Study option                                   Exam board                         Specification code

A Level two-year course                               AQA                                                       7408

Why choose physics?

Physics is an all-encompassing subject raising the “how?” and “why?” questions about the physical world in which we live. It ranges from the particles that are smaller than the atomic nucleus to the whole universe. Physics is an evolving subject, as new truths are revealed and old ideas are shaken up. The new A Level specification reflects this diversity and includes many up-to-date topics. It is an ideal choice whatever your abilities and interests. Physics has always been regarded as a natural associate of mathematics but it can also complement a wide range of other subject combinations.

Where can it lead?

Physics opens the doors to many careers including the obvious areas of medicine, engineering, astronomy and oil exploration but also leisure, business, broadcasting and teaching.

What and how will I study?

There is a good mix of practical and theoretical work involved with the topics covered as follows:

 The first year of A Level:

  • Measurements and their errors
  • Particles and radiation
  • Waves
  • Mechanics and energy
  • Electricity

The second year of A Level:

  • Further mechanics and thermal physics
  • Fields
  • Nuclear physics

You can also choose one option from:

  • Astrophysics
  • Medical physics
  • Engineering physics
  • Turning points in physics
  • Electronics

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is by three 2-hour papers for A Level. The kind of questions and weighting of marks varies from paper to paper; they include short- and long-answer questions, extended response, essay, comprehension and structured questions, including practical techniques.

Are there any specific entry requirements?

It is preferable that you have achieved at least B in GCSE science and C in mathematics in order to study this subject at A Level.