Why study A level Physics?

Undoubtedly, physics is one of the most challenging and prestigious subjects to study at A level. It offers the opportunity to learn about how everything around you works: everything in your life, on this planet and to the far reaches of the Universe.

You will already have come across many of the concepts of physics: forces, energy, waves, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism. At A Level you will start to see how these ideas work together, and begin to grasp some of the universal principles that apply to everything from the smallest atoms to the largest galaxies.

This will be achieved via problem solving (on Isaac Physics and otherwise), mathematical techniques and practical work, all of which will play a pivotal role in your understanding of the course.

What careers or further education is this course suitable for?

According to, the top seven degree courses taken by students who have an A level in physics are mathematics, physics, mechanical engineering, computer science, economics and business.

Studying A level physics offers a wide range of amazing career opportunities, including geophysicist/field seismologist, healthcare scientist, higher education lecturer, radiation protection practitioner, radiologist, research scientist (physical sciences), scientific laboratory technician, meteorologist, structural engineer, acoustic engineer, product/process development scientist and systems developer. You can also move into engineering, astrophysics, chemical physics, medical physics, nanotechnology, renewable energy and more.

Key Information Summary:

Course TitlePhysics
Examination BoardAQA
Linear Qualification?Yes
Course Webpage
Entry RequirementsMinimum of two Grades at 6 in GCSE combined science (dual award) or Grade 6 in GCSE physics and Grade 6 in either GCSE chemistry of biology. In addition a Grade 5 in GCSE mathematics and a Grade 5 in English language or English literature
Contact TeachersMr. N Davies:


Course Details: AQA physics is a linear course with terminal examinations at the end of the second A-level year. There is no coursework.

Like all sciences, physics is a practical subject and practicals will be carried out throughout the course. These will give you the skills and confidence needed to investigate the way things behave and work. Practical skills will be assessed in the classroom and given a separate endorsement to the A level grade.

Subject Content:
Following the AQA Physics specification, the following topics will be studied during the A level course. Students will study all of the core content topics and one of the optional topics shown below.

Core Content

  1. Measurements and their errors: use of SI units and their prefixes; limitation of physical measurements; estimation of physical quantities.
  2. Particles and radiation: particles; electromagnetic radiation and quantum phenomena.
  3. Waves: progressive and stationary waves; refraction, diffraction and interference.
  4. Mechanics and Materials: force, energy and momentum; materials
  5. Electricity: current electricity
    6.1 Further mechanics: periodic motion
    6.2 Further mechanics: thermal physics
    7. Fields and their consequences: gravitational fields; electric fields; capacitance; magnetic fields
    8. Nuclear physics: radioactivity


  1. Astrophysics

There are four other available options, that we presently DO NOT choose to study at this school:

  • Medical physics,
  • Engineering physics,
  • Turning points in Physics,
  • Electronics

Assessment details:

A Level – 2 Year Course

Paper 1 (34% of A-level)

Assesses topics 1 to 5 and 6.1

Written exam lasting 2 hours

85 marks

Paper 2 (34% of A-level)
Assesses topics 6.2, 7 and 8

Written exam lasting 2 hours

85 marks

Paper 3 (32% of A-level)
Assesses either topic 9, 10, 11, 12 or 13 and practical and data analysis skills

Written exam lasting 2 hours

80 marks

A-level grades are based only on marks from the three written papers.

Practical skills assessed in the classroom will be given a separate endorsement (pass/fail) to the A-level grade.


Entry Requirements:

We recognise the need for Physics A-level in many university courses and the increasing importance placed upon it, especially with the move to a linear qualification. These university courses often required the highest grades as a means of entry onto these courses.

Science entry requirements

Science GCSE coursePreferred gradesMinimum grades
Combined Science (dual award)Two Grades at 7 plus Grade 7 in mathematicsTwo Grades at 6, plus Grade 5 in mathematics
Separate scienceGrade 7 or higher in GCSE physics and Grade 7 or higher in either GCSE biology or physics plus Grade 7 in mathematicsGrade 6 in GCSE physics and Grade 6 in either GCSE biology or Chemistry plus Grade 5 in mathematics

Other requirements

In addition to these science entry requirements the science team will require a minimum of a Grade 5 in GCSE mathematics and a minimum Grade of a 5 in GCSE English language or English literature.

This does mean that the student who enters the course with either a Grade 6 or a 7 will need to show a dedication, enthusiasm and a work ethic that is essential in order to achieve the high grades that the majority of university courses expect. We will consider these characteristics when reviewing a student’s access to the A-level physics course by reviewing school reports during Year 11.