What is the subject about? Physics is the study of nature; it aims to understand particles, energy, forces and fields on both the smallest and largest scales, from the interaction of the smallest particles yet discovered to the way the Universe has evolved since the beginning of time. In the final topic of the 2nd year, you will choose an optional module linked to your own personal interest.
For A level Year 1 you will study: In the first year we begin by studying how Physicists make measurements of the natural world, and consider the uncertainties and errors associated with these measurements. We will look at the fundamental particles and forces that our Universe is made up from, and how those particles interact. We will go on to look at wave behaviour, materials and how objects move, as well as increasing our understanding of electricity from GCSE level.
For A level Year 2 you will study: A level Year 2 we will continue to look at motion in more detail. We will study thermodynamics and gas laws, as well as the molecular kinetic theory model. We will also cover uniform and non-uniform fields, both electric and gravitational and see how these fields dominate the landscape of the Universe on both the small and large scale. We will then consider electromagnetic machines and electrical components in order to begin to understand the technologies that are ubiquitous in the modern world.
How is the course assessed? Year 1 – internal examination at the end of Year 1 A level – 100% examination at the end of Year 2 plus a Practical Endorsement assessed over the 2 years.
What skills will I need and develop in this course? The most important skill for a Physicist is to be able to think logically and solve problems that are posed in new and unfamiliar circumstances, and the A level Physics course will develop your ability to do this. You will need to have a reasonable degree of mathematical skill, and practical investigation skills are very important.