Physics is studied as a part of a full time A Level Study Programme.
From the birth and death of stars to the fleeting interactions of tiny particles, Physics studies how our world works. To do this it uses ideas ranging from Force and Energy, easily understood and every day, to Strangeness and Charm, rather more abstract and fanciful! It is a fascinating subject, driven by the desire to find out how and why matter behaves the way it does.
Physics is not only interesting, it is also highly marketable. With an A Level in Physics you have proved that you possess a wide range of key skills, exactly what employers and universities are looking for today. Indeed there can be few subjects at A Level that cover such a wide range of transferable skills – from the use of IT in data-logging experiments; to the numerical skills that are the bedrock of the subject, essential in problem-solving and in practical work; to skill in written expression needed to produce clear, concise explanations.
What is Physics all about?
Physics is a highly regarded subject as employers know that to get a good grade in physics you have to be bright! A physicist looks to understand how things work: the reasons that things happen the way they do, which requires the ability to analyse problems. This is a highly marketable skill which is applicable to a wide range of careers.
Industries employing physicists include aerospace, defence, education, energy, engineering, manufacturing, oil and gas, science, communication, space exploration and telecommunications. But many of our physics students choose non-physics careers. Our students who do well at Physics have no difficulty in fostering careers in fields such as IT, environmental industry, financial services, the legal sector, transport and utilities.
The Year 12 Physics programme builds on the knowledge and skills gained from GCSE and extend it in preparation for further studies at university. In Year 12 we look at the laws of the universe that govern the really small to the really big.
The Year 13 modules cover key areas of physics including electric, magnetic and gravitational fields nuclear physics and thermodynamics. The options topic we will be a choice from Turning Points in Physics, Astrophysics or Medical Physics.
Who does the subject suit?
Physics suits someone who is fascinated by how things work, by fundamental questions about the way the world is and by the exactness of science which alone can try to uncover truths about the world. Studying the subject you will feel that what you learn builds upon what you did at GCSE but in a more mathematical way. You must practice the use of maths in the subject so that it becomes natural to you so you can begin to concentrate on the ideas themselves as they become more complex.
Physics is most often studied alongside Maths, Economics, Biology, Computing or Chemistry, but – as an AS or a full A Level – it can give an analytical edge to any portfolio of subjects. It suits someone who enjoys problem-solving, is interested in explaining how the material world works and would like a practical subject.
We find that a grade A or above in Maths at GCSE is a good starting point to do well in Physics but it is not necessary to continue Maths at A Level. To get an idea of the increased level of Maths in the A Level compared to GCSE, look through one of the standard A Level Physics texts such as that written by Tom Duncan or Roger Muncaster and say to yourself 'I shall soon understand all of this!
If you pursue the subject at university you will find that Physics graduates are in great demand, as pilots, engineers, accountants, management/computer analysts, in the City – anywhere that profound analytical skills are required.
What might the subject lead onto?
Physics is a subject very well regarded by universities and is important if you want to study Engineering. It is also useful for Economics, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Computing to name just a few degree subjects. Many of our Physics students have gone on to study Physics, Economics, Veterinary Science, Computing, Mathematics and Engineering at universities such as Durham, Newcastle and Sussex.