Why study A level Physics?

Undoubtedly, physics is one of the most challenging but prestigious subjects you can study at A level. It offers you 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 have already come across many of the concepts of physics at GCSE: forces, energy, waves, radioactivity, electricity and magnetism. At A Level you will start to see how these ideas work together, and begin to grasp the universal principles that apply to everything from the smallest atoms to the largest galaxies. This will be achieved via problem solving, mathematical techniques and practical work, all of which will play a pivotal role in your understanding of the course.

What are the careers or further education that this course be 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 an infinite number of amazing career opportunities, including geophysicist/field seismologist, healthcare scientist, higher education lecturer, radiation protection practitioner, 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: the opportunities are endless.

Key Information Summary:

Course TitlePhysics
Examination BoardAQA
Linear Qualification?Yes
Course Webpage
Entry RequirementsYou should have at least 2 x Grade 6 in the new GCSE Dual Award (Trilogy) or Grade 6 in GCSE physics and a Grade 5 in GCSE English Language or English Literature and mathematics
Contact TeachersMiss C George:

Course Details:

AQA physics is a linear course with terminal examinations at the end of the A-level year.

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. Further mechanics and thermal physics: periodic motion; thermal physics
  7. Fields and their consequences: fields; gravitational fields; electric fields; capacitance; magnetic fields
  8. Nuclear physics: radioactivity


  1. Astrophysics
  2. Medical physics
  3. Engineering physics
  4. Turning points in physics
  5. 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 marksPaper 2 (34% of A-level)
Assesses topics 6.2, 7 and 8
Written exam lasting 2 hours
85 marksPaper 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 to the A-level grade.


Entry Requirements:

We recognize 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.  In response to this the science curriculum team requires preferred grades of two grade 7’s (the equivalent to an old A grade in Core and Additional Science) in the new dual award science course know as Trilogy.  We do, however, allow entry to the physics GCE course with two grade 6’s (the equivalent to an old B grade) in the new dual award science course.

A student who enters from the separate science route will require a preferred grade of a 7 in GCSE physics and a preferred grade of a 7 in another separate science GCSE. We do, however, allow entry to the physics GCE course with two grade 6’s in the new dual award science course and a grade 6 grade in another GCSE separate science.  In addition to these science entry requirements the science team will require a minimum of a grade 6 in mathematics.

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 GCE physics course by reviewing school reports during Year 11.