A-level Physics is taught in two well-equipped laboratories, by two specialist teachers and involves a mixture of theoretical and practical work. A mathematical background is desirable, although the study of A-level Maths is not a requirement.
The subject covers many of the subjects taught at GCSE but at a much higher level. Vectors, Mechanics and Nuclear Fusion are just some of the topics covered. The entry requirement for the subject is a grade A at GCSE.
This subject is very valuable to those students wishing to continue study in physics or engineering. Chemical, Environmental and Civil are just some degrees pursued by the A level students.
The department follows the OCR ‘A’ syllabus and this can be found on the OCR web-site.
The course is delivered in 5 hours of teaching per week. Four units are taught in Year 12 and the remaining two units in Year 13. Practical work is assessed internally, with students completing six formal practical tasks each year.
At the end of Year 12, students sit the AS exams. These consist of two written papers with a combined three hours of assessment. At the end of Y13, students sit the A-level exams. These exams consist of three written papers with a combined six hours of assessment. The final A-level grade is based solely on the Y13 exams and will also include a pass or fail assessment of practical work.
During the course students are expected to maintain a ring binder folder containing all their class notes, worksheets, practical experiments, tests and any other information gleaned from their wider reading around the subject. Folders are taken in by staff and advice is given on how to improve organisational skills. Students are also strongly encouraged to participate fully in lessons and to seek help from their teachers as soon as difficulties arise. To do well on this course students are expected to spend at least 4-5 hours per week on the study of this subject outside of lesson time.