Exam Board: AQA
Specification Number: 7408
Module 1: Measurements and their errors
Module 2: Particles and radiation
Module 3: Waves
Module 4: Mechanics and materials
Module 5: Electricity
Module 6: Further mechanics and thermal physics
Module 7: Fields and their consequences
Module 8: Nuclear physics
Module 9: Optional topic: Astrophysics
A greater emphasis has been placed on practical skills and in particular competency in carrying out scientific experiments. The Physics department is required to ensure that these skills are developed and AQA have provided 12 core practical activities that students carry out. The techniques included in these form part of the examinations that students take at the end of Year 13. In addition to a grade, students are also awarded a Practical Endorsement. This is either a Pass or Fail and indicates how competently students can carry out experimental work.
The aim is to enable students to gain enjoyment and satisfaction from their study of Physics.
A variety of teaching methods are used including research, discussions, formal notes, worked examples, practice questions and use of online resources. Experimental work is an important part of the course, providing back-up to theoretical ideas and developing necessary scientific skills. There is always the opportunity to seek help at the weekly Physics club.
At the end of the two year course students will sit three exams which constitute the A Level assessment:
Paper 1 – primarily assessing Year 12 subject material (34% of the overall grade).
Paper 2 – primarily assessing new Year 13 material but with assumed knowledge of all the Year 12 material (34% of the overall grade).
Each of these papers will consist of long and short answer questions as well as some multiple choice questions.
Paper 3 – This final exam makes up the remaining 32% of the overall grade. It is made up of two sections, 18% based on practical experiments and data analysis and 14% based on the optional topic.
Why Physics at St Albans Girls’ School?
The course is taught by specialist teachers. The department is well resourced. Great support is given to all A Level students through the weekly physics club.
Expectations of students:
Students are expected to read around the subject, supporting the skills and knowledge being delivered in lessons. They must be prepared to work independently and meet deadlines. Questions are set regularly for preparation, and practical reports must be kept up to date. Students do not have to study A Level Mathematics to do well in A Level Physics as appropriate mathematics concepts are taught within the course.
What websites are recommended?
What equipment is needed?
A scientific calculator, ruler, pen and pencil are essential at all times.
Physics is a fascinating subject to study at this level. It is also very highly regarded by universities and employers who recognise that studying Physics develops practical, analytical and logical problem solving skills as well as increasing students’ awareness of how the world works. An A Level in Physics is essential, highly desirable or very useful for many different careers/professions. Amongst these are Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Science, Dentistry, Architecture, Management, Research, Geophysics and Geology.