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An award winning sixth-form college in the heart of Central London offering a wide range of GCSE and A-Level courses

The quality of the curriculum, teaching and learners' achievements is excellent

T (+44) 20 7409 7273
Albemarle Independent College, 18 Dunraven Street, Mayfair, London W1K 7FE
Albemarle Independent Private College in Central London


A Level Course Outline

What is Physics?


As you probably know from GCSE, Physics is the science of the physical world. There are few completely new topics at A Level that you won't have come across. Higher Level GCSE calculation topics are revisited in greater depth, e.g. acceleration and kinetic/potential energy, voltage-current-resistance, while others e.g. heat, energy, electromagnetism and astronomy have calculation introduced at A Level, while only descriptive at GCSE. Maths is involved in A-level Physics, and it is highly recommended that Maths is taken in tandem with Physics (you will even repeat the same Mechanics material in both Maths and Physics!). However, you don't need A Level Maths to be successful in Physics, you just need to be comfortable with most of the higher-tier GCSE maths, e.g. formulae (using and re-arranging them), graphs e.g. y=mx+c, Pythagoras, sin, cos and tan percentages and standard form.

In the second year of the AL course, A2 Level, you will study further mechanics, the kinetic theory of gases and astronomy in module 5. In module 6 you will encounter capacitors, electromagnetism, radioactivity, particle and medical physics. A significant portion of the exam material in the A Level exams will be AS content so you will revise all of this in the A2 year as well.

There is no “coursework” or practical examinations to worry about. Instead, you will do experiments on most topics throughout the course and will answer exam questions about the experiments you did. In the second year of A Level there is the “Practical Endorsement” which you will pass based on your practical work during the course. This is the teacher saying they have confidence in your ability to set up and conduct the experiments done over the course and is a similar procedure to that in chemistry and biology.

Students will face questions based on:

What Skills Will Students Develop by Studying Physics?

PHYSICS (OCR) Syllabus A H156
A Level Specification

Paper 1 Modelling physics (mechanics and astrophysics)
Modules 1,2 3 and 5
2hours 15 Minutes
37% of A-level

Paper 2 Exploring physics (electricity , waves particle physics radioactivity medical)
Modules 1,2 4 and 6
2hours 15minutes 37% of A-level

Paper 3 Unified Physics
(synoptic paper)
1 hour 30 minutes 26% of A-level
Available in June
All Modules tested

Practical Endorsement (pass or fail, reported separately)

Module 1 Development of practical skills in physics-i.e. experiments and data analysis.
Module 2 Foundations of physics. S.I. units, and vectors
Module 3 Forces and Motion Forces
Motion, acceleration forces F=ma, moments, momentum pressure Energy work power, stretching solids, Hooke's Law
Module 4 Electrons Waves and Photons Waves (refraction polarisation diffraction and standing waves), electricity (current voltage resistance) Wave particle nature of light, (quantum physics).
Module 5 Thermal physics, heat energy, kinetic theory of gas molecules. Mechanics-circular motion, oscillations. Astrophysics. Gravitational fields including planet orbits, Star life cycle, light spectra from stars the Big Bang theory of the universe.
Module 6 Further electricity capacitors electric fields, motors, generators, transformers. Radioactivity, particle physics. Medical physics-X Rays and ultrasound.

Course structure
Skills learnt in Physics are relevant to many highly paid careers in technology, IT, finance, engineering and medicine if physics is not your first subject. This course will be taught for 6x 1hour lessons per week which involves covering the course content, practical work, and exam practice.

Core Textbook
OCR AS/A Level Physics A Student Book 2
Mike O'Neill
ISBN 13-978-1447990833


Further Reading
Introducing Quantum Theory  J.P McEvoy, Oscar Zarate
Six Easy Pieces  Richard Feynman
Advanced Physics  Steve Adams Jonathan Allday
A Level Physics  Roger Muncaster
Practice in Physics  Tim Akrill George Bennet Chris Millar
A Brief History of Time  Stephen Hawking