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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


AS 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. AS level physics is simply GCSE work on mechanics, electricity and waves in more detail. Most Higher Level calculation topics are simply repeated, 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 but you do not need to do A-level Maths. You just need to be good at 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.

AS-level Physics involves mechanics; motion, forces, momentum, kinetic/potential energy, and stretching solids, Hooke's Law. We study electricity, both circuits and how current is explained by electrons, then waves (e.g. light and sound waves). Other topics include refraction, diffraction, interference and sound waves in musical instruments. We study the wave and particle photon nature of light called quantum physics.

In the second year of the course, not AS, you will study further mechanics topics e.g. circular motion and oscillations, heat energy, the kinetic molecule theory of gases, astronomy-planet orbits, star life cycles, the Big Bang theory of the Universe, electromagnetism (motors, generators, transformers), radioactivity, particle physics and medical physics(e.g. how X Ray machines work). There is no “coursework” or practical examinations to worry about. You will do experiments throughout the course and answer exam questions about these in the exams . There will be two exam papers to do in May/June. There will be multiple choice and structured questions with a mix of calculations and descriptive work. You may need to write a paragraph to explain something but no essays. The whole AS syllabus, modules 1-4 will be examined in both papers. You get a formula sheet in the exams.

Students will face questions based on:

What Skills Will Students Develop by Studying Physics?

PHYSICS (OCR) Syllabus A H156 AS Specification

Paper 1
Breadth in physics

1 Hour 30 Minutes
50% of AS-level Available in May/June

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

Paper 2
Depth in physics

1 Hour 30 Minutes
50% of AS-level
Available in May/June

Module 4 Electrons Waves and Photons Waves (refraction polarisation diffraction and standing waves), electricity (current voltage resistance) Wave particle nature of light, (quantum physics)

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 5x 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 1 Mike O'Neill - ISBN 13-9781447990826 Pearson

Introductory Reading
CGP Revision Guide New 2015 A-Level Physics: OCR A Year 1 & AS Complete Revision & Practice with Online Edition ISBN-13: 9781782942955
Physics for You Keith Johnson ISBN 13 9781408509227

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