts of density and pressure, changes of state, and ideal gas molecules. Iin Section 6 (Magnetism and electromagnetism), you will look at magnetism, electromagnetism, and electromagnetic induction. Finally, in Section 7 (Radioactivity and particles), you will look at the basic ideas behind radioactivity.

What skills do I need?

An ideal physicist would need to be very inquisitive about the world and how it works, as well as having an enthusiasm for mathematics and the ability to understand and use precise technical terms. An interest in performing practical work will help you throughout the course, as would being able to understand and produce simplified diagrams of complex ideas.

How is the course assessed?

There are two externally-assessed papers. Each paper covers all topics in the syllabus. Approximately 50% of each paper tests students’ knowledge and understanding eg recalling concepts; 30% of questions test students’ application of knowledge and understanding, analysis and evaluation eg explaining results in unfamiliar contexts. There is no coursework or practical exam, but 20% of both papers test investigative skills, which are learnt by performing experiments throughout the course. Paper 1 (Unit 1) lasts 2 hours and is worth 66% of the total marks. Paper 2 (Unit 2) lasts 1 hour and is worth 33% of the total marks.


Edexcel IGCSE Physics Student Book
By P. Johnson et al
Published by Edexcel, ISBN 978-0435966904

Exam Board and Specification Code

Pearson-Edexcel 4PH0

Rob Stanley
Head of Department