Physics A Level
Physics is the attempt to explain how everything in the universe works: from particles smaller than an atom to the evolution of the universe itself by using simple terms and applying mathematics. If you are interested in the limits of space, the beginning of time and everything in between this is the subject for you. Physics is more than a subject – it trains your brain to think beyond boundaries.
Why should you study Physics? If you are concerned about what you can do with Physics, then you can stop worrying now. Best case scenario you will get to solve the mysteries of the universe and change our understanding of the world around us. Maybe you will do something more applied, such as a form of Engineering, Optometry or Radiography; or maybe you will work in management consulting or investment banking and become incredibly rich.
Physics is the natural partner of Maths at A-level, with the two subjects supporting and consolidating similar topics. At Bournville we are also fortunate to offer Computer Science an A-level which is an excellent addition to a Physicist.
The course is divided into a variety of topics, each containing different key physics concepts. Once you have learnt the key features of a particular topic, you move on to consider the applications in real situations.
As a physicist, you will be developing into a confident mathematician as 40% percent of your marks will be from maths. You will be able to use maths in context which will support your understanding of both subjects.
Ethan (our Physics Teacher) has a PhD in particle physics and has worked at both the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in CERN and the HERA collider in Hamburg. He was the Head of Physics at the University of Birmingham School and maintains strong links with the Physics department’s outreach team, providing Masterclasses, Cosmic Ray days and every year we host a physicist from the university in lessons (between Christmas and Easter).
Practical work is an integrated part of the course (supported by modern lab facilities and new data-logging equipment) and is used regularly. More assessed practicals are carried out than the minimum 12 and this further develops students’ ability to perform on their practical skills exams.
We have access to e-journals, e-books and books. The college also holds activities for British Science Week such as “Meet the Scientist” event. We also hold A level revision workshops and conferences as part of developing study skills.
The College has online learning facilities such as Moodle, access to e-books and Kerboodle, and the learning zone has a wide selection of books. We hold A Level revision workshops and conferences as part of developing study skills. In Physics, you will work with Cambridge University’s Isaac Physics online. We have also recently purchased £1,000 of data-logging kit for you to use in assessed practicals. In addition, the College holds activities for British Science Week such as the“Meet the Scientist” event.
You will also be expected to complete a work placement as part of your programme of study; study skills and employability skills will be developed with the help of your personal tutor.
A Level pathways are designed to prepare you for higher education and beyond. As part of the A level programme you will be encouraged to complete a week of work experience. The science department has links with Aston, Birmingham (UoB) and Coventry University. We support students in applying for Masterclasses at universities, placements and programmes to assist applications to University. Previous science students have completed programmes such as the Nuffield Science placement and the University of Birmingham Routes to Progressions scheme and others at the end of the first year. Select students have been entered into the Physics Olympiad, a national competition. In addition to quiet study areas, we offer A level students exclusive quiet study room.
What areas will I study?
The AQA syllabus will be followed:
Year 1: Electricity, Mechanics, Materials, Waves, Quantum Mechanics and Particle Physics.
Year 2: Thermal Physics, Fields (Gravitational, Electrical and Magnetic) and Nuclear Physics. You will also do an option chosen from: Astrophysics, Engineering Physics, Medical Physics or Turning Points in Physics.
Unique to Bournville (and the UoB School) the second year option is decided by the students, so all options are offered.
The college has online learning facilities such as Moodle, access to e-books and Kerboodle. The learning zone has a wide selection of books too. In Physics you will also work with Cambridge University’s Isaac Physics online. We have also recently purchased £1,000 of data-logging kit for you to use in assessed practicals.
Practical Endorsement: To achieve a pass in this component of the course, you must demonstrate competence in all the expected practical skills. There is a requirement of a minimum of 12 assessed practicals that must be completed over a two year period, however at Bournville this will be extended to better develop your practical skills. Assessment will be three papers at the end of the two years. Paper 1 is first year content, simple harmonic motion and circular motion, Paper 2 is second year content. The final paper will assess your understanding of practical skills and your short option unit.
40% of marks will require solving A-level standard mathematical problems
Practical Endorsement: To achieve a pass in this component of the course, students must demonstrate that they are competent in all the expected practical skills. There is a requirement of a minimum of 12 assessed practicals that must be completed over a two year period; however at Bournville we do more practicals than the 12 minimum required, including previous ISAs as well as simple learning-related practicals, which also further support your practical exam paper.