Examination Board: OCR specification A

What topics are studied?

After an introductory module which sets up the mathematical and practical skills needed, we study:

Forces & Motion, Electricity, Light and Waves in the first year, forming the AS qualification;

Fields, Particles, Astrophysics and Medical Physics in the second year, completing the A level.

Practical work is continually assessed, and forms part of the full A level qualification.  There is no practical examination.

Will I cope?

A lot of the work is based on familiar GCSE material, but goes beyond GCSE level to give you a more complete understanding.  Some new topics are covered such as Quantum Physics, giving a glimpse of the limits of what is possible to know about the Universe.  The second year stretches you further, ranging from the unimaginably small world of subatomic particles to the very edges of space and time.

There is plenty of practical work throughout the course.  Theoretical Physics must always be tested by experiment, and we teach you to design, carry out and evaluate experiments that reveal more about the way the world works.  We believe that this practical emphasis makes studying Physics here an interesting and enjoyable experience.  Our laboratories are modern and very well-equipped.

What about the maths?

A level Mathematics is not necessary to study A level Physics.  Certainly Physics is a mathematical subject and we need to do calculations.  However, the vast majority of the mathematics needed is GCSE level, so as long as you achieved a good grade at GCSE Mathematics, it won’t be a problem.  In the second year you need a bit extra, but we teach that as part of the course.  Both of our fully qualified Physics teachers have also taught Mathematics previously.

Why should I study Physics?

Physics is a fascinating subject and gives you a better understanding of the laws which govern our Universe.  It is Science’s last word in the quest to know ‘Why?’, and takes us to the edge of knowledge, and the border with Philosophy.  Many Arts and Humanities students take Physics to broaden their studies for this reason.  Students of the other Sciences and Mathematics find that Physics complements their subject areas as well.

Physics develops a logical and analytical way of thinking which is valued by many professions such as Economics, Law, Medicine, Management and Engineering.  You will develop a clear, precise and considered communication style which will find wide application.