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Physics is at the heart of everything and is a highly rewarding discipline to study at school, university and beyond. Physics explores questions like how did the universe begin? How will it end? What is a black hole? Is time travel possible? If you have an enquiring mind, and enjoy asking why things happen, then Physics will help you find the answers. It forms the basis of most modern technologies and holds the future to global well being.
Both the AS and A2 content is split into two equally weighted units, with a coursework element that feeds into them, making a total of six units over the two years.
Unit 1 - Particles, quantum phenomena and electricity (1 hour 15 minute written exam)
This unit looks at exciting new ideas in physics such as quarks, antimatter and quantum mechanics as well as more established topics such as electricity.
Unit 2 - Mechanics, materials and waves (1 hour 15 minute written exam)
This unit is about the principles and applications of mechanics, materials and waves, developing the more established topics introduced at GCSE Science which will be familiar to students.
Unit 3 - Investigative and practical skills in AS Physics
This unit assess practical skills and takes place throughout the course.
There are two parts to the assessment: a Practical Skills assessment, and an Investigative Skills Assignment.
Unit 4 - Fields and further mechanics (1 hour 45 minute written exam)
In this unit, students will study momentum, and other topics include circular motion, gravitational fields, electric fields, capacitors, magnetic fields and electromagnetic induction
Unit 5 - Nuclear and Thermal Physics + Astrophysics (1 hour 45 minute written exam)
This unit builds on key ideas about particles and energy from AS physics and covers probing the nucleus, radioactivity, nuclear instability and nuclear energy as well as the thermal properties of materials. The Astrophysics option gives an insight into the origins of the Universe, telescopes and the behaviour of objects at great distances from Earth.
Unit 6 - Investigative and practical skills in A2 Physics
As in Unit 3 this unit will assess your practical skills throughout the course.
Over half of all physicists work in Research and Development, Engineering, and Information Technology. Some physicists work on problems at the frontiers of knowledge; others tackle the challenging problems which arise in the application of physics to industrial and engineering problems. If you want to be well paid, a physics degree can help you get a job in finance, telecommunications or the electrical industry. Physicists also work in medicine, astronomy, meteorology and teaching.
GCSE GRADE PROFILE
Students studying Physics at this level should normally have A* to C in a range of subjects at GCSE level. In order to cope with the scientific knowledge required at A Level, students should have at least grade B in Core and Additional Science.