PhysicsThe most important requirement in the study of Physics is a passion for the understanding of how the world works and a drive to master the key concepts governing the physical world. Whilst examination results are obviously important, it is this understanding that illuminates our world and helps explain why the sun turns red in the evening, how we can speak across continents and why some bridges resonate and fall down.

Year 9

What will I learn?

The Sciences are taught in the AC Maths & Science Centre, with its outstanding teaching environment. In Physics, the Year 9 pupils study how heat is transferred, the science behind energy saving appliances, how we can move energy from one store to another, the electromagnetic spectrum and other waves, along with forces and motion.

GCSE Years 10 and 11

What will I learn? 

Physics analyses the fundamental laws governing our Universe and aims to explain concepts such as time, space and light. This knowledge is then widely applied in the design of everyday devices such as mobile phones, computers and aeroplanes, to name but a few! The course over the two years includes many familiar subjects such as electricity, states of matter, nuclear radioactivity, cosmology and magnetism. These are studied both in theory and against real life examples in the world about us.

How is the course structured and assessed?

We offer two IGCSE Edexcel Science routes, either Triple or Double Award Science. Pupils in our higher Science sets are prepared for Triple Award Science and pupils in the other two sets are prepared for Double Award Science.

Both these routes enable pupils to progress onto A level Science subjects, provided they obtain high grades in their IGCSE Science exams at the end of Year 11. There is a Year 10 Setting Exam towards the end of the Michaelmas Term and then from January of Year 10, pupils will know which route they are following and hence, from this point on, it is not possible to transfer from Double to Triple Award.

Experimental work is an integral part of the study of the Sciences. It is built into the teaching of each subject throughout the course.

The key aims of these Science courses include:

  • Acquire scientific knowledge and understanding.
  • Be able to apply one’s scientific knowledge and understanding.
  • Sustain and develop an enjoyment and interest in the scientific world.
  • Appreciate the practical nature of science, acquiring experimental skills based on correct and safe laboratory techniques.
  • Appreciate the importance of accurate experimental work and reporting of scientific methods.
  • Develop a logical approach to problem-solving in a wider context.
  • Evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of real-life applications of science.
  • Prepare pupils for a more advanced course in the three Sciences.

These IGCSE Science qualifications are all linear courses. All pupils sit the same set of 2-hour exams in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (Papers 1B, 1C and 1P). The Triple Award candidates sit a further set of 1 hour 15 minutes exams in Biology, Chemistry and Physics (Papers 2B, 2C and 2P).

There is no Controlled Assessment.

A Level Years 12 and 13

Physics is fundamental in explaining how the world around us works, from the structure of the proton to the movement of the galaxies. Its applications are of daily relevance to us all and the A-level leads on to many cutting edge careers, including Engineering and Computing.

What do I need before starting this course? 

The most important requirement is a passion for understanding how the world works. On a more pragmatic level, students should have at least a grade 7 in Dual Award Science or Physics GCSE if taking the separate sciences. In addition, students need a grade 7 or above in Mathematics GCSE.

What will I learn? 

A key emphasis at A Level is to base learning on personal investigations of the physical world using practical work as much as possible. Increasingly, Information Technology is playing a crucial role in revolutionising Physics research. Hence, ICT is used extensively in the course, from data-logging to simulations through to analytical packages. Finally, it is also of paramount importance that you get the chance to experience cutting edge research and to meet leading scientists. Therefore, the Department runs regular trips to institutions such as CERN in Geneva, the largest particle accelerator in the world, and JET in Oxfordshire, currently the largest nuclear fusion reactor in Europe and the Airbus factory in Bristol.

How is the course structured? 

In Year 12, there are topics such as forces and projectiles, electricity and the wave/ particle model of light which introduces quantum physics to the student. The second-year then examines the ideas behind astrophysics, particle physics, fields and medical physics. Students taking the full A Level sit three papers (two of 135 minutes and one of 90 minutes).

Where next?