What is Physics?

Physics is the study of how things work. It can explain the mysteries of gravity, electricity, magnetism and nuclear power. Satellite navigation, broadband communications, aerial drones and electric cars are just a few recent advances which physics has made possible. It has even enabled us to discover thousands of new planets circling around distant stars.

Physics works by developing new ideas, and also by carrying out experiments. Both components are vital. Major experiments include the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, and the drive for nuclear fusion power in France and England. These have arisen from the ideas created by a previous generation of physicists. In the future, these experiments could lead the way to clean energy with no threat of global warming or environmental damage.

How is it studied?

AQA A-Level Physics is taught within the two-year and one year programmes.

The course consists of a body of theoretical knowledge and a weekly programme of practical experiments. Sixteen of these experiments will be assessed formally as part of the A-Level requirements, but all laboratory work will be vital for developing skills such as error handling, manipulation of apparatus, and the processing of data. The practical programme will give students opportunities for working individually and as part of a team, sharing ideas and planning their own strategy.

We make extensive use of online resources, and students are encouraged to use facilities such as Excel, Word and CAD programs to carry out their work.


How is Physics assessed?

Exam board: AQA

Paper Topics Weighting Format
Paper 1 Measurements and their errors

Particles and radiation


Mechanics and materials


Periodic Motion

34% 2 hours Written Exam

[60 marks of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content]

Paper 2 Thermal Physics

Fields and their consequences

Nuclear physics

34% 2 hours Written Exam

[60 marks of short and long answer questions and 25 multiple choice questions on content]


Paper 3 Engineering physics

Practical skills and data analysis

32% 2 hours Written Exam

[45 marks of short and long answer questions on practical experiments and data analysis.]

[35 marks of short and long answer questions on optional topic.]


What do I need to study it?

5 GCSEs grade 5 or above including Maths, English, Physics (or Science)  or equivalent international qualifications.

For international students who have taken IELTS, we require an overall score of 5.5 with a minimum of 5.5 for each of the reading and writing components.

For international students who have taken IGCSE English (Second Language), we require grade 5 or above.


What should I study with Physics?

It will be very useful to study A-Level Mathematics with Physics. These two subjects will complement each other and help in many areas such as algebra, data handling and error calculation. If you are an able mathematician, studying A-Level Further Mathematics and A-Level Mathematics with A-Level Physics is strongly recommended. Depending on your career aspirations, you may also be well advised to study A-Level Biology and/or A-Level Chemistry along with Physics. This is because a large number of scientific careers demand a wide base of skills, which cut across the traditional subject areas. Aspiring architects can combine A-Level Physics with A-Level Mathematics and A-Level Art.

What can I do with A-Level Physics?

A-Level Physics can open doors into many careers: engineering, archaeology, computer science, biomedical imaging, the nuclear power industry, astronomy, surveying, teaching/lecturing, music, sports science, aeronautics, communications, broadcasting, and web design to name just a few. Physics is a subject which demands disciplined and logical thought. If you can develop this kind of skill, you will be looked upon favourably by universities and employers in the future.

Questions about the course

How much laboratory work will I do?

The completion of practical laboratory work is a compulsory requirement of A-Level Physics. Whilst the amount of time spent on laboratory work will vary through the course, approximately two hours per week is undertaken.

Can I take A-Level Physics in one year?

Yes, if you have completed at least AS-Level or equivalent studies outside of or inside the UK and can clearly demonstrate high ability in physics and academic English.